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Adnane Ben.
Boston USA
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My Taste of a Christian Moroccan Interfaith Dialogue
02:35:19 PM Monday May 5, 2008

(Translation in English)

Last night I attended an interfaith dialogue between a group of Moroccan Muslims and Christians (if I'm not mistaken I believe they were Catholic). The topic was predetermined: The Authenticity of The Scriptures. I hesitated to go initially. Not only because I am skeptical of religious dialogues but I felt my contribution to shedding light on the topic would be minimal. But then again, I convinced myself that unless I am physically present there to experience the interfaith dialogue, and to be at least a recipient of information being generated by the dialogue before my silent attentive self, I have no right to be skeptical, yet. Besides, one of the Moroccan organizers kept inviting me (Hi Mohammed Brah.!); so after all, I went, and with good intentions.

The room was an empty open hall, with high ceilings and a nice wooden floor. However, it was cold. And I mean cold as if most likely the heater was out of order. So the first decision I made was to keep my warm ski jacket on, and go for the coffee instead of the cold refreshments. People sat in a circle as they arrived, and for the rest of the dialogue I was there, part of that circle.

A Moroccan man was introduced to the podium. The podium was yet another dot in the circle, and along with the young man, they were the center of attention. He spoke of the authenticity of the Quran from the scientific angle. He cited one modern scientific discovery and natural phenomenon after another and established their correlation with declarations from the Quran. His idea is that if the Quran declared these discoveries and phenomena long ago through a prophet who didn't have what it takes modern scholars to assert these discoveries and phenomena, then the Quran must be divine. And under the assumption that the process of preserving Quran through mental memorization is effective, the copy we have today is authentic.

The podium was then taken over by a representative of the christian group. John explained to the circle that the bible, unlike the Quran, is not believed to have been revealed to the prophet word by word. The bible was put together by four men in an attempt to capture the story and message of God. God had revealed himself in the person of Jesus to tell his story to the people. His teachings, wisdom and the stories of ancient civilizations are all topics one can find throughout the bible. So, I'm thinking to myself, the bible is comparable to the A7adith on one hand, and to the Quran on another. But little did I know, this swift thought quickly became confusing and intertwined in my little brain. John continued to explain that what Christians consider authentic is the essence of the bible's message. Because the four men were reliable, their work was celebrated and had been successfully preserved over the years in the original languages Armaic and Greek. So you can see my friend that the definition of authenticity varies between John and the Moroccan man like night and day. The latter tried to prove that the Quran asserted some aspects of modern science long ago, therefore it is the word of God verbatim, hence authentic. John tried to say the bible is the story of Jesus (God himself) as narrated by the four trustworthy men, hence authentic.

Because a few people were jotting questions down on paper during the speeches, the facilitators of the dialogue collected them to be used during the discussion. I passed my couple of questions targetted to both speakers. The first of which was:

1. Why is the authenticity of the scriptures important?
2. Since I personally believe it is difficult to establish the authenticity of the scriptures, how does the lack of absolute authenticity of either scripture affect interfaith relationships among our communities?

I took the last sip of the now cold coffee, and hoped that the discussion will warm up the circle. I was in no mood to inject more caffeine into my body just to stay warm. Everyone split for a few minutes. The Christians stood as a smaller circle at the center of the circle of empty chairs. The Moroccans disappeared to another room to pray the Maghrib. As I was walking towards the room I couldn't resist hearing a few Moroccans whispering to the earlier speaker. Why did you choose the scientific approach? did you really think we are scientists to understand all of those details? That gave me a chuckle. I joined them for prayer. It was soothing.

The facilitator held in his hand one of the notes collected earlier, and started the discussion by posing the question:

Why is the authenticity of the scriptures important?

The question opened the floor for more discussions which spawned various threads in all directions. Christians answered Moroccans, Moroccans answered christians and Moroccans questioned Moroccans. People engaged in a friendly exchange most of the time. But at times, it was difficult to determine whether people were obeying one of the golden rules of interfaith dialogue: try not to prove the other wrong. Maybe such a rule ought to be broken once in a while especially when the room is cold and the heater is out of order.

