Address of

H.E. Dr. ABDELOUAHED BELKZIZ the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the Twenty-Eighth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foregin Ministers

Bamako, 25 June 2001

Your Excellencies the Ministers,

Excellencies the Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to extend to you all a warm welcome to Bamako, this beautiful city of the Republic of Mali, and to wish you a pleasant stay here, as guests of the hospitable Government and people of Mali.

Similarly, I am pleased to express my profound esteem and admiration for the laudable efforts put in by the host country in properly arranging for this Conference, such as to ensure optimal conditions for our deliberations. May I also express our profound thanks and appreciation for the authentic welcome and kind hospitality extended to all the Islamic delegations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

To start with, allow me to share with you some of my first reflections on the General Secretariat and its functioning, along with an initial overview of the main thrust of my aspirations for the achievement of the lofty objectives enshrined in the OIC Charter and resolutions in terms of the consolidation of Islamic solidarity, the promotion of Joint Islamic action and the enhancement of the Organisation’s performance against the backdrop of today’s prevailing circumstances in the Muslim world. I shall also review with you the present situation that is ours in the Islamic world, politically, economically, culturally and socially.

We are all aware that the OIC was established after the First Islamic Summit Conference that was called for by the late King of Morocco, His Majesty King Hassan II, and the late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, may Allah bless their souls, in the wake of the Zionists’ arson attack against the Holy Mosque of Al-Aqsa in 1969. It was then decided to set up this Organisation in response to the massively overwhelming Islamic emotions and to earlier longstanding appeals made by an elite of Muslim pioneers since the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, who had called for the establishment of a league or federation that would bring together the dispersed Muslims, coordinate their efforts, align their stand, and seek to enhance their cooperation and solidarity with a view to promoting their progress, welfare and dignity.

Since then, the Organization embarked on its action within its material and human resources, which have been rather inadequate to fulfill the great and noble tasks assigned to it. The past thirty years of its existence have been riddled with obstacles and financial and other ncrises which adversely affected the output expected of it – Yet, our Organisation shall continue to play an effective and impactful role, if provided with the necessary resources and guaranteed certain other conditions, such as to further its credibility at the local and international levels. This would give it increased weight and boost the Islamic Ummah’s stature under the present political circumstances which is marked by the emergence of major political and economic groupings.

The new Gregorian Century has brought in its fold the early signs of substantial changes affecting the pattern of public affairs administration across the world and at all levels, as a result of accumulated civilizational changes consequent upon the awe-inspiring technological breakthroughs achieved by Man, and the industrial and cybernetic revolutions witnessed by the world such as to dramatically alter the patterns of human life and its methods and mechanisms.

There is no argument that common sense makes it incumbent upon us to meet the new era with new ideas and open-minded intellect as well as new advanced mechanisms, in full awareness of the reality of events surrounding us. We give thanks to Allah Almighty for the fact that, the necessary elements for one to keep pace with the march of the international bandwagon, are readily available to the Islamic Ummah, in terms of human, intellectual, financial and economic capacities. Indeed Allah has blessed our Islamic world with an outstanding pivotal geographic position and vast human and material resources which we have to use optimally for the benefit of our Ummah and its prosperity and glory.

Hence the importance of the role of our Organisation which is a point of convergence for your own free wills. Indeed an international organization is no more than the reflection of the Member States that stand behind it and the human elements that administer it. Yet, over and above all, it is no more than the sum-total of the collective will and the common denominators around which the Member States are assembled. And the closer these wills are knit together, the more effective, impactful and credible the collective action would be.

The General Secretariat also needs to be keenly aware of the sense to rally the Member States’ around collective free wills and to encourage them and profit by them in the orientation of their collective action. The Organisation may achieve this by easing the Member States’ progress towards a collective will through the various documents and reports it conceives as well as through the crystallization of the sought ideals in recommendations and resolutions which it tries to implement for the benefit of Muslims.

