(MENAFN - Arab News) The National Society of Human Rights (NSHR) has called on imams and khatibs in the Kingdom to focus more on people's issues rather than theoretical preaching in order to achieve national solidarity and spread of humanitarian values.
The NSHR made this appeal in a dialogue conference organized by it in Jeddah on Sunday to mark the International Day of Toleration. Carrying the logo "Toleration and Human rights," the event sought to design a national program to enact regulations criminalyzing acts of intolerance and spread a culture of toleration.
The participants in the event stressed the need for governmental departments, educational and media establishments, and the Presidency of Youth Affairs to make joint efforts to adopt programs that promote toleration among various social sections.
"Most khatibs and imams engage in preaching on religious rituals far removed from the realities of daily life. They do not play their role to spread the culture of toleration and mutual coexistence," Abdullah Basfar, secretary-general of the World Commission for Qur'an Memorization, a subsidiary of the Muslim World League, said while participating in the dialogue.
He also expressed his willingness to help the NSHR prepare speeches for khatibs focusing on the spread of human rights values.
Another participant in the dialogue, Adnan Al-Zahrani, a researcher in religious denominations, appealed to supporters of any madhab (Islamic school of thought) not to speak fanatically on behalf of the school to which he belongs.
Former Rector of the Jeddah College of Education Hassan Yahya said there were some differences of opinion on how to incorporate the topic of human rights into the educational system. "While one group said human rights should be included in school syllabi, another group argues it should be one of the majors available for general study in universities."
Another speaker on the occasion, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jeddah Literary Club Abdullah Al-Sulami, said literary clubs had a large role to play in spreading toleration and balanced views among the young generation. He added that the club planned to launch an intellectual program with the aim of cultivating a balanced outlook with the help of which different cultures could coexist with toleration.
Chairperson of the Family Protection Council of Jeddah Sameerah Al-Ghamdi attributed the growing tendency of violent behavior in children to intolerant homes where they grew up. She said children should be taught values of human rights in schools, media that influence them, and mosques, which they respect.
In his speech, Saud Katib, head of the department of communication at King Abdulaziz University, blamed social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for spreading intolerance among the youth.