Thursday October 16, 2003 08:54 AM


Praise be to God

Peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin

Excellency Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Malaysia,

Chairman of the Tenth Summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference,

Your Majesties, Your Highnesses, Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to extend to you, Mr. Prime Minister, my dear brother, sincere thanks for hosting this conference and for the excellent arrangements made by the Malaysian Government to ensure its success.

I should also like to congratulate you on being entrusted with the chairmanship of this Summit Conference. Your great wisdom and farsightedness will, I am sure, help the Organisation discharge its mission in the optimal way.

May I take this opportunity to express deep appreciation to our distinguished brother, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, for the fruitful efforts he made during his tenure as Chairman of the previous Summit Conference.

As we meet, once again, in this beautiful country, we are all determined to intensify efforts in order to come up with a realistic Islamic vision to tackle the current challenges and the sweeping changes that have taken place in the world since September 11, 2001. To this end, we must enhance Islamic solidarity and mobilise all our energies to serve the just causes of our Ummah. We must also contribute effectively to international efforts aimed at promoting peace and concord in all troubled areas, particularly in the Middle-East region.

In this regard, I have been relentlessly striving to enhance the chances of peace in the region, trying to make right prevail over force, despite the tensions and the seriously deteriorating situation in the area.

The cause of the Palestinian people will remain our Organisation's major concern. We shall continue to comply with international legality, favour negotiation and reaffirm our strong commitment to a just and comprehensive peace. We shall also continue to call for Israel to withdraw completely from all occupied Arab territories, instead of further heightening tensions in the region, through criminal aggression against the sovereignty of Syria. Clearly, this is inconsistent with the unanimous call by the international community to ease the tension so as to give a chance to confidence-building measures, dialogue and peace.

However, for peace and concord to prevail, our Palestinian brothers must regain their legitimate rights and establish their independent State, with Al-Quds Al-Shareef as its capital, living side by side with the State of Israel.

The Road Map, which received wide international support and was accepted by all the parties concerned, brought a glimmer of hope for the settlement of the Palestinian question. Still, we have to ask ourselves: are the required conditions there for the effective implementation of the Road Map and for solving the conflict in the region?

The deadly spiral of violence is still claiming innocent lives every day, showing that the logic of hostility and intransigence still has the upper hand and is still impeding the search for peace. And yet, we remain firmly committed to peaceful negotiation as the sole means to achieve the long-awaited goal.

As Chairman of the AI-Quds Committee, I have relentlessly sought to sensitise the parties concerned to the seriousness of the situation. I have also emphasised the need for action to convince the Israeli Government to comply with the resolutions of international legality and to preserve the cultural identity of this distressed city, in which the three revealed religions have long coexisted in harmony.

Similarly, the brotherly Iraqi people should be allowed to exercise their sovereignty, preserve their security, stability, national unity and territorial integrity, through democratic institutions, and speed up reconstruction of their country, with effective help from the Organisation of the United Nations.

Your Majesties,

Your Highnesses,


Terrorism has been and still is one of the major challenges facing us. [t has made incursions into a number of Islamic countries with a view to destabilising them. However, in Morocco, thanks to the firm determination of the King and the people to ensure that peace and concord prevail in our society, we have managed to stand up to terrorism, with all the fortitude and resolve required. To do so, we have relied on our strong commitment to democracy and our people's unanimous condemnation of terrorism, a phenomenon which is clearly alien to our culture. It is also inconsistent with the tolerant aims of our religion, which forbids the shedding of innocent blood, advocates peaceful coexistence and upholds human dignity, proving all the tendentious allegations against our religion to be wrong.

Never before has the need to equip man with adequate training and education been more pressing than it is today. We must, therefore see to it that education and teaching are adequately provided, keeping in mind current needs as well as future requirements. The aim is to instil in young generations, as we raise them, a sense of responsibility as citizens capable of making informed decisions and aware of their duties towards society. This requires proper understanding of the true meanings of Islam and the protection they afford against deviation, ignorance and extremism.

One of our biggest challenges today is to rid our societies of the ills of illiteracy and poverty, which inevitably lead to frustration and loss of confidence in the future. We must, therefore, step up efforts to improve the social conditions of our peoples, and mobilise all our resources to contain the aforementioned scourges and achieve sustainable development. To attain these objectives, we should adopt a comprehensive approach, based on democracy, economic development and social solidarity. These are the requisites for security and stability.

In order to properly shape the personality of a Muslim citizen committed to his identity and receptive to the requirements of the modern world, I would suggest that we lay down a plan of action, with specific implementation and assessment means, to tight illiteracy. Indeed, illiteracy is a disgrace for an Ummah whose holy Book starts with the injunction: "Read: In the name of MY Lord who created".

At this time and age of sweeping globalisation, our voice will not be heard, nor our word heeded, unless we work hard to lay down the groundwork for economic solidarity, using the extensive human and natural resources with which the Almighty has endowed us. Such effective solidarity would surely give us our rightful place in the global economy. We have the means to achieve our ambition; what we need is sound economic planning for common objectives, in addition to effective political will. We should draw on certain experiences in recent history to build an integrated economic system that accommodates everybody's interests.

It is a fact that no single country is in a position to face the challenges of globalisation single-handed. Nor can we count on others to improve our economies for us. We must, therefore, rely only on ourselves and seek to achieve the sort of development where the human element is the means as well as the ultimate goal. We must also turn the democratic system based on close proximity and participation into a powerful instrument which should be used to eradicate unemployment, poverty and illiteracy and to achieve the progress and prosperity our countries are yearning for, especially in Africa. In this regard, we have a duty to enhance Islamic solidarity in order to help African Muslim peoples to reduce the gap between the paucity of their resources and the scope of their ambitious initiatives, such as NEPAD.

This is the proper course to take in order to remove the causes of frustration, hatred and despondency which, in turn, often lead to aggressiveness, violence and terrorism.

Your Majesties,

Your Highnesses,


I firmly believe our Muslim Ummah meets all requirements for stronger solidarity. Through it, our Ummah can aspire to its rightful place in the international community and effectively defend its just causes. We must, therefore, identify the best ways and means to enhance joint Islamic action within the framework of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, which came into being in Morocco; which has also had the honour of hosting several of its decisive Summits.

It is high time we reviewed the Organisation's structures and working methods to make this institution an effective instrument for co-ordination, economic integration, interaction with civil society and defence of the radiant message of Islamic civilisation.

Our common Islamic heritage involves awesome responsibilities for us, mainly the duty to intensify efforts in order to defend our main interests and spare our countries the perils of division and chaos. We must; therefore, engage in positive interaction with the universal civilisation to assert our presence in a world where there is no room for weak, introverted or artificial entities.

The time has come for us to get the record straight and draw a demarcation line between objective and subjective impediments, genuine and fictitious causes, passing and structural factors, which have hampered the progress of the Islamic Ummah. The most dangerous thing about these factors is that they distract us from addressing reality and engaging in the soul-searching effort of self-criticism. This exercise is indeed a prerequisite to making a reliable diaenosis of the ills afflicting our society. In this connection, Almighty Allah says: “Lo! Allah changeth not the condition of a folk until they (first) change that which is in their hearts”.

I am convinced, just like you, distinguished leaders of Islamic countries, that this Summit Conference is a valuable opportunity to make up for lost time and to give a tangible illustration of Islamic brotherliness in its best acceptation, for it is the most compelling message through which we can show our commitment to the virtues of tolerance, solidarity and peace.