Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The message from Mecca | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An important Islamic summit is taking place in Mecca, in terms of location and timing, attended by representatives of more than 50 Arab and Islamic states at the invitation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz. This summit is taking place during these eminent days in order to look at the situation in the Arab and Islamic world.

This summit took place at a time that some Arab and Islamic stats are witnessing disastrous events, and the best example of this can be seen by what is happening in Syria, in terms of the criminal acts committed by the al-Assad against the Syrian people. This is not to mention other occurrences against Muslim communities in different parts of the worlds, including ethnic cleanings and more. The importance of the Mecca summit today is that the Arab and Islamic world is now facing an unfortunate truth that many have tried to avoid for a long time, and that is the necessity of confronting ourselves and acknowledging our mistakes, as well as the need to reform the situation to ensure that it does not deteriorate further. For in the past, it was not praiseworthy to criticize the situation in the Arab and Islamic world, and those who did this were viewed as traitors. A large number of people would warn against “self-flagellation”, whilst today we have reached the state where we are killing each other, and the criticism has become professional. In addition to this, “revolution” is now nothing more than an empty label, as some Islamists have begun calling for freedom and democracy, whilst just a few years ago they were defending Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and jihad in Iraq!

The Mecca summit takes place at a time when our region is suffering from hateful sectarianism created by certain regional states, most prominently Iran and its agents’ al-Assad and Hezbollah, not to mention all those in our region affiliated to Tehran. Our region used to be one of peaceful coexistence with all minorities; however sectarianism has now become a political weapon and a card to be played to strengthen national interests. Therefore, the Arabs and Muslims must confront their own problems and crises, and this is in order to ask the important question: where are we going? Do we want to build nations and societies that respect the right of co-existence and which protect the blood of its citizens? Why did we not learn that exclusion, mistrust and burying our hands in the sand will only lead us to further deterioration? It is not feasible to place all the blame on the West, for the al-Assad regime, for example, is not the creation of the west, but rather the creation of decades of complacency and political half-measures! The bitter truth is that just in the same manner that there are experiences and models that seek construction and peace in the Arab and Islamic world; there are also models that are devoted to backwardness, ignorance and contempt of humanity. The most prominent example of this is the al-Assad regime, both that of the father and the son. Is this what we want for our region and children? Will the Muslims accept sectarian division and exclusion being something that only leads to trouble? There are many questions that are looking for practical answers, rather than statements and promises. The reality in our nations is saddening, and the evidence of this is the brain drain and the deterioration of education standards, not to mention the erosion of the right of co-existence and respect for differences.

From here, and for all of the above reasons, the Islamic Solidarity Summit in Mecca, called for by King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, is very important. This is because the Muslims today must confront themselves, and so rather than repeating, for example, worn-out statements regarding Palestine, we must ask ourselves: how long will this inter-Palestinian division last for? And so on.

It is true that this summit cannot achieve everything, however its importance is in that it places the Arabs and Muslims in front of their own problems, and that is important in itself.