The evening ended with the christians throwing a little surprise birthday cake to the Morocan speaker. Photographer Driss served me a generous piece of cake, and I tried to resist as I'm watching my diet. Everyone enjoyed a dose of sugar. And I felt as I walked out with Driss, that I did indeed enjoy a dose of interfaith dialogue. That maybe after all, interfaith dialogues could bring about proper understanding of what is misunderstood, education of what is known, clarification of what is ambiguous and most importantly the building of a network of individuals regardless of faith and backgrounds.


(Text copy in Arabic)

عدنان بن علي – بوسطن ماي ٢٠٠٨
طعمي لحوار بين الأديان

ليلة امس الأول ذهبت لحضور حوار بين الأديان ، بين مجموعة من مسلمين مغاربة ومسيحيين أمريكيين (إن لم اكن مخطئا أعتقد أنهم كانوا كاثوليكيين). الموضوع كان مقررا سلفا : صحة الكتب المقدسة.
لقد ترددت في بادئ الأمر الى الذهاب. ليس فقط لأنني غير مقتنع بفعالية الحوارات الدينية ولكني شعرت ان إسهاماتي في تسليط الضوء على هذا الموضوع ستكون ضئيلة. ولكن طبعا فأنا على قناعة أني إن لم أكن حاضرا شخصيا لأعيش تجربة الحوار بين الاديان، ليس لي الحق أن أشك في فعاليته. فإن لم يحل لغز الأديان اليلة على الأقل سيطرح على الأذهان من جديد. وفضلا عن ذلك ، أحث واحد من منظمي الحوار على دعوته لي (مرحبا محمد ابراهيمي!). فبعد كل ذلك ، ذهبت ، والنوايا طيبة.

كانت الغرفة فارغه من أثاث سوى بعض الكراسي. كانت قاعة منفتحة بارتفاع سقوفها المزخرفة و لمعان أرضها الخشبية. ومع ذلك ، كانت من البرد لا تبخل على زوارها كما لو أن البرد في الخارج لم يكن كافيا. كان على الأرجح استخدام السخان النظامي، ولكن ربما كان معطلا آنذاك. حتى أن القرار الاول الذي أدليت به لنفسي هو أن أبقي معطفي الخاص بالتزلج على سترتي، وأختار كأسا من البن الدافئ بدلا من المشروبات الباردة. فتحياتي إلى منسق المشروبات، لولاك لصرت كمكعب من الثلج. جلس الناس في دائرة قبيل وصولهم ، و لمذة الحوار كنت هناك، جزءا من تلك الدائرة، الأثاث الوحيد لتلك القاعة .

رجل مغربي قدم الى المنصة. كنا جنبا الى جنب، شباب، متوسطي العمر و معمرين. وكان الشاب وراء المنصة، أول نقطة في الدائرة و مركز الاهتمام الشديد. تحدث ذاك المسلم عن صحة القرآن من زاوية علمية. استشهد بالاكتشافات العلمية الحديثة وكذلك الظواهر الطبيعية الواحدة تلو الأخرى ، وأنشأ علاقة مع الإعلانات من القرآن. لن أخوض في تفاصيلها ولكن إذا كان منكم مهتم سأحاول تذكرها. ففكرة صاحبنا هي أنه إذا أعلن القرآن هذه الإكتشافات والظواهر منذ زمن طويل عن طريق نبي لم يكن يملك من العلوم والمختبرات ما يتسنى العلماء الحُدُُُث معرفة هذه الاكتشافات والظواهر، فما يجب إلا أن يكون القرآن صحيحا إذ أنه غير محتمل أن يتوفق ألنبي محمد بتلك الدقة في كل إدعاءاته العلمية. تلك التي يُعترف لها من طرف أولي الألباب الذين خلفوا الأرض بعد ألنبي بكبرها و بتعقيدها. وتحت الإفتراض أن عملية الحفاظ على القرآن الكريم من خلال الإستظهار الذاكري ناجحة أصلا، فالنسخة التي بين أيدينا اليوم هي نسخة صحيحة.

