Protecting Equal Rights of Minorities Critical for Stability, Economic Growth of Middle East

Protecting Equal Rights of Minorities Critical for Stability, Economic Growth of Middle East

Muslim American’s continue with their persistent and consistent efforts at highlighting the critical importance of promoting and protecting “equal rights” for minorities in the Middle East.

Central to the struggles and reforms emerging across the Middle East from the Arab Spring are questions of how to ensure the protection of freedom, tolerance, and economic sustainability for all people, particularly minority groups.

In an effort to develop an international strategy for social stability and economic development in the Middle East, the State of Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UCLA Center for Middle East Development gathered community leaders and activists from across the globe this week in Doha for a conference focusing on enriching the future of the Middle East.  The conference was held in conjunction with the 12th Annual Doha Forum.

ISNA Director of Community Outreach Mohamed Elsanousi participated in a workshop focusing on the “Future of Religious Minorities in the Region.” Elsanousi’s participation in the workshop was a part of ISNA’s ongoing work with Muslim leaders worldwide to promote Islamic standards and develop protocols that protect religious freedom, particularly for religious minorities, in Muslim-majority countries.

“In Islam, we are taught that all people are equal and should not be discriminated against in any way based on their religion,” stated Elsanousi.  “It is our responsibility as Muslims to promote programs and policies that protect freedom of religion for all people in the emerging democracies across the Arab Spring to ensure the repression of the old regimes is never allowed to take root again.”

VIEW: ISNA Works With Religious Authorities in N. Africa to Develop Protocols to Protect Religious Minorities

The workshop highlighted examples from Islamic history, such as the covenant of Medina, which thrived under a system of law that guaranteed equal rights for all people in a Muslim majority community.

The workshop also echoed many of the strategies shared by ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid and other leaders during last week’s ISNA co-sponsored symposium on the Rights of Religious Minorities in Islam.

Elsanousi shared strategies from last week’s symposium and ISNA’s work with global Muslim scholars to develop mechanisms to advance religious freedom in the Middle East with attendees of the Doha workshop.  “In times of difficulty, communities look to their religious leaders for guidance,” stated Elsanousi, adding, “It is critical for leaders of Islam in the Middle East to step forward and provide religious guidance that supports citizenship based on equal rights, privileges, and protections for all people, regardless of religion.”

The conference concluded on Tuesday with more than 600 representatives from 85 nations across the globe attending.

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