A new Egyptian documentary praises the tolerance and inclusiveness of Oman, and sets the country up as an example to other nations in the region to follow amid ongoing war and conflict.
The 45-minute TV documentary, titled "Qaboos: A Sultan Loved by Egyptians", was written by Egyptian journalist Khalid al-Buhairi and directed by Ibrahim Alwan.
"We believe that the world needs more ideas that promote peace," film director Ibrahim Alwan told Al-Mashareq. "We were looking for a model we can present to the world, and the state can be a model to be emulated, so we chose Sultan Qaboos and the Sultanate of Oman."
A number of high-ranking politicians, diplomats, economists, and military officials contributed to the film, expressing their views of the efforts made by the government of Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the ruler of Oman, to promote global tolerance and combat extremism and terrorism.
Oman disseminates moderation "in the face of extremism and terrorism that are sweeping across not only the Middle East, as its flames have reached the heart of Europe as well", said Amr Moussa, former secretary-general of the Arab League and Egyptian foreign minister.
"Oman as an Arab and Gulf country remains a bastion in the region owing to its prudent policies, ability to converge views and deal without bias with [all] sides," he said.
"Oman has succeeded in [maintaining] coexistence internally between the followers of three faiths, namely the Ibadis, Sunnis and Shiites, and succeeded externally as well in dealing with [all countries] on the basis of mutual benefit, common interests and not causing harm to others," said Hani Khallaf, former Egyptian ambassador to the Arab League.
The policies that Oman embrace allows for it to have "enormous capacity to accommodate all parties and make efforts and endeavors to bring peace to the Middle East instead of war and conflict", he said.
Under the current sultan’s rule, Khallaf said, Oman has been far removed from fanaticism, sectarianism and tribalism, as the country's policies promote the belief that everyone must be treated on humanitarian grounds.
Promoting tolerance and co-existence
Oman has taken a number of steps to encourage tolerance and peace in the region and beyond, including hosting the Symposium on Development of Jurisprudence Science, which has been running for the past 15 years, said Oman's Awqaf and Religious Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdullah al-Salimi.
Topics for the symposium vary and attempt to "gather under one roof Muslim scholars of various sects to discuss and deepen points of agreement", he told Al-Mashareq.
The symposium also supports communication between Muslims and non-Muslims by hosting thinkers of various religions and ideologies, he said, as communication with these intellectuals supports closer relations between peoples and establishes constructive coexistence.
Oman's constitution guarantees freedom of thought and belief to people of all religions and sects and the country's penal code punishes anyone who attempts to instigate sectarianism, said State Council member Hatem Bin Hamad al-Taie.
The country's policy of political appointment, he said, is blind to religious and sectarian backgrounds, and rather is based on skill, readiness, training, and ability to serve the country.
In an effort to promote acceptance and co-existence, al-Taie said, the curriculum at Omani schools avoids any points of contention between Islamic sects and followers of other religions.
Oman also has a strong link with Egypt's al-Azhar, a scientific and intellectual institute characterised by moderation, he said.
In Oman there are over 100 al-Azhar scholars in mosques in the capital Oman and the provinces, spreading knowledge and moderation, he said, adding that three years ago Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb paid a visit to Muscat together with a group of senior scholars in order to strengthen the religious and cultural relations between the two countries.