Dr. Nayla Abi Nader, a Lebanese researcher on Islamic thought, warned that the dichotomy between Muslims and non-Muslims was splitting society. Abi Nader said that "our interests do not lie in conflict, in fighting, or in classifying people as dhimmis or non-dhimmis," and called for reform in the field of education, in order to stop educating to backwardness, ignorance, and reactionism. She made the comments during a show that aired on March 20 on Alghad TV, a UAE channel broadcasting from Egypt.
Following is a transcript:
Nayla Abi Nader: Muslim versus infidel, religious versus non-religious, Muslim versus non-Muslim – this duality or dichotomy has split society, people, and ideologies. We continue to suffer because of it.
What prevents us from advancing towards implementing equality? The question is who benefits from all these conflicts. I want to approach this issue from a utilitarian perspective. Human beings used to kill one another over grazing lands, over food and water, but found that it is their interest to sign pacts and coexist in peace. Until when will we fail to discern our own interests? Our interests do not lie in conflict, in fighting, or in classifying people as dhimmis or non-dhimmis. We came to this world in order to live, to grow, to be happy, to share, to discover life and to savor it.
The question is when we will realize that our humanity is in danger, and that it is in our best interest to revive ourselves. We must awaken ourselves from our deep slumber, and not wait for anyone else to do it. This awakening is connected to reform in the field of education. We must reexamine all our curricula and examine how we teach. We are the ones who educate to backwardness, and lay the foundations for ignorance, for reactionism, and for all the tragedies we are facing today.