The Fourteenth General Conference : The Truth about Islam in a Changing World
The Speech of President Muhammad Husnî Mubârak
The Speech of President Muhammad Husnî Mubârak President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
May Peace, Mercy, and the Blessings of ‘Allâh be upon you all. I would like, first of all, to welcome our honorable guests to Egypt, which appreciates your coming to participate in the Annual Conference of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs. This Conference is held this year under critical circumstances, both regional and international resulting from the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, against the United States. Such events have left an evident negative impression about Islâm in the world, due to the fact that their perpetrators are Muslims. Such accusations against Islâm clearly ignore the condemnation in the Muslim world of such atrocious acts, since they run clearly contrary to the tolerant teachings of Islâm.
For, in spite of the fact that Islâm has been unceasingly delivering its Message for mercy to all mankind for the last 14 centuries, some mass media have concentrated upon those acts committed lately by some individual Muslims. These media have tried to link, in one way or the other, terrorism to Islâm.
Such accusations ignore the real causes of such acts, resulting from deep feelings of despair and frustration emanating from political, economic and social considerations that have no bearing whatsoever on Islâm.
Thus your Conference today is a link in the sustained efforts endeavoring to present clearly and honestly the truly tolerant picture of Islâm. For Islâm is a religion calling for peace, love, positive co-existence, and fruitful co-operation among all people irrespective of differences in race, stock or culture. Such co-operation and love can exist within the framework of the realities that have dominated the relations of Muslims and other nations, irrespective of differences of creeds and religions. Some of these realities are:
First: All religions- including Islâm, are basically a call for love, peace, and goodness. So it can never that any of these religions can be a source of evil, or that religious belief should be used as a justification for violence or terrorism. Understandingly, lines of demarcation should always be drawn between the right defend legal rights for resisting the usurpation of one's land. Such a forceful usurpation runs against ail lawful creeds, with due respect for ail religions.
Second: As Islâm confirms religious and cultural plurality among all the people of the world, such plurality is taken as a driving force for acquaintance and intimacy among humans; So Islâm is never a means for confrontation or conflict, or hatred. This is clearly put forth in the following verse of the Qur'ân.
? íÇ ÂíåÇ ÇáäÇÓ ÅäÇ ÎáÞäÇßã ãä ÐßÑ æÃäËì æÌÚáäÇßã ÔÚæÈÇõ æÞÈÇÆá áÊÚÇÑÝæÇ Åä ÃßÑãßã ÚäÏ Çááå ÃÊÞÇßã Åä Çááå Úáíã ÎÈíÑ? (ÇáÍÌÑÇÊ 13)
“O you mankind, surely We created you of a male and a female, and We have made you races and tribes that you may get mutually acquainted. Surely the most honorable among you in the providence of ‘Allâh are the most pious; surely ‘Allâh is Ever- knowing, Ever Cognizant.” “Al-Hujurât, The Dwellings, 13.”
This clearly indicates that plurality is the natural way for harmony among people, interaction and co-operation among different cultures, with the purpose of enriching human living ail through the ages.
Third: Getting acquainted with each other does, peoples of different cultures and religions contributes to the fighting of ignorance of others, and the elimination of preconceived ideas about alien cultures. This is because every nation has its religious and historical heritage built on different system of inherited values and traditions, incorporating its national identity, while such a system does not necessarily go counter other identities. Such a plurality of identities should contribute to dialogues, not confrontations.
Fourth: As Islâm affirms the need for dialogue, it negates the call for confrontation between cultures, since cultures should not go into confrontations, as cultures should co-exist in fruitful co-operation, and should seek for complement, for they are all the product and contribution of the historical events resulting from the collective endeavours of all nations. This concept of cultural relations stems from our religious beliefs, for beliefs of other religions are a prerequisite for the true understanding of Islâm. Here ‘Allâh exalted be He) tells us in His Glorious Book (the Qur'ân):
“The Messenger has believed in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and the believers; every one of them has believed in ‘Allâh, and His Angels, and His Books, and His Messengers: we make no distinction as regards any of His Messengers. And they have said: We have heard, and we have obeyed. Grant us Your bounteous forgiveness, our Lord; and to You is the Destiny.” “ ‘Al-Baqarah, The Cow, 285.”
Thus, the Muslims' belief in the universality of Islâm does not mean that Muslim culture has a unique and dominant supremacy over ail other cultures either before or after it; but, at the same time, this does not mean that any other culture has any superiority over Islâm. This simply means that cultural multiplicity and variety is the natural institution in the world, and that interaction between cultures is the valid status between isolation and subordination.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Thus it is evident that true knowledge of Islâm demonstrates that it supports all beneficent efforts endeavoring for the betterment of this world, the world for us all. From the lessons of history, we have learn it that wars can never solve the problems of this world, in fact wars increase our problems. So, the only feasible means for peace is based upon dialogue, justice, and due respect for the rights of others, in case of rightful intentions for complete riddance of ail bad causes for evil plottings.
And here, we are sure that common features that provide a meeting-place for all cultures and religions count for more than the differences between them. So what is needed in this age, as well as for all ages, is a diligent search for these common features, and presenting them with all clarity for our, as well as, coming generations. In this way all nations and races all over the world would begin to consolidate work for true find peaceful cultures.
Thus, your Conference, dear brothers and sisters, assumes the special obligation of attempting to rectify the distorted image of Islâm inside and outside of the Muslim world. This would help towards achieving a close acquaintance, a better understanding, and a more fruitful co-operation among all mankind, irrespective of their religions cultures and stages of development. The only objective here would be the endeavour for peace, justice, and fraternity in the modem world.
Finally, I do hope ail success for your convention, and for felicitous stay for all our honorable guests in Cairo.
And peace, mercy, and blessings for you all!
This speech was delivered, on behalf of the President, by Dr. ‘Atif Muhammad `Ubayd, Prime Minister of Egypt.