IRNA – Islam is the religion of democracy and peace, and not war, said President Hassan Rouhani at the 13th Session of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States (PUIC) Conference here on Tuesday.
He urged the representatives of Muslim people at legislative assemblies of Islamic countries to do their utmost to help their leaders and political authorities to boost the spirit of fraternity and development-oriented unity.
‘While respecting the territorial integrity and political governance of all countries, the Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the solution to eliminate the problems of the Islamic Ummah is through the realization of empathy and cooperation among all Islamic countries’, he said.
‘We do not consider any Islamic country as our rival, and believe that we can talk and cooperate even with the countries that we disagree with, based on mutual respect,’ said Rouhani adding that the Islamic Republic of Iran defines its relationship with Islamic countries on the basis of Islamic virtues and affection.
Full text of the president’s speech follows:
In the Name of God the Most Compassionate the Most Merciful
The Almighty God says in the holy Quran, Verse 71 of Chapter 9, ‘The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.’
Your Excellency Dr. Ali Larijani the Honorable Speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran,
Honorable Speakers of Islamic Parliaments,
Distinguished Heads of Participating Delegations,
Honorable Members of the Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to express my pleasure for participating in this august meeting of the parliamentarians of the Islamic Ummah. I am delighted to welcome all the honorable guests to the Islamic Republic of Iran. I wish you all a good stay in our country and pray to the Almighty God for the success of the thirteenth session of the Parliamentary Union of OIC Member States.
Under the very critical conditions of the Muslim world, without doubt, the settlement of the majority of the problems of Islamic countries is tied to the real and fair participation of people in administering their own state of affairs. And this important issue demonstrates the role of parliaments which are in fact the symbol of the direct presence and participation of people in determining their own destiny.
In this respect, the valuable role of the Parliamentary Union of OIC Member States cannot be denied in consolidating Islamic unity and brotherhood as well as exchange of experience among the member states. Without doubt, the continuation of such meetings and conferences would have proper impacts on strengthening the spirit of brotherhood and development in the Muslim world as well as more coordination among the Muslims across the globe.
Today, the Muslim world is facing numerous challenges. The efforts of foreign powers to dominate Muslims, plundering their god-given resources, poverty, economic and social difficulties, under-development, and division among Muslims are only examples of the problems and challenges we face in the Muslim world. The solution to these problems is not reliance and dependence on foreign powers. The contemporary history teaches us that such powers are merely thinking of their own interests, that in the cost of the others. They are not seeking to alleviate the pains of the others. They resort to coercive economic and military actions including direct military intervention. They threaten others to use force. They sell destructive weapons to various countries to be used to create division and dissention among the Muslim world. They are seeking to maintain their domination and hegemony by resorting to the policy of elimination in various regions. These are examples of the continuation of the old and imperialistic actions of big powers in the present world conditions.
In order to overcome the problems and challenges ahead of us, we need to adopt an in-born approach rather than out-ward looking attitude. We should resort to our indigenous capacities and capabilities in order to remove the maladies of our societies, other than pinning our hope on the others to resolve our problems. This does not infer isolationism. Conversely, we support constructive engagement on equal footing in the Muslim world. Some sort of engagement which leaves no space for exploitation and interference in the internal affairs of the Muslim states. We firmly believe that if international relations are based on healthy interaction and international law, many of the present challenges could be eliminated.
The problem begins with some powers unwilling to establish constructive and equal relations with the others. They adopt a top-to-bottom approach towards others and seek one-way relations albeit to their own benefit. We should set aside our differences and cut our dependence on strangers with synergy and reliance on our domestic capacities and human and social assets as well as rich natural resources. We should move towards progressing prosperity and development of the Muslim world. We should firmly believe on non-alliance with strangers and more consolidation among the Muslim Ummah. Only through this, can we overcome the challenges of the Islamic world.
The Muslim world may not retain the status it merits unless Muslim nations prove their competence and qualification in enjoying and improving the governance of people so that they could gift economic prosperity for all in view of social and political security.
The first step to attain this purpose is to have a peaceful region and stable foreign relation. No country is able to develop domestically while grappling with foreign conflicts and struggles. No country is able to resolve its domestic problems through military interventions and develop its socio-economic ambitions while bombing and killing neighboring nations. Spreading violence outside borders and blaming others for domestic blunders cannot eliminate the roots of extremism and violence inside territories.
Conversely, the fight against poverty and discrimination and creating equal opportunities for citizens irrespective of gender, ethnicity and religion can uproot violence and extremism. I believe Islamic parliaments can play a significant role in this respect as forums of the representatives of people. Therefore, I recommend that member states of the PUIC try to institutionalize connectivity, exchange of views and cooperation so that parliamentarians could consult with their counterparts in other countries not only on such meetings but also in the form of regular specialized commissions to find common solutions for our problems.
Muslim countries today are in need of paying more attention to the establishment of democracy more than any other time. The western world wrongly sees no correlation between Islam and democracy and therefore allows itself to prescribe and impose new forms of colonialism on Muslim states. We as Muslims should value our great heritage in fiqh jurisprudence, Sharia and history. The establishment of religion-friendly democratic governments would result in the institutionalizing and legalizing the political and social presence of religion. It would also result in the sustainability of religious and Islamic heritage.
For us, the best model of democratic governance is the method of the governance of the holy prophet of Islam (PBUH). In the noble model of the prophet’s governance, the Messenger of God enjoys innocence and revelation and people loyal to the prophet of mercy consider his statements as divine revelation. However, the holy prophet, in the position of ruler, would consult with people and would openly listen to the questions and protests of the people. Even in the promised global governance, which is based on divine guidance and innocence, people’s participation and anticipation would guarantee its survival. We also need to open our hearts to the comments and criticisms of people and strengthen democracy through obeying divine instructions as we shoulder the duty of realizing the heritage of the prophet.
Consolidating democracy and listening to the people’s remarks is our best strategy to confront the western world. With our ballot boxes, parliamentary tribunes, our free media, press and channels we declare to the West that we don’t need your interference. Islam is the religion of democracy and peace not the religion of war. Islam has its origins in peace. Either in the Muslim world or outside of it, we should reach peace and reconciliation and resolve our problems.
The Islamic Republic of Iran respects the territorial integrity and political sovereignty of all countries. We believe that resolving the problems of the Islamic Ummah is dependent on unity and cooperation among all the Muslim states. The Islamic Republic of Iran has defined its relations with other Muslim states based on Islamic friendship and compassion. We consider no Muslim country as our competitor. We believe that we can cooperate and establish dialogue with all the Muslim countries based on mutual respect even with those with whom we have differences of opinion.
Unfortunately, some countries are taking the wrong path. They are intensifying division among the Muslim Ummah with the encouragement of the United States and the Zionist regime. In our belief, countries which wage wars and impose political and economic pressures and crises on the Muslim world, as well as countries which shed the blood of innocent people, intensify divisions and spread violence and extremism for their own survival would never want and are never in the position to befriend oppressed peoples.
This conference is being convened under circumstances in which with the help of the Almighty God, the big and destructive threat of Daesh extremism created by deviating from the divine teachings of the Islamic Sharia and a misguided interpretation of Islam has tremendously diminished. Soon enshallah we will witness the full destruction and elimination of this terrorist group and other similar groups. Since the birth of this deviated group the Islamic Republic of Iran has been on the forefront of the war against Daesh and with its considerable experience has assisted other countries to fight terrorism. We dispatched our military advisors to Iraq and Syria upon the invitation of their governments to fight against Takfiri terrorism alongside the people of those countries and prevent them from collapse. We hope that with the cooperation of all the Muslim governments extremism and radicalism would be eradicated across the Muslim world and the money and power of the Islamic Ummah be spent on the welfare and prosperity of nations instead of confronting such destructive threats.
The initiative of the Islamic Republic of Iran in mobilizing the international community in the fight against terrorism and extremism in the form of a UN resolution has been welcomed by the consensus of the international community. The World Against Violence and Extremism is a clear example of the capacities of the Muslim Ummah at the international level.
One of the main benefits of the defeat of Daesh for Muslims is that the issue of Palestine has returned to the number one political agenda of the Islamic Ummah. We believe that instability and insecurity in the Middle East should be blamed on the continuation of occupation and biased and unquestionable supports provided by the US government for the Zionist regime in depriving the oppressed people of Palestine from their basic rights including the right to establish an independent Palestinian state with the Holy Quds as its capital. It is necessary that the Muslim world continues condemning the ugly decision of the US President in moving the American embassy to the holy Quds until this decision is rescinded.
Such a decision by the US President is a blunt violation of the United Nations resolutions. Even the strategic allies of the United States in the West have criticized such a decision. This has resulted in more unity among Muslims on the issue of Quds and Palestine. The issue of Quds which in recent years had been marginalized as the result of the rise of terrorism and extremism in the region has now returned to the agenda of the Ummah. For this reason, the Zionist regime is displeased and is trying to force this issue to be forgotten as the number one priority of the Islamic world. In this respect, the United States is supporting the Zionist regime through every possible means including in the United Nations Security Council.
The new conspiracy against Palestine, Quds and the Muslim world so far has proved counterproductive. Therefore, we see the new wave of Intifada and movement by the Palestinian nation against the Zionist regime and its supporters.
I am confident that the Islamic Ummah and Muslim governments would never forget the issue of Quds as the first Qiblah of the Muslims and would emphasize on the unity of purpose. The Muslim Ummah should stop division and dissention and should cooperate to help Palestinians return to their homeland and form an independent Palestinian state in all the Palestinian territories with holy Qudsas its capital.
The critical question of the conference of PUIC is that what are the expectations under such conditions from the representatives of Muslims in the Parliaments of Islamic states? The answer is that Parliamentarians should help their political leaders strengthen the spirit of brotherhood and development-oriented unity in the Muslim world. What is significant here is that parliaments of Islamic states should correctly identify the roots and grounds of the existing problems and try to help and play a more serious role in overcoming problems with a firm determination and steadfastness.
You should make your efforts to prohibit sectarianism and division as well as war-mongering and hatred. You should help prevent selfishness and materialism as well as fanaticism and prejudice and ignorance. We should replace them with positive and constructive elements such as self-reliance, coexistence, toleration and tolerance, fraternity, unity, wisdom and rationality.
On such a way, I as the president of the I.R. of Iran, extend my hand of cooperation and assistance to all of you who are considered as leaders forming trends in your societies and ask all of you to support us in designing a better future for ourselves and future generations of the Muslim Ummah and to promote these sublime humanistic concepts. If these concepts spread in the Islamic societies, they will assist us in taking steps along the right path which is in tandem with our essence.
In conclusion, I hope that in view of the valuable teachings of the Holy Quran and the proper traditions of the holy prophet and with reliance on the valuable principle of peaceful co-existence, we would be able to take a positive step towards the expansion of peace, justice, equality, brotherhood and moderation in the Muslim world and try to focus on our principles including joint efforts, dialog and interaction to construct a world full of spirituality, dignity and welfare, free from discrimination and violence for all the peoples of the world especially the noble Muslim nations.
Wassalamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu