Contacts With Other Cultures Won't Destroy Your Identity

(Arab News-Saudi Arabia) Ben Mollov - As someone who has been involved in Israeli-Palestinian dialogue for many years, I believe that I had some feel for the audience of over 1,000 Malaysians that I was to address as part of a panel on religious dialogue. As both a religious Jew and a faculty member of Bar-Ilan University, which is a Jewish religious university, I wore a kippa (Jewish religious skullcap) at the conference. The chairman introduced me as from Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and part of the audience applauded. Why does this approach to dialogue - a cultural religious approach - seem to offer possibilities where other forms of dialogue and peace-building might not? On a basic level, one aspect is that of commonalty - no two religions are more similar in structure and practice than Judaism and Islam. This connects to the literature in social psychology and relationship-building of finding commonalities between groups in conflict. The writer is an Associate of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

2006-04-07 00:00:00

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