Statement by H.E. Dr. Hassan Wirajuda
Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia
At the Plenary Session I of the International Conference of
Islamic Leaders for Reconciliation in Iraq
Bogor, 3 April 2007
Assalaamu’alaikum wa-Rahmatullahi wa-Barokatuh
Let us praise and thank Allah SWT for by His mercy and grace we are able to gather at this Conference.
I would like to convey the sincere gratitude and appreciation of the Government of Indonesia to Excellencies Ministers and revered Muslim leaders and delegates from Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and my own country Indonesia for taking time to attend this Conference.
Indonesia is honored to host this event, which has assumed even greater significance in the light of current events in Iraq. We have sought to host this Conference out of a deep concern for the fate of the Iraqi nation. All of us in the Muslim world, and indeed all of us who love peace, are in a state of anxiety at the fratricidal violence taking place today in Iraq.
We have come to recognize that Iraq’s hope for lasting peace can never be founded on military intervention or economic incentives alone. There must be true reconciliation among the factions now inflicting death and injury on each other in Iraq. There must be a restoration of their pristine mutual respect, trust and goodwill.
That was primarily what my President, H.E. Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, had in mind when he proposed a “triple track solution” to the problem of Iraq. The solution begins with the launching of a process of reconciliation. And that solution can only be completed if the process of reconciliation is sustained and eventually succeeds on a long-term basis.
Reconciliation in Iraq may be difficult because so much blood has been shed. But there is so much common ground between the factions involved in the conflict and their differences—especially in religious ideology—are not that significant. As Muslims we all bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His Prophet. We uphold the same Pillars of Islam.
Given our shared adherence to these essentials, nothing should divide the Muslims of Iraq in a way that calls for bloodshed. Nothing should stop them from reaching out to each other in the spirit of brotherhood. And no difficulty, no challenge should stop us from helping them achieve that all-important reconciliation.
In that spirit, initiatives have been taken by concerned countries and international organizations as well as the Government of Iraq to help bring about national reconciliation.
These efforts have produced a number of important references, such as the Joint Communiqué of the Cairo Preliminary Conference on Reconciliation in Iraq, held under the auspices of the League of Arab States in November 2005.
There is the Mecca Declaration adopted in October 2006 by a gathering of 50 Iraqi Muslim scholars representing the country’s Sunni and Shi’ite communities. On that occasion the Muslim scholars issued a fatwa that any Muslim attacking a fellow Muslim commits a grave sin.
The Doha Conference of Islamic schools of thought, held in (month and year) concluded with a similar affirmation and appealed to all followers of all Islamic schools to respect one another’s beliefs and sanctities.
The same essential message came out of the Baghdad meeting held just last month, marking a new phase in the movement toward national reconciliation in Iraq.
This International Conference of Islamic Leaders for the Reconciliation of Iraq will draw from the insights of the meetings in Cairo, Mecca, Doha and Baghdad. We no longer need to highlight the differences between the Islamic schools of thought as these have been thoroughly discussed in these previous meetings. This Conference will concentrate on the promotion of positive engagements to build harmony, and mutual understanding and trust among different parts of the Muslim community.
By focusing on ways and means to achieve a genuine national reconciliation among the Iraqi people, we help build bridges of peace (salam), freedom (hurriyah), moderation (tawassut), balance (tawazun), tolerance (tasamuh), and justice (adalah) in the spirit of Rahmatan lil Alamin. Thus we project Islam as truly a religion of peace.
That is why we have chosen as the theme of this Conference: “Towards a genuine reconciliation in Iraq: Opportunities and Challenges“. Given this theme, we will explore two crucial topics: first, best practices and lessons learned in the management of differences at the state and community levels and, second, opportunities for and challenges to a genuine reconciliation in Iraq.
After a thorough discussion of these two crucial topics, we should be able to formulate concrete recommendations that will be reflected in a declaration that will serve as the main output of this Conference.
Such a declaration will affirm the truth that Islam is a religion of peace, acknowledge the achievements of previous initiatives and highlight salient points agreed on in the Conference. It is essential that this declaration be action oriented. This means that it should identify future activities aimed at attaining national reconciliation in Iraq. We will have the whole day tomorrow to achieve these purposes.
Let us all work hard together, applying ourselves to this worthy task of building bridges of peace, by relieving tensions, banishing fears, healing wounds and reaching out to one another in a common effort to realize our hopes.
The quest for peace is never easy. It requires more than symbols. It demands firm commitment, patience and perseverance and a constant striving for mutual understanding and reconciliation.
But the hunger for peace cannot be denied. That is why we are here today to add to the world’s supply of peace so that eventually we will be able to help the Iraqi people achieve peace through national reconciliation. In this endeavour, let us seek the help and blessing of Allah SWT. Let us pray for His guidance and counsel so that this Conference will be fruitful and crowned with success.
I thank you.
Wa-assalaamu’alaikum wa-Rahmatullahi wa-Barakotuh.