What is heartwarming and what may justify an optimistic and prospective look on the future, is our keen desire to promote the Organisation, a desire that is shared by all the leaders of the Islamic States that I have had the honour to visit over the few recent months, a desire to enhance the Organization and overhaul its structures such as to inject it with the necessary aptitude to fulfill the mission entrusted to it to promote the prospects of solidarity, concertation and unity for which it was set up. Likewise, I witnessed firsthand how words are accompanied by actual deeds. For indeed a resolution was adopted in this connection at the Twenty-seventh ICFM in Kuala Lumpur, that was soon reiterated by the Ninth Islamic Summit Conference, held in Doha, through a similar resolution. In implementation of these two resolutions a Committee was set up to undertake the required preliminary arrangements and prepare the studies relevant to the Organisation’s reform. The Committee has so far, held two meetings, and one specialist expert will be entrusted with the preparation of the terms of reference document that will define the work of a consultancy firm on the Organisation’s reform and rehabilitation, as a preliminary step for the actual restructuring process. The Islamic Development Bank kindly accepted to finance the work in question, and the General Secretariat will follow up the Organisation’s resolutions in the matter, as you may wish to direct it.

Needless to say, our aspired goal is to elevate the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to a station that is worthy of Islam and the Muslim Ummah, a station at par with that of the best international organizations, in terms of its performance and contribution to the enhancement of the Joint Islamic action, and in terms of the credibility of its resolutions and recommendations, all of which can be achieved based on your concerted action and cooperation and thanks to your directives.

Let me once again, assert here, that the Organization even in its present status which we aspire to improve, is already the subject of interest and esteem of other States. I have witnessed that firsthand through the multiple visits which the General Secretariat receives from various senior officials of non-Member States to expound the positions of their countries vis-a-vis certain specific issues of interest to them and which the Organisation is dealing with, or to seek the Organisation’s understanding of their causes, or to urge it not to adopt resolutions that could be prejudicial to their interests, not to mention the keenness of the many international and specialized institutions to establish cooperative relations with the OIC.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

A quick glance however, at the situation of the Islamic Ummah which we represent in this Organisation would be enough to let anyone with a discerning eye perceive the current painful situation of the Islamic Ummah, at a time when we are evolving in a new world where many States are rallying together within affinity-related groups, both regional and other, with a view to gain strength and achieve greater political and material benefits. For indeed the dominant logic in the present era, at the dawn of the new century is founded on the rationale of economic blocs and the dominance of the Western civilization with its distinct concepts, priorities and interests. This is the current new situation which has replaced that of the military blocs that prevailed during the Cold War period.

The phenomenon of globalization, which is the force driving the new world, has altered the concept of international relations, introducing a new ethic which attaches little interest to traditional political boundaries and the old concept of sovereignty or equality among nations, an ethic which rather tacitly transcends all of that, substituting it all with new criteria that serve the interests of the major powers and the long-term benefits of the powerful circles stoking the fire of this phenomenon, thus excluding and marginalizing those States that are incapable of catching up with the caravan, and that will be left to drift in the whirlwind of poverty and backwardness.

Globalization has brought with it many benefits and solutions to past problems faced by the advanced and developed world, and contributed thus to the latter’s achieving even greater progress and development. However, globalization also brought about a new type of problems, in the form of threat that the developing and poor countries which have no means to keep pace with the developed States, will be susceptible to even more dependence, backwardness and seclusion.

This new reality whose first contours have started to surface at the turn of the last century and the beginning of the new one, is such that it should spur us on to search for the Islamic Ummah’s position within this new panorama, and prompt us to relinquish our short-term individual policies which focus on current issues and fail to cater for tomorrow’s changes. It should also urge us to consider a collective strategy for the future relations among the States of our single Nation, thus guarding us against letting events which are orchestrated by others, lead us in their trail, instead of us taking the lead.

Failing a resurgence, and a better awareness of this reality, the Islamic Ummah and its peoples are susceptible to continue to be preyed on by others and to suffer their abuse.

Such a resurgence would need us first of all to try and settle the fratricidal conflicts that are rampant among our States, and that we use to that effect. The modern tools available for conflict resolution and confidence building, through candidness and conciliation. Many of these tools are stipulated in our Organisation’s Charter and resolutions, but are, regrettably, rarely used or implemented.

