Notes on a controversial topic
(At the moment Cleopatra Lorintiu is corresponding of the Observatory of geopolitical Studies from Paris, in Rumania.
(OEG is a French association, which has the aim of contributing to the promotion of scientific research in the various fields of geopolitics. This Association publishes the review Etudes Géopolitiques ( Geopolitical Studies).
The period of my life when I lived in Paris, gave me the chance to meet a world that fascinated me a lot: the Arab World in Paris. It was in Paris that I learnt about the dogmatic differences between Sunnis and Shiites; I learnt in Paris on Ismailis and I had the chance to meet and talk with His Highness Agha Khan in Paris; I understood the evolution of Islam in contemporary Africa and Association Etudes Géopolitiques ( Geopolitical Studies the complexity of the Lebanese life, I read articles about Wahhabism and I began to understand the nuances of the Persian World, their sublime poetic ambiguity.
It was in Paris that I learnt about the cause of the Kurdish, impressed by the dedication of Mrs. Danielle Mitterrand to these people so proven by history; I understood the history of the Assyrians and Chaldeeans who have an association in Paris, I saw the realities of the “Mujahideens ” and the lives of the Afghan people. In Paris I realized that it is our duty to know, understand and listen to the opinion of the other.
In Paris I realized the proportions of the tragedies of people like those in Darfur; I left Paris for one of the most interesting trips in my life, in Libya, shortly after “the opening”, to go in the South , in the mountains of Akakus and meet The Tuaregues .
I struck up friendships for life, I met journalists specialized in the Muslim world, I was fascinated by Arabic and Persian poetry, I saw movies at the Arab World Institute, and I listened to music, or read pages of literature written by relatives, such as the stories of the poet Basheer al Basheer or the poems of the Jordanian poet Ibrahim Awawadeh at The Egyptian Cultural Center in Boulevard Saint Germain. I lived pursued by these themes, reading hundreds of pages and attending hundreds of press conferences, day by day, for four years.
Back to Bucharest, I realized that most of the issues uncovered by me in Paris are either not known or treated in a superficial way, with a kind of oversimplified view.
That’s why I make today the attempt to gather ideas, memories, pages of interviews which may be even disparate; but they must possess one single quality: that of being a testimony.
I include here some pages, pieces of interview and ideas of the program “Semne”broadcast on the Channel TVR1 thanks to the generosity of producer Dan Micu. Their themes are connected with Islam: “Sunnis and Shiites, “enemy brothers”? (broadcast on November 11, 2007) and “Living with Islam” (broadcast on February 3, 2008)
II. Shiites and Sunnis “enemy brothers”?
Information flows at high speed in the world today.
A picture or an event very quickly become a label or a possible explanation. There is much talk of Islam today, news from Islamic countries succeed without cease.
In a world with so many wars, in a world of global confrontations one may say that all the misunderstandings, the opposition, the historic quarrel that we, as Europeans, see between Shiites and Sunnis have become a leitmotif.
For a deeper understanding we should obviously return to history, to the historical roots; shortly after the death of the Prophet Muhammad at the time of the succession of the Caliphate.
In a theoretical and doctrinaire form, the differences between the main currents of Islam have always been highlighted throughout history. And they still are today.
They refer to precise details and they have represented a kind of confrontation between ideas and practices, being neither an armed struggle nor a confrontation on the ground.
It goes without saying that Muslims, Sunnis or Shiites go together on pilgrimage to Mecca; it rather supports the idea of Muslim unity.
So the “dispute” between the Shiites and Sunnis is on a theoretical territory, “the doctrinaire territory and not the territory of the war: so where does this idea of the “religious war” that everyone talks about come from ? We need to go thoroughly into certain nuances and doctrinal differences between the two main streams of Islam.
This is the story that will shed light on whether those who poison today one against the other, are really aware of their approach.
For the faithful world it is important to emphasize that Islam is the religion which pays tribute to the intimate belief and to the personal involvement in supporting the faith, the love of God and one’s self-control.
The lights of Islam
(Fragments of the interview given by His Excellency Adel Murad AmbassadorExtraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Iraq in Bucharest, Romania.