تولى المنصه ممثل الجماعة المسيحية. وأوضح جون الى الدائرة أن الكتاب المقدس ، بخلاف القرآن ، لا يعتقد انه تم كشفه على النبي كلمة كلمة. بل أن الكتاب المقدس وضع من قبل أربعة رجال معا في محاولة لفهم ونشر قصة ورسالة الله. وذاك بأن الله كشف عن نفسه في شخص عيسى لكي يعيش و يروي قصته الى شعبه. فتعاليمه، وحكمته وقصصه كلها مواضيع يقصد بها تعليم وتوجيه الناس. ويمكن للمرء ان يجدها في أقسام الكتاب المقدس. فإذا بي أفكر في نفسي، أن الكتاب المقدس على حسب ما يوضح جون هو مماثل للأحاديث النبوية من جهة والقرآن من جهة. ولكنها كانت فكرة خاطفة سريعة سرعان ما تشبكت في ذهني. تابع جون أن ما تقاس به صحة الكتاب المقدس عند المسيحيين هي جوهر رسالته والاعتماد على اربعة رجال موثوقون. وقد تم الحفاظ عليه بنجاح على مر السنين في لغاته الأصلية الارميكية واليونانيه. فيمكنك ان ترى يا صديقي ان تعريف الأصالة يتفاوت بين جون وصديقنا المغربي مثل الليل والنهار. فالأخير حاول اثبات أن القرآن الكريم سابق لعصره في مجال بعض العلوم، فهو كلام الله حرفيا، ومن ثم فأصالته و صحته مؤكدة. جون حاول ان يقول بأن الكتاب المقدس هو قصة عيسى (الله نفسه) كما رواها الرجال الاربعة الجديرين بالثقه ، ومن ثم فأصالته و صحته مؤكدة.

قلة من الناس كانت تخربش أسئلة على أوراق خلال الخطبتان، قام بعض مسيري ألحوار بجمعها لاستخدامها اثناء المناقشة. سلمت بضعة أسئلة موجهة الى كل من المتكلمين. كان اولها :

1. لماذا تأكيد أصالة و صحة الكتب المقدسة مهم ؟
2. وبما انني شخصيا اعتقد انه من الصعب ان تثبت صحه الكتب المقدسة ، كيف تثأثر العلاقات بين الاديان في مجتمعاتنا بعدم وجود تأكيد مطلق متبادل لأصالة و صحة الكتب المقدسة ؟

أخذت الرشفة الاخيرة من القهوة التي فاجأتني ببرودتها، وأعربت عن أملي في ان تحرر المناقشه داخل الدائرة. فإني لم أ كن في مزاج لحقن المزيد من مادة الكافيين الى جسدي. إفترق الجميع لبضع دقائق. وقف المسيحيون في دائرة صغيرة وسط القاعة. واختفى المغاربة الى قاعة اخرى لصلاة المغرب. وأنا أسير نحو الغرفة لم استطع مقاومة الاستماع الى عدد قليل من المغاربه يهمسون الى الخاطب: لماذا اخترت النهج العلمي؟ هل تظن حقا نحن علماء قادرين على فهم كل هذه التفاصيل؟ ضحكت ضحكة خافتة. وفي لحضات هادئة شاركتهم الصلاة.

عقد الميسر في يده واحدة من الملاحظات التي جمعت من قبل، وافتتح المناقشه بطرح السؤال التالي :

لماذا تأكيد أصالة و صحة الكتب المقدسة مهم ؟

فتحت هذه المسألة باب المناقشات و ولدت مزيدا من مختلف الخيوط التي سرعان ما انتشرت في كل الاتجاهات. اجاب المسيحيون المغاربه ، والمغاربه اجاب المسيحيين وتسائل المغاربه. تبادل الاشخاص حوارا محترما. ولكن في بعض الأحيان ، كان من الصعب تحديد ما اذا كانت واحدة من القواعد الذهبية للحوار بين الأديان مطاعة: والقاعدة تقول أن لا تحاول ان تثبت أن غيرك على خطأ. ربما مثيل هذه القاعده يقبل كسره أحيانا لا سيما عندما تكون غرفة الحوار باردة والسخان النظامي معطلا.

