Friday October 17, 2003 09:15 AM



In the name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate

Mr. Chairman,

Your Excellency Dr. Dato Seri Mahathir Bin Mohamad, President of the Tenth Summit of the OIC,

Royal Highnesses,

Excellencies;Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to participate in this Tenth Summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, and to convey to you- the greetings of His Majesty Shaikh Hamad Bin Essa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain, Chairman of the current Arab Summit, along with his best wishes for a successful Summit, and to extend his thanks and appreciation to the Prime Minister, H.E. Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamed, for presiding over this Summit and for his wise management of its proceedings.

I would also like to express appreciation to H.H. Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa A1-Thani, Amir of the brotherly State of Qatar, for his efforts during Qatar's Presidency of the Ninth OIC Summit. May I also express our thanks to the Secretary-Genera) of the OIC. Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz, for his previous and recent efforts to strengthen the role of our Organisation to serve Islamic issues and interests.

Mr. Chairman,

The historic; initiative to establish this Organisation to defend holy places and the rights of Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians came as a result of the attack on the A1-Aqsa Mosque in 1969. The practice of religious and racial fanaticism against the holy places and the Palestinian people continues each day by the occupying Israeli forces and settlers, regardless of international legality or respect for the will of the international community and its call for a genuine peace in the area.

We meet today hoping to reach a just and comprehensive peace that will restore the legal rights of the brotherly Palestinian people, and restore peace and security in the region.

From this Conference, we call on the international community, and in particular the United States, to continue their efforts to enforce all the obligations set out in the Roadmap in order to alleviate the injustices imposed on the Palestinian people, who struggle to regain their freedom and independence, and to achieve a just solution for their case, which will restore peace to the area and end the- current cycle= of

conflict and violence.

Mr. Chairman,

Iraq is today passing through a very difficult time in its recent history as a result of the current political and security vacuum. The international community and the Islamic world are obliged to move positively to save Iraq as an entity and people, and we call on coalition forces to quickly restore peace in that country, and hope in this regard that the formation of the Governing Council, and the establishment of a new government, will be the first steps towards Iraq regaining its sovereignty and restoring the authority of its people. We hope that this will enable Iraq to play its role as a full member of the Arab and international community.

Mr. Chairman,

The world today is passing through a very dangerous and sensitive juncture in the history of international relations, characterised by both positive and negative aspects. We believe that the international situation requires us to work hard and contribute effectively through the adoption of practical policies and the formulation of plans and programmes to address modern issues and the political, economic and social problems caused by these international circumstances and changes.

It is our belief that tackling such circumstances requires a new vision from our side, taking into account our past experiences to tackle current shortcomings and setbacks, to enable us to overcome present and future challenges, and to make us better able to take part in the current changes, and an active party in shaping the new world in a way that preserves our interests and meets the needs and aspirations of our peoples in a better future.

In this regard, our responsibility in the difficult circumstances facing our Islamic Ummah is to move unhesitatingly forward to modernise our policies and develop our societies and democratic practices, and to strengthen our institutions, especially those relating to science and research.

In the field of science and invention, for example, it is not enough for the Islamic World to boast about its contributions during the renaissance, but it is time for Islamic countries to become partners in the world's achievements and discoveries by consolidating the disparate efforts of our scientific establishments to serve the economic and human development of our societies. In this regard, we call for the establishment of an Islamic centre for technological and scientific research in which all member states take part, to become the joint foundation for our countries to participate in the achievements of this vital field.

In trade and economics, we call for constructive cooperation by opening our markets for genuine Islamic participation in line with the economic growth of developed countries, to ensure the proper foundations to deal with other major economic blocs around the world and thus put our Islamic countries on, the map with regard to the movement of investment and capital among developing countries.

Mr. Chairman,

Recent international challenges require us all to unite and marshal our resources to reaffirm the realities of Islam, which calls for dialogue, tolerance and understanding among all religions. To this end, the Kingdom of Bahrain has hosted a number of meetings and conferences related to the dialogue between civilisations, including, in October 2002, the Islamic-Christian Dialogue and, in September this year, a conference to bring the Islamic schools of thought closer together.

In this regard, in view of the necessity of dialogue and closeness among cultures, we emphasize the important contemporary role played by the Islamic media in acquainting the world with the true -face of Islam, one that- rejects violence and terrorism, and in correcting the false accusations that are made by some who seek to distort the image of Islam, destroy the bridges between peoples, and widen the gaps between civilizations and cultures.

In this regards, we strongly condemn such biased and unreasonable campaigns against Islam and Islamic countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam and "Kiblah" of all Moslems.

Muslims also are in need, more than ever, to develop their religious discourse by denouncing the negative practice conducted by some and which affect the image of Islam and Moslems and provide the opportunity for some parties to distort this image. We therefore call on this organization to introduce suitable mechanism to put these necessary and important steps into practice.

Mr. Chairman,

Tackling such issues in the modern world, and the changes we are witnessing, require us to work through scientific and practical policies, requiring an overall revision of all our programmes in line with these changes. We therefore believe it vital to develop and improve the work of this Organisation and to revise its philosophy, strategy, plans and programmes to enable it to understand modern issues based on strong, reasonable and effective mechanisms which can have a powerful effect in the Twenty-First century.

In this regard, we welcome the moves to reform the OIC and believe that such reform should be given the utmost importance. The reform process should be sustained and continuous, always looking for the best, and we hope that such efforts should be continued to reform the Organisation so as to increase its effectiveness in facing the unlimited challenges of the modern world.

The Kingdom of Bahrain has confidence in this Organisation's ability to continue its progress in a way that fulfils the aspirations of its countries and peoples for development, progress and peace. Through this Summit, held under the chairmanship of Malaysia, a distinguished example of a modern Islamic country and through our cooperation, we will achieve, with God's help, our aims for our countries and peoples.

Thank you.