Leaders of member states of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) began here today their Third Extraordinary Summit.
The convening of the Summit comes in response to the call earlier made by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
At Al-Safa Palace, where the Summit is convened, the Muslim leaders were welcomed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, and Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, the Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General.
Then, King Abdullah announced the inauguration of the Summit.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz addressed the opening session of the Third Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference.
The following is the text of the King's speech:
"In the name of God, Most compassionate, Most merciful
Glory be to Almighty Allah, who has said in the Holy Quran 'You are the noblest nation that has ever been raised up for mankind.'
Truth are the words of Allah.
And praise be to his Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy for mankind and the world.
My brothers, the leaders of the Muslim Ummah, Distinguished Participants,
I have great pleasure in welcoming you all on behalf of your brothers, the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and on my own behalf in this hallowed site of the divine revelation and cradle of Islam's Divine Message, wishing you all success in your endeavors.
Your gracious acceptance today of the invitation addressed to you by your brother on this immaculate soil last year is eloquent testimony to the fervent desire in the hearts and minds of the Ummah to move forward and change for the better. Let us work together to make this Summit a milestone that heralds a brighter future for the Ummah, with Allah's grace.
From this sacred land, the birthplace of our Prophet, has sprung forth the call to Islam, proclaiming the oneness and unity of the Creator, ending man's enslavement of man, and exhorting the principles of equality, right and justice. Thus was this call able to reach the farthest ends of the globe, east and west, by persuasion through just values and good example, and not by dint of the sword, as those deliberately ignore or fail to apprehend the truth, insist on claiming. Let us recall what a radiant beacon our Islamic civilization was in lighting the way forth for other civilizations, offering them a fine example of the spirit of tolerance and justice, and leading humanity forward through its singular achievements in jurisprudence, intellectual endeavors, the sciences, and literature. Indeed, it is these major contributions that provided the decisive catalyst in bringing enlightenment to the dark ages.
It is heartbreaking for us to see how our glorious civilization slipped from the exalted graces of dignity to the ravines of frailty! How painful that the ideology sprouted forth by criminal minds has unleashed wanton evil and corruption on earth, and that the ranks of our one Ummah - united in the lofty heights of its glory - have turned into helplessness! Even so, the true believer in his God does not despair of His mercy, for from the darkness of night breaks the light of day, and out of the depths of pain comes salvation. Let our faith in Almighty Allah, therefore, be an unshakeable boost for confidence in the peoples and leaders of our Ummah. Let us bid farewell to the age of division and disintegration in order to usher in a new era of unity and dignity by relying first on Allah and then on patience and hard work.
Islamic unity will not be achieved by bloodletting as the miscreants - in their misguided waywardness - insist on claiming.
Fanaticism and extremism can not grow on an earth whose soil is embedded in the spirit of tolerance, moderation, and balance. It is here that the Islamic Fiqh Academy, with its overhauled makeup, comes in to assume its historic role and responsibility in resisting the extremist ideology in all its forms and manifestations. Further more, a gradual approach to this end is the way forward to ensure success, which starts with consultation in all walks of life - political, economic, cultural, and social domains - to reach a stage of solidarity and, God willing, to a true and fortified unity worked through strong institutions so as to restore the Ummah to its rightful place in the balance of power.
The real nature of the Muslim lies in his faith and then in his knowledge, principles and morality, of which the Prophet of Mercy has said :'I have been sent to further establish the loftiest virtues of morality.' You may agree with me that developing educational curricula, and improving them, is a fundamental prerequisite to building a Muslim personality. Steeped in tolerance, such a personality would lay the foundations for a society that rejects isolationism and turns its back on courting hostility to the other by interacting with all humanity, adopting what is good and rejecting what is bad.
I look forward to a United Muslim Ummah and good governance that eliminate injustice and oppression for the sake of the comprehensive Muslim development that eradicates destitution and poverty. I also look forward to the spread of moderation that embodies the Islamic concept of tolerance. Moreover, I look forward to Muslim inventors and industrialists, to an advanced Muslim technology, and Muslim youth who work for their life just as they work for the Hereafter, without excess or negligence, without any kind of extremism.
