The International Symposium “A Century of Japanese-Islamic Relations” Opens in Tokyo

OIC Press Release

29 May 2000

The International Symposium “A Century of Japanese-Islamic Relations” Opens in Tokyo

Officiating at the opening ceremony the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) expresses hope that the Muslims in Japan would play an effective role in linking Japan with the neighbouring Muslim countries.

His Excellency Dr. Azeddine Laraki, the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), opened in Tokyo, Japan, this morning, Monday 25 Safar 1421H (May 29, 2000) the international symposium sponsored by the OIC, in cooperation with the Islamic center in Japan, under the theme “East Asia and the Islamic World … Japanese-Islamic Relations over a Century”.

At the outset of his speech, Dr. Laraki expressed his thanks and appreciation to the Japanese government for having graciously accepted to host the seminar in its capital and for extending the necessary facilities to ensure its success. He, likewise, expressed his deep gratitude to the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd ibn Abdul Aziz, as represented by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, waqfs (endowments), da’wa (invitation to join Islamic) and guidance, for its kind support and extreme generosity in favour of this symposium.

The Secretary-General said he was confident that the existing relations of cooperation between Japan and the Islamic states member of the OIC will be further cemented and enhanced, which will enable the Muslims in Japan to link their country with the neighbouring Muslim states. Dr. Laraki stressed the OIC’s keenness on helping Muslim minorities in getting really involved in the societies in which they lived and, in return, enjoying just and equitable treatment, which would encourage them to partake in the economic advancement of those countries in a secure social environment for them and their future generations. The OIC was also looking forward for the Muslims to constitute the best model of Islamic behaviour within the framework of the respect of the sovereignty of the states to which they belonged, said Dr. Laraki. He emphasized that the Japanese government was, for its part, observing such principles, hence constituting, itself, a model for others in terms of tolerance and coexistence among the various elements of the Japanese society, regardless of their ethnicity or religions.

Referring to the “dialogue among contemporary civilizations”, the Secretary-General pinpointed that it was incumbent upon Muslims to regularly endeavour, to the best of their ability, to offer to the world the true image of the noble Islamic values. They were also duty-bound, he added, to lay solid foundations for the “dialogue” made to further the concept of worldwide peaceful coexistence and cooperation among the humankind. They must work relentlessly, he stressed, to shed light on Islamic thought which had brought in its contribution to all the fields of human knowledge, including science. He said, in this respect: “The dialogue among civilizations ought to rest on identify the sublime tenets, noble values and ethnics produced by such civilizations throughout history, all of which advocating the necessity for genuine endeavours to provide a common ground and stick to the principles of justice, peace and solidarity in the light of the provisions of International Law and the United Nations Charter”. He underscored the fact that Islam always upheld such shared values with the other religions through human interaction, in compliance with the injunctions of the Holy Quranic verse “O people, We have created you from a male and a female and made you unto nations and tribes, that you may get to know one another. The nobles of you, in Allah’s sight, is the most righteous of you”. (Al-Hujurat, the apartments, verse 13).

In conclusion, the OIC Secretary-General said he was confident that this symposium will be given prominence and further the understanding and positive interaction with the Muslim community in Japan and others in East and South Asia and that it will contribute towards acquainting people there with the achievements, specificities and effective apport of this community in the welfare and prosperity of their respective environments.

The symposium is attended, among others, by representatives of a number of Islamic centers and associations in China, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Pakistan and India, besides about 200 Islamic da’ia and a host of university professors and other scholars as well as heads of Muslim societies and centers in Japan and neighbouring states.