12th Doha Interfaith Dialogue Conference 2016,   February 16 – 17, 2016 Doha - Qatar

“Spiritual and Intellectual Safety in the Light of Religious Doctrines”

In recent times, the world has become a scene for diverse battles waged for a number of reasons, from socio-political and economic domination to intellectual and religious indoctrination and supremacy. With the advancement of communication technology and social media the spread of news and information has never been faster, allowing people of diverse backgrounds and vocations to learn easier and build their own perspectives and worldviews. The same media is also used for various propagandas often hidden under the layers of public or private organizations, agencies and other similar associations set up for specific purposes.


As a result of all these affairs, the specific parts of the world have become arenas filled with violence, destruction and all sorts of different crimes and atrocities not only in physical domain but also and more importantly in intellectual and spiritual terms, since all of the vicious actions require a great deal of intellectual and psychological frameworks to direct and coordinate the way such actions are carried out and to justify at the same time, the need for their approval. The frameworks in question often project a portion of negative stereotypes about the targeted subject against which a particular action is oriented. This type of propaganda supported by numerous media usually lead to a confusion and uncertainty in one’s individual orientation as it further develops into the collective and wider disorientation and instability prone to all types of violent acts and crimes that are easily transformed into a larger conflict or war.


Religion of course, is no exception. Today more than ever, religion is used or rather misused as a mean for other purposes that are often non-religious or even anti-religious in nature. Therefore, religion in many instances has been simply hijacked and completely detached from its essential qualities such as love of God and all His creation, peace and harmony within one’s own soul and with his or her surrounding, social and economic order and prosperity, inspiration for various artistic expressions and other noble qualities which all religions propagate and support. Instead, religion is reduced by certain extremist groups to a powerful source for their aggressive actions against other or it is blamed by some secularist circles as the main cause for crises and instabilities among mankind.   


However, all the above misconceptions about religion are of recent phenomena that were not seen in centuries prior modern and post-modern times and all of them have something in common, namely, presenting religion in negative terms and images, contributing to the distortion of spiritual and intellectual safety of the modern society. In this conference therefore, the main purpose is to address the current state of the spiritual and intellectual risks and welfare as a result of the various causes and conflicts and to pave a way by which the (traditional) religious leaders are to confront misusage of a religion and project the authentic doctrines of their religions that will help to reduce current conflicts among people and provide better security of the spiritual and intellectual freedom within our modern society.


In order to achieve this aim, Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue has decided to call its 12th Doha Interfaith Dialogue Conference "Spiritual and Intellectual Safety in the Light of Religious Doctrines", whereby numerous experts and professionals from all over the world will have a great opportunity to meet and discuss the issues related to the Conference theme and provide a certain framework for dealing with the challenges that threaten the spiritual and intellectual freedom and security of our times.


The conference is divided into four main sessions in the following order:    


Plenary Session One on Topic No. 1:

Religion and its Role in Spiritual and Intellectual Security

Security resulting from spiritual and intellectual peace is a condition for the prosperous life, development and stability of every community. It is a cornerstone of homeland security, as well as an essential part of the integrated and interconnected system concerning the concept of security and its comprehensive understanding and significance. Spiritual and intellectual security also reflects the correct and healthy mental exercise and reflection that produce the beneficial results without exaggeration or negligence. In such a way, the above security will enhance human values and principles and strengthen the sense of belonging and loyalty to one’s God and homeland.


Three simultaneous sessions with the following sub-themes:


  1. Essential relationship between the physical and intellectual concepts of security;
  2. Protection of individuals' rights and religious and intellectual freedom in society;
  3. Religion as the main source of moral values;



Plenary Session Two on Topic No. 2:

Destabilization of Moral and Intellectual Security

What drives human being to commit violent acts such as murder and suicide and to reject peace and harmony? Is there any ideological or religious justification for such aggressive acts? What are the causes behind the religiously driven hate towards others, and culturally directed negligence towards the universal principles and values of ethics, all of which lead to violence and crime against minorities, regardless of their religious or ethnic affiliation?


Three simultaneous sessions with the following sub-themes:


  1. Media’s negative role in shaping moral and intellectual principles and values;
  2. Social media and destabilization of intellectual security;
  3. Negative influence of radical clergy and political leadership on youth;



Plenary Session Three on Topic No. 3:

Protecting Youth from Intellectual and Moral Violation and Cultural Alienation

In our globalized world it appears that cultural, security and media restrictions are close to vanish or being replaced by free media and cultural openness. The best solution to protect young people against various types of spiritual and intellectual propaganda and all sort of extremism seems to be the strengthening spiritual and intellectual security within a society.


Three simultaneous sessions with the following sub-themes:


  1. Role of family and educational institutions in establishing intellectually and spiritually peaceful generation;
  2. Reinforcement of competent and professional agencies for determining and presenting religious, media, intellectual and cultural values;
  3. Effective response to all manifestations of extremism and its tackling and isolation from society;



Panel Discussion Session on Topic No. 4:

Strategies for Protecting Spiritual and Intellectual Freedom and Security: Future Expectations

All state institutions, organizations and communities involved in this respect are equally responsible to unite their efforts in establishing religious, moral and cultural values in minds and hearts of young people by the effective strategies, good example and honest commitment in order to bring about the needed results and eliminate any confusion and contradiction between those values and its implementation by the given authorities. In this way, one can expect the positive change and better future for all humanity.