انتهى مساءنا مع مفاجئة المسيحيون الخاطب المغربي بكعكه عيد ميلاد. فناولني المصور ادريس قطعة سخية قاومت أكلها لأني أتفادى الدهون حفاظا على صحتي. تمتع الجميع بجرعة من السكريات. والواقع أنني تمتعت بطعم حلو لهذا الحوار بين الأديان. ففي آخر المطاف، يمكن ان يسفر عن الحوار بين الاديان تفاهم فيما سيئ فهمه ، وتعليم ما يعرف، وكشف ما غمض، والأهم هو ترابط الافراد بغض النظر عن الأديان والخلفيات.

The content of this page —graphics, text and other elements—is © Copyright 2007 prospective author, and Raioo, Inc., only when stated otherwise, and may not be reprinted or retransmitted in whole or in part without the expressed written consent of the publisher.

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5:01 pm    May 20, 2008

hudhud message
Baba Salem, wech hwal khaoutna fi swahili land :) hope you had a good trip. Yes, I did read the Kite Runner, and you're right, Khaled Hosseini has a strong impact on the reader. I have not yet written a novel, though, no :) I'll think about it :) thanks for the encouragement!

7:29 am    May 19, 2008

Mehdi message
Thanks for sharing...
Tasteful wasn't it?

6:02 pm    May 15, 2008

Salem message
Hi Adnane, Hi everybody,

I'm sorry I didn't mention I would be away for a while. Away deep in equatorial Africa. In the Swaheeli land. It was Ok by the way.

Now, I just wanted to congratulate Adnane for his goooood writing in Arabic. I agree with Souhaima comment. You really made all of us feel like if we all were in that "cold room" where the interfaith somehow "frustrating" dialogue took place.

Let me tell you something my friend. If you have not yet written a "novel" IN ARABIC, I really think it's about time to start one. Believe me.

By the way, when I was in equatorial Africa, far away from the internet connection, I read a novel "The kite runner" by Khaled Hosseini, a truly gifted leller of tales. A good one I would recommend to all who like good books. The novel is so captivating that it kept me in a virtual world, not strange to me, not strange to us, during a whole week. And during all that time, Hudhud was there. Yes Hudhud, because I found the style of Khaled Hosseini very much similar to Hudhud's in so many aspects. So Hudhud, Have you witten a book IN ENGLISH ? If you read the book I'm talking about, you'd have, from my point of view, an idea of the impact your writing would imprint.


2:44 pm    May 14, 2008

hudhud message
I have to admit that although I love discovering interesting things in Quran that may fit in with modern scientifiic teachings, personally I grow wary when folks try to "prove" Quran's divine authenticity with science.

I think a proper in-depth study of the history of Quran and its miracles (not scientific ones) as well as a solid understanding of how the Quran was revealed, how prophet Muhamad 3alayhi ssalate wassalam learned the Quran and memorized it with angel Jibreel's help, and then how he passed that knowledge on to his companions and further still how they preserved it both orally via memorization and in writing - all this I think is necessary to really appreciate the Quran and believe in it as divine, authentic and true.

Ultimately however, I say "believe" and not "prove" because I don't believe that you can "prove" faith. It's called "faith" for a reason - imane.

I think if organized and carried out respectfully, interfaith dialogues can be very helpful to get folks of different backgrounds in the community to reach out and speak to each other and understand their views and values.


9:56 am    May 13, 2008

Adnane Ben. message
Souhaima, thanks for reading this. You can repost the content and if you could add a link back to this page that would be nice. Thanks

8:57 am    May 13, 2008

Mohamed Brahimi message
I beg to differ, the coffee was pretty darn hot!! LOL

8:39 am    May 13, 2008

Siham message
Salam Adnane,
Thanks for the note. It felt like if I was there. Can I take the liberty of posting it in our MACCA corner?

