During his visit to Lebanon, Ayatollah Reza Ramazani, Secretary General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly visited the headquarters of the Cultural Association of Islamic Teachings of Lebanon, and met Hojat al-Islam Sheikh Akram Barakat, the head of the Association.
At the beginning of the meeting, presenting a report on the Cultural Association of Islamic Teachings of Lebanon, Sheikh Barakat said, “This center has several subdivisions such as center for preparing educational texts, translations center, publications center, art productions, Islamic Maaref television network, Imam Mahdi (a.s.) Cultural Center, Hazrat Zahra Cultural Center with 27 branches of special activities for women throughout Lebanon, Maaref Center for Religious Activities, Values Center, Prayer Center, Cultural Research Center, Lebanese Thought Club, Imam Khomeini (r.a.) Cultural Center, Literacy Center, Propagation Center, and Hosseini Speech Training Center.”
“We are graduates of Imam Khomeini’s school,” the head of Cultural Association of Islamic Teachings of Lebanon emphasized, “Thanks to the views of this great leader, we were able to promote cultural activities with the efforts of our colleagues, and achieve great success.”
“The media is trying to deviate people from true faith-jihadist movement. But, with the right cultural activities, we are trying to show the faith-jihadi movement well,” he mentioned.
“The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution described Hezbollah as a faith-jihadist movement. Accordingly, we have based our activities on the two axes of “faith” and “jihad”,” continued the head of this cultural organization affiliated with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
“At one time in Lebanon, various interpretations and explanations of Imam Khomeini’s views became popular, and everyone explained and interpreted the views of the late Imam in a specific way, some of which were incorrect. Therefore, we decided to provide a correct interpretation of Imam Khomeini’s views,” Barakat said, referring to the approach of the Cultural Association of Islamic Teachings of Lebanon.
“Today, we can claim that the correct interpretation of the views of late Imam (r.a.) is provided to the Lebanese society and abroad through the Cultural Association of Islamic Teachings of Lebanon,” he added.
“The Cultural Association of Islamic Education of Lebanon also provides educational resources for the applicant centers based on the AhlulBayt (a.s.) school. These educational texts are distributed and used in the name of this Association or those applicant centers in different countries, some of which have been translated into other languages,” he continued.
“In this Association, we created an approximate framework for the mourning of Imam Hussain (a.s.) so that the gatherings related to Imam Hussain (a.s.) do not create any sensitivity among the Sunni brothers. Therefore, this framework made Muharram mourning welcomed by other denominations as well,” Sheikh Barakat said, referring to the importance of Ashura teachings.
“Our other activities include teaching propagation, sermons and reciting the mourning for AhlulBayt (a.s.), because more than 60% of the Lebanese Shiites are influenced by the Hussaini gaherings,” stated the head of the Cultural Association of Islamic Teachings of Lebanon, pointing out the scope of activities of the Association.
“The “Imam Khomeini Center” has 15 branches throughout Lebanon and is conducting educational activities. “Noor Center” also provides literacy and so far, 13,000 people have graduated from this center. These people learned to read and write based on Quranic sources and Nahj al-Balaghah. We have 27 institutes relared to women’s affairs throughout Lebanon in which women engage in academic and religious activities - not just seminary activities. Also, according to the order of the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, a section for the education of prisoners has been set up under the auspices of the Prisoners’ Rights Association, which manages cultural and propagation programs in 13 Lebanese prisons,” he said, introducing some educational centers covered by the Association.
“The purpose of the “Cultural Association of Islamic Teachings of Lebanon” cultural activities is to address the social challenges facing the Shiite community and the institution of the family, inside and outside Lebanon. Therefore, this Association is a strategic research center that was established at the suggestion of the martyr General Haj Qassem Soleimani,” Barakat pointed out.
“Thanks to this dear martyr, we have translated 50 books of memoirs of the war of the Iranian commanders in Arabic, and made these books available to the audience,” he said in the end.
The importance of lifestyle issues
Following the report of Hojat al-Islam Sheikh Barakat, Ayatollah Reza Ramazani expressed his satisfaction with the extensive activities of him and his colleagues in the Cultural Association of Islamic Teachings of Lebanon and congratulated Hojat al-Islam Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary-General of Hezbollah in Lebanon, who oversees the activities of this Association.
The Secretary-General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly stated, “Extensive cultural activities in the Cultural Association of Islamic Teachings of Lebanon and their wide range differ from similar institutions, and the activities of this Association should be modeled for other centers.”
“The AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly also has such activities. Therefore, we need to share our activities by signing memoranda of understanding,” he added.
Then, citing examples of the cultural activities of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly, Ayatollah Ramazani said,” We have extensive activities in research, education, academia and media. For example, about 2000 books in more than 60 languages have been written and published in the Assembly. The Assembly is ready to provide hard copies or electronic copies of these books to the Cultural Association of Islamic Teachings of Lebanon. Also, 25,000 articles in the “Wiki Shia Encyclopedia” have been prepared in 10 languages and are available online.”
“The AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly has a satellite television called “Thaqalayn”. “AhlulBayt (a.s.) International University” is also affiliated with the Assembly, in which students of 15 nationalities enroll in both master’s and doctoral degrees,” he continued.
“In all of mentioned areas synergy and interaction are important,” the Secretary-General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly said, “But synergy and interaction need familiarity. That is, the parties must first know each other’s capabilities. This requires more relationships, and as communication and familiarity increase, we can use each other’s experiences.”
“Cultural activities should be carried out at all levels of general, specialized and advanced,” Ayatollah Ramazani stated, referring to some strategic and important points.
“In the seventh part of the Statement of the Second Phase of the Revolution, the Supreme Leader has emphasized the discussion of lifestyle. This issue should be considered in cultural activities, and Islamic lifestyle can be the beginning of the project of Islamic civilization,” he stated, referring to the importance of “lifestyle issues”.
“At present, due to the activities of the West and the enemies of Islam, liberal culture has replaced Islamic culture. We have to stand against the West in terms of hardware and software in order to gain our true position,” continued the Secretary-General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly.
“For example, liberal culture in Western countries has found a position that when a Muslim goes to the West, he must accept the Integration rule or integration into Western culture. But the Supreme Leader of the Revolution said that we are facing a cultural invasion and we must reach the stage of invading Western culture,” continued the former president of the “European Union of Shiite Scholars and Theologians”.
“There are many things that can be done together. One of the most important tasks can be the establishment of elementary schools. We now face challenges in universities that are rooted in elementary education. Why do we face this challenge? Because we have been away from cultural activities for children,” he added.
“Moderation in the activities of the Cultural Association of Islamic Teachings is very good and appropriate. Because whatever is confirmed by reason and Fitrah (nature) is accepted in human societies. Therefore, we must put moderation in culture and religion at the forefront of our activities,” concluded the Secretary-General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly.
It should be mentioned that Ayatollah Ramazani and a delegation of the authorities of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly have traveled to Lebanon to meet Lebanese scholars and thinkers.