Speech by H.E. Mr. Ahmet Necati Bigalı, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in Prague, on the occasion of the opening of the international conference “Overcoming Global Threats: Enhancing Inter-cultural Dialogue, Stability and Peace”
His Excellency Mr. Lubomir Zaoralek, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic,
Mr. Jiri Drahoš, President of the Czech Academy of Sciences,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Embassies of the 23 OIC member countries represented in Prague for many years have gathered under the name of OIC Prague Group and have been carrying out several activities for maintaining an environment of peace, tolerance and dialogue.
The international conference titled "Overcoming the Global Threats: Enhancing Inter-cultural Dialogue, Stability and Peace", starting today, can be referred to as one of the important activities to this end. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to H.E. Mr. Lubomir Zaoralek, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic for His support to the organization of the conference and honoring us with his participation. I also owe thanks to Mr. Jiri Drahoš, esteemed President of the Czech Academy of Sciences for his cooperation with the OIC Prague Group during the preparation of the conference. We are also indebted to Mr. Pavel Klucky, Director of MENA in the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Marek Hrubec, Director of the Center of Global Studies for their efforts. Finally, I would like to thank to all my fellow colleagues in the OIC Prague Group for their contribution to this event.
I would like to welcome you all with my warm greetings.
The world has been suffering for a quite long time due to the tensions and conflicts arising from hatred, intolerance, insensitivity, lack of empathy and wrong interpretation of religion. False and malign interpretation of faith leads to deplorable acts of terror which cost lives of many innocent people and grievence of entire humanity. This should not be the socio-cultural level that the humanity must have attained by the 21st century. There is no doubt that everyone longs for a World where people belonging to different cultures and following different faiths could live together in peace and harmony. Respect and tolerance is the only way for different identities to co-exist. Each individual should respect the others’ religious and philosophical beliefs, thoughts and life styles. I believe this is not too difficult to realize. In fact, freedom of religion and faith has been subject to many international conventions and declarations. Today, many terrorist organizations are claiming lives of thousands of innocent people by exploiting the religion of Islam, and cause feelings of anxiety and insecurity in society. However, there is no room for terrorism in Islam and it is cursed. Indeed, Islam's holy bookQuran-ı Kerim equates the