Shi'ite Lebanese cleric holds out olive branch to Jews, Christians in non-violence campaign
Sayyed Mohamad El Ali Husseini preaches inter-faith tolerance in multi-lingual Facebook messages.
shi'ite Lebanese cleric has extended an olive branch to Jewish and Christian leaders around the world with a message of non-violence.
Sayyed Mohamad Ali El Husseini, secretary general of the Arabic Islamic Council, took to Facebook on Sunday to warn of the dangers of religious extremism.
“We call on rabbis, priests, cardinals and Muslim clerics, Sunni and Shia, to play down the verses, the scriptures, the traditions and the religious texts that call for violence, because they are more dangerous than nuclear weapons," he wrote at the beginning of a long message.
“The various religious texts which call for the use of violence and cruelty to achieve goals are extremely dangerous texts when used by groups that we have warned against in the past, as these texts give religious authorization to commit acts of violence and murder," he added. "Obviously, these are texts that were implemented in specific and even limited times, places and situations - they cannot necessarily be applied to our time, since every situation has its own unique conditions and circumstances.
This message comes just a few weeks after he posted two videos to his Facebook page, one in Hebrew which he addresses his Jewish "cousins", and the other in English in which he addresses both Jews and Christians. "Know that we are your cousins and followers of Prophet Ishmael, son of Prophet Abraham. We both belong to the same family and are relatives as your ancestor and ours were brothers who had the same father, i.e. Prophet Abraham," he says.
"We respect and sanctify Holy Scriptures and we believe in the Torah, Bible and Koran. We also believe in all prophets and respect them and we do not differentiate between them," he continues. "We believe that not all Jews are evil, not all Christians are depraved and not all Muslims are terrorists. Our cousins, let us therefore leave behind our differences, stay away from evil and hatred, reject extremism and violence and refuse to accept bigotry."
These messages are part of a larger social media campaign for peace and co-existence: Husseini's Facebook page is filled with messages in Arabic, Hebrew, English and French preaching non-violence. Among these is a condemnation of the deadly attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
Husseini describes the paper's satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad as "ignorance," which he sees as an opportunity to explain to the world "the personality of the Prophet Mohamad and his universal message for all of humanity..."