Statement by H.E. Dr. Alwi Shihab Special Advisor to the President of the Republic of Indonesia on Middle East and OIC Affairs At the Third Extraordinary OIC Summit, Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 7-8 December 2005

 12/12/2005

Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim
 
Your Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud,
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,
Your Majesties, Highnesses, and Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
Assalaamu’alaikum wa-Rahmatullahi wa-Barakatuh 
 
I wish to express my delegation’s gratitude and appreciation to His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for hosting this Extraordinary OIC Summit and for the warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded to us.  
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May I also express my highest appreciation to His Excellency Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the current Chairman of the OIC, and to His Excellency Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the OIC, for the guidance they have given to our Organization
 
In the various forums of our Organization, I believe we have already done a good job of identifying the multidimensional challenges confronting the Muslim Ummah in the 21st century.
 
What we should be doing now is to take concrete action to address these challenges. That is why we have in our hands a Ten-year Plan of Action proposed for adoption by this summit.
 
It is important that we continue to support the struggle of the Palestinian people to establish a sovereign state in their own homeland. We must also support the endeavours of the Iraqi people to forge the national unity and resume their sovereignty within a democratic framework. In Southern Philippines we must support the implementation of the peace agreement.
 
We must keep on working for fulfillment of the aspirations of the Islamic Ummah in the 21st Century. This would require the enhancement of international peace and security, the establishment of a more equitable international economic order as well as our collective resolve to promote and respect human rights.
 
I believe that we can carry out these tasks more effectively if in the first place we succeed in addressing a number of grievous internal concerns of our own. In this context, we commend the work of the OIC Commission of Eminent Persons (CEP) which was mandated by the 10th OIC Summit in Putrajaya, inter alia, to prepare a strategy and a plan of action enabling the Islamic Ummah to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Indeed, we are of the view that the commission’s report is useful not only in term of assessing the multidimensional challenges confronted by the Islamic Ummah but also in terms of submitting concrete recommendations for the Third Extraordinary OIC Summit to consider, thus making possible for the Islamic world to deal more effectively with its collective predicament.
 
Furthermore, we also believe that a long journey for the betterment of the general situation of the Islamic Ummah has to start internally by putting our own house in order. Therefore, the reform and restructuring of our Organization, as proposed in the Plan of Action, is an imperative.
 
Above all, we must confront the reality that Islam today has an image problem that it does not deserve. This is partly due to the bias of the Western press and the ignorance of other societies. But it is also due to the inability of Muslims to fully act and behave like Muslims.
 
Nothing should be more democratic than a society of Muslims, for Islam is emphatic about the basic equality of all human beings. Before God the Almighty, nothing is to distinguish the virtue of all human beings except their respective taqwa. Moreover, the tradition of Islam has nothing to contradict participatory politics and good governance. Indeed, democracy is fully commensurate with the ethical and legal precepts of this great religion.
 
But the world today has the wrong impression that Islam and democracy are incompatible. That is because in many Muslim countries there is a “democracy deficit.” Lack of transparency in governance is a fact of life that needs our collective resolve for a proper rectification. Citizens, especially women, are denied their civil rights. Human rights violations are rampant.
 
The democracy deficit takes place not only in Muslim countries but also in our own Organization. We can close that gap immediately through the reform and restructuring of the OIC as proposed in the Plan of Action.
 
An even more serious concern is the way Islam, a religion of peace and compassion, has been equated with terrorism. This is largely because the terrorists themselves proclaim that they are carrying out the slaughter of innocents—including helpless women and children—in the name of Islam. They quote the Holy Quran and the Hadith to justify the atrocities that they commit. And we who know so much better have not been effective in refuting their preposterous claims.
 
We in the OIC are called upon to assume a significant role in the fight against terrorism. We must protect the lives of our citizens and shield our economies from the devastating impact of terrorist attacks. Above all, we must defend the honour of Islam so that it is not blackened by those who murder in its name.
 
In Indonesia, our police authorities have managed to bring to justice most of the perpetrators of terrorist attacks in recent years. We have established the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) to enhance regional police cooperation against terrorism. We have put the terrorists on the run. Yet we have no illusions that we will eradicate terrorism through sheer law enforcement.
 
We are relying as well on the power of dialogue. We are fostering dialogues between religious communities and empowering the moderates to speak out and expose the lies being peddled by the terrorists. We have also organized a number of regional interfaith dialogues. And recently, Muslim clerics in Indonesia have organized themselves into a task force against terrorism to enlighten the masses on the true nature of Islam and jihad.
 
In the long run, we hope to finally defeat terrorism through social enlightenment, which is the fruit of development. That is why it is so important to us in Indonesia that the OIC becomes an effective instrument for the economic development of its members. We must enhance our economic institutions and intensify our economic cooperation. Terrorism has no future in an enlightened and prosperous Ummah.
 
So much is therefore at stake in the reform of our Organization. Through reform we can empower ourselves to win the battle against terrorism, to take responsibility for our own situation, and to ensure the welfare of our future generations.
 
In the process, we restore the good name of Islam.
 
Wassalaamu’alaikum wa-Rahmatullahi wa- Barakatuh