Dialog with Islam is the necessary basis for peaceful cooperation between religions and nations

Dialog mit dem Islam

Foto: Präsident Prof. Dr. Mehmet Görmez (re) und Vorstand der INGO DMW Günther Meinel (li)

The INGO Diplomats International, represented by its Chairman Günther Meinel, continued the talks that began a year previously with His Excellency Prof. Dr. Mehmet Görmez, the Islamic religious leader, on September 24, 2012 in Istanbul. Both sides expressed their conviction that only relaxed dialog and understanding between religions can form the basis for successful peace negotiations.

The in-depth discussions that took place in an amicable and constructive atmosphere brought agreement in some important areas. The principles, symbols and values of Islam may not be discredited and, as a result, the INGO Diplomats International categorically rejected the "abusive video" about the Prophet Mohammed. A work that questions the good example of the Prophet and hurts the feelings of the faithful is completely unacceptable. Nobody should be permitted to ridicule religions and beliefs.

No complete agreement was reached on rituals that have been passed down through the centuries, such as the circumcision of male children. The INGO Diplomats International took the view that circumcision from the age of 14 onwards would give the young person the chance to decide whether they wish to belong to the religious community or not.

The religious leader put forward the view that The Quran does not prescribe circumcision, that there is no obligation to have it carried out, but that its place in the Bible connects it to Islam. Therefore, the ritual should be continued. Parents can decide when circumcision should be carried out, there is however the consideration that a 14-year-old might not want to be circumcised for emotional reasons.

Circumcision must always be carried out by a medically trained specialist. The religious leader also mentioned reasons of hygiene. The INGO Diplomats International referred to the function of nerve endings and also to relevant explanations and research from the world of science and medicine.

The INGO Diplomats International explained that images of circumcision lead to a perception in the western world that the ritual is gruesome and out-of-date. Therefore, it is important that children only undergo circumcision when carried out under anesthetic and without pain by an expert..

A comparison between Christian baptism and the Islamic ritual of circumcision in Islam, understood in both religions to be a parental right, was not discussed in any great depth.

The INGO Diplomats International was able once again to see the care, sensitivity and empathy Prof. Dr. Görmez shows when he discusses such matters. His shows tolerance during discussions, the ability to listen to and deal with the opinions of others.

The INGO Diplomats International explained that it would suggest to a German parliament commission that Prof. Dr. Görmez be extended an invitation to give him the opportunity to explain his viewpoint to a larger audience.

Along with the question of circumcision, there are other pressing issues that need to be addressed in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere so that a degree of mutual understanding can be reached. Both sides agreed that all religions need to reform, but that this requires respect, empathy, patience, time and resolution.

The restraint in Turkey during demonstrations against the publication of posters for the film about the Prophet Mohammed was seen as a good example of the peaceful nature of Muslims. A request was made for discussion to take place in the Arab countries with their religious leaders on the possibilities of preventative conflict management and/or prevention.Both sides expressed a mutual desire to continue the talks on a regular basis in the interests of peace and human understanding.