TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged “constructive interaction” among Muslim nations, noting that Muslims would be able to address their problems only through making use of their “internal potentials and capabilities” not appealing to foreign powers.
“Today, the World of Islam faces many challenges. The efforts of foreign powers to dominate the affairs of the Muslims and encroach their God-given resources, poverty and economic and social problems, lack of development, and disagreements among Islamic countries are examples of the problems and challenges that we face. The way to deal with these challenges is not to appeal to foreign powers. The experience of contemporary history teaches us that these powers are merely considering their own interests at the expense of others,” President Rouhani said on Tuesday addressing the 13th conference of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Member States (PUIC) underway in Tehran.
He added, “To address the challenges and problems ahead and find a solution for them, we must search inside not outside. Building on our internal potentials and capabilities, we need to solve our communities' problems, not hope that others would solve our problems.”
Following is the full text of his speech.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
Dear Dr Larijani, President of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran,
Dear heads of parliaments of Islamic countries,
Dear representatives of parliaments,
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to express my happiness over being present at this valuable meeting of the representatives of the Islamic Ummah. I would like to welcome all the guests to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and wish you a pleasant stay in Iran and ask the Almighty success for you in the discussions at the thirteenth session of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States (PUIC).
Without a doubt, in the current sensitive conditions of the World of Islam, solving a significant part of the problems of Islamic countries depends on real and fair participation of people in the affairs of their countries, and this clearly emphasizes the important role of legislative assemblies, which in fact are the symbols of the direct participation of people in their affairs. In this regard, the role of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States in strengthening Islamic unity and exchange of experiences among its members is undeniable. Undoubtedly, the continuation of such meetings will have good impacts on strengthening the spirit of brotherhood and development in the World of Islam.
Today, the World of Islam faces many challenges. The efforts of foreign powers to dominate the affairs of the Muslims and encroach their God-given resources, poverty and economic and social problems, lack of development, and disagreements among Islamic countries are examples of the problems and challenges that we face. The way to deal with these challenges is not to appeal to foreign powers. The experience of contemporary history teaches us that these powers are merely considering their own interests at the expense of others.
To address the challenges and problems ahead and find a solution for them, we must search inside not outside. Building on our internal potentials and capabilities, we need to solve our communities' problems, not hope that others would solve our problems. This does not mean isolationism, but rather, we are in favor of constructive interaction based on equal footing of the World of Islam with others, where there is no room to exploit and interfere in the internal affairs of Islamic countries. We believe that if international relations are to take shape on the basis of a healthy interaction based on international law, many of the current problems of the world will be eliminated. The problem begins with the fact that some powers do not seek constructive and equal interaction with others. They look at others from top, seeking unilateral relations and of course their own interests. We must abandon our differences and reduce dependence on foreigners by converging and relying on domestic capacities and utilising our own human and social capital and rich resources, and working towards growth and development of the Islamic world. We must strengthen this belief in us that we will be able to overcome the issues of the World of Islam only through lack of reliance on foreigners and greater solidarity of the Islamic Ummah.
The World of Islam will not recover unless Muslim nations prove their competency and merit by enjoying and improving sovereignty of the people and bring economic prosperity to all classes of their society in the light of social and political security.
The first step in achieving this is to have a peaceful region and foreign policy. No country can engage in domestic development if it is engaged in foreign conflicts. No country can solve its internal problems through foreign troops and advance its economic and social development plans simultaneously with the bombing and killing in neighboring nations. Engaging in violence outside the borders and attributing domestic problems to outside cannot eradicate the capacity of extremism and violence from inside. On the contrary, it is combatting poverty, discrimination and providing equal opportunity for citizens regardless of their gender, ethnicity and religion that can be the root of violence and extremism. This is an important goal that our parliaments can play a very important role in realizing it as an assembly of people's representatives.
Today more than ever, Islamic countries need to pay attention to the establishment of democracy. The West thinks that there is no relation between Islamism and democracy, but the relation between the two is quite contrary. Under this pretext, they allow themselves to impose and prescribe new forms of colonialism to Islamic countries.
As Muslims, we must uphold our great Islamic jurisprudence and historical legacy. Establishing democratic governments that are compatible with religion, on the one hand, make the political and social presence of religion to take a legal and popular form, and on the other hand, will maintain the religious and Islamic heritage in the best way possible.
For us, the best model of the rule of people is the government of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH). In the transcendental model of the Prophet's government, although he had the status of divine revelation and infallibility and all believers considered –and consider- his words based on divine revelation, but he consulted with people and answered their questions and even criticism as a ruler. In the promised universal ruling [of Imam Mahdi (PBUH)], although it originates from Allah's guidance and divine infallibility, it is people's welcoming that strengthens it.
Strengthening democracy and paying attention to the views of the people is our most important strategy in relation with the West. We declare to the West with ballot boxes, parliamentary podiums, the press and the media and our free networks, that we do not need your interference. Islam is the religion of democracy, and the religion of peace, not the religion of war. The word "Islam" originates from "peace". Whether inside or outside the World of Islam, we must reconcile and exercise peace to solve our problems.
While respecting the territorial integrity and political rule of all countries, the Islamic Republic of Iran considers realizing empathy and cooperation of all Islamic countries the only solution to the problems of the Islamic Ummah. The Islamic Republic of Iran defines its relations with Islamic countries on the basis of Islamic virtues and affection. We do not consider any Islamic country as our rival, and we believe that we can negotiate and cooperate even with countries with which we disagree. Unfortunately, some countries are on the wrong path and spread the gap among the Islamic Ummah under the influence of the United States and the Zionist Regime. From our point of view, the powers that are themselves responsible for wars, political and economic pressures and crisis in the World of Islam and try to guarantee their survival by bloodshed, conflict, and promotion of violence and extremism, never want -and are not in a position- to be friends and companions of the oppressed and innocent.
The meeting is being held at a time when the massive, devastating threat posed by the radical ISIL, which, by diverting from the holy teachings of the Islamic Shari'a, presented the world with a complete misconception of Islam, has now been severely weak, and God willing, we will soon see the annihilation of this terrorist group and similar groups. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been at the forefront of combatting this diversion since its birth, and has been helping others by taking advantage of its experiences in the fight against terrorism. We responded to the invitation of the governments of Iraq and Syria and sent military advisers to those countries to fight alongside their two brotherly people with takfiri terrorism and prevent them from accessing other countries. We hope that with the cooperation of all Islamic governments, the root of extremism in the World of Islam will be completely dried up, and the power and capital of the Islamic Ummah will be spent on the path to prosperity and welfare of the Muslim people instead of confronting such destructive threats. The initiative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to mobilise the international community in the fight against terrorism and extremism, which has been welcomed and agreed by the international community as a resolution of the UN General Assembly entitled "The World Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE)", is a clear example of the capacity available internationally to advance the lofty goals of the Islamic Ummah.
One of the main advantages of the failed extremism of ISIL is the return of the Palestinian issue to its main position as the first priority on the political agenda of the Islamic Ummah. We believe that the main cause of the collapse of the Middle East's stability and security is the continuation of the occupation and the US' government's strong, unsparing support of the Zionist Regime and the denial of the oppressed Palestinian people from their basic rights to the formation of an independent Palestinian state with the Holy Quds as its capital. It is imperative for the Muslim world to decisively reject the bad decision of the US president to declare the transfer of the US embassy to the Holy Quds until its withdrawal. This action by the President of the United States is a blatant violation of the UN resolutions, which was even harshly criticised by his strategic allies in the West, made the Muslims more united over the Quds and Palestine issue, and the Quds issue, which in recent years was slightly off the main priority because of the creation and intensification of the scourge of terrorism and extremism in the region, returned to its original position. For this reason, the Zionist Regime is unhappy about the issue of Palestine becoming the first issue of the Islamic world again, and is trying to obliterate the first priority of the Islamic world, which is Palestine and the Holy Quds, by designing unreal issues. Meanwhile, the United States also supports this trick of the Zionists in various ways, including in the UN Security Council.
The new conspiracy against Palestine, the Quds and the Muslim world has so far had opposite results for its hatchers, and thus we are witnessing the new Palestinian intifada and movement against the Zionist Regime and its supporters. I am convinced that the Islamic Ummah and governments will never forget the Quds as the first Qiblah of Muslims, and will act based on unity of purpose, avoiding divisions and joint efforts to return all Palestinians to their homeland and double their efforts to an independent Palestinian state throughout the Palestinian territory, with the Holy Quds as its capital.
The central question posed by the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States Conference is that, in the present circumstances, what could be expected from representatives of Muslim people at the legislative assemblies of Islamic countries? The most explicit answer is the help of these dear ones to their political leaders and authorities to strengthen the spirit of fraternity and development-oriented unity in the Muslim world. It is important that the legislative bodies of Islamic countries act to identify the roots and backgrounds of the existing problems and, with firm resolve and resolute determination, help and take a more serious role in dealing with the problems. In your domestic and foreign policy, you must work hard to replace harmful elements, including reliance on foreign powers, sectarianism, disunity, war-seeking, self-centeredness and favouritism, prejudice and ignorance with positive and constructive elements such as self-reliance, coexistence, tolerance, solidarity, friendship, unity, reason, and rationality.
On this path, I, as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, extend my cooperation and assistance to you all, who, in my opinion, are the forerunners of thought in your communities, and I ask you to help us figure out a better future for ourselves and the next generations of the Islamic Ummah by supporting and promoting these high concepts of humanity, concepts that, if expanded in the Islamic society, can help us to proceed in the right direction and in harmony with our nature.
In the end, I hope that, in light of the precious teachings of the Holy Qur'an and the tradition of the great Prophet of Islam, and based on the precious principle of peaceful coexistence, we will be able to take a step towards the development of peace, justice, equality, brotherhood and moderation in the Muslim world, focusing on principles such as collaboration, dialogue and engagement, to create a world full of spirituality, dignity and prosperity, and eliminated discrimination and violence for all peoples of the world, especially the great people in the World of Islam.
Peace be upon you and God's mercy and blessings