The Fourteenth General Conference : The Truth about Islam in a Changing World
Prof. Dr. Abdul Sabūr Marzouq General Reporter of the Conference
Proceeding from the role of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Al-Azhar al-Sharīf, combined with historic responsibilities towards Islam and Muslims, the Egyptian Ministry of Awqāf called for convening in Cairo of the 14th Conference of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs entitled:
"The Truth about Islam in a Changing World" Cairo from 8-11 Rabie Al-Awwal, 1423H 20-23rd May 2002
Under the auspices of President Muhammad Husnī Mubārak of the Arab Republic of Egypt And the Honorary Presidency of His Eminence the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar Dr. Muhammad Sayyid Tantāwī. Professor Dr. Mahmūd Hamdī Zakzouk, Minister of Awqāf and Head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs chaired the Conference. Representatives of the following Islamic States and Organizations Participating:
The Conference proper was chaired by Dr. Mahmūd Hamdī Zakzouk Minister of Awqāf and current Chairman of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
The representatives of the following States and Islamic organizations and bodies also attended:
First: Arab Countries
1. Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan
2. United Arab Emirates
6. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
10. Sultanate of Oman
16. Kingdom of Morocco
Second: African Countries
4. Burkina Faso
6. South Africa
9. Democratic Republic of Congo
Third: Asian Countries
4. Brunei (Dar-us-Salam)
Fourth: European Countries
4. United Kingdom
Fifth: American Countries
5. United States of America
Seventh: International Islamic Associations and Organization
1. The League of Arab States.
2. Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Association.
3. World Islamic Council for Da'wa and Relief
4. League of Islamic Universities.
5. Mecca- Based Islamic World League.
The Conference was inaugurated by the speech of Egypt's President H.E.
Muhammad Husnī Mubarak, delivered on his behalf by Prime Minister Dr. Atif `Ubayd.
Addressing the inaugural session were His Eminence the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar Professor Dr. Muhammad Sayyid Tantāwī, His Eminence Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Shenouda III, Minister of Awqāf Professor Dr. Mahmūd Hamdī Zakzouk Chairman of the Conference and Professor Dr. Abdul Sabūr Marzouq, General Reporter of the Conference.
Speaking on behalf of participating delegates was Dr. Abdullāh Ibn Abdel Mohsen Al-Turki, Secretary General of Mecca- based Islamic World League.
The Conference decided to consider the speech of H.E. President Muhammad Husnī Mubārak as the official document in recognition of the guidelines therein contained.
The proceedings of the Conference lasted four days. There were morning and evening sessions in which 62 researches in Arabic, English and French were presented and discussed by the participants. Discussions focused on four topics:
The First Topic: The Reality of Islām.
The Second Topic: The Relationship with the Other.
The Third Topic: A Futuristic Perspective.
The Conference set up a Drafting Committee to formulate its recommendations. The Committee was chaired by Dr. Sōfi Abou Tāleb and two members from the participating delegations. It was entrusted to draw up draft recommendations incorporated in the researches presented and conclusions deduced from debates and discussions as well as workshops in which a number of Ulamas and Muslim and non- Muslim thinkers participated.
The Committee offered the following draft recommendations:
1. The Conference affirms the specifity of the Islamic values and traditions and their basic reservations versus trends of globalization.
2. The Conference recommends that scientific, intellectual, cultural and media institutions inside and outside the Islamic countries promptly undertake to highlight the sound information about Islam and its teachings, and to announce its reality in the sense that transmits its Da'waa, reinforces its evidence and refutes suspicions, with particular emphasis on the following facts:
a) Islām's insistence on the necessity of integrating the spiritual and materialistic aspects of human life.
b) Islām's respect of man in his capacity as being entrusted by Allāh with the process of populating the universe regardless of his race, color or creed. This trust is applicable to man alive or dead.
c) Islām's unique insistence on accepting plurality, diversity and disparity of denominations, laws, languages, color, and race as among, inter - alia, divine laws of Allāh.
d) Islām explicitly demonstrates affirmative freedom of faith and indisputably underscores non-compulsion as far as religion is concerned. This renders freedom a fundamental element validating the Muslim belief.
e) Islām's acknowledgement, ever since its rise, of the basic human rights, be they religious, political, social or economic.
The Conference, thus appeals to Islamic nations, to remain committed, in their observation of human rights, to Islamic stipulations.
f) Assertion that the Da'waa (call) for Islam should be propagated according to Qur'ān wording with due tolerance, benevolent preaching and peaceful arguments.
3. Islām's adoption of the principle of equality between Muslims and non- Muslims in rights and duties in accordance with the rule of "they have what we have, and are obligated the same as we are", besides the enforcement of non- Muslims' respective laws governing their religions and denominations as regards personal status affairs.
4. The Conference appeals to non- Muslim countries to allow Muslim minorities to exercise rights and duties articulated in International charters and to give perform their Islamic duties concerning matters of personal status in a manner that is not contrast with the State's laws.
5. The Conference stresses that international legality insists on the rights of all peoples in occupied territories to have recourse to all means and ways to liberate their lands, decide their fate and regain their independence. Further, this legality exhorts the international community to ensure provisioning of material and moral support to national liberation movements.
6. The Conference rejects all attempts aimed at equating terrorism with peoples' legitimate right to self-determination and struggle liberate their lands.
7. The Conference hopes that all causes leading to disagreement among certain Arab states will be eliminated in a bid to enhancing the Muslim Ummah's spiritual and material capabilities in face of challenges confronting them.
8. The Conference reaffirms Islam's established stance that dialogue is the basis for good relations between countries, peoples, civilizations and religions in order to establish the pillars of security, stability and peace. Hence, the Conference rejects all attempts at the adopting the concept of conflict of civilizations as a launching pad for campaigns against Islām and Muslims.
9. The Conference reaffirms the necessity to organize workshops with non- Muslim scholars from different countries of the world, since such workshops held during this Conference proved their effectiveness in enabling each party to get to know the opinion of the other and rectify certain concepts and clarify other ambiguous ideas. The Conference recommends the formation of a working group composed of Ulamas who are competent in foreign languages to continue discussions in such workshops internally and externally.
10. In order to ensure that dialogue among religions and civilizations is effective and fruitful, the Conference recommends that information on Islām about in school books in Western countries be compatible with actual facts.
11. The Conference urges countries, peoples, scientists and intellectuals worldwide to coordinate, and endeavour to reactivate the principles and bases endorsed by International legitimacy and to be applied by all countries.
12. The Conference urges India and Pakistan to settle their dispute by peaceful means through dialogue in order to maintain their neighborly relations that will guarantee security and peace in the region and serve the interests of their peoples.
13. The Conference recommends the creation of an Islamic satellite channel to explain the truths of Islām in foreign languages to Western peoples and Islamic communities in foreign countries.
14. The Conference reiterates its statement declared in the l3th General about the Palestinian issue in terms of support of the Palestinian Intifāda in face of aggression. The participants assert that Intifāda is but the legitimate right to self- defense and self- determination, and call upon all Muslim peoples to extend every possible support to the Intifāda until the cessation of aggression and achievement of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state with Al- Quds Al Sharīf as its capital.
The participants urge Muslim governments and Islamic and International organizations to resist all attempts of genocide and displacement perpetrated against the militant Palestinian people, as well as flagrant violations committed against Islamic and Christian sanctities in the occupied Palestinian territories in contravention of UN Charter and international conventions and instruments protecting the rights of peoples under occupation. They call upon all active agencies in the world as well as the United Nations to seek, without delay, appropriate ways and means to protect the unarmed Palestinian people from such threats.