Friday October 17, 2003 09:07 AM
Text of President General Pervez Musharraf’s OIC summit speech
PUTRAJAYA: Following is the text of President General Pervez Musharraf’ address to the 10th OIC Summit:
Majesties and Royal Highnesses,
Ladies and Gentlemen!
It is a pleasure and an honour to be here in fraternal Malaysia, together with so many great leaders from the Islamic world. Our welcome has been warm and gracious. We express our gratitude to His Excellency Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad, and to the government and people of Malaysia.
The enterprise and energy, progress and prosperity achieved by Malaysia under Prime Minister Mahathir’s sagacious leadership, is an example and beacon for the entire Islamic world.
I wish also to thank our outgoing chairman, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani. We are grateful for his wise guidance of the OIC since our Ninth Summit in Doha.
Allow me also to pay rich tribute to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are confident that the Kingdom, under the Khadim al Harmain Sharifain, will continue to provide its invaluable support to the OIC, which has its home in Jeddah.
We meet in a turbulent and troubled moment in history. The world is in turmoil. Reliance on military action and force define solutions to world disputes. Foreign occupation persists. Suppression of peoples has intensified. Power asymmetries are widening. Terrorism has spread. Economic recession threatens. Poverty is growing. Inequality is increasing.
The Islamic world is in the vortex of this emerging global crisis. Most of those under foreign occupation are Muslim peoples. Witness the tragedies of Palestine and of Kashmir. Witness the wanton attack against Syria and last year’s “coercive diplomacy” against Pakistan. Islamic nations are perceived as the sponsors of terrorism and proliferators of weapons of mass destruction.
Muslims are subjected to discrimination and exclusion. The insidious thesis of an inevitable clash of civilizations - between Islam and the West - is being openly propounded.
The question that arises is; should we adopt a confrontationist militant course? Will this lead to our emancipation and to the resolution of our problems? I am afraid this will only play into the hands of those who desire a clash of civilisations and to our own detriment.
We must recognise that, unfortunately, the crisis confronting the Islamic world is not only external. It is also internal. It is rooted in our own weaknesses and vulnerabilities. It flows from our economic, social and human underdevelopment; from our dependencies and vulnerabilities; from the divisions and differences within, and amongst, our societies and states.
Excellencies, dear brothers,
We are at a defining moment in history; we can either seize the moment, and define history, or we can let the moment define our destiny. We must turn challenge into opportunity. We must reflect and act - quickly and collectively - for the sake of our suffering peoples and of our future generations. We must act to keep alive the immutable message of Islam and the glorious legacy of which we are the heirs.
The message brought by Islam in the 6th century - that of humanity, egalitarianism, moderation, tolerance, co-existence - was revolutionary in its appeal. That is why Islam emerged so swiftly as a distinct political, economic and social order. Islamic civilisation flourished. Unfortunately, however, neither Islam nor the Muslim world today is known with reference to true Islamic teachings, our glorious past, or our core humanistic values.
Increasingly, our image is being shaped by the extremist actions of a tiny minority that exists on the fringes of Muslim societies. The practices and professions of this extremist minority are in conflict with the true teachings of Islam.
This minority interprets our progressive and forward-looking religion in a very narrow, rigid and static framework. Some of our mosques and madrassas are being misused to propagate the extremist version of our moderate religion. It seeks to cynically manipulate the anger in our societies against Western policies to sell sectarianism and anti-modernism.
Their acts of violence, perpetrated in the name of our noble Faith, are abhorrent and unacceptable. Such actions do not promote the just causes that these extremists claim to espouse. Their actions further equip our detractors to demonise Muslims and project Islam as a religion of violence.
Those who pay for the acts of these extremists are the majority of Muslims who are moderate and tolerant, as prescribed by Islam. They suffer discrimination, exclusion and oppression. We must break our silence.
The terrorists and extremists do not represent Islam or Muslims. We must not allow them to hijack our religion, to preach religious and sectarian hatred with impunity, and to tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims. We must reclaim our Faith from these usurpers and project the real moderate and tolerant spirit of Islam to the world.
A clash of civilisations is inconceivable for Muslims. In our own interest and in the interest of the Global Society the world must join to avert this clash. We should take the lead in pioneering a new global pact between civilisations. We must evolve and execute a clear strategy and plan of action.
After considerable reflection, I have, in all humility, suggested a two-pronged strategy to advance the internal and external aspirations of the Islamic world. I call this Strategy: “Enlightened Moderation”.
The first prong of this strategy has to be executed by us, ourselves. We have to address and overcome our internal weaknesses and vulnerabilities of the Islamic world, while simultaneously rejecting recourse to militancy and extremism.
Our shortcomings are visible. Our human development indicators are among the lowest in the world; poverty is pervasive; literacy is less than 50 percent; institutions of higher learning are insignificant.
Poverty and illiteracy breed extremism and orthodoxy. Our economic underdevelopment consigns us to the margins of international power structure. Our intellectual impoverishment diminishes our ability to defend our just causes. Our shortage of scientific skills erodes our ability to energise our economies, to compete commercially and to cater for the defence of our countries.
Today, in the Islamic world, there is a disconnect between promise, potential and reality. Promise of a glorious destiny; potential of immense resources that we possess; and the reality of our failure to rise to the challenge of projecting the full weight and strength of the Ummah.
To promote dynamic development, prosperity and peace within our nations and societies, we must focus on poverty reduction, employment generation, expansion of production, science and technology, higher education, health and human resource development.
This will require considerable and focused investment of resources.
These are limited but can be generated, domestically and externally, by policies that place the interests of our peoples at the centre of our political agendas. We can also help each other. Collectively, we can, and must, assist the poorest amongst our members.
