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Inauguration of the Conference on "Civilizational Interaction between the Muslim world and United States of America" in New York in the presence of representatives of 56 countries
The International Conference organized by the Muslim World League on "Civilizational Interaction between the United States of America and the Muslim World" was inaugurated in New York City with the participation of the United Nations, with 450 scholars and intellectuals representing 56 countries and major Islamic and American intellectual and cultural institutions.
The opening ceremony was attended by the Secretary General of the Muslim World League H.E. Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Ibn Abdulkarim Alissa, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation H.E. Dr. Yusuf Ibn Ahmad Alothaimeen, the General President of the Presidency of the Affairs of the Holy Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque H.E. Dr. Abdulrahman Ibn Abdul Aziz Alsudais, the Chairman of the Forum for the Promotion of Peace in Muslim Communities H.E. Shaikh Abdullah Ibn Bayah, the Chairman of the General Authority for Endowments and Islamic Affairs in the United Arab Emirates H.E. Dr. Mohammed Ibn Matar Al kaabi, the Undersecretary of Al-Azhar in Egypt H.E. Dr. Abbas Shoman, the Secretary General of the World Council of Religious Leaders H.E. Dr. Bawa Jain and Secretary General of the World Conference of Religions for Peace Council (WCRP) H.E. William Vendley, and Ambassador of United States of America for Religious Freedom Ms Susan Cook.
H.E. Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Alissa delivered a speech at the opening ceremony in which he said: "The civilizational interaction between the Muslim World and the United States of America has a long and extended history of exchange and cooperation in the humanitarian, knowledge, economic and political fields". He also said," This distinctive civilizational relationship revealed two things ; the first is the grave error of the clash of civilizations theory which is based on sheer stirring of hatred, racism, and sectarianism. The second is the installation of illusionary barriers that might have been in some of their presentation very sharp even on the common denominators and the human and knowledge exchange. This is seen as a danger that is heading for an essential degradation of the human intellect in the context of its departure from the serious thinking as such departure is considered completely far away from the concepts of civilization, because it rejected the other with the motives of pessimism, hatred or misconception.
His Excellency added that this tendency will lead ignoring the various possible options that gather and please people, and promote rapprochement among them. This cultural co-existence does not necessarily mean that everyone of us should be convinced with the opinion of the other, but what is significant is our comprehension of the Creator's law in difference and diversity, Furthermore, it is essential to co-exist and cooperate in the light of this comprehension not only to serve the mutual interests , but also all humanity, to enhance social peace and intellectual security, to deter and defeat evil, to inculcate in the people's minds the concepts of righteousness, charity, justice and legitimate freedoms and deal with all people without any religious, sectarian, ethnic, political, or intellectual or discrimination or the other .
His Excellency emphasized that explained that the leaders of terrorist extremism have confirmed that they intellectually meet with some of their enemies (those who represent counter-extremism) about a single thing, which centers on the conviction and promotion of each of one of them for this theory that promotes the dispute and clash among humanity members, whether for religious, sectarian, ideological or cultural considerations. However, this intellectual risk stems from the rejection of those professing it for the idea that there should be more than one opinion or conviction on our planet. Likewise, some perhaps take the risk and call for the support of only one race and exclude with any available exclusion methods. However, this is undoubtedly an intellectual disaster which is anticipated to subsequently lead to a humanitarian one.
His Excellency pointed out that this imbalance in the function of awareness and thinking caused humanity many tragedies, noting that the Muslim World League, among the tasks it discharges, is a global humanitarian mission in which it calls for interaction, understanding and rapprochement to serve the mutual interests and humanity as a whole. This should also be coupled with the enhancing the awareness that difference and diversity are heavenly laws for which we employ the thought and understanding that Allah (God) has granted us to help us specify the right we want in any field, provided that we don't cohere others to accept our view. Therefore, unless we believe in this divine law, humanity will be in constant conflict because there cannot be a single opinion on our planet.
At the conclusion of his speech His Excellency said," The events of history, which witnessed terrifying disasters of the conflict, must indeed be an inviting factor for the theory of convergence, interaction and cooperation, and even an the Alliance of Civilizations, not a clash of civilizations, as portrayed by the intellectual imbalance, which ended , with its very erroneous analysis for these disasters, to a pessimistic understanding to what the logic of awareness, insight and correct treatment must be.
