BAHÁ’Í WORLD CENTRE — In the latest podcast episode from the News Service, two representatives of the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) discuss contributions of Bahá’í communities in the Arab region to the discourse on coexistence—a topic that has come to the forefront of public consciousness in recent years.
Saba Haddad and Hatem El-Hady, representatives of the Geneva and Cairo Offices of the BIC respectively, explored several concepts and ideas relevant to conversations on fostering coexistence, including the constructive role of religion in contemporary society, the equality of women and men, and the inherent oneness of humanity.
Dr. Haddad spoke about how discussion forums known as “majalis”—a term in Arabic implying traditional gathering places—have played an important part in bringing diverse social actors together to exchange ideas and explore insights about various issues of common concern and build unity of thought. The majalis hosted by Bahá’ís in Bahrain and in other countries in the region, she said, are characterized by a spirit of unity and consultation.
“You have participants representing all segments of society, and each one’s contribution is valuable and important,” said Dr. Haddad.
She explained that in its essence, Bahá’í consultation encourages everyone to contribute their perspectives and then be willing to be detached from them. This approach adds to the beauty of gatherings where participants genuinely wish to explore reality and seek truth. When such a spirit is nurtured, there are abundant possibilities for collective learning and advancement of thought.
Mr. El-Hady underscored the significance of highlighting gender equality in conversations about coexistence. There is a growing realization among social actors at the national level, he said, that “we cannot have half of society… deprived of opportunities.”
In striving for a more inclusive society, Mr. El-Hady added, there is growing understanding that the wellbeing of any part of society is intrinsically linked to the wellbeing of the whole.
Dr. Haddad elaborated, saying: “The more we look at our common commonalities, the more we are united. While the more we look at our differences, the more we are divided.”