Socio-economic progress and growing prosperity will also provide the best antidote to extremism and violent proclivities which accompany it.
With the Muslim world executing one prong of the strategy of rejecting extremism in favour of self-emancipation through human resource development, it is in the wider interest of the international community to simultaneously deliver the second pincer in the strategy of Enlightened Moderation for global peace and harmony. It can do so in two principal ways:
One, by helping to secure just solutions for the political disputes where Muslim peoples are being unjustly oppressed.
Two, by assisting the Muslim world in its internal strategy of socio-economic development within the strategy of Enlightened Moderation.
Quite clearly this strategy of “Enlightened Moderation” cannot be one sided, that the Muslim world responds positively while the West shows inaction in its prong. Both the prongs have to be launched simultaneously and both must succeed.
Excellencies, dear Brothers & Sisters,
It is quite evident that world order and global peace cannot be restored without addressing the conflicts which beset the Islamic world today. Failure in resolving these disputes will be disastrous and cannot be accepted.
So long as justice is not done for the Palestinian people, it will be difficult to contain public anger in the Islamic world or to defeat extremism. The quartet’s Road Map and the principle of land for peace set out in Crown Prince Abdullah’s Plan, to realise the vision of two States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace within secure and recognised boundaries, must be implemented faithfully.
Iraq remains an open wound on the body politic of the Muslim world. International approach must be guided by the objective of restoring Iraq’s sovereignty and political independence; ensuring its unity and territorial integrity; upholding the right of the Iraqi people to determine their own future and control their natural resources. The political and stabilisation processes in Iraq should involve and be owned by the Iraqi people, led by the United Nations.
In Afghanistan, the international community has an obligation to ensure the successful implementation of the Bonn process. The international stabilisation force, ISAF, should be enlarged to ensure security and control over all parts of Afghanistan by President Karzai’s government. Pakistan will continue its actions on the border to interdict and arrest Al-Qaeda and associated terrorists.
Excellencies, Dear Brothers,
The plight of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is also a core Islamic cause. They are struggling - like the people of Palestine - for their right of self-determination recognised and promised to them in a series of Security Council resolutions. Seven hundred thousand Indian troops have tried for over 12 years to brutally suppress the Kashmiri struggle. Eighty thousand Kashmiris have paid the ultimate sacrifice of their lives, for freedom. India must be made to realise that it cannot succeed in its strategy of military suppression of the Kashmiris. Its confrontation with Pakistan is dangerous and pointless. We have shown that Pakistan will never submit to Indian military coercion or blackmail.
At the United Nations General Assembly, on September 24, I proposed an action plan for peace between India and Pakistan. Unfortunately, India has rejected the action plan. This conference should ask India to reconsider its rejectionist and belligerent posture. It will, I am confident once again, uphold the Kashmiris’ right of self-determination.
Excellencies, dear Brothers and Sisters,
The just and peaceful resolution of these, and other disputes, involving Muslim people will automatically marginalise those extremist groups in the Islamic world who preach violence and terrorism as the means of vengeance and redress against the West.
The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) has a critical role to play in the successful execution of the strategy of Enlightened Moderation. It is the only forum that reflects the collective voice of the Islamic Ummah. The twin principles of our organisation reflected in our Charter were “unity within” and “solidarity without.” The member-states of the OIC are committed to make, I quote, “endeavours to enhance human well-being, progress and freedom everywhere and resolved to unite their efforts to secure universal peace which ensures security, freedom and justice for their people and all people throughout the world.” Unquote.
It is self-evident that our organisation has not lived up to the high objectives and principles. A considerable measure of the onus of failure rests with Member States. Yet, it is also clear that our organisation needs reform and restructuring to enable it to respond to the challenges and opportunities facing the Islamic world at this critical moment in history. The OIC should become the catalyst for the Ummah’s re-generation. It must transform itself into a dynamic functional organisation.
Excellencies, dear Brothers and Sisters,
To realise the vision of internal revival and external action I have outlined, I would like to propose a set of actions for your consideration:
(a) This summit conference may request the chairman of the Islamic Conference to constitute a commission of eminent persons, drawn from African, Arab and Asian member states. This Commission should:
(1) Firstly, develop a strategy and a plan of action for enabling the Ummah to meet the challenges of the 21st century in consonance with traditions of tolerance, emancipation and human exaltation.
(2) Secondly, evolve clear recommendations for the reform and restructuring of the OIC system, including the General Secretariat, infusing dynamism into them.
(3) Thirdly, consider the question of establishing an Islamic Development Fund for financing OIC’s activities and programmes through mandatory contributions as a percentage of the GDP of each Member State.
(b) Finally, to steer this effort towards fruition, we should convene an extraordinary session of the Islamic Summit Conference to consider and approve recommendations of the Summit-level Commission by the end of 2004.
The time has come to rise above our differences, build on our convergences, and create a bright image for our nations. We will give our people the dignity, fulfillment and development that they aspire for. And we will speak to other nations of the world with confidence and ask them to join us in our quest to ensure justice, to wipe out poverty, and spread enlightenment.
This is possible only with a changed mindset, a new outlook on the present challenges and our response, and greater vigour in our efforts within a restructured OIC. Allow me to conclude with a verse from our national poet, Allama Muhammad Iqbal. In his book Zarb-e-Kaleem, Iqbal prays:
Khuda tujhe kisi toofan sey ashna kar de,
Keh tere beher ki mojon mein iztrab nahin!
May God introduce your spirit to a (new) tempest,
For there is hardly a stir in the waters of your sea!
I thank you, Mr Chairman. —APP