Cleopatra Lorintiu: Your Excellency, first of all I want to thank you for the kindness to participate in our issue, which has as its theme the doctrinal differences between Shiites and Sunnis. This religious and doctrinaire difference is often cited as an explanation for the current situation in your country. What is the truth?
SE Adel Murad
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Iraq in Romania
Islam has emerged to put an end to the era of ignorance
The pre-Islamic era, when girls were killed at birth.
The Prophet did not believe either in ethnic differences or in the so-called racial superiority.
A proof for us is the fact that one of his closest disciples, Bilal Al Habashi (Abyssinian), the muezzin of the prophet, came from Africa; the other was Salaman Al Farisi, the Persian. Many of those who spread the lights of Islam were not only Arabs, they were philosophers,
Scholars having different origins: Persian, Turkish, Albanian. Thus we can see the universality and humanism of Islam.
Cleopatra Lorintiu: The doctrinal differences were often explained, over time and also today. They are still elements of doctrinaire interpretation, but not armed strives or confrontations.
The pilgrimage to Mecca stands for an evidence.
Certainly you are right. And there is not just the pilgrimage; all the religious rituals, such as the prayer, are the same.
Millions of Muslims from around the world make the pilgrimage every year, dressed simply. They are all equal before Allah, before Ka’ba, imploring the remission of sins. They are the same: the African, Shiite, Sunni and Jadeite. However, the states that have interests in the Middle East stir up the climate in their own interest.
Cleopatra Lorintiu: But we understood that this was a historical conflict.
Adel Murad: The rulers of the Safavid Iranian state and those of the former Ottoman Empire that had other interests prompted these conflicts 300-400 years ago. These conflicts have become hidden after the fall of the former Iraqi regime, and the interests of certain countries in the geopolitical region of the Middle East have worsened results.
Cleopatra Lorintiu: I would like to refer to the fraternal spirit that prevailed in time in the relationship between Shiites and Sunnis. A neutral observer might get the impression of a ‘false’, artificial and rather “mis en scène” conflict.
It is true, indeed. Let’s consider the case of mixed marriages, which is very normal in Iraq. Once, it was not important if the bride was a Shiite or a Sunni! But today, the states have established agendas concerning the situation in Iraq and because of that conflicts are continually rising.
The aim of the principles of Islam as a religion of tolerance is that the believer were upright, for his own good and the good of his fellow man.
Islam, as well as the other monotheistic religions, is a religion of wisdom, tolerance and dialogue, not violence.
Cleopatra Lorintiu: At the same time, we must admit that there is a reality of radical Islam, a terrorism which compromises the Muslims’ idea of tolerance and pacifism.
Adel Murad: That’s obvious. Our experience this terrifying situation. In my country there are acts of terrorism every day. I must stress that they have nothing to do with Islam, even if they are committed on its behalf. Islam itself is totally different from that attitude. (November 2007, Bucharest
Documentaries about Islamic World realized by Cleopatra Lorintiu for Romania television (Emission “Signs”(SEMNE) produced by Dan Micu)
1. Shiites and Sunnis “enemy brothers”?
With the participation of:
Adel Murad S E Son Excellency Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Iraq Bucharest Romania.
University Professor dr. George Grigore, University of Bucharest, Chair of Arabic, dr.Laura Sitaru, dr. Abu Ola, Taiba Foundation in Bucharest,(November 2007)
Click on the link below:
2.Living with Islam
With the participation of:
Maitre Chems – Eddine Hafiz, General Delegate of the General Council of Muslims in France .
Hichem Ben Yaiche, researcher, political analyst, IRIS Paris .
Dr.Ronald Hatto, Sciences Politiques Paris .
Kadhanoun Radwan, arab journalist living in Bucharest
Bucharest, February 2008 .
3.Soufism, poetry and mystic vocation
A documentary about Jalaluddin Rumi, great Sufi mystic of XIII century
with the participation of H.E. Adel Murad, The Ambassador of Republic of Iraq in Romania ; H.E. Hamid Reza Arshadi ,The Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran , dr.Luminita Munteanu; specialist in Turk literature; University from Bucharest; dr. George Grigore, specialist in Arab literature; University of Bucharest; April 2008