OIC Governmental Group of Experts Formulates Two Draft Universal Documents on Dialogue among CivilizationsDr. Laraki: Success of the Islamic Ummah in Bringing Together Contemporary Nations

OIC Press Release

5 February 2000

OIC Governmental Group of Experts Formulates Two Draft Universal Documents on Dialogue among Civilizations

Dr. Laraki: Success of the Islamic Ummah in Bringing Together Contemporary Nations

In the current preparations for the Islamic participation in the (2001 dialogue), the year designated by the UN as the Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations, an OIC intergovernmental group of experts started its meetings on Saturday 29 Shawal 1420H (5/2/2000) in order to draft two universal documents representing the Islamic conception of the Dialogue Among Contemporary Civilizations. The aim is to contribute to the elaboration of a Universal Declaration on Dialogue amsong Civilizations which is expected to be adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2001.

The OIC Secretary General Dr. Azeddine Laraki delivered a speech at the opening of the meeting in which he reminded the participants of the basis and the principles defined by the Islamic Symposium On Dialogue Among Civilizations, hosted by Tehran in May 1999, and previously by the preparatory action group which had been convened at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah in June 1998, during which it was agreed to avoid involvement in discussing doctrinal differences or marginal details which have been prejudicial to the Islamic World and its unity. It was agreed to focus on projecting the genuine and tolerant image of Islam based on the totality of agreed fundamentals such as civilization, culture, renunciation of violence, except in self-defence, cooperation among peoples, respect for the freedom of belief, recognition of cultural diversity, etc., considered to be rich sources for modern principles relating to the spreading of international peace and security, respect for the sovereignty of States, the right of peoples to self-determination, protection of human rights and security against violence and terrorism.

Dr. Laraki emphasized that the idea of dialogue — and not conflict or clash — among civilizations has taken significant steps recently and realized great progress in international fora. This has prompted the UN to adopt this pioneering idea, being convinced that dialogue is the only way to achieve rapprochement among these civilizations, and hence contribute to the prevalence of tolerance and understanding between them, and combat bias and extremism aimed at establishing peace in different parts of the world.

The Secretary General has pointed out that the call for dialogue, was met in the beginning with strong opposition from different quarters, especially dialogue with the Islamic civilization, with the pretext that the latter is unable to keep abreast of the age; failure to adopt modernity; the unjust accusation of being stagnant; being inherently violent and prone to hegemony and control. He pointed out that this is not something new to the Islamic Ummah which faced, following the occupation of most of its countries, to attacks by the West on its cultural value and originality of its civilization.

His Excellency went on to say, “conducting dialogue with contemporary civilizations has become a necessity due to deep developments and transformations experienced by human societies at the present time. Dialogue will enable these civilizations to be formed about Islamic civilization and culture. It will allow us, also, to remove all unfounded distortions and deviations attached to our civilizations”. He expressed conviction that broaching this subject under umbrella will strengthen the position of the diverse cultures in the world and safeguard their specificity vis-a-vis globalization which seeks to impose a certain cultural pattern on the whole world.

In conclusion the OIC Secretary General draw the attention of the participants that the eyes of the Islamic world and the outside world are focusing on them, proceeding from the fact that these two documents represent the first initiative by the Islamic world to call on all world civilizations to agree on a term of reference for international conduct in the near future to replace negative practices that promote blind force violence, warfare and racism as the stepping-stones for the philosophies of the balance of power, the dreadful unclear arms race, spheres of influence, economic hegemony and blackmails. He stated, “It is no exaggeration to say that the success of the Islamic Ummah’s call to contemporary nations to agree on a common stand, based on justice and joint cooperation, world, if it succeeded, create a new international reality, that opens for the human race great hopes for a brighter future, and reminds this ancient nation of its real mission and great achievements throughout its glorious history”.

Then the meeting elected the members of its Bureau as follows:

- Chairman: Islamic Republic of Iran

- Vice-Chairmen: Burkina Faso, State of Qatar

- Rapporteur: Malaysia.

The participants then proceeded to discuss the agenda which included:

- Resolution of the 26th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Ouagadougou.

- Tehran Declaration On Dialogue Among civilizations issued in 5 May 1999.

- Resolution of the UN General Assembly dated 16/11/1998 on designating the year 2001 as the Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations.

In addition to working papers submitted by States participating in elaborating the draft of the two universal documents on dialogue among civilizations.

It is worth recalling that proceeding from a resolution of the Twenty-sixth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers as well as that of the Eighth Islamic Summit, the OIC Secretary General constituted a focal point at the General Secretariat chaired by the Assistant Secretary General for Cultural and Social Affairs and Information, Ambassador Ibrahim Auf, aimed at Coordinating with the UN General Secretariat and UNESCO as regards submitting the draft of the two universal documents as working papers on (Global Agenda For Dialogue Among Civilization) and (an Implementing 10-year Work Programme) in order to achieve international consensus allowing the UN General Assembly to adopt them, either in an extraordinary session or during the regular 56th Session which will be held in 2001.