At the 9th Summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference
13 November 2000
(Translated from Arabic)
My brother, Your Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani,
My brothers, Your Majesties, Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies,
Peace and Allah's Mercy and Blessings be upon you,
It is my pleasure to start by expressing my deepest congratulations to my dear brother, His Highness Sheikh Hamad, for being chosen president of this organisation for the coming three years. I wish His Highness all success. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan will co-operate fully to ensure the success of His Highness's noble mission.
It is also my pleasure to express my deepest appreciation and sincere thanks to His Excellency President Mohammed Khatemi, for the great efforts he exerted during his presidency of the organisation over the past three years.
This is the first meeting of the leaders of our nation in the new century. We hope that, God willing, it will be an effective step on the path to consolidating co-operation, solidarity and complimentarily among our countries, in order to serve our peoples and our Muslim nation's noble objectives of attaining further progress and achievement. We also hope this meeting will be an effective step towards defining the future objectives of this organisation in a way that will render them harmonious with the spirit of the times, as globalisation and the accompanying liberation of the economy have become the main characteristics of the on-going economic transformation.
Globalisation is no longer a choice that can be accepted or rejected. It is a reality that has to be faced and dealt with. The true challenge lies in how to manage globalisation, effectively and positively, to meet the needs of our Muslim nation.
Consequently, we have to increase co-operation among ourselves. We have to consolidate common Islamic action as the world witnesses the emergence of more regional economic blocs. Addressing the issues facing us requires clarity and co-ordination among the members of our organisation. This must be based on a foundation of knowledge from which we draw and on which we build; a base built through scientific research, studies and programmes. Such an approach will reflect our conviction and faith that science and knowledge are the way to a future in which our nation enjoys the status and presence it deserves.
For fourteen centuries, Muslims have interacted positively with other cultures. They have realised that this interaction does not represent a threat to their principles and fundamental beliefs. Islam is a religion that urges the pursuit of knowledge and the effective management of the economy for the benefit of the nation's interests. Accordingly, acquiring modern technology, keeping up with scientific progress and interacting with other cultures are in harmony with the essence of our great religion.
The unjust accusations against our religion, and attempts to distort its image and harm Islam and Muslims result from ignorance of the principles of Islam and its noble humanitarian message. Muslim civilisation has always been a symbol of ethnic, social and cultural pluralism. Islamic Sharia respects differences among peoples and urges peaceful coexistence in a spirit of brotherhood and respect for human rights. It urges us to work for a just world characterised by peace. We believe that dialogue between the Muslim civilisation and other civilisations is the best way to build bridges of understanding among peoples who represent different cultures and religions, and to remove misconceptions.
As for terrorism and extremism, these are negative phenomena that exist in all societies. They do not in any way represent Islam or relate to it. We have to stand firmly oppose all unfair attempts to link Islam to these phenomena, under any pretext and in any way or form.
Peace and Islam meet in calling for security and stability by developing understanding among the followers of the three monotheistic religions and different sects and faiths; by calling for unifying efforts to protect humanity from the evils of poverty, despair and religious conflicts; and by consolidating the role of dialogue in the settlement of conflicts and reconciling different points of view.
On these bases, we are working for a just settlement of the Palestinian issue, which is the essence of conflict in the Middle East. This settlement must enable our Palestinian brethren to regain their rights, and build their independent state on their national soil.
As we salute the struggle of the Palestinian people and honour their martyrs, and as we condemn the acts of killing and siege against them, we demand that the international community put an end to the injustice and suffering to which the Palestinian people are being subjected.
As for Jerusalem, its cause is the cause of the Arab and Muslim Nation. We consider Jerusalem an occupied Palestinian city, to which United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 applies.
We believe that the spiritual and religious status of the city necessitates a solution on the basis of international legitimacy, so that this city can be a symbol of peace and a manifestation of genuine coexistence and tolerance among the followers of the three monotheistic religions.
Please allow me to end my address by expressing hope to activate co-ordination and co-operation among our countries and peoples in order to serve our common interests. Our joint action will enable us to benefit from available opportunities to build a better Muslim future, and to restore to our nation an advanced position in the modern world, so that our people can enjoy peace, stability and prosperity.
I salute you, and pray to God Almighty to render our efforts successful and to guide us to the path of good. "Allah is your Befriender, Patron, and Helper." Peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you.