Saudi Gazette report
MAKKAH — King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Tuesday emphasized the need for solidarity and unity of the Muslim Ummah to face the myriad challenges it faces.
In his inaugural speech to the two-day extraordinary Islamic Solidarity Summit here, King Abdullah said the Muslim Ummah was going through a “period of seditions and divisions.” He said there was bloodshed in many parts of the Muslim World during the holy month of Ramadan.
The solution to these conflicts is unity, tolerance, solidarity and moderation, the King said. “We have to unite against any attempts to divide us. We can defeat injustice only when we are just. We can counter extremism only when we are moderate,” the King said.
“We hope that Almighty Allah helps us find the causes that have made our Ummah weaker and divided, an issue which has reflected negatively on the Ummah,” the King said.
King Abdullah called upon the leaders to rise to the occasion and shoulder their responsibilities. “We should all support what is right,” he said.
The King also proposed setting up a dialogue center for Islamic schools of thought. The center would be based in Riyadh and its members drawn from the OIC states.
As leaders gathered in the holy city to brainstorm on ways and means to bolster the unity of the Ummah and safeguard its interests, in an exemplary display of homogeneity, millions of worshipers in the Grand Mosque here and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah beseeched Almighty Allah for His forgiveness and His mercy in the Night of Power in the blessed month of Ramadan.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which is hosting the summit, said the Muslim World was going through a difficult period.
“It cannot continue with its current approach. We need to hold on to the Islamic values of moderation and tolerance,” he said, pointing out that the most important issues before the summit were Palestine, Syria, Mali and the treatment of Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar.
“Everybody in Syria must understand that the scorched earth policy has never guaranteed stability,” he said.
Addressing the summit meeting, Macky Sall, President of Senegal, dwelt on the situation in Syria and the atrocities on the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar. “We are facing continuous refusal by the Syrian government. We want resolutions asking the Syrian regime to stop killing the innocent,” he said.
He said extremist groups should be forced to return to reason and moderation. The Senegalese leader also called for a special envoy for the Sahara region to address the situation there.
Sall called on the assembled leaders to discuss the tragic situations in Syria, Mali, Myanmar and Palestine.
The summit reflects the King’s untiring efforts for decades to unify the Arab and Muslim ranks and mend their rifts, especially at this delicate time when the Ummah faces the danger of fragmentation.
The King’s role of enhancing cooperation and creating harmony between all Arab and Islamic countries stems from the Kingdom’s ethical and religious obligation toward the Ummah.
The Kingdom has maintained a consistent policy toward all its brothers centered on establishing balanced relations, a matter that has strengthened its role as an honest and loyal mediator to settle disputes and solve problems.
When a committee for “clearing the Arab atmosphere” was formed during the extraordinary Arab summit in Morocco in August in 1985, King Abdullah, who was Crown Prince at that time, was selected to head the committee.
The Palestinian cause is one of the prime issues which has received King Abdullah’s utmost attention in all his speeches.
In a speech on Dec. 7, 1998, at the 19th GCC summit in Abu Dubai, he said, “The maintenance of the identity of Al-Quds is a holy obligation. The protection of Al-Quds does not only concern Muslims or members of the international community, but it is also the responsibility of every individual with conscience.”
Addressing the extraordinary Islamic summit held in Makkah in 2005, in which Arab and Muslim leaders adopted the Makkah Declaration, the King said, “Bloodshed will never achieve Islamic unity as some deviants claim.”
“This is the role of the Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence) Academy in its new formation. It should shoulder its historical role in fighting extremist thought in all its shapes and forms.”
In one of his addresses, the King said, “Upgrading and developing education curricula is a pressing need so as to build the personality of a tolerant Muslim and to create a society that rejects alienation and isolation.”
The King said, “It is painful to see how our great civilization has been dwindling and falling apart and how our Ummah with all of its pride and loftiness has turned into a weak entity… But a believer who has strong faith in his Creator will never ever give up hope in Allah’s mercy.”
The King won the King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam in 2008, which reaffirms the great role he plays in the service of Islam and Muslims.
War-ravaged Syria is not being represented in the summit.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying that the world today was in a very “sensitive situation.”
“Different groups are at work and the enemies are actively pursuing their aims and a great deal of energy is being spent by Islamic governments and groups on arguing with and confronting each other,” he said.
Abdulaziz Sager, head of the Gulf Research Center, said: “Saudi Arabia has called for the meeting after exhausting all possible means to solve the Syrian crisis.”
The Saudi analyst said the summit “should adopt a resolution for a peaceful transfer of power in Syria, including the departure of President (Bashar) Al-Assad and the formation of a national union government.”