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Let us pray for the future of the Arab world

Let us begin our new year with prayers for our brothers and sisters in Syria, Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere in the Arab world

Samar Fatany

Published: Updated:

Let us begin our new year with special prayers for our brothers and sisters in Syria, Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere in the Arab world who continue to live in dire conditions and suffer severe hardships. May the New Year bring an end to the tensions and hostilities that have destroyed their peaceful lives. May the future of their children be happier and more prosperous. Amen.

The turmoil and wars that have erupted in the neighboring countries have become a source of anxiety and continue to threaten our stability and security. The tensions in the region have reached a dangerous level that is threatening the future of our children. The so-called Arab Spring has created chaos and turmoil all around us. Tensions between Arab countries continue to grow and our borders are no longer safe.

Arab leaders are required to work together in order to find solutions that can bring back peace and harmony to the region. There should be wiser voices calling for dialogue and political reconciliation in order to check the current sectarian divisions before they bring further destruction and ruin to the whole region. What makes the situation worse is the foreign interference and counter revolutionary forces that continue to fuel sectarianism and instigate social and political unrest. The creation of a unified Arab consensus to counter regional and external threats is the need of the hour.

Insecurity and public resentment

In the Arab street there is a feeling of insecurity and public resentment over the failure of politicians to reach common ground and save the region from imminent conflicts and civil wars. The ambitious attempts to achieve democracy in Arab states have failed in spite of the genuine efforts of some politicians and the eagerness of the younger generation to enjoy democratic freedom. Political analysts have outlined four main reasons behind the failure to achieve a peaceful democratic transfer in the new Arab states, namely a lack of leadership that leaves no room for dialogue between diverse sections of society, a young population that does not possess political maturity, a high level of poverty and poor education. These are the main challenges facing the Arab world today.

In the Arab world today there is a great sense of the need for Islamic awareness and cultural reforms

Samar Fatany

It is time we address our failures and work harder to achieve our goals. There can never be progress without economic prosperity, sound education, and civil society institutions which address the needs of the rising young population. Arab societies must work on identifying and nurturing future leaders who are more principled, qualified, balanced and competent.

The new Arab governments are also challenged to establish the state of law and build a new political structure that is based on solid institutions, civil liberties and human rights. They are under pressure to provide economic prosperity and social stability and an end to institutionalized corruption. There should be more openness to diverse political opinions, progressive thinking and innovative ideas. The younger generation is no longer intimidated by scare tactics, the youth should be allowed to voice their opinions and criticize policies that affect their lives.

Islamic awareness

In the Arab world today there is a great sense of the need for Islamic awareness and cultural reforms. Many people in the Arab world are of the opinion that we cannot achieve our desired goals without implementing our true Islamic ideals. Arab societies must recognize the Islamic values of equality, tolerance toward other religions, more respect for individual human dignity, freedom of speech and consultation. Arab Muslim scholars must play a bigger role in stopping the spread of the militant ideology that has taken the liberty of distorting the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah.

The Arab world must revive its true Islamic values to combat corruption and build a culture of consciousness and work ethics. Arab countries must strive to develop a system that can provide opportunities for all members of society, regardless of any political or social tendencies, to participate in the decision making process, provide better services to eliminate public discontent and incorporate all factions of society in nation building.

In order to survive today, Arab governments must implement reforms that can achieve security, stability, development and a better life for all citizens, men and women, without discrimination. Let us hope and pray that the new year will usher in peace and a more prosperous future to our troubled region. Amen.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Dec. 28, 2013.

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Samar Fatany is a Chief Broadcaster in the English section at Jeddah Broadcasting Station. Over the past 28 years, she has introduced many news, cultural, and religious programs and has conducted several interviews with official delegations and prominent political personalities visiting the kingdom. Fatany has made significant contributions in the fields of public relations and social awareness in Saudi Arabia and has been involved in activities aiming at fighting extremism and enhancing women’s role in serving society. She has published three books: “Saudi Perceptions & Western Misconceptions,” “Saudi Women towards a new era” and “Saudi Challenges & Reforms.”

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.