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Toward A Popular, Moderate, Reasonable and Rational Movement

Prince Hassan Bin Talal

This is a message for the nation, for every nation, especially the academics and intellectuals who bridge the gap between thought and action, between “ruler and people.” The Arab ideological discourse and the international human discourse, with objectivity and without bias are for the public interest. You are the soul and conscience of the nation. You are one of its bright aspects, who work to show the moderate identity of the nation.

The moderate, reasonable and rational method is our only way to gather through the interaction and mobilization of our potential. It is our goal to function as a tribune to enhance democracy and plurality and prevent the confessional, sectarianism and regional divide, through respecting the other and the deep-seated differences of public interest and keeping away the personal agendas. It is our method to gather under the regional and international common points in order to meet the human values and increase the respect between Arabs and Muslims.

The moderate and rational tribune calls for settling disputes and conflicts. It also calls to ameliorate humanity by respecting individuals’ pride, rights, value, interest, welfare and capacity. It exhorts cooperation with civil society and its institutions and to settle the internal situation to promote the nation's unity. The nation is a cross regional concept.

The moderate reasonable and rational tribune keeps us away from divisions. It gathers potential in order to face the challenges and crises facing the nation: retardation of development, division, unemployment, poverty, ignorance, unequal distribution of human and natural resources, especially water and energy, the absence of reference, the occupation of Palestine, the catastrophe of Iraq and even increasing radicalism.

Statistics are a telling example: the second UNDP report on Arab Human Development shows that Arabs, who constitute 5% of the world population, produce far less than 1% of the world's books and print only 53 daily newspaper copies for every one thousand people, as opposed to 285 copies in the developed world! In addition, 40% of Muslims live under the poverty line while wealthy Muslims maintain 1.3 trillion dollars in American banks.

More important is the situation of the Arab and Muslim citizen who is suffering oppression, frustration, humiliation and internal defeat. These are some of the thousands of daily frustrations we face.

Millions of Arab children need education, preventive health services and a quality of life that includes the feeling of the joy of life and the light of knowledge. Before anything else, they need to feel they are respected and can enjoy their basic human rights. In addition, while the youth of today will remain the hope of the future, they are still suffering from unemployment, emptiness and fear.

When the crises become even sharper, the biggest challenge occurs; that is to work in the worse circumstances. Isn't it time for our souls to rebel? Isn't it time for us to adopt moderate and rational ideas from our Arab and Islamic culture, where common points are enhanced not only between us and other cultures but amongst ourselves as well? Isn't it time to build our society and adopt dialogue as a means to avoid conflicts?

What is the role of civil society? The constitution of Al Madina Munawara is based on a group of civil laws and a detailed plan for Islamic plurality in addition to rules for other communities so they can live peacefully and equally. Isn't it time for us to get inspired by this great heritage in order to establish an Arab and Muslim constitution?

From this tribune, I am calling for a popular, moderate trend established by every one who believes in moderate, reasonable and rational thought. It is a trend to the enlightenment of the individual and collective potential. It is more than a trend. It is a popular movement that brings people together, addresses the Arab and Islamic thought and assures that the public interest is the objective of the regime. It is a sort of general assembly for the citizens that finances itself, includes benevolent people and is formed of a network of individual and civil organizations that works on building a civil society on the basis of equality regardless of the identities.

The following are the pillars of this popular, moderate, reasonable and rational movement:

  • Plurality, i.e., enhancing the common points and respecting differences.
  • The culture of participation.
  • The sovereignty of citizens through giving them powers.
  • A constitution for the duties and rights of the Arab citizen in addition to meeting the other communities within the concept of the Islamic nation.
  • Enhancing civil society.
  • The participation in charitable actions.
  • Reviving the international and regional constitutions and documents and modernizing them when needed.
  • No violence or radicalism!
  • Shifting from revenge to influence.
  • Always looking towards the future.

I have called several times for an international movement biased to peace and a culture of peace. Yes! We have always called for impartiality but it is time to change the method and work on the peoples' peace, and a fair and comprehensive peace by launching an economic and social Roadmap based on the pride and needs of humanity.

Such an international movement would not succeed unless it is accompanied by a moderate movement away from any sort of radicalism. Our moderate movement would be a part of the international moderate movement.

So let's start working because we barely have time.

Source: Al-Hayat December 22, 2003

From the Common Ground News Service
hagalil.com 18-12-2003

hagalil.com 18-12-2003



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