2005 News Story

King Abdullah opens OIC summit with call for unity, tolerance

The third extraordinary summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) opened in Makkah today. The summit was convened in response to a call from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan welcomed Muslim leaders to the summit, which is taking place at Al-Safa Palace in Makkah. The leaders will review documents including a ten-year strategic action plan that is intended to confront the challenges faced by OIC nations; the Makkah Declaration, which provides a general picture of the current situation in OIC countries and the hopes and aspirations of the Islamic nation; and a draft of the summit’s final communiqué. They will also review the Palestinian-Israeli situation and the state of Iraq.

In his opening remarks to the summit, King Abdullah welcomed the participants and said that their presence is a testament to the desire of the Islamic nation to move forward and change for the better.

“Let us work together to make this Summit a milestone that heralds a brighter future for the Ummah, with Allah’s grace,” he said.

King Abdullah noted the major contributions that the Islamic civilization has made over the centuries, particularly in the areas of jurisprudence, philosophy, the sciences and literature. In light of this glorious past, the King said, the current state of the Islamic nation is especially painful.

“It is heartbreaking for us to see how our glorious civilization slipped from the exalted graces of dignity to the ravines of frailty. How painful that the ideology sprouted forth by criminal minds has unleashed wanton evil and corruption on earth, and that the ranks of our one Ummah – united in the lofty heights of its glory – have turned into helplessness,” the King said.

He called for unity and tolerance to address the situation. “Let us bid farewell to the age of division and disintegration in order to usher in a new era of unity and dignity by relying first on Allah and then on patience and hard work,” King Abdullah said.

“I look forward to a united Muslim Ummah and good governance that eliminate injustice and oppression for the sake of the comprehensive Muslim development that eradicates destitution and poverty,” he said.

“I also look forward to the spread of moderation that embodies the Islamic concept of tolerance. Moreover, I look forward to Muslim inventors and industrialists, to an advanced Muslim technology, and Muslim youth who work for their life just as they work for the Hereafter, without excess or negligence, without any kind of extremism.”

Unity must be achieved through tolerance, not bloodshed, and extremism in all its forms must be resisted, the King said.

“Islamic unity will not be achieved by bloodletting as the miscreants – in their misguided waywardness – insist on claiming. Fanaticism and extremism can not grow on an earth whose soil is embedded in the spirit of tolerance, moderation, and balance.”

The King also noted the importance of the educational system in fostering tolerance.

“You may agree with me that developing educational curricula, and improving them, is a fundamental prerequisite to building a Muslim personality,” he said. “Steeped in tolerance, such a personality would lay the foundations for a society that rejects isolationism and turns its back on courting hostility to the other by interacting with all humanity, adopting what is good and rejecting what is bad.”

Transcript of the speech