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Cheb Mami, The Fugitive Prince!..
Local Moroccan Businesses, freelancers and services Deserve ..
From Los Angeles to Casablanca!..
Halloween SPECIAL 2007: La Mort D'une Souri!..
Looking for a Moroccan folkloric harvest hymn....
Allah Made Me Funny @ Boston..
MPK20: Sun's Virtual Workplace..
Morocco Mall 2010: Largest Shopping Mall of North Africa..
U.S. House Passes Historic Ramadan Resolution..
Looking for Arabic or French to English Translator..
Dr. Hassan Al-Turabi..
My Top 5 List of Quran Recitors 2007..
Samurai Jack of Algeria..
This Moroccan Barry! and his Baraka Men La3yaqa..
Doodling: Sheikh L7ouma..
How Moroccans Put Together a Government..
Hillareous Cat Wrestles Mouse claymation!..
ABSOLUTE RAIOO Summer 2007 Rai vol.2..
Oujda Folkloric Musicians after a long day....
Iwighd Adar by Amarg Fusion !!!!..
Alalla Yallali ft. Nabila..
Jews Support the Boston Mosque..
The a la Menthe: Maghreb French RAP..
Ya Ghrib !..... ft. Khaled, Lamine, Rai NB..
Hazzou Bina La3lam: Hajja Hamdaouia!..
Ha Elkass 7loo: Hajja Hamdaouia ft. Hamid..
Boston Moroccan Tennis Club: Mini Tournament 2..
Sidi Hbibi by Mano Negra - the unexpected :)..
Le Bachir ..
Cheb Mami.. L'ancien :) Pas Le Nouveau :(..
Summer Hidden Stress..
Fanfaraï - Rai Cuivre !..
Darouha Biya Mchaw L'Mekka w'Khallawni..
Zoo Event Organized by Al Huda..
Navigating post-divorce..
Just what is Civic Engagement?..
To Fly Boston <-> Morocco or Not..
Meetings with Moroccan Consultative Council on Human Rights..
J'irais dormir chez vous au Maroc..
Support Morocco Autonomy Initiative to solve the Sahara issu..
Les Frères Zergui..
On the Word "Plethora"..
When The Moors Ruled In Europe..
Ya Rassoul..
BARRAKA duet Cheb Khaled & Chebba Zahouania..
Cheba Zohra & Mahadattes de Rilizane..
SKyouz Me While I Light My Spliff!..
HAMIDOU, Algeria's Playboy!..
First mnanauk. Then mahdisean!..
Karima Skalli, Nassima et Leila Hejaiej..
Rym Hakiki: Matsalni Ma Ansalek..
The Road To Guantanamo..
Matejebdoulich by Djenet..
Cuban Chaabi! Guantanamera!!..
Hadj Menouer: El Batoul !..
Parske Ana Nebghi Wahran Bezzaf!..
I declare Moe a Star!..
Ahl Zin El Fassi!..
Morocco on current TV..
My South Park Character!..
Ummah Films on !! HELP NEEDED..
Ana Smayti Sa3id!..
Al-Hawli Jokes..
Zawiya Qadiriya Boudchichiya Open Air Speech..
US Patent by Sa Majeste H. Roi du Maroc..
Jahh Bless Mon! Feeling down to earth tonight!..
Cannot Believe These Idiots!..
NESS LA CITY: All?e Sans Retour! LOL..
When Lotfi Attar Rides Matabkish wave! You Lissann mon!..
KUDOS TO Cheikh Sidi Bemol & Band!!..
No Comment! DARRITOUNI.....
Mortality Meets Online Status..
Michael Richard Busted and Sorry!..
The UMMA Clinic..
Hanane Fadili Take on Shouaffa(tt)..
Hijab: Strict Code or Fashion Barcode ..
To The Fasting Darling..
Rimitti: Ana Li Ghrasset aNakhla....
Reminiscing Tex Avery Cartoons!..
Happiest Guy in Morocco!..
The Super-cool Hanane Fadili..
Cette Affaire d'Avions ? Londres..
Watch 2M Television..
American Muslim Fun Video Blogging!..
Open War in the Middle East?..
Touche Po a Mon Zidane!..
Ronaldinho Joined Zawya....
Draw Live!..
Zoo Animals Need e'space..
Les ABRANIS: Prodigy of Rockabyl..
Sofiane Saidi: Cet Algerien Trip-rai Hopper..
Lemchaheb Legacy ..
Zahra Hindi, Beautiful You!..