Also, our noble religion carries in its fold lofty principles which can inspire us on our way towards entente and conflict resolution and away from strife.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

These views I have just expressed are meant neither to dispense counsel nor to sermonize. They have rather been dictated to me by my responsibility as the official at the helm of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the only political governmental Organisation that brings together all the Islamic States and under whose banner all the Islamic States’ leaders and senior officials are assembled. We have no substitute for this Islamic forum which caters for the Muslim affairs and looks after the Islamic Ummah’s unity, for the Ummah’s better interest. My review of the current situation of the Islamic world, as you will see, brings into focus the level of vulnerability and frustration that we have reached.

As a matter of fact, the tragic situation in Palestine forms a clear and expressive portrayal of what we are witnessing day after day on TV screens, which shows how over one billion Muslims are standing powerless to defend their sacred shrines and to come to the rescue of their brothers in faith who are standing in the last defense line for the protection of Islam and its sanctities in Palestine which the Zionists want to usurp and judaize. No need for me here to echo again what you are witness to on a daily basis as to Israel’s repeated use of brutal force against the defenseless Palestinian people, shelling by gunship airplanes, missiles and assault boats, killing children, old people and women, subjecting the Palestinians to starvation, blockades, bulldozing of their farmland, and daily humiliation as they stand at what is known as the crossings, whereby Israel is gutting the Palestinian territories in Gaza and the West Bank. Also, the Syrian Golan is still under the occupation of the Israeli forces as it has been for the last 34 years, and likewise for certain pockets of southern, Lebanon, now that the valiant Lebanese resistance has driven out the Zionist occupation forces and forced them to evacuate most of the Lebanese territories.

Then again, what might I say regarding the tragic situation in Afghanistan, knowing that that Muslim country had gone through twenty years of bitter struggle against foreign occupation only to find itself cast into a whirlwind of domestic conflicts that are fuelled by various stakeholders, and that have left the Afghan people prey to death, starvation, exposure, and dispersal in diaspora, as hostages to a blockade that is causing Afghanistan almost complete devastation and irreparable peril. All this is taking place while the Islamic world stands unable to extend even a hand of humanitarian assistance, let alone to move and come to their rescue through sincere initiatives to put an end to the fratricidal conflict and to save that country with its millions of faithful people, from a long-endured tragic fate.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir are still engaged in their struggle against the oppressive occupation of their country at the hands of alien forces that continue to refuse to abide by international legitimacy, the UN Security Council having decided – over half a century ago – in favour of the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination and to disenfranchisement from the yoke of oppression imposed upon them.

Elsewhere, and regarding the situation between Iraq and Kuwait, is there cause for Muslims to feel satisfaction? At a time when an abusive blockade continues to be imposed against Iraq, as it has been for over ten years now, reducing to insignificance an entire generation of the Iraqi people as a result of deprivation and disease, and contributing to the fragmentation of Iraq’s territories, threatening its territorial integrity and violating its airspace, while at the same time, the Kuwaiti people continue to feel insecure as to their safety and stability and to endure the plight of the missing persons and the unaccounted for.

Is it not a direct consequence of our discord and vulnerability that Iran, Libya and Sudan should continue to face abusive unilateral economic sanctions, the Islamic world being incapable of lifting this injustice and abuse. As for the situation of Muslims in the Balkans and in Chechniya and Azerbaijan, how else can it be described other than by acknowledging it as the situation of the downtrodden whose rights have been spoiled, who have been steamrolled and reduced to a helpless State, and whose territories are violated?

The tragedy of Somalia, the collapse of its central government and the unraveling of its fabric at the hands of the warring brothers, along with the spread of famine, poverty and illiteracy across the country should this all not act as an incentive for increased efforts to solve Somalia’s problem? Likewise for Sierra Leone, where gangs of mutinous hooligans are having a free for all, such as to cast a shadow on security in neighboring Guinea and create a harrowing humanitarian situation resulting from the influx of thousands of refugees, while Islamic solidarity continues to drag its feet and fail to extend assistance to these countries and to alleviate their ordeal.

The Muslim people in Southern Philippines are still battling to achieve a self-rule promised them many decades ago, while the implementation of the 1996 accord is being stalled, threatening thus to further embroil the situation and lead to increased tension. All, despite the auspicious initiative which raise our hopes from time to time without delivering anything tangible so far.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If my discourse thus far has projected an unedifying portrait of the Islamic Ummah’s political situation, I am afraid to say that the economic scene is not any likelier to call for optimism. While Islamic solidarity forms one of the foremost objectives of our Organization, it is evident that the main pillar of such solidarity should be economic solidarity which is the mortar that cements solidarity and turns it into a firm bond, a solid unbreakable link.

