Here is an audio blog recorded today at the Castle of the Muses in Scotland regarding the need for an active peace policy on behalf of the UK government, in the wider context of the need for peacebuilding in the Middle East region. The UK is uniquely poised to make such moves, since we have good relations with most of the powers in the region, and historically have exerted very great influence in the long term structuring of the region. It is in nobody’s influence to see ISIL’s rampage in Iraq and Syria continue. Perhaps the UK parliament will indeed vote to further degrade and destroy their power base in and around Raqaa and neighbouring parts of Syria and Iraq. But that is only a small part of the wider work for peacebuilding int he region. In order to challenge the authority and legitimacy of such terrorist groups, which have nothing to offer except violence and fear, and which if left unchecked will continue to spread mayhem and madness throughout the Middle East but also on the streets of European cities such as Paris, we also have to build a positive vision of peace. What kind of civilization do we want to build together in the Middle East ? How are we going to achieve a situation where the various countries, such as Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and so on, can all live in harmony and peace with each other, and agree some kind of permanent non-violence pact or peace treaty to govern their relations ? This audio blog addresses these long term challenges. For on this, it calls for support for the creation and establishment of the
SUNNI, SHIIA AND SUFI PEACE COMMISSION.
As the blog explains, this Commission is being tasked with inquiring into establishing a theological, intellectual and scientific truce, ceasefire and reconciliation between practitioners of Sunni, Shiite and Sufi Islam, so that their conflicts may be returned to the academic seminar room, the lecture hall and the library, and no longer fought out in physical, military or “intelligence” battles. The Commission proceeds on the assumption that authentic Islam, which requires surrender to the Absolute Creator and Ruler of the entire Universe, transcends these man-made divisions and that since authentic Islam at its best requires and supports peace, calmness, tranquility, non-violence, friendship, amity and love, scholars of Islam throughout the world must do all they can to bring about reconciliation and peace between the different divisions and branches of Islamic thought and culture through study, scholarship, scientific evidence, prayer, historical research, literature, poetry, the arts, music, diplomatics, and the cultivation of educational excellence. Simplistic Jihadis and terrorists who advocate violence against anyone outside their own narrow definition of Islam will be refuted by this Commission for their intellectual and moral simplicity, and returned to the correct path of spiritual jihad against our own ignorance. The Commission is in the process of being instituted as a project of the International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy, whose director has taught Islamic studies, and interfaith theology of peace, over many years. He was formerly a lecturer at the Muslim College in London, under Dr Zaki Badawi, and has authored a new Commentary on the Holy Quran, showing how an authentic interpretation of the Islamic foundations scripture requires us to suspend our prejudices and narrowness of judgment, and aspire to a new level of transpersonal knowing which enables knew intellectual vistas of hermeneutic comprehension to unfold.
The audio blog also calls for further support for the ongoing work of the TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR THE MIDDLE EAST which is an independent, interfaith, academic and philosophical initiative for peacemaking in the Middle East. The TRCME provides a forum for discussion for spiritual leaders, peace thinkers and activists and will address primarily the intellectual, moral, ethical and philosophical dilemmas which are preventing the discovery of non-violent solutions to the crises of the region. The Coordinator of the TRCME has recently proposed the exciting Golden Gate Project in Jerusalem, concerning the reopening of the Golden Gate in the East wall of Jerusalem, following a further series of interviews and discussions in Israel and Palestine in 2011. A documentary film is currently being edited about the work of the TRCME. The total chaos and destabilization in Syria is a good example of why this work is so vital.
The audio blog proposes a third way between the “do nothing” approach of Jeremy Corbin and his Labour Party supporters and the “bomb Isil but also remove Assad” paradoxical approach of the Conservative Party. It proposes a third way of a multi-strategy intervention aimed at bringing the educational, scientific, philosophical and moral resources of the world’s scholarly and academic and intellectual community to bear on the seemingly impossible problem of peacebuilding, not only in Syria but also in the wider Middle East region as a whole. It argues that the UK has unique intellectual possibilities and responsibilities to undertake this work for historical reasons
The audio blog also points out that on the meta-level of peacebuilding, the intellectual framework has already been provided by the INTERFAITH PEACE TREATY, which is an ongoing visionary project aiming to get the world’s leading intellectuals, faith leaders, philosophers, artists, scientists and cultural leaders to sign up to a philosophically oriented peace treaty, in which they pledge not to harm, injure, attack or kill each other’s representatives and traditions, and to honour and appreciate the many richly nuanced shades of interpretation that different intellectuals, saints, sages, prophets and philosophers have come up with in the totality of history about the nature of the ultimate reality that underpins our human existence. It is a unique and pioneering project and has been signed already by leading thinkers and interfaith activists from the Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Muslim, Pagan, New Age, Druid, Wicccan, Christian, Sikh, Jewish, Humanist, Scientific, artistic and other spiritual and intellectual communities. It is on line at: https://interfaithpeacetreaty.wordpress.com. Scholars, intellectuals and philosophers from as far afield as India, Sri Lanka, Russia, Holland, Germany, the USA, Israel, the UK and so on have already signed the treaty. Please add your own name after listening to this blog in full. The audio blog points out that whereas the INTERFAITH PEACE TREATY provides the meta framework for peacebuilding within the wider universal discourse of the world’s faith paths, there is also a micro discourse that is needed for the Middle East region in particular, and it is this challenge which this audio blog mainly addresses.
The blog also addresses the issue of the widespread refugee problem as people flee a broken Syria – by presenting a plan for the rebuilding of the Middle East, this problem too is addressed and taken care of, enabling the refugees who have fled Syria to eventually return home and rebuild their country, as they would certainly wish to do.
There has never been a more urgent and dangerous time facing humanity, and all intellectuals, academics, scholars, educators, cultural figures, scientists and thinking people, plus living Saints, Sages, Sufis, mystics and philosophers worldwide are invited to get involved with this work at a time of planetary emergency. Everyone who loves life and peace more than terror and destruction, and who wants to help bring peace to the beautiful region of the Middle East, is invited to help contribute to this work.
Dr Thomas Clough Daffern, BA (Hons), PGCE, PhD
Director, International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy,
Rector, the Global Green University,
The Castle of the Muses,
Argyll and Bute, Scotland, UK