With the book “Seeking Peace: An Introduction to Rationalizing Dispute” | opinions

At a time when issues of disagreement have become a source of tension and tension, the Cordoba Peace Institute in Geneva published the book “Seeking Peace: An Introduction to Rationalizing Dispute” by Dr. Abbas Erwa, who works as a freelance professor at the Faculty of Medicine in Lausanne, Switzerland. Dr. Orwa is an expert in medical physics, health physics and radiation protection, and is also the founding director of the Cordoba Peace Institute in Geneva, which specializes in preventing violence, rationalizing conflict, building peace, and promoting community cohesion.

The distributed book included 360 pages of medium pieces with an introduction and 16 chapters organized into 5 separate sections. In his book, Dr. Urwa stands on necessary pillars, including revealing the truth, preserving memory, achieving justice, and practicing amnesty. Among the issues discussed in the book is the issue of the conflict between the right to freedom of opinion and expression with the right to respect the sacred, in addition to the differences related to values. He also discussed The book is the system of values ​​and the process of change in attitudes and behavior, as well as the issue of the interaction of religion with attitudes, attitudes and behaviors, with illumination on the forms of religion’s connection to controversy.

If the dispute turns into a negative interaction, it leads to the shaking of society and the disintegration of its components. The first manifestation of the negative handling of the dispute is the sharp polarization that demonizes the other and makes him an opponent and an enemy instead of dealing with him as an authentic partner.

The book is a real addition to the Arab-Islamic library, as the science of rationalizing the dispute is a Western science par excellence. It is taught in various universities, and centers are established for it and the capabilities necessary to conduct research are devoted to it. According to Dr. Urwa, we must understand the reasons why the Islamic world is absent from contributing to this vital field of knowledge, “although there are values, principles, directives and practical examples in the Holy Qur’an, the honorable Sunnah of the Prophet, and the lives of scholars and righteous people of the nation that enable the development of an integrated and applicable theory in The field of preventing violence, dealing with conflict, managing it well, and promoting peace.

It must be noted that this book was issued at a time when many peoples are living under regimes that lack legitimacy and are characterized by authoritarianism, oppression and corruption. Instead of these regimes carrying out their primary mission of ensuring the basic needs of their citizens, especially food, peace and security, we note that their sole concern is to control political power and monopolize the nation’s wealth.

The book focuses on the need to rationalize disagreement in times of peace and war, reminding that disagreement is a humanitarian necessity necessitated by differences in terms of reference and goals. It is natural for human societies to include different trends that reflect human wealth, intellectual diversity, and freedom of belief. Perhaps the observer of the course of history will discover that the divergent opinions, whenever they interact in a positive and healthy manner, end up serving the public interest, supporting society and the state with remarkable and steady growth.

However, if the dispute turns into a negative abuse, it ends up shaking the community and cracking its components. The first manifestation of the negative handling of the conflict is the sharp polarization that demonizes the other and makes him an enemy and an enemy instead of dealing with him as an authentic partner. Here, the book attributes polarization issues to authoritarian regimes that perpetuate religious, intellectual, ethnic and linguistic differences in order to control the joints of societies.

The book also refers to the issue of the lack of conditions for building mutual trust with the consolidation of a negative stereotype about the other that leads to violence, spreading hatred and deepening tension with the aim of tearing and fragmenting society in order to identify with the messages that official and semi-official propaganda means, in addition to regional channels and windows with populist content. or extreme.

Among the most important topics that the book dealt with is the issues of transition and the confusion and turmoil that accompanies periods of transition with a loss of the compass. In authoritarian regimes, contradictions remain hidden and differences remain latent. However, in the hour of change and the advent of the climate of freedoms, society gets rid of fear and the owners of interests, rights and needs take the initiative to demand them.

According to the book, periods of democratic transition and transition are fragile and fraught with danger, as the state is at its weakest and is threatened by disputes that lead to violence; The book says that during periods of transition, internal and external parties often contribute to fueling differences and pushing them into the midst of a struggle in order to thwart the democratic transition.

The book explains that the biggest challenges of the transitional period are that those in charge of it are required to deal with the past, present and future at the same time. Accordingly, it is necessary to deal with the present by ensuring the basic needs of citizens through the production, protection and fair distribution of wealth. Also, the identity components of individuals and groups must be protected and promoted, and the distant and recent past must be dealt with by launching true reconciliation. As for dealing with the future, it is through building institutions and strengthening their role. Different societies may pursue different paths for political change and the transition from the weight of authoritarian regimes to the capacity of the rule of law and good governance. And those ways, according to the book, the most effective and what is not.

But it is very important for a society going through a transitional and reconciliation process to know exactly what happened and who did what in the dark period of its distant or near history, for revealing the truth has an effective effect that would help heal societal wounds. The book says, “If you are the truth for the individual, especially the victim and his family, then it is also the duty of every member of society.”

In the transitional stages, according to Dr. Urwa, it is necessary to recall the grievances that occurred, as well as the necessity of spreading the brigades of justice. Here the importance of memory in Islam emerges because it is closely related to the issue of remembrance, whose educational virtues the Holy Qur’an emphasizes: “And remember, for indeed, remembrance benefits the believers.” [الذاريات: 55].

Remembrance is seen in the Qur’an as a sign of intelligence: “Only people of understanding remember” [الرعد: 19]. Hence, the book introduces the concept of transitional justice, defining it as a set of methods that states can use to address gross violations of human rights, and it includes judicial and non-judicial approaches; According to the book, it is a set of policies, procedures, and institutions that can be enacted in a phase of political transition from a period of violence and repression to a period of solid political stability. Perhaps one of the most important conditions for the success of periods of transition and transitional justice is to establish facts and give priority to everything else. In the Muslim community, it is expected that everyone will contribute to revealing and discovering the truth, for concealing it is a major sin, as the Almighty said: [البقرة: 42]The scholars also see that the one who is silent about the truth is a mute devil, and the one who speaks falsehood is a speaking devil.

There is a need for effective reconciliation, and for successful mediation, successful mediation is required, and the goals of mediation are to break the acrimony in the positions of the parties towards each other and build trust in order to transform the differences between them into positive constructive ones.

The book believes that Islam offers a wide scope for the possibilities of joint action for the religious interest, and in the field of city/state affairs policy it constitutes a framework that provides direction and allows creativity. Referring to the covenant that the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, witnessed, the book says, “Al-Madina newspaper is a practical guide, from an Islamic perspective, on the possibility of coexistence and positive interaction in a society with multiple tribal and religious affiliations. That newspaper, which was named the first constitutional document in human history, succeeded in Doing this by introducing a new concept of social belonging consisting of 3 different layers: the tribe recognized as a social reality, social belonging to a religion that involves a system of shared values, and belonging to the city.

There is also the need for effective reconciliation, and for the sake of effective reconciliation, successful mediation must be available, as it is necessary to consult with actors in various fronts, sectors and groups, whether they are legal, social, religious, or educational. One of the goals of mediation is to break the tension between the parties’ positions towards each other and build trust in order to transform differences between them into positive and constructive ones, as well as explore the possibilities of mitigating sharp ideological sectarian tensions. It is necessary to cooperate in order to achieve peaceful coexistence; According to the author, the sharp polarization in fragile political transition contexts often leads to a state of chaos, paving the way for the return of authoritarian regimes or for internal war. It is also necessary to focus on the importance of producing a new common political culture based on the values ​​of freedom, justice, dignity, diversity, acceptance of others, non-exclusion, citizenship and renunciation of violence, by building trust at a time when issues of difference have become a source of tension and congestion. It is also necessary to build alliances that cross sects and ideologies that would contribute to the success of a peaceful political transition in countries undergoing transitional stages.

It is noteworthy that in a workshop organized by the Cordoba Peace Institute in Geneva and hosted by Morocco, the participants concluded the need to reduce the polarization between Islamists and secularists, and that all parties should transcend philosophical controversy while focusing on the need for joint action in the interest of the public in order to strengthen society and build the state, and this is within the framework of Fair and “common space” does not require any party to give up its intellectual reference or betray its cause. This framework for joint action and collective effort can be rooted based on the religious and ideological references of all parties. Accordingly, groups with different bases within their own value systems and cosmological visions can choose to engage in joint action with various other groups, each with their own reasons. In this way, different groups can live together in a common space, and each finds the justification and incentive to do so from the perspective of its own system of rules and guiding principles. The American philosopher John Rawls calls the joint engagement of different groups to interact within the same space the term “interlacing harmonies”.

Dr. Urwa says in his valuable book that addressing the tensions that afflict the Arab and Islamic worlds and impede human development efforts in them “requires the formation of a wide elite of specialists in analyzing and rationalizing differences, with knowledge of the Arab-Islamic traditions in this field and experience with techniques developed in the West, and the ability to adapt them.” In these Arab and Islamic societies, taking into account the historical pattern, reality, social reality and social peculiarities of these societies.

Dr. Urwa points out that while dozens of studies and research centers and programs have spread in the Western world for scientific engagement with the phenomenon of dispute and the means of resolving and rationalizing it and transforming it into an effective force and a positive mechanism for the development of society, the Arab and Islamic world is almost devoid of such centers and programs. In the best case, those in charge of issues of dispute and peace resort to the assistance of Western expertise that applies recipes prepared in a cultural space different from Arab and Islamic traditions.

In conclusion, it must be said that the book “The Pursuit of Peace: An Introduction to Rationalizing Dispute” is a rich book, funny in its presentation, and new in its material. We hope that this book will prompt academic circles and civil society organizations in Arab and Islamic countries to build on this solid foundation laid by Dr. Abbas Urwa for this branch of science that has a positive societal impact.