Human experiences over the last century have demonstrated that the political blocs, known to us all today, started with coordination and economic integration among their members, before developing, gradually, into united economic blocs and political unions such as the European Union and others, which wove those dispersed and striving States into an entity that is united under the banner of an irriversable league of economic and political solidarity, as a league that is moored to the supreme interests of each State within the framework of the supreme common interests of those States as a compound entity.

If this is the practical way, and the tried and tested scientific approach, then one should wonder as to where we in this Islamic world, stand from this.

We have adopted so many recommendations and drafted so many resolutions of economic character. We even conceived of a working plan to boost economic and commercial cooperation among the OIC Member States. But implementation is still progressing very slowly, hardly giving the impression that we are truly committed to moving from the stage of mere wishful thinking to that of actual implementation and effective action.

In order for me not to take you too far back in this connection, let me illustrate this by referring only to what is happening to the most important mechanism for the promotion of economic cooperation and intra-OIC trade, namely: "The Plan of Action to Strengthen Economic and Commercial Cooperation among the OIC Member States". It has become clear to all that the excessively slow pace of implementation of this plan is a cause for concern. An Expert Group meeting was held in Istanbul in May this year to examine the matter, and came out with important recommendations. The COMCEC Follow-up Committee considered these recommendations and stressed their importance deciding to submit them to the forthcoming annual session of COMCEC. It is my belief that this important matter upon which depends the erection of the edifice of Islamic solidarity, deserves a genuine contemplative pause on the part of this august gathering so as to put things back on the right track.

If we wish to encourage cooperation among the Member States, we should start by laying the foundations of such cooperation by creating common interests between them. In fact, we have concluded many collective agreements under the auspices of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, but these agreements still await signing or ratification.

I should like to draw your kind attention to the crucial importance of these agreements, because they were meant to be the foundation stones of the edifice of the truly integrated economies of the Member States. Given this vital role of the agreements, let me echo the calls of the Ninth Islamic Summit Conference in Doha, the Twenty-seventh Ministerial Conference in Kuala Lumpur, and COMCEC by appealing to you to urgently sign and ratify them.

Since the 1997 Tehran Islamic Summit Conference, we have been calling for the need to create the foundation structures for the building of an Islamic Common Market. However, to give just one example, the Member States are still hesitating to ratify the “Framework Agreement” on the establishment of Preferential Trade System. Moreover the fact that the percentage of intra-OIC trade among the Member States barely exceeds 10% indicates that we are very far indeed from our declared objective of establishing an Islamic Common Market.

If we consider this matter from the perspective of our misgivings about globalization and the adverse repercussions it may bring if we do not arm ourselves for it, as the West before us did, with giant economic blocs, then we will realize that speeding up our common economic action now requires even more urgency and more collective success.

Undoubtedly, everyone is now beginning to realize the implications of globalization, which is the product of the Western world’s vision for a future engineered to preserve its economic and social interests and ensure dominion for its culture over the whole world. This ambition is animated by the economic, scientific, and technological supremacy that it has established in the wake of the colonization era, and by its desire to continue to lead the world using modern methods. That is why globalization is now being established according to the terms and by the institutions imposed by the West and along criteria to suit its own development, plans, and interests.

Other peoples, including the Islamic Ummah, are moving along with this current, because they are aware that they cannot swim against it and that avoiding or leaving it will only isolate and marginalize them economically. However, in this endeavor, they find themselves the victims of a fierce and one-sided competition, because rich countries insist on fencing themselves in with an economic protectionism designed to prevent the flow of exports from the developing world that compete with their products and on their markets, particularly in the field of agricultural and other goods.

The consequences of this state of affairs have been to marginalize the economies of the developing states and undermine their confidence in the justice of the multilateral world trade system. This has been fuelled by the turmoil of world money markets in the mid-nineties in what came to be known as the Asian crisis.

Figures indicate that the growth rate in the Gross Global Product in 2000 reached 4.2%, i.e. up by 2.5% on 1998. These figures indicate also that the economies of the Member States have unfortunately not taken advantage of this global economic growth and have even remained at lower levels than those they reached before the financial crisis of the mid-nineties.

Thus it seems clear to anyone pondering the economic affairs of the Islamic world that there is a pressing need for a common Islamic body to help its peoples overcome their challenges and frustrations. It is with satisfaction that we may recall in this connection the initiatives taken by a number of Member States to remove customs barriers and create free-trade zones among themselves, and what fine example for the remaining Member States to follow!

That is not in itself an unworkable goal, since the Islamic world constitutes an integrated geographic bloc from the far reaches of the Atlantic Ocean in the West to the farthest points of the Pacific Ocean and has been blessed by Allah with a strategic position in the center of the world as well as with huge economic resources. All these factors should foster economic unity and integration and facilitate intra-Islamic trade.

I should also like to recall the key role played by the Private Sector in international trade in this era of economic liberalization and globalization and the special mission and responsibility it must assume in intra-Islamic trade.

The resolutions of Islamic Summit and Foreign Ministerial Conferences have consistently been seeking to remind businessmen, capitalists, and the private sector of this onerous responsibility. I must therefore appeal to them to urgently implement all the resolutions that have been adopted by the meetings of businessmen and private sector representatives that were organized under the auspices of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

I must also touch upon another major aspect of this undertaking, which is the Islamic solidarity and interdependence advocated by our true religion in seeking for Muslim brothers to protect and assist each other in times of need.

Only a few days ago, I was on a tour of some Member States in West Africa, as part of a series of visits I am undertaking of the OIC Member States, and had occasion to see first-hand the dire economic conditions of some of our brothers there due to many circumstances and I saw for myself their pressing need for urgent assistance to help them overcome their plight.

It is therefore incumbent upon me to appeal to you all to include this issue among your priorities and to take adequate steps to consolidate the work of the Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), which must be developed and backed by voluntary assistance for its development programs animated by the principle of Islamic solidarity.

In this respect, I must pay tribute to the worthy and generous efforts deployed by the Islamic Solidarity Fund in financing many small and medium-scale projects in the African continent generally despite its limited means, which remain below the claims made upon it. Hence, I believe it absolutely necessary that we should raise the capital of the Fund’s Waqf to USD 100 million and I appeal to the Islamic States to do their utmost to achieve this humanitarian solidarity objective for the benefit of the peoples of the Islamic Ummah.

I am also pleased to make special mention of the Islamic Development Bank for the innumerable and diverse services it has rendered by financing the different economic development programs submitted by the Member States.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Culture has a vital role to play in the life of a people’s civilization and is the jewel in its crown. And since our religion is the religion of unison, lofty moral values, and Shura, the cultures of the Muslim peoples have picked its banner to fly and thus was born our brilliant Islamic civilization dazzling the world with its glory, gaining pride of place with its radiance, generosity, and creativity, and boosting the momentum of human evolution with a pioneering and unique contribution. However, globalization, once again, is moving towards a molding of the whole world into one model based on purely material values that have began to produce adverse effects on the other cultures of the world, including the Islamic culture.

In order to guard against such negative and harmful effects, I have deemed it appropriate to include this issue in the agenda of your Conference so that you could carry out an in-depth examination of the repercussions of globalization on our Islamic culture so as to identify the best way to avert its negative impact and take advantage of any benefits it may have.

In this connection, I am pleased to express my satisfaction at the wide-scale recognition of the OIC initiative launched by H.E. Seyed Mohamed Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Chairman of the Eighth Islamic Summit Conference, to conduct a positive and constructive Dialogue among Civilizations based on the principle of equality, the respect of human dignity, the recognition of cultural diversity as a source of enrichment for humanity, and the rejection of the hegemony of any one specific culture over others. This Islamic initiative has been widely welcomed at the international level as evidenced by the United Nations resolution to declare the year 2001 the Year of Dialogue among Civilizations as well as the United Nations General Assembly unanimous resolution whose preamble asserts that civilization is not the monopoly of a powerful state and that cultural achievements are the cumulative product of the collective heritage of the whole human race.

