Inaam Bayoud, founding director of the Higher Arab Institute of Translation in Algeria, Mahmoud Azab, advisor on interreligious dialogue to the Sheikh of al-Azhar in Egypt, Hani Fahs, founding member of the Arab Dialogue Team in Lebanon, and Sami Brahem, director of the Sheikh Mohammed al-Fadel bin Ashour Centre for the Arts in Tunisia, discussed the Arab renaissance. Damascus University’s Mohammed Tayyeb Al-Tizini moderated the session.
- Religion’s Role in Reform: Any attempt to reform the educational system must first accept that this system is based on religion, said Bayoud. However, Azad noted that religion must not be a tool to divide but should only help maintain the identity of the Arab culture. Furthermore, religion can be used as a means to increase patriotism, added Azab. At its roots, Arab Islamic culture does reject all forms of discrimination and separation and may be aligned with the concept of citizenship, agreed Brahem.
- Disadvantaged Arab World: The Arab world has plunged into a quasi-pre-intellectual state due to the abundance of regional and state conflicts, said Al-Tizini. Furthermore, Arabs are living in shame due to many disadvantages, including poverty, conflict, and death, as well as a bitter history of continuous conflicts, he added.
- A Needed Pluralistic Society: Bayoud noted that the report should reach all in society, but especially the youth, who are responsible for implementation. History shows that Arab states should strive towards union, not division, said Fahs. This could involve redefining and modernizing the interpretation of religious texts, suggested Brahem. Support for a pluralistic society where each citizen has an equal right to participate is essential, said Fahs. Brahem emphasized the need for a pluralistic society, noting the need to promote a culture of union, not of adversity and violence.