Islamic voices of moderation and inclusion pave the way for more Muslim tolerance of other religions?

One such voice is that of Ayatollah Seyyed Hussein Ismail al-Sadr of Egypt. Ayatollah Sadr is one Islamic cleric who sees no benefit in prejudice of and discrimination toward adherents of other faiths.

Cairo Mosque

Image of a Cairo mosque via Flickr by Christopher Rose (CC BY-NC 2.0). Image use does not imply the photographer’s endorsement of such use.

“The Qur’an addresses us all as ‘children of Adam’,” he said, “and according to Imam ‘Ali, peace be upon Him, people are of two kinds — either your religious brother, or your equal in creation. I might not agree with followers of a certain religion, but that does not mean that I have the right to deprive them of their natural human rights or deny them their rights as citizens of a nation.”

All religions should seek common interests, such as the belief in one God. Such tolerance does not mean you have to accept a religion’s tenets, but it does mean you are tolerant of others.

Ayatollah Sadr is well-regarded for his efforts to promote dialogue not only among religious groups but also secular groups.

The ayatollah said he would like to “engage in all discourses that contribute to the formation of a progressive humanity with a new vision that can build a healthy society, which, in turn, contributes to building successful nations.”

Think of the far-reaching implications of such thinking.

In 2013, he issued a fatwa (religious edict) regarding how Muslims should approach religious minorities.

Photo via Flickr of a Cairo mosque by Nasser Nouri (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Photo via Flickr of a Cairo mosque by Nasser Nouri (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Image use does not imply the photographer’s endorsement of such use.

God Almighty has ordered us to deal with all our brothers and sisters from other religions and faith with kindness, based in justice, mercy and love,” Ayatollah Sadr said. “Therefore, there is no objection to interacting and associating within the general human fundamentals between Muslims and their brothers from other religions and beliefs.”

Salām.