The General Secretariat of our Organization has hosted two meetings of the Intergovernmental Experts Group that drew up the Draft Universal Document on Dialogue and an Executive Program for this Dialogue prepared in collaboration with ISESCO. A committee of ten states was constituted to take on the task of following up this issue at the United Nations. I am pleased to announce that this Document that we have prepared is the subject of current negotiations with the various UN groups and has been adopted as a basic working paper.

I am hoping that this major issue will be met with the proper attention it deserves from the pundits, intellectuals, and learned scholars of the Islamic world that they might drive away the specter of marginalization and disintegration. The OIC will be taking part in several dialogue-related events including the International Conference being organized by the United Nations University in Tokyo and other events.

In this context, efforts deployed by the various bodies of the Organization are gathering momentum in implementing the Cultural Strategy of the Islamic World, particularly after the adoption of the document on this Strategy by the Second Conference of Ministers of Culture, which commissioned ISESCO with following up its implementation and setting up a Consultative Council of Member States to study the projects proposed and decide on their feasibility.

Similarly, with the evolution of audio-visual technologies at its disposal, information has come to play a central and distinct role in shaping local and international public opinion. That is why it must be one of the priorities for which we should mobilize joint Islamic action so that the message of Islam and its radiant image may revealed to the whole world, and in order to rebut the allegations and distortions that some would attach to our religion. Moreover, it is vital for us to develop this field of activity in order to give prominence to the just causes of the Islamic world at the international level and convey the Islamic perspective to the rest of the world.

In this regard, let me stress the urgency of obtaining the necessary funds to implement the Information Plan of the Islamic States, speed up the implementation of the Islamic Programme for the Development of Information and Communication (PIDIC), and support the International Islamic News Agency (IINA) and the Islamic States Broadcasting Organization (ISBO) to enable them to fulfill their functions in the field of information and fill, at least in part, the void we suffer in this area.

We must also address the issue of technology and strive to keep abreast of its fast and huge developments to narrow the gap separating us from advanced nations in this area so that we do not remain mere consumers of technology that lack the resources to take an active part in the invention, manufacturing, and adaptation of such technologies to our needs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Islam has honored woman, exalted her place, made of her an equal partner of man, and specifically enjoined for her respect and reverence. That is why, in its various Conferences, our Organization has called for discarding old patterns of thought and vestiges of mentalities still prevailing in certain people which are detrimental to women and bear no relation to Islam. Similarly, it called for combating certain outdated practices barring women from education and emancipation and called also for clarifying the pioneering Islamic position that dignifies woman and exalts her status in a society where she raises future generations of both men and women.

The General Secretariat has also been addressing, with particular interest, the situation of children, especially because they constitute a large section of our societies. This work has culminated in the Declaration on the Rights of the Child in Islam and the Preparatory Documents to the First Islamic Conference of Ministers in charge of the Child and Social Affairs realized by the General Secretariat in collaboration with the Member States, experts, and relevant Islamic and international bodies in preparation for the convening of the abovementioned Conference.

The General Secretariat has also, in cooperation with the Intergovernmental experts of the Member States and OIC specialized organs completed a working document on the problems facing youth in the societal system and proposed solutions to these problems to be submitted to the First Conference of Ministers of Youth and Sports, which is soon to be hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

From all the above, it may seem as though the reality were a somber and bitter one, but the truth is often bitter and the journey is long and arduous. Yet, the journey of a thousand miles begins as they say with one step, so let us start with the first simple step in a symbolic but significant move, which we have tested and found to be productive and convincing, and that is for us to unite our positions in international forums and meetings whenever our higher interests, just causes, or holy places are at stake.

Advising the representatives of our states in international forums and assemblies to close ranks and unite positions in harmony with the common Islamic line through coordination under the umbrella of the meetings of the Islamic group, which accounts for a third of the votes of the international community, is alone certain to bring victory to our causes, enhance our standing, and safeguard our vital interests. Indeed, we have demonstrated that we were able to stop in their tracks a number of draft resolutions that would have been prejudicial to our interests.

In a world where division and disarray and smaller entities have no chances whatsoever for survival, let us make of that simple example a beacon that lights our march of unity and solidarity that Allah may elevate our stance, crown our endeavors with victory, and guide us onto the rightful path.

With my best wishes of success for your proceedings in the service of the glorious Islamic Ummah on its quest for abundance, prosperity, and dignity.

Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatuh.