“Containment of Extremism and Encouragement of Pluralism“ – Wasatia Third Annual Conference sparks big interest - Foundation Office Palestinian Territories
More than 170 members, friends and interested persons took part, among which were many religious leaders, teachers, lawyers and journalists from different ages and parts of the Palestinian society. Because of this overwhelming interest, objectives and activities of Wasatia and publications of single members were presented to a bigger audience.
The word “Wasatia” has its origins in the Quran where it means “Moderation and balance”. According to this, Wasatia sees itself as a moderate Islamic alternative compared to other political groups already existing in the Palestinian Territories. One of the main objectives is to show that Islam and western values, such as tolerance and democracy, are compatible and could be transformed into political terms.
The ceremonial opening of the conference was followed by commemorative speeches held by Dr. Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi (Chief Islamic Judge and Head of the Islamic Supreme Council), Thomas Birringer (Resident Representative of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung to the Palestinian Autonomous Territories) and Prof. Muhammad Dajani (Al-Wasatia Founder). The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Ramallah had organized seminars and workshops for Sharia judges and Imams to inform them about Islam and democracy. The certificates of these workshops were handed over to the participants during the conference.
The speakers and participants of the third annual conference did not only mention the values and concepts of Al-Wasatia, but also stressed the significance of peace and the necessarity of dialogue from an Islamic point of view. A lot of current challenges have been discussed, and recommendations of how to act in the future have also been pointed out: spreading of values relevant for Wasatia, taking legal measures to control political extremism and religious radicalism, fortifying voluntary community services and holding of more seminars and workshops for mosque preachers, school teachers and educators to inform about coexistence, dialogue and tolerance. Another conclusion that was reached was the need to establish a specialized library that includes the comprehensive collection of books and articles dealing with Wasatia and related topics and the collecting of funds to create kids clubs in the poor and marginalized districts in Palestine. However, the measures that the participants have agreed on were not only focused on regional affairs: moderate Islamic groups in other Arab countries will also be contacted in the next months to call for cooperation.
The guarantors of Wasatia were very satisfied with the cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Ramallah, which supports the way of Wasatia to a political party according to the shared values of democracy and pluralism.