"On the river in Niger we have an ethnic connection. All races are gathered and the river is the way of managing diversity." Salamatou Sow - Academic
The question of social harmony in plural, multicultural societies is one that has perplexed leaders around the globe for decades. That topic and religious and racial harmony in the face of opposition and oppression was the focus of the second forum at Musee Batha today.
The discussion centred on globalisation and its' many challenges. Dena Merriam the founder and convener of the Global Peace Initiative for Women emphasised that while globalisation has brought economic problems, it has brought the world together socially. She said that religions have spread, people have become more spiritual and she used the example that some Christian's have incorporated elements of Hinduism and Buddhism into their religious lives. "We are in a new era of human unity. This is the affect of globalisation and religion will be everywhere." She argued that "we have to go beyond tolerance and go to the appreciation of all religions. We are all equal."
French writer Olivier Germain-Thomas insisted that it is not religion that is the problem. "If we ban religion, evil still exists. There is evil in man. To eliminate evil we must eliminate it from the heart of man."
|Manny Ansar and moderator Rachid Arhab|
The use of non violent means to oppose oppressive religious regimes was also raised. When religious fundamentalists banned music in Mali, Manny Ansar, the director of the world famous festival, Music in the Desert said it was a shock for him and the public. While those opposed to the new regime did not resort to violence, Manny Ansar told the discussion group they took their music into exile and toured the world, refusing to be silenced.
Ali Benmakhlof, a professor of Arabic philosophy stressed that health and education are intrinsic to social equality, arguing that society cannot progress without these ideals.
It was a theme supported by Ilari Rantakari, a Finnish diplomat who warned against the populist movements that are on the rise in Europe. He argued that through education there needs to be an effort to remove the ignorance of religion in Europe but equally the Islamic world needs to understand and accept diversity.
A point all speakers agreed on was that social harmony on a global scale will succeed through respect for others beliefs.
Text & photographs Stephanie Kennedy
Tomorrow at the Fes Festival (Monday June 16)
Fez Forum at 9 at Batha Museum: Giving Soul to Globalisation. Managing diversityBatha Museum 4pm: Bardic Divas - Kazakstan, Uzbekistan
Nights in the Medina 8pm &10pm Dar Adiyel: Wang Li and Amazigh poets
Dar Mokri 8pm & 10pm St Ephraim Choir - Hungry
Dar Batha 8pm &10pm Majlis Trio - France
Batha Museum 9pm Altan - Ireland
Festival in the City 4pm: Jnan Sbil Garden: Women's orchestra of Fez
Festival in the City 6.30pm Bab Boujloud Square: Luzmila Carpio
Sufi Night at Dar Tazi 11pm: Saqalia Brotherhood of Fez with Haj Mohammed Bennis
Tomorrow's Weather: Cooler - Max 32 degrees Celsius (89.8 Fahrenheit)
Fez Medina Map
The View from Fez is an official media partner of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music