Mecca, Asharq Al-Awsat- Dr. Abdullah al-Turki, Secretary General of the Muslim World League (MWL), has stressed that the upcoming Islamic dialogue conference is not a religious or political one or for discussing inter-Islamic relations but to find a ground for a common dialogue which brings humanity together.
He said the international Islamic dialogue conference, which the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin-Abdulaziz will inaugurate tomorrow, would draw up a strategic plan for the Muslims’ dialogue with non-Muslims and assert they would press ahead with the vision of King Abdullah Bin-Abdulaziz who called for the dialogue to discuss the ties that bind together the humans from the various religions and creeds.
Dr. Al-Turki explained to Asharq Al-Awsat that this human commonality is represented by the family, relations between cultures and peoples, poverty, injustice, justice, terror, and the family, “and especially in the matter of the cultures’ conflicts and the depiction of Muslims as if they are backward and opposed to international cooperation and coexistence.” He added that “the dialogue’s human commonality will clarify the image of Islam and refute in turn all the fierce attacks against it.” He pointed out that the Muslims’ relationship with others should become clear from the vision through which they view themselves as an ummah. This is expected to have programs and projects through which it will achieve its objectives and hence impact on political relations and on many behaviors in the world. All the international organizations and political relations have not succeeded in solving many of the principal and other problems and this prompted the Muslim ummah to benefit from the people of culture, ideas, and opinion and the media so as to persuade humanity to take a different direction to the one it is following at present. He revealed that the conference would form committees and action teams to follow up implementation of its resolutions, adding that a timetable might be drawn up for the strategy it would draw up.
In response to an Asharq Al-Awsat question about the intention to hold the conference periodically, Al-Turki said, “There are no thoughts of this at present. But there might be a different view once the conference results have been followed up.” He added that the conference would not have the desired influence on Islamic or Western societies unless the media showed an interest in it, noting that the signs of the media’s probing for its success are clear and they are seeking to achieve the conference objectives of spreading the culture of Islamic dialogue which brings together a unique group of Muslims at the level of countries and Muslim minorities in order to agree on a plan or strategy through which the Muslim ummah deals with the various peoples and followers of other religions, philosophies, and cultures.
He explained that the aim of the conference is directed at the Muslim ummah in order to explain the concept of the dialogue to it and in order to assess the previous plan and lay down the strategy for the future which concerns dealing with non-Muslims, something which the League had focused on when preparing for the conference. He pointed out that the League wants to unite the Muslim ranks behind a certain vision and expected the conference to issue a mechanism that would unite the Muslims’ efforts and said it would also discuss the mechanism for dialogue in future, have broad contacts with religious and other networks, and the way is open before all groups, which will make the conference a qualitative development with all groups in the world.
Al-Turki went on to say: “We focused at this conference on the human commonality in cultures and the eastern philosophies that agree with the various nations and peoples and with Muslims on many issues. They also have their human size and their influential presence in international and human life. Muslims need to deal with them, like they mixed with the peoples in East Asia in the past and at present. The dialogue is not between religions but between their followers and those who have philosophies, cultures, and civilizations, which are affected by many things, most importantly religions. The officials in these civilizations cannot separate from the religions or environments in which they live.”