Revival begins with a hope, which turns into an idea and then objectives, if it could place its trust in Allah alone and rest deeply assured by His words that 'Allah will never change the grace he hath bestowed on any people until they first change what is in their hearts' and his promise, Exalted Be His Name, "If you will aid (the cause of) Allah, He will aid you and establish your feet firmly."
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, the Chairman of the tenth session of the Conference of the Islamic Summit, expressed happiness for convening of the Extraordinary Summit in Makkah, the cradle of Islam and the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him).
He thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and the Saudi government for their steady support to Islamic causes the world over and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
"The Muslim world is going through one of the momentous periods of its history. It is faced with grave problems that affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the globe. We can no longer neglect these problems or expect others to solve them for us.
The Muslim world has - thanks to God - the resources to overcome these problems. Our rich history, culture and the resources we have today give us every reason to believe that we can move the Muslim world to a brighter future," Badawi, said.
OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu made the following speech before the Summit:
"We live at such a critical moment in history that the destiny of humanity is tied together with the destiny of the Muslim world. In this era of globalization, what happens in the lands of Islam affects the rest of the world more than ever before. It is this sense of connectedness and moral responsibility that forces us to find solutions for the burning issues of our times.
Islam has been sent as a universal religion. The classical Muslim world has succeeded in creating a world civilization. The Muslim values are also global values. With this spirit, we have to set an example for ourselves as well as for the rest of humanity. This is a task we have been charged with by the Holy Quran and the exemplary life of the blessed Prophet.
We do not have the luxury of blaming others for our own problems. It is high time we address our national and regional problems with courage, sincerity and openness. This is what the Muslim masses expect from us.
"We have to create a culture of solidarity among Muslim nations by mobilizing our political, economic and cultural resources. We have to convince our brothers and sisters across the world that we have a common destiny and can face the difficulties of our modern world while standing together.
"We need solidarity in action whereby we unite our resources and energies through concrete action. This solidarity must be operational at the government and NGO levels so that it will have political clout as well as public support.
"Unity is not uniformity. We can achieve unity without neglecting the unique characteristics and circumstances of each Muslim nation. The rich tapestry of the Muslim world is a shining example of unity-in-diversity and can be an example for other societies of the world today. We have to understand that Muslim nations are stronger individually when the Muslim world is strong and united as a whole.
"It has become necessary to counter the ever growing tide of Islamophobia in western countries as this is a global phenomenon that does not affect Muslims alone. Combating Islamophobia is a war on ignorance, hatred, bigotry and lack of understanding. In the age of fast communication and cross-border information we ought to teach each and every citizen of the world to maintain understanding, compassion and respect of the other. We ought to highlight to the world why Islamophobia is an evil whose harm will not be confined to Muslims alone but is also detrimental to all people. Hatred of a certain group of people is in fact an open invitation to hate all those who are dissimilar to us.
"We have raised this issue with a number of international organizations in the West. We have reminded their leading figures that lessening religious tension is the shortest way to international security. We requested that laws in their respective countries may be enacted to ban the practices of Islamophobia and offer protection to Muslims. We have submitted the matter to the United Nations. The Geneva-based Human Rights Commission has adopted a recommendation denouncing hate campaigns, zealotry and defamation against Muslims. We have established a monitoring body to identify, document and deal with all anti-Islamic campaigns.
"We must pay attention to issues of communal and ethnic tension and combat terrorism by addressing its root causes wither it is perpetrated by individuals, groups or states. Terrorism is a crime which must be renounced by every Muslim.
"Islamic masses yearn for a scream of conscience that expresses their hopes and aspirations. As individuals look around but find no one offering relief, they quickly become vulnerable to the ideas of extremist elements and their illegitimate aims. We are, therefore, under obligation to fulfill the most pressing needs of Islamic peoples so that we become a nation of balance and moderation again.
"What our intellectual world needs today is a return to moderation which is one of the key principles of Islam. It is enshrined in the Quran which calls the Muslims world the "middle community" (umma wasatah).
"It forms the basis of human understanding, compassion, tolerance, and respect for others. It is a principle that unites rather than divides. It brings out the best in human nature and creates social balance, harmony and solidarity.
Lack of moderation is one of the main sources of instability and chaos in the modern world. In the Muslim world, it is caused by a complex set of circumstances. Poverty, illiteracy, epidemics, corruption and the lack of equal opportunity and equal distribution of wealth, force people to look for answers in different places. When these issues are not addressed properly by legitimate means, they are used as an excuse to push for extremist agendas. The political developments in the Muslim world also feed such agendas and take ordinary people further away from the principles of moderation.
"One of the effective ways of establishing moderation is to change the conditions that feed the sense of helplessness, dispossession and marginalization. All of these lead to the growth and spread of extremist ideas. We can and must create a better environment in which such agendas will not merge in the first place. To do this, we have to improve the conditions of political and economic life in Muslim countries. A balanced and sustainable program of development and modernization will enable us to address these issues effectively and constructively.
"There is no doubt that when moderation is combined with modernization of our societies, it will lead to balanced moral, economic, scientific and educational development that will undercut the grounds that push people to extremism so that we can overcome the current crisis.
"I have brought to your notice the recommendations of the Eminent Persons Committee established at your behest during your 10th summit in Putrajaya in 2003. The eminent persons participated in the Makkah meeting and give an overview of their thoughts and deliberations.
"The Ten-Year Programme of Action was formulated at the Makkah Al Mukarramah Forum of Scholars and intellectuals of the Ummah and amendments were introduced at the two senior officials meetings and the foreign ministers meeting held yesterday. This programme is undoubtedly a clear plan of action that forms the basis of Joint Islamic Action and defines various priorities and how to achieve them over the next decade. It also designs a new way to develop the Muslim world and strengthen its global position. Similarly, the report of the Secretary General submitted to your august session gives a summary of the thoughts and recommendations of the scholars and intellectuals. The final groundwork has thus been laid and the documents drafted for views and comments.
"We must strive to make the Muslim world in general and the Middle East in particular, a land of security, peace and prosperity. We live in a region where the three Abrahamic religions were emanated and developed calling for peace and harmony of humanity. We must therefore resume our duty of upholding justice in the world.
"The world is now aware that the main cause of tension and unrest in the Middle East and even the world lies in the tragedy in Palestine, especially in Al Quds Al Sharif. Israel by its actions violates daily international treaties, norms, laws and human values, especially human rights. An explosive situation inevitably ensued thereby causing untold tragedy in the region and tension, insecurity and danger.
"Unfortunately, Israel keeps building the separation wall that the international Court of Justice has declared illegal. It is however adamantly building settlements condemned by UN resolutions. It also keeps judaizing Al Quds , altering its historic landmarks and population make-up in violation of UN resolutions. We strongly condemn such acts and demand that they be stopped. The Arab Peace Initiative launched by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict was universally acclaimed. However, Israel procrastinates, claiming that it lacks partner in the peace process.
"We have always stated that peace is a strategic option for settling the Middle East conflict. We therefore call on the international community to force Israel to fully comply with the roadmap. We also insist that Israel should abandon its policy over Al Quds, which we consider the major concern of the entire Muslim world.
"We have been optimistic over the Iraqi National Reconciliation Conference held in Cairo recently which represented a broad spectrum of Iraqi society. We hope that the parliamentary elections will take place in a week's time under satisfactory conditions. We also hope that the series of political events will culminate into stability, security, full sovereignty and total withdrawal of foreign forces.
"We also hope that the improvement in relations between Pakistan and India will help settle the Kashmiri dispute and fulfill the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
"We hope that the current efforts of the African Union in Abuja will help solve the Darfur problem in Sudan without foreign intervention. We also look forward to national reconciliation and an end to the internecine conflict in Somalia.
"We hope that the Chechen problem will be solved politically and thus bring to an end the plight of the Chechen people.
"We also hope that the Cyprus dispute will be settled so that the two communities can enjoy equal rights.
"We look forward to full compliance with the agreement to settle the conflict in Southern Philippines and an ease in tension in Southern Thailand and in Myanmar so that the rights of Muslim minorities and communities are safeguarded.
"The OIC was established with a sincere determination to ensure the renaissance of the Muslim Ummah. Since the inception of the organization decades ago, developments have taken place and balances of power have shifted to the detriment of the interests of the Muslim world. Our hopes were kept alive when the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and his brothers the kings and heads of state and government of Muslim countries called for a new vision for the Muslim world. The vision consists in fostering unity among Muslims and reforming the OIC.
"Ever since I was honored to steer the affairs of the organization, I have ushered in a new era whereby the organization copes with political and international developments as a basic component of its daily activities. Consequently, Muslims' concerns have taken center stage in world affairs and the Muslim world has become an active player in the international community. I have also introduced new internal administrative reforms to promote a culture of hard work and job efficiency. I have also streamlined administrative work. I have also set standards for accountability and transparency and improved the financial position of the organization. I have ordered that decisions be streamlined so that they are applicable and reconcile words and deeds.
"The Secretary General and the General Secretariat have been increasingly solicited recently on several issues. The organization has rekindled interest in peoples of the Muslims world as well as that of non-Muslim countries and their statesmen. The organization is further solicited to play a key role in addressing many issues pertaining to the future vision of Joint Islamic Action.
"Therefore, it is imperative that OIC system be apt to play the role expected of it by the Muslim world i.e. to actively promote Islamic solidarity, boost Joint Islamic Action, safeguard the rights of the Muslim world, contribute to the multifaceted development process, propagate Islamic principles and virtues, coordinate efforts of economic integration, stress the need for education, science and technology, and improve the social environment, etc. The responsibility is great but we feel honored to assume it within the limits of our capabilities.
The Organization is most apt to give voice to the Muslim world and express the hopes and aspirations of Muslims the world over. If revitalized and provided with the resources needed to discharge its mission, the Organization will honor its promise to work for the interest of Muslims around the world.
"The Organization can make Member States work together in solidarity, through programmes and initiatives. This kind of solidarity will be a driving force in the region, thus bringing prosperity to the Islamic countries. This will give another serious dimension to the relationship of the Islamic countries to the world.
"When the OIC gets the necessary wherewithal, it can carry out the programme of moderation and development by mustering the intellectual and economic resources of the Muslim world. To be sure, when moderation in thought and action combine with sustainable development, the Muslim world will, once again, be a land of peace, security and prosperity.
This distinguished conference of yours can support our efforts as you deem appropriate and provide the kind of conditions to accomplish the objectives and programmes of the Ummah.
"I wish to renew our thanks and appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for his continuous support and assistance to the Organization thereby enabling it to discharge its duties optimally. I sincerely hope that during his gracious reign the organization will receive every support and encouragement. I commend his determination - May Allah protect him - for giving the Organization a befitting new headquarters.
"Finally, our present condition is both delicate and momentous. Passing through it safely to where we aspire to be is contingent upon our common political will and the determination to sacrifice and work collectively to regain the rightful position of our Ummah. The international system - as it is - was not created to give us justice and fairness on a platter of gold. Only our determination and work can give it to us. We must therefore work hard and persevere to earn it. For weakness and negligence can only fuel the ambition of others to rob us of our rights. We are totally confident, however, that this blessed meeting of yours in this sacred city, will be a watershed in our Ummah's great march to greatness and strength so that it will be, as Allah has intended it, the best Ummah evolved for mankind.
"May Allah grant you success.
"And let there be (arising) from you a nation inviting to (all that is good), enjoying what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful).
(Quran 2:104) "
The Monarch then thanked the OIC Secretary General and praised on this occasion his great exerted efforts, wishing him all success.
On his part, the Secretary General announced that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has issued an order to build an appropriate headquarters for the Organization in the most beautiful and important site in Jeddah city. He noted that the new headquarters comes within the Kingdom's commitment to support, develop and provide the Organization with all capabilities to fully perform its duties.
"On your behalf, I expressed best thanks and gratitude to the King for this kind initiative", he said.
Then the Monarch unveiled a memorial plaque for the permanent headquarters of the Organization.
The King, the leaders and members of delegations performed noon prayer at the Grand Mosque.
The Summit's inaugural ceremony was attended by Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation, Inspector General and Head of the Kingdom's delegation to the Summit; Prince Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General; Prince Miteb bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs; Prince Abdulmajeed bin Abdulaziz, the Governor of Makkah Region; Prince Miqren bin Abdulaziz, Chief of General Intelligence; princes; ministers; senior officials; Saudi ambassadors to Islamic countries; ambassadors of Islamic countries to the Kingdom; and reporters.