Endorsement and Praise for UN General Assembly’s Declaration of 15th March as International Day to Combat Islamophobia
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and Blessing and Peace be upon our master Mohamed, the Last Messenger, on his family, on his companions, and on all those who follow him until the Day of Judgment.
As the global reference for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Member states and Muslim communities around the world in fiqh matters, the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) is delighted to endorse and warmly welcome the unanimous adoption by the UN General Assembly of a historic resolution that proclaimed March 15 of every year as the “International Day to Combat Islamophobia” which refers to the phenomenon of intimidation against Islam and Muslims.
The Secretariat General of IIFA greatly appreciates this significant resolution at this challenging stage in the history of relations between followers of different religions due to the latter’s distortion by fanatics, misinterpretation by the ignorant, and plagiarism by the unqualified.
The Secretariat General of IIFA reaffirms the critical importance of enhancing, unifying and integrating the scientific, intellectual, cultural, social and political efforts of the world’s elders, scholars, intellectuals, decision-makers and public opinion influencers in order to promote and spread a culture of dialogue, tolerance, coexistence, empathy, respect for religions and religious symbols, protection of public freedoms and human rights, and rejection of all forms of violence, extremism, intolerance and terrorism.
The Secretariat General of IIFA would like to take this opportunity to express its heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all the States, organizations and associations that supported this historic resolution passed by the UN General Assembly. The General Secretariat also expresses special gratitude to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for launching this great initiative as well as for its successful efforts and engagement of the Muslim and sisterly countries and organizations that aim at fostering peace and harmony, civilized dialogue, and constructive communication among followers of different religions ; as evidenced by their early support to the draft resolution.
The Secretariat General of IIFA also takes this opportunity to republish its Resolution n. 166/4/18, issued by the Academy’s Council at its 18th session in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on 29 Jumada al-Akhira 1428 (14 July 2007), addressing this phenomenon that has resulted to waves of hatred and hostility towards Islam and Muslims and putting pressures on Muslim communities in many countries, as a result of accumulated historical misunderstandings and fabricated media distortions, as well as Muslims’ blatant failure to convey Islam’s golden principles, noble values, ideals and tolerant and enlightened teachings.
The following is an excerpt from the above-mentioned IIFA resolution, of which we believe it has accomplished an important part:
First: The need to confront this phenomenon with a comprehensive strategy to be adopted by all the Muslim countries, international Islamic organizations, and the Islamic organizations that represent Muslims outside the Muslim world. Such a strategy should comprise well-designed mechanisms and arrangements and cover the informational, political, economic and social aspects. It should also comprise a clear media message on the Islamic religion and its underlying glorious facts, principles, and values to be disseminated through popular media and internationally influential websites.
Second: The need for consultation and coordination between the Muslim countries and the International Islamic organizations to make necessary decisions and take the required actions in response to the doubts-raising campaigns and offensive acts addressed against the Ummah and its symbols.
Third: Calling upon the international community to support the Ummah in facing this aggressive attack against Islam and Muslims; work for furthering the culture of love and solidarity between nations; discourage hatred and aggression and enhance cooperation for achieving the benefit of all humanity.
Fourth: Calling upon Muslim communities outside the Muslim world to act as messengers of peace and order and carriers of the pure message of Islam to the different countries and people of the world. They should avoid any practices that could harm the image of Islam while showing their strict commitment to its values and principles. The Academy also appeals to the Muslim countries to provide all necessary assistance to Muslim communities outside the Muslim world and enhance their knowledge about their religion and keep them aware of the developments in the Muslim world. Special organizations and institutions should be created to cater for strengthening their relationships with the rest of the Ummah.
Fifth: Identification of the writings and publications relating to this phenomenon and encouraging Muslim scholars who are well versed in the languages of these writings and publications to initiate dialogues and discussions with the proponents of this phenomenon and clarify the right picture of Islam.
Sixth: Providing advanced education and training in foreign languages to the Islamic preachers who visit non-Muslim countries in order to enhance their efforts in presenting the conceptual and practical aspects of Islam. Existing institutions of preachers’ training must be encouraged to do this job, or new institutions may be established for this purpose.
Seventh: Building the relationship with the others based on mutual respect, communicating the pure message of Islam and emphasizing, in the educational curricula, the need for mutual understanding with the other.
Along with this sobering resolution, the IIFA Council issued the following recommendations during the same session:
- Activation of clause no. (4) Paragraph (6) of the Statute of the Academy about “establishment of centers for Islamic studies in some of the central areas outside the Muslim world; cooperation with the existing research centers to promote the Academy’s objectives and monitoring the materials published about Islam and responding to any attempt of raising suspicions against it.” The proposed centers for Islamic studies should prepare rigorous studies about the West as well as a suitable strategy for dealing with the various Western countries and with all centers of power that influence Western governments and societies.
- The need for coordination with the focal point established by the Organization of the Islamic Conference for monitoring the issues of Islam in the Western media. More efforts should also be exerted, in coordination with the Academy, to correct the distorted picture of Islam currently presented through the educational systems in the West and respond to the suspicions raised against Islam.
- Organizing academic and intellectual seminars to be attended by Muslim and non-Muslim scholars to promote open dialogues, exchange of views, and enhance channels of mutual understanding and interaction.
Finally, we ask Allah to reward the leaders of the OIC Member states for their support of the UN resolution, as well as all friends of peace and security worldwide for their unwavering support for the adoption of this historic resolution.
The last of our prayer will be: All praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.
Prof. Koutoub Moustapha Sano
Secretary General of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy