4-6 JANUARY 2003



Your Excellency the Chairman of the Permanent Council of the Islamic Solidarity Fund,

Your Excellencies the Eminent Delegates,

Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatuh,

I have great pleasure to welcome you at the start of the proceedings of the Forty-eighth Session of the Permanent Council of the Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF). I am also happy to congratulate new members on their election to the ISF Permanent Council as I am full of hope that their efforts and contributions will give an added boost to developing this valuable and worthwhile institution of joint Islamic action. I would also like to convey my congratulations to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on its election as a permanent member of the ISF Permanent Council, which is but a token of the recognition and appreciation of the Kingdom’s consistent benevolence and determination to extend its generous support to the Fund throughout the years, just as the Kingdom has done with other Islamic institutions in affirmation of its pioneering role in joint Islamic action in all fields.

Mr. Chairman,

Eminent Representatives,

The Islamic Solidarity Fund is certainly one of the most helpful institutions for Muslims throughout the Islamic world and the institution that responds the most to some of their needs and aspirations in social, cultural, and human fields. These efforts stand out prominently in the review of the Fund’s activities and its assistance towards the funding of various projects in the member States as well as to Muslim minorities in non-OIC member states as a testimony to the Fund’s commendable role in developmental, social, and cultural arenas, in addition to its endeavors in responding to humanitarian causes in emergency cases and natural disasters.

This pioneering role of the Fund and its noble objectives and valuable efforts are all reasons that prompt us to give our attention and our consistent support to its actions and activities to guide and help it to assume its onerous responsibility and enable it to fully achieve its prescribed objectives. In this respect, the first priority to be observed is to consolidate the Fund’s resources in the foregoing areas. Yet it has been noted that many of the Member States have grown accustomed not to contribute to these resources, which is indeed regrettable since the duties imposed by Islamic solidarity dictate to all Muslims, whether they be governments, peoples, individuals, or societies, to participate in an Islamic action that has a tangible impact in all Islamic communities and that concretizes Islamic fraternity, Islamic interdependence, and Islamic solidarity, which is the supreme bond that ties together the people of the Islamic Ummah to affirm Almighty Allah’s words when He said, “Believers are but brothers”.

As I reiterate my appeal to all the member States to show their real solidarity with this worthy and commendable work, I would recall my many appeals and letters which I addressed to officials in the member States, urging on them the importance of contributing to this noble cause, each according to his means and capabilities.

In addition, I would like to emphasize the necessity of completing the capital of the Waqf earmarked for the Islamic Solidarity Fund, now that contributions to it have exceeded 64% thanks to the generous donations of some member States and their citizens. Let me then take this opportunity, as the Fund is nearing the twenty-fifth anniversary of its inception, to exhort everyone to donate generously to complete the Waqf’s capital to enable the Fund to have a fixed and enduring financial resource that allows it to fulfill its lofty solidarity mission.

Given our determination to see the ISF assume its role in an optimal and perfect manner, I believe that the occasion of its Silver Jubilee calls for a pause on its part to review its past action and seek inspiration from positive practical experiences.

Mr. Chairman,

Most of the Fund’s activities in Member States and in countries with Muslim minorities reflect the desire by the Fund to finance projects that have tangible impacts. It also mirrors its willingness to give priority to projects carried out in its implementation of the resolutions of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. Here, I commend particularly the fixed yearly financial support extended by the Fund to some impressive Islamic institutuions, such as the Islamic Universities in Uganda and Niger.

I also wish to commend the Fund’s contribution towards financing some symposia and conferences aimed at portraying Islam and the Islamic civilization in its true glowing light. The symposia and conferences refute the numerous falsities aimed at Islam and Muslims especially in the aftermath of the events of 11 September 2001. These events have given full rein to the spread of campaigns of hatred and calumny against Islam in Western countries. I appreciate the material contribution allocated by the Fund to the opening of serious and constructive dialogue with peoples of other civilizations. This is in consonance with the theme of Dialogue of Civilizations espoused by the Organisation, a call which has received widespread international response.

Going through the activities of the Fund, we find ongoing importance it attaches to financing many developmental, social, educational and cultural projects in member states, as well as in other places. These projects which are aimed at serving the interests of the Muslims often have positive impacts on Muslim communities scattered all over the world.

I am also pleased to commend the various assistance extended to the struggling Palestinian people. In this regard, it is my view that the continuation of Israel’s policy of occupation of Palestinian territories and its insistence on usurping the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people require the total devotion of the Fund and various other Islamic Foundations to the cause of helping the Palestinian people in all avenues. It requires assisting them to remain steadfast in the face of the aggressive occupying forces and to help them reclaim their rights to self-determination and the establishment of a Palestinian State, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

Muslim minorities all over the world also deserve more attention and assistance to weather through the anti Islamic hate campaigns which they are going through. Just as they deserve assistance to withstand practices that violate their civil rights in many parts of the world.

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished Delegates,

Having gone through this Session’s ‘Working Papers’ prepared by the Fund, I cannot but commend the idea of publishing a special pamphlet marking 25 years of the founding of this Fund. The pamphlet reviews the Fund’s achievements since its inception. I think it is very important that a specialized professional editorial body be commissioned to produce this book in a manner that would stir the interest of Member States and Muslims in the Fund. It would also highlight the achievements and contributions of the Fund, thereby urging them to donate in its support.

Likewise, the idea of convening a meeting of the Fund outside the Organisation’s headquarters, at the invitation of some Member State, should be encouraged. For it would increase the feeling and the interest of Member States for the Fund, and their willingness to make donations for it.

In conclusion, it is my duty to express deep gratitude and profound appreciation to the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for its generous annual contributions to this Fund, which enables it to carry out its noble work. I also express thanks to Government of the State of Qatar for its donation to the Fund in the 2001-2002 budget. I seize this opportunity to thank the supervisors of the activities of this Fund, first among them, Ambassador Nasser Abdallah bin Hamdan Al-Za’abi, for the valuable efforts expended towards the smooth running of the Fund.

I ask Allah to grant you success in your activities as well as in your deliberations.

Wassalam Alaykum wa-Rahmatullahi wa-Barakatuh.