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   Conferences /The Fourteenth General Conference : The Truth about Islam in a Changing World

Doctor Juli?n Arturo Zapata F. (Alî Ridâ Colombia)
Assalâmu alaikum warahmatu Allâh wabarakâtuh.
"And say to those who do not believe: Act according to your state; surely we too are acting" (The Qur'ân, 11:121)
As Colombian and American it levies me a deep emotion when being once again in Latin this sacred land, the Land of Hermes Trismegisto, Moses, Aaron, Asiah and Joseph. That they shone higher than the Sirio star, that star of piercing brightness (The Glorious Qur'ân 86:3) (annajmuth thâqib). On these lands covered by the Nile, the perennis philosophy of Hermes and the revealed prophecy of Moses (Peace be upon him) wrote one of the most beautiful pages of Human History. From the mount of Sinai to the sanctuaries of Imâm Husayn and Zaynab Al-Kubrâ (Peace be upon them), here in Cairo, the absolute monotheism built a guide for those travelers and navigators who had the highest spirituality, spirituality higher than the Lighthouse of Alexandria, and more solid than the Pyramids and the Sphinx of Giza Valley.
It is not a chance that we are here analyzing the destinies of our civilization, just some meters far from the magical waters of Nile River, the great generals of the western world also felt the same mystic, Great Alejandro (Eskandar), Julio Caesar and Napoleon. It is for this reason that the noble Egypt together with Persia, Turkey and the Magrib will continue being for centuries, vital geo-strategic scenarios for the Dialogue among Civilizations.
The Dialogue among civilizations is not a simple motto, neither some photographic postcards of the great ancient civilizations and much less greetings and cordial visits of diplomats, spiritual leaders and politicians of our time. The dialogue among civilizations is above all an educational and pedagogic process that has an essential mission to recognize the universality of spirituality, the sources of faith and the recognition of the other one as vital elements to reach peace and fraternity of all the cultures and nations.
For these reasons and the outlines that the conflicts of our times are taking, it is very urgent to work for the establishment in the universal environment of a PROFESSORSHIP OF DIALOGUE AMONG CIVILIZATIONS obligatory in the academic programs, in high schools and universities of all the globe.
The objective of this establishment is to inculcate in the students the love and the respect for the big manifestations of the universal spirituality that are determining our destinations. Equally, it will contribute to develop and to specify concepts that day per day are quite ethereal, as freedom, peace, human rights, divine right, democracy, ecology, university, etc. It is necessary that our worlds understand the difference among sacred civilizations and what is now called modern civilization which doesn't have as source the religion now and it is above all secular and humanist.
The modern man is the one who imagines the religion is one thing and the civilization is another; for that reason he considers that, religion is not progress but stagnation. It is necessary to overcome the dichotomy that manages our educational systems in the West that separate the religious history abruptly from the universal history. The so-called modern man sees the great Prophets as legends and myths, more than historical realities, and it has been the greatest triumph of the materialist systems against civilization. That is why it is not strange that recently we hear and read about the "end of history", the definite triumph of liberal capitalism, the death of ideologies, the unavoidable war among civilizations and so many other fatalisms.
The dialogue among civilizations is not a new ecumenical religion, it is neither a new ideology but a new method to harmonize the eternal truths and the reformation of the academy is vital to reach this goal. The dialogue among Civilizations is an investigation, not a competition and its objective is not to conquer but to understand us. The biggest enemy gives the dialogue they are the established papers, the masks and his projections; apart from the disagreement there must exist a shared desire of arriving to an understanding and solutions.
The topic of the dialogue among civilizations is a debate, which has been in the West for nearly 25 years, and in our country, Colombia, has about ten years; it started in 1993 through the ISLAMIC CULTURAL CENTER. This debate has been essentially academic. And very soon the media and the universities knew that our objective was to inform the public in our country about all the different topics related to our civilization and not to catechize or to convert the Colombian people into Islâm.
What characterizes a civilization is essentially that it has a spiritual right, which goes back to eternity. The Dialogue among Civilizations is not a new religion neither a new ideology; it is a new method to help in the restitution of the right of civilization to defend its eternal postulates and to harmonize them with the fundamentals of other cultures and civilizations that have common goals. The main reason that prevents a war among civilizations is because there cannot be a war between eternal and universal principles. War among civilizations was invented by some materialist systems which have for centuries been trying to take out from mankind its transcendental and metaphysical essence.
Today Islâm has a more spiritual authority than any other religion to speak about Dialogue among Civilizations. Because it was just the Islâmic civilization that had more contact with the other religions of the world. Islâm found Zoroastrism and Maniqueism in the Sasanid Empire.
Islâm absorbed slowly small communities in which subsisted traces of ancient Hellenistic cults, specially the Sabean Community of Harrân that considered itself heir of the most esoteric aspect of the Greek tradition. Islâm found Buddhism in the Northeast of Persia, in Afghanistan and Central Asia; also Islâm found Hinduism in the Sind and in many other parts of the Hindu Continent. Even, there was contact with the Mongol and Siberian Shamanism in the popular environment. Specially, trough the Turkish, that practiced Shamanism before their conversion to Islâm. In addition, Muslims in Sin kiang were in direct contact with the Chinese tradition.
That is why the Glorious Qur'ân says: "Allâh creates and recreates" and recreating is the law of all Divine Revolutions. That is why we, as Muslims from the West see in the Dialogue among Civilizations, not a new Ecumenical Religion. It is not a new ideology but a new way of living ONENESS and DIVERSITY.
Finally, I want to say to all my Muslim brothers who are present in this XIV International Conference of Cairo, that as a Latin- American Muslim I think that in this research about Dialogue among Civilizations there must exist some postulates that can be called universal, and without which this idea will never be developed. These postulates are:
1. Sources of Faith.
2. Mutual Respect.
3. Equity and Justice.
4. Rejection of Fanaticism and Tolerance.
5. Recognition of each other.
6. Universality of Religion.
7. Reform of Education.
8. Searching of Universal Ethics.
9. Rejection of all forms of hegemony.
10. Moral and material help to people and communities victims of Genocide.
Assalâmu alaikum Wa rahmatuAllâh Wa barakâtuh.

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