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Italian scholar hails Qatar’s interfaith initiatives


Minister of State for Foreign Affairs HE Dr Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi presenting the award to Dr Sabrina Lei, Director of the Tawasul Center for Publishing, Research and Dialogue, Rome. Photo: Abdul Basit

Doha: Dr. Sabrina Lei, renowned Italian Muslim philosopher, writer and translator who won the 2022 Doha International Prize for Interreligious Dialogue, along with two other personalities, said Qatar is at the forefront of the building bridges to harmony through understanding between religions and cultures. This is what the Doha International Center for Interreligious Dialogue (DICID) has been doing for a decade and a half.

“It is great to be back in Doha after four years and I am particularly encouraged to receive this prestigious award from the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs,” said Dr Sabrina, who is currently the Director of Tawasul Center for Publishing, Research. and Dialogue, a leading think tank based in Rome, Italy, told The Peninsula yesterday.

Dr. Sabrina said, “It’s great to be part of this wonderful initiative and that’s why I think I’m truly honored to receive this award. It is a real honor and a lesson in humility.

As an interreligious expert, Dr. Sabrina commended the activities of DICID and said that he made great efforts to spread the culture of interreligious dialogue, promote the values ​​of tolerance and confront extremism and spread peace on the basis of Qatar’s global role and its efforts in this context. .

It is a world-renowned institution that represents the moderate and refined thinking of the Qatari people and their leaders. And its international conference, the 14th this year, brings together grassroots interfaith scholars, thinkers and leaders. As hate speech unfortunately grows, the conference, which discussed ways to challenge and counter hate speech, was very timely.

She particularly congratulated Prof. Ibrahim Saleh Al Naimi, Chairman of the Board of DICID, for his inspiring role in this area.

Explaining the activities of his organization, Dr. Sabrina said: Tawasul Europe focuses on building bridges between the Islamic world and the West by organizing inter-religious dialogue and sharing the peaceful message of Islam.

“Tawasul, an Arabic word meaning ‘to seek closeness’, tries to reach all people regardless of religion or race. He is also active in the publishing field with high quality books and monographs on Islam, Arab-Muslim culture and Islam’s relations with the West and Christianity.

Dr. Sabrina, a return to Islam and who is deeply involved in interfaith dialogue and peacebuilding across different religions and cultures, says Tawasul’s inspiration comes from the universal message of Islam.

Holder of a doctorate in ancient Greek philosophy, Dr. Sabrina is a specialist in Latin and ancient Greek. She has lectured at some of the world’s leading universities and other important centers elsewhere in the world.

Dr. Sabrina is also a highly accomplished writer and scholar. She has translated more than 50 Islamic classics and other works into Italian. She has also written half a dozen books on Islam in Italian. All books are available at the National Library of Italy.

His translations of Quran commentary in English by Abdullah Yusuf Ali and complete volumes of Sahih Al Buhari in Italian are highly regarded. The translation of the classic English version of Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s Holy Quran from 1930, which spans over 1,000 pages, has been completed after nearly five years of work.

His biography of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Italian is one of the most widely read modern biographies of the Prophet in Italian. She said her upcoming works include the Italian translation of Sahih Muslim, a 7-volume hadith collection, which is in the final stages of completion.

Dr Sabrina said she was also translating the famous book Discovery of India by Indian freedom fighter and former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, which she hopes to publish in 2023.

Furthermore, Dr. Sabrina’s Italian translation of the famous Urdu poet and philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts has also been widely appreciated by Italian scholars. She has also translated works from other religions and a famous work Atmopadesa Satakam by philosopher, spiritual leader and social reformer in India, Sree Narayana Guru, into Italian.

A highly refined, noted face and scholar of Islam in Italy, Dr. Sabrina, who works with her husband and Indian-born scholar Abdel Latif Chalikandi, has done much to challenge Islamophobia in the West.

Speaking to The Peninsula from Rome, Abdel Latif, cultural adviser to Tawasul and a well-known intellectual and scholar, said: “The Doha International Center for Interreligious Dialogue (DICID), under the able leadership of its President, Professor Ibrahim Naimi, has been instrumental in bringing people of different religions and cultures together.

He added, “Dr. Sabrina Lei has contributed immensely to interfaith understanding, the fight against Islamophobia and the building of peace. It is very encouraging that she has been selected for the Doha International Interfaith Prize of This year, it will particularly inspire women thinkers and interfaith leaders around the world who work tirelessly to bring people of different faiths and cultures together.