Posted by: Administrator | 13 September, 2006

President at the 10th Islamic Summit, Malaysia

17 October 2003, Putrajaya, Malaysia

Mr. Chairman,

Mr. Secretary-General, Majesties and Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen!

It is a pleasure and an honor 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.

Mr. Chairman,

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 civilizations and to our own detriment.

We must recognize 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, or 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.

Mr. Chairman,

the message brought by Islam in the 6th century — that of humanity, egalitarianism, moderation,

tolerance, coexistence — was revolutionary in its appeal. That is why Islam emerged so swiftly

as a distinct political, economic and social order. Islamic civilization 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 forwardlooking

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 detrac torsto demonize Muslims and project Islam as a religion of


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 and 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.

Mr. Chairman,

A clash of civilizations 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 civilizations. 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


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 energize 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

center 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.

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 recognized 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 realize 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.

Mr. Chairman,

At the UN General Assembly, on 24 September, 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 gain,

uphold the Kashmiri& right of self-determination.

Excellencies, dear brothers, and sisters,

the just and peaceful resolution of these, and other disputes, involving Muslim peoples will


marginalize those extremist groups in the Islamic world who preach violence and terrorism as the

means of vengeance and redress against the West.

Mr. Chairman,

The 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 Organization reflected in our Charter were “unity within” and “solidarity

without.” The member-states of the OIC are committed to make, I quote, “endeavors 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 Organization 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

Organization 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


Excellencies, dear brothers and sisters,

to realize 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:

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



Secondly, evolve clear recommendations for the reform and restructuring of the OIC system,

including the General Secretariat, infusing dynamism into them.

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.

Mr. Chairman,

The time has come to rise above our differences, build on our convergences, and creates 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 vigor in our efforts within a restructured OIC. Allow me to conclude with a

verse from our national poet, Allama Mohammad 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.

50%; institutions of higher learning are insignificant.


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