For his part, H.E. Dr. Yousif Al-Othaimeen said in address," ' speech that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation believes that dialogue can play a significant role in enhancing mutual respect and understanding among peoples; and that the establishment of a culture of peaceful coexistence will serve equally the United States and the Muslim World, emphasizing that enhancing close association link among nations protects them against hatred and discrimination.
His Excellency also called on those concerned to address Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia through the adoption of a comprehensive approach to dialogue between USA and Islamic peoples, stressing the importance of focusing on the common factors between the two nations to establish a mutually beneficial dialogue.
HE Sheikh Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais delivered a speech in which he underlined stressed that the common human origin of the people calls on them to distance themselves from the distinction between them and to incline to establish peace and dialogue.
In his speech, His Excellency addressed the types of interaction among the nations and their role in strengthening relations between people. He confirmed the pioneering role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's leadership in the field of civilizational interaction. He called for the dissemination of this culture in all countries, thus enhancing the values of justice and equality among human beings.
His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais stressed the need to activate the role of encouraging to inhabit earth channels aimeand the spread of good; and in return face the advocates of extremism and terrorism who embrace deviant ideology using scientifically approved and acceptable convincing methods.
H.E. the Secretary-General of the World Council of Religious Leaders of the United Nations Dr. Bawa Jain delivered a speech in which he expressed his thanks to the Muslim World League and those in charge of its activities and tasks for their success in holding such an important conference. He pointed out that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is considered a country which is concerned more than any other country in displaying keenness for the interest of Muslims in different parts of the world.
H.E. Dr. Jain noted that Muslims population in the United States will exceed 50 million by 2050, and the two sides share their fears and concerns between each other in order to enough to overcome all hindrances that impede development in the world. He also urged that people should move from the stage of accepting the other to that of respecting the other., indicating that it is essential to effectively participate American Muslims in public life and various civic activities, addressing American Muslims in particular to be patriotic and committed to the observation of the interests of their own country and their compatriots ( citizens).
On his part, H.E. Secretary of the World Conference for Religions for Peace (WCRP), Dr. William F. Vendley, applauded the efforts of the Muslim World League. In this connection, he specifically said: "The cooperation between the World Conference for Religions for Peace and the Muslim World League makes me feel proud of such a close relationship between the two institutions. I sincerely cherish the hope that due coordination among all concerned parties will continue for establishing peace in the world.
He pointed out that the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world stems from the desire of both sides to provide assistance to all members of the human family. He stressed the importance of the role played by the pristine principles as common values between the Muslim and American nations; indicating that great civilizations don't stem only from great religions; and this constitutes the greatest denominator between the United States and the Muslim world.
He also expressed his confidence that the call to do good in Islam and Christianity is capable of strengthening ties between USA and the Muslim countries. He pointed out that the solidarity of the two nations against what harms them does give them due guarantee that is necessary to defeat the forces of evil and spread peace, in addition to . Likewise, he said that continuing dialogue between the two sides is anticipated to dispel fears and misunderstanding and create some sort of compromise as long as the two sides have good intention and work sincerely.
In his speech, H.E. Dr. David Nasr highlighted the importance of the integration into the new societies; and the active role that inter-regional projects can play in cementing relations between the United States and the Muslim world, together with the necessity of having strong will for achieving goals and abandoning despair and defeatism.
On his part, H.E, Dr. Mohammed bin Matar Al Kaabi stressed the importance of exchanging views and experiences on positive and effective interaction between the United States and the Muslim world. He drew the attention that the research on ways for enhancing dialogue between the two nations continues at all levels, especially after the Arab Islamic American Summit hosted by Riyadh last Shaban1438H (August 2017) .
He added that the peoples of the Muslim world believe that the civilizational interaction with the United States of America must be based on the common values of the principles of Islamic civilization and the best values of the American Constitution, which desecrates freedom, establishes democracy, enforces law and respects human rights. On this particular principle, the relations between USA and GCC States have been founded on solid bases of shared values, cultural integration, interdependence of common interests and cooperation in all issues at the regional and international levels.
H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al-Kaabi pointed out that the sectarian, ethnic and religious conflicts witnessed by the world today constitute a real threat to this civilizational interaction, and requires that the leaders of thought, ideology, decision makers, clergy and religious scholars to hasten to take decisive action to confront these serious challenges to promote dialogue and disseminate the values of love instead of war, replace the culture of tolerance and coexistence with enmity and hatred, and establish the principles of justice and peace in lieu of injustice and tyranny.
He drew the attention to the fact that pointed out that the leaders of the United States and Arab and Islamic countries agreed to build a close partnership to confront extremism and terrorism and to achieve peace, stability and development regionally and internationally. He said that they also affirmed their firm commitment to combating terrorism all its forms, addressing its ideological roots and drying-up its sources of funding, promoting coexistence and cooperation among peoples, as well as securing safe and stable environment. He underlined that the leaders sought to establish a strategic partnership between USA and the Muslim world to coordinate positions and visions, as well as enhance scientific construction, knowledge exchange, research cooperation and capacity-building in all areas to reach the best results.
He added that religious institutions that represent moderation in the Muslim world, have made great efforts in enhancing civilization interaction. These include organizations such as the Muslim World League, which calls everyone at the conference to strive to correct the religious concepts that the extremists have distorted and taken them as a cover for their criminal and terrorist practices. He concluded his speech by stressing that everyone is called upon to confront extremism and extremism in all its forms.
In a similar speech, H. E. Shaikh Abdullah Ibn Bayah praised the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in promoting peace between peoples and serving as seat country for the headquarters of the Muslim World League in Holy Makkah. He pointed out that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia upholds all human and religious values and is worthy of leading the Muslim world for such meetings and conferences. He confirmed the significance of the Conference, which comes at a critical time in which the world faces existential dangers threatening the end of the human march, as this is the first time in history that a man possesses weapons with which he can destroy the entire planet.
H.E. Sheikh Ibn Bayah said, "The efforts made by the Muslim World League contribute greatly to the promotion of dialogue, acquaintance and cooperation, and that the said League always takes the initiative in opening the horizon of dialogue," describing the said League as a renowned body and represents a platform for dialogue and a forum for exchange of ideas among Muslims.
H.E. Sheikh Ibn Bayah spoke about the American Islamic relations, pointing out that they are based on the four common human values of mercy, wisdom, interest and justice, which represent the essence of human coexistence, stressing that all these values are consistent with USA Constitution.
H.E. Dr. Shoman discussed in his address the importance of the conference on "Civilizational Interaction between the United States of America and the Muslim World". He says, "the Event, which comes in difficult circumstances that afflict the Muslim world and other regions, to emphasizes the significance of this interaction ; and that we have to be aware that no salvation except with adoption of the culture of peace instead of a culture of war and oppression that has proved throughout the ages it had failed to resolve any conflict or that achieve conflict lasting gains for whoever uses it irrespective of its power.
Dr. Abbas Shoman said: "The serious joint work between Muslims and the United States of America can do a lot for the whole world, pointing out that if we want to do so, we must convince our Muslims and others that our orientation is honest and that we work together for the benefit of humanity and achieving reconnaissance , away from political attractions.
He pointed out that the civilization interaction among Muslims and followers of other religions dates back to the early time of Islam, when Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing be upon him) sent a number of his envoys to the Kings of the Persian Empire , the Roman Empire, the Abyssinia Empire, Egypt and Yemen. He said that this civilizational interaction between Muslims and others in the following eras continued successively through the benefits other civilizations gained from Islam.
He added that all civilizations do not deny the efforts and contributions of prominent earlier Muslim scientists, the most significant of whom were Ibn al-Haytham, Abasina and Ibn al-Baitar and especially Abbas Ibn Firnas, whose early and pioneering experience in flying benefited other civilizations. He noted that the Islamic civilization, in turn , benefited from different cultures, an act that culminated in the Abbasid era where the House of Wisdom in Baghdad (Baitul Hikma) was established and in addition to the flourishing of translation active the movement.
Finally he pointed out that the Islamic religion has taught us that the difference in religion or belief should not be a cause of conflict or discord, and that all people in their relations with each other there are communalities that they should be utilized. He quoted the early openness of Islam towards non-Muslims, which was represented in the help sought by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him), during his migration from Mekkah Al-Mukarramah to Madinah, from a non-Muslim, hence giving Muslims in this age a lesson on seeking help from non-Muslim.