57CHR

STATEMENT OF

HIS EXCELLENCY DR. ABDELOUAHED BELKEZIZ, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE AT THE SEVENTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF MINSTERS OF WAQFS

KUALA LUMPUR, 6-9 MAY 2002

Your Excellency Dato Abdul Hameed bin Haj Zain-ul A’bideen, Minister of Religious Affairs,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Mr. Chairman,

Assalamu alikum

I am pleased to be provided with this opportunity to participate in your deliberations as you meet in a new session of the Islamic Conference of Ministers of Waqfs and Islamic Affairs. I would like to reiterate to you the great importance attached by the Organization of the Islamic Conference to your activities in the fields of waqfs and dawa, as both fields deserve much and constant care and encouragement.

I am also gratified to express my sincere thanks to the government of Malaysia for its kind hosting of this session. At the same time, I express my deep appreciation to HE Dato Seri Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, for the constant and continued attention he accords to the causes of Islam and Muslims, the support he extends to the joint Islamic action in general, his patronage of the OIC, follow-up of its activities in particular and for devoting much of his time and wise thinking for its affairs. For all that we pay tribute to him.

I also express my thanks to the head of the delegation of the Republic of Indonesia, Chairman of the previous session of the Conference, for the good efforts exerted by his country for the success of the said session.

Excellencies,

Islamic waqf institutions have, throughout the centuries, carried out lofty activities for Muslims in all Islamic states. In addition, they made an effective contribution to social, economic, educational and health-related projects therein. With their efficient performance, they proved their merit in undertaking many philanthropic activities. This leads us to take special interest in them, urge for supporting their durable message, improve their working conditions, and develop their mechanisms and means of work in a manner that would be greatly beneficial to the Muslim Ummah. I also deem it incumbent upon us to protect the waqf institutions in the areas of legislative and administrative texts, provide with the opportunity to grow, and encourage NGO’s participation in their programmes in order to broaden the scope of their activities.

At the level of dawa, it is our view that it represents another matter that deserves due attention and care. It is heartening that this meeting of yours gathers a select cream of scholars to whom the task of undertaking dawah to the true religion of Allah has been, rightfully, entrusted. With the help of Allah, they will undertake their sacred duty in the best of manners.

This, however, should not prevent me from publicly pointing out the numerous campaigns waged in the West in particular against Islam in an attempt to undermine its sacredness, distort its noble objectives and associate it with the phenomena of international terrorism. This caused a great deal of difficulties and unjust harassment to our Muslim brothers in the countries of emigration.

Therefore, we at the OIC look forward to the adoption of programmes for dawa activities that will take into consideration such fierce campaigns against our true faith, and live up to the level of coping with the mentality of our age. These programmes should use modern approaches of persuasion. They must also be oriented towards refutation of misleading fabrications spread by enemies of Islam. It is also our hope that vibrant energetic scholars capable of acting in various fields will be mobilized to explain the Islamic causes and in international media in a sound and convincing manner. To achieve this, they may adopt scholarly and field studies that would take into consideration the way of thinking, culture and traditions of the societies in which dawa makers carry out their work. They should use wisdom, good preaching and leniency.

Excellencies,

The greatest danger facing the Muslim Ummah in the beginning of this new century A.D. is the brutal Israeli campaign against the Palestinian people, land and holy shrines of Islam in Palestine which have come under the threat of destruction or Judaization. All of you have seen the kind of injustice directed against the Palestinian people who demand not but to live freely on their homeland like other peoples of the world. The appalling massacres committed during the recent Israeli invasion of the Palestinian territories and the destruction carried out by Israeli troops therein, which targeted public utilities and infrastructures, refugee camps, houses of civilians, stand out as an evidence of the criminal mentality that steers the ruling establishment in Israel. This establishment persists in its tyranny depending on the unconditional American support which provided Israel with protection and the strength to challenge the will of international community, renunciation of Security Council and international resolutions.

We must acknowledge that the divisions of the Ummah, its preoccupation with internal disputes and the disintegration of its ranks, have provided Israel with favourable environment to proceed with its challenges undeterred. It is our sincere hope that our Ummah will realize the evil directed against it at the level the Israeli danger, or at the level of the campaigns of defamation directed against Islam and associating it with terrorism as I have mentioned earlier on.

I believe that it is now one of our most important duties as Muslims, in leadership and executive positions, to head towards the unification of our ranks, hearts and actions in order to check these imminent dangers. For this purpose, we should be guided by the historical Makkah Declaration in terms of the adoption of a sound approach, adherence to the true principles of Islam in order to combine our efforts and regain our power so as to be able to raise high the banner of our faith, liberate our holy shrines and restore our usurped rights.

In conclusion, I am glad to reaffirm to your august gathering the support of the OIC to your successful efforts, and its full preparedness to cooperate with your conference in every aspect that would promote the Islamic joint action, strengthen Islamic solidarity and leads to the realization of the goals to which all Muslim nations aspire.

"And let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity".

Wasslamu alaikum wa-Rahmatullahi wa-Barakatuh.

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