Sheikh Faisal al-Awami
In a seminar titled "Ideas in the Criticism of Sectarian Charging" in Saihat city in Qateef Province, Sheikh Faisal al-Awami called for a verdict that criminalizes anyone who tries to inflame the sectarian emotions in the Kingdom, stressing that the problem of the nation is "religious sectarianism." He indicated that religious sectarianism in the country is more than the political one, considering it to be "endangerment of the society." He believed that the taproot of the problem of sectarianism in religious communities is the alleged religious heritage, or the misinterpretation of religion and misuse of the manuscripts."
He called on to respect the identity of any different group of people, especially from those who believe to have the absolute fact or those who believe in a relative one; such beliefs do not justify rejecting other opinions. He stressed assembling curricula that advocate pluralism and tolerance. He emphasized that the solution to the problem is allowing the culture of multiple religious readings, noting that this solution contributes to appeasing religious sectarianism.
In regards to political sectarianism, Sheikh Awami said that politicians usually either create or invest on sectarianism to dominate the society; many of the authoritarian states feed on religious sectarianism to widen the schism unless they feel that this leads to their demise.
From another aspect, he stressed that the National Dialogue in Saudi Arabia contributed positively although it did not achieve the ambitions of everyone that was involved, even if it was only for a limited time in bringing together different groups of people.
He also asked the Shiite communities not to be blinded by their emotions of being oppressed and targeted; otherwise, they may slip into a sectarian abyss as there will be no winner: "It is a destructive element of communities." He incited the elites in the community to alert populaces to the significance of the problem and cautioned them from sliding into it. At the same time, he warned that feeble communities cannot impose policies on the state; nonetheless, they can contribute positively to lessen sectarianism.
It should be noted that the seminar was attended by a number of scientists and intellectuals, and among them were Sheikh Hassan al-Saffar, Sheikh Hussein Ramadan, the poet Muhammad al-Shammasi, the renowned engineer Abbas al-Shammasi, Mr. Ali Al Taleb, Mr. Ibrahim Zaaki, the engineer Issa Mezel, and other collections of interested people.