Jajouka's Winds of Moroccana..
Google Language Translation: English to/from Arabic..
Aziz Mekouar, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to the US..
Google Shoots Microsoft.. One.. More.... Time!..
Monsieux Mehdi Ben Barka: Un Marocain Assassiné Qui Visait P..
Yale, Taliban and Weld L'Hashemi....
Near-eastern Muslim Scholars..
Three Algerians on Highway =]..
Moroccan Riverdance!..
Moroccan Candle-toe Dance..
Moroccan Qassida: Vraie Poesie!..
LA3MARNA Legacy..
Chilling Like a Mqedem in Morocco..
Alone in the Wilderness..
Are Iranians and Americans Blowing it Up?..
Are we a virus..?..
How come Morocco is silent to Dalfour, Sudan?..
Barreling Towards an Iraqi Civil War..
Pomme and Kelly ..
Intelligent Design and Evolution in not so American lands..
The Prophets animated by Steve Whitehouse..
More with Claudio Bravo..
Muslim Texans..
Hajj Stampede Gone Ugly!..
Self-portraits 001-002..
Why Faith?..
Online 7awli Souk!..
2006 !..
Derbouka Bled Attack..
Adopted HIV kids from Romania..
Operation Mapping Raioo Love!..
They burnt themselves.. Come'on!..
My Winamp Skin: The New Beetle..
The Forbidden Zone film that electrified me!..
Cousins skyblogging..
Chilean artist in Morocco..
Moroccan Blue tops colors!..
Osama in FAMILY GUY..
Baraka Art..
Itsy Bitsy knowledge..
The most misunderstood [and growing..] world religion, Islam..
Moroccan Christians..
Polygamy in USA..
Architecturing to joy!..
This Moorish cult in America..
The Magnificient King Vulture..
Al-Rashid and the Fart..
On the subject of Evil Eye..
Anecdote on Life and 3ibada..
Anecdote on Giving in Time of Need..
T-shirt design: L'Amoureux!..
Craig Thompson art..
The Real Origin of Smileys :)..
T-shirt design: Happy Sailor!..
T-shirt design: threadless in Kufi..
T-shirt design: Magic e-lamp..
My August '05 T-shirt Designs ..
Your Living Space..
The Raioo Story: 2. in the garden..
The Raioo Story: 1. intro..
Arabic Beat and Instrument Music Wanted!..
RA?NA RAI Legacy..
Algerian Chaabi..
Nour L'Koufi (Gharnati)..
Hidalgo in Morocco..
Le Secret d'Elissa Rhais..
Imam Shafii. Soni N'nafssa..
Feqqas (Moroccan Biscuiti)..
Casablanca Connect..
ZEBDA! Un Groupe Genial!..
Al Moutanabbi. Idha Ghamarta..
Imam Shafii. sa'fir tajid 3iwada..
Long Distance Honey ..
The Working Wife and Husband..
The Hammam Public Bath: Do you still go there?..
Hip Hop Classic Favorites!..
Down With Love..
Lord Of The Rings..
How To create a Moroccan remix of a video clip ? ..
Why we don't eat Porc?..
Do You Play Music?..
Hidoura: Your Moroccan Natural Carpet..
Khaddouj Slam-dunking From Marrakesh To New York..

Hmida Rass Lmida à L'Avare de Molière!
Moroccan City Names
Shining ability is a gift...
Halloween SPECIAL 2007: La Mort D'une Souri!
Cheikha Rimitti: 83 Years of Life...
Why do we pray ?
short ones
ABSOLUTE RAIOO Summer 2007 Rai vol.2
Cheba Zohra & Mahadattes de Rilizane
Close Encounters of the Moroccan Kind!
Another attempt at writing. Will this language ever feel natural?
North Africa Journal
Moroccan Tattoos
From Los Angeles to Casablanca!
Amina Alaoui Lyrics
Dr. Hassan Al-Turabi
Vulgarity as revolution: Lemsakh we tsalguit
Les Oiseaux De Figuig!
ghir bessyas a moulay!
Moroccan Playing Cards Game ronda v1.0
A Call From Algeria to Help Suffering Little Boy Mounib!

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