Tunisia: TV interview explores constructive role of religion in society
TUNIS, Tunisia — In a recent episode of a national TV show in Tunisia, a representative of the Bahá’ís of that country sat down for a discussion on the role of religion in society, a topic of growing interest in public consciousness. Named “For the record,” the weekly show aims to document stories of significance to shaping an inclusive national identity.
Burhan B'saees, the host of the program, began by asking about religion’s ability to address contemporary challenges, such as climate change and the many forms of social disparities. Mohamed Ben Moussa, of the Bahá’í Office of External Affairs of Tunisia, responded stating that “at the heart of these challenges is a crisis of values and the fragmentation of society into believer and nonbeliever, women and men, rich and poor, scholar and uneducated.
“This can prevent many segments of society from fully participating in public life or contributing to solutions. Such divisions hold humanity back from reaching full maturity and addressing its challenges.”
During the one hour and twenty minute conversation, Mr. B’saees and Mr. Ben Moussa explored insights from the historic and ongoing efforts of the Tunisian Bahá’í community that have enabled people to unite and create bonds of trust and cooperation.
One of the examples noted in the conversation was that by participating in the discourses on coexistence and the equality of women and men, Tunisian Bahá’ís have fostered new notions of citizenship based on justice and the essential oneness of humanity.
The interview also highlighted Bahá’í community-building efforts that promote the equality of women and men at the grassroots, such as discussion spaces that allow women to fully participate in consultative and decision-making processes.
Mr. Ben Moussa explained that the efforts of the Bahá’í community of Tunisia—established in that country a hundred years ago—have been open to all people and have revolved around the application of the spiritual principle of the oneness of humanity. “This principle requires conviction in the equality of women and men and the elimination of all forms of prejudice, the harmony of science and religion, the recognition of justice as a prerequisite for unity, and selfless service to one’s fellow citizens.”
The complete interview in Arabic can be viewed in two parts, part 1 and part 2, in which Mr. Ben Moussa highlights religion’s power to contribute to the material and spiritual advancement of civilization.