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SPEECH OF HIS EXCELLENCY DR. ABDULLAH BIN ABDELMOHSIN AL-TURKI

SECRETARY GENERAL --- MUSLIM WORLD LEAGUE

Your Royal Highness Prince Khalid Al-Faisal,

Governor of Makkah Al-Mukarramah Region;

His Eminence Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Bin Abdullah Al-Sheikh,

Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and President of Muslim World League’s Supreme Council

Respected brothers,

          I welcome you and supplicate Allah the Almighty to grant support to the pilgrims of the blessed House of Allah to perform their Hajj in a serene and comfortable manner. They came to perform this sacred duty vying for Allah’s pleasure and seeking His acceptance. We entreat Him to reward the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, his Crown Prince and his second Deputy Premier for their great efforts in serving the two Holy Mosques and their guests.

          This year, the Muslim World League has selected Human Rights as its topic for the 14<sup>th</sup> Makkah Conference. Its aim is to shed more light on the guidance of Islam pertaining to the rights enjoyed by individuals and groups. We want to show the extent of their compatibility with international covenants. We hope that your research papers will emphasize Islamic Sharia’s distinction and precedence in safeguarding the freedom of man and his dignity in adequate and comprehensive manners. We also anticipate that the research will highlight the origins and the foundations of these rights. Your positive contributions in underlying these values will perhaps inspire Muslim countries to think about applying Islamic Shari’a.

          It’s one of the greatest obligations of the Ummah towards its leaders.   The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a living example to this. In applying God’s Shari’a, a lot of good happened. It has led to security, stability and prosperity as well as the promotion of human rights in fairness and honesty in all circumstances.

          When we compare human efforts achieved in matters of human rights to what has been revealed in Islam, we find many similarities.

          Any legitimate right for humans included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has a precedent in Islam. However, there is a significant exception in God’s Law.  For instance, in every right enjoyed by a human being, there’s a commitment towards God. As these orders emanate from the Shari’a, they are inviolable, stable and steadfast. Therefore, a person is rewarded when he follows them, and punished if he neglects them. Rights in Islam are tied with responsibilities. In exchange of every privilege, there’s a duty.

          Elements of realism, balance and depth contributed to the superiority of Shari’a. It helped establish rights and obligations. It has been enacted to confirm cultural and moral values and to promote decency and integrity among humans.

          When one contemplates the revelation by Messengers and divine messages, one would notice a clear interest of honoring man. His rights are closely linked with the reform of individuals and communities. This would be achieved through justice, kindness and fighting discrimination and transgression: Allah says in the Qur’an:

“We sent aforetime our messengers with Clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of Right and Wrong), that men may stand forth in justice” {Sura Al-Hadeed, verse 25}

“Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion"{Sura An-Nahl, verse 90}

             Half a century since its inception, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, its application still shows some aspects of deficiencies. These were mentioned in reports published by some conferences on social development organized by the United Nations. These, have led to the call to review international covenants. People want it to be a competent guarantor of man’s dignity and not useless talk. These conventions should be a foundation for balanced social relations, steering development towards human happiness.

          Facing the call to correct the path of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Muslims should face their responsibility. They should highlight the principles and values distinguishing Islam in human rights issues. They should encourage observance of moral and spiritual aspects in social development.

           Muslims should take the initiative to revisit their rich cultural heritage of “human rights". It’s from the Book of Allah and the Sunna of the Prophet that this tradition was formulated. They should show how the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) applied this in his life. They should look into rules and regulations compiled by scholars to serve as reference for encyclopedia and periodicals dealing with the subject matter.  Their findings should serve as basic material from which Muslims should formulate Islamic vision in addressing human rights issues.  Such enterprise should be entrusted to scholars and researchers.

          Universities and Institutions of learning, research and studies in Muslim countries must have the lion’s share in this effort. They have the credentials and qualifications to do so. They should strive to include the subject of human rights among their research priorities and make it a part of their curricula and syllabus.

          The media, the powerful tool of information technology has got what it takes to reach the largest segment of society. It should play a leading role in conveying human rights culture from an Islamic point of view.

        What hurts every caring Muslim most today is how alienated many countries are from endorsing human rights as established by Islam. This religion has preserved man’s sanctity. It has been revealed to honor and protect human species.

“And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.” {Sura Al-Isra, verse 70}

And to aggrandize the sanctity of the human soul, Allah says:

“Because of that, We decreed upon the children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the world – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely” Sura Al-Maida, verse 32}

“And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right.” {Sura Al-An’am, verse 151}

          Some of the Ummah’s communities have been plagued by extremism and radicalism. These have given rise to devastating criminal acts with a tinge of terrorism and violence. Many regions around the world have become a stage where these terrible acts are played out. It's, however, unfortunate that these acts find covert or overt support. Furthermore, these crimes serve the interests of their supporters and achieve their devious goals. Together, these elements have weakened the Ummah and prevented it from conveying the true message of Islam to the world. An eternal faith that carries a sublime message and values that elevate man’s worth and preserve his dignity.

          Partisan and sectarian fervor is another bane weakening the nation and harming its reputation. It is a breeding ground for frictions raging within the innards of the Ummah. It’s also a risk that is jeopardizing its security and stability.

          On the international level, it seems there are flaws and lack of comprehensive justice in applying these rights. Add to that double standard dealings. All this is done for unselfish considerations, interests and religious and cultural intolerance.

          Nothing is clearer for this subterfuge than Muslim causes. Such are in the cases of Myanmar, Palestine and Syria.

          People shouldn’t waste time supporting the oppressed and weak. They must stand assertively and objectively in advocating the justice to, the right and the respect of human race. Failure to do so, international and humanitarian and other organizations implementing these orders will certainly lose credibility, and many will be disillusioned.

          Finally, the Muslim World League extends its thanks to the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, to the Crown Prince HRH Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, to the second Deputy Premier HRH Prince Muqrin Bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud for their continuous support to the MWL’s activities and events.

          Thanks are also due to HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, Governor of Makkah Region for his efforts and support to the Rabita, and for gracing our conference on behalf of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques.

          Our thanks go to His eminence Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Bin Abdullah Al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and President of the Muslim World League’s Supreme Council for his efforts and keenness to fulfill the Rabita’s   goals.

          We would like to thank their Excellencies and Eminences participants in this conference for their cooperation. And thanks are also due to all the brothers taking part in this event as well as the organizers; and thanks and appreciation to the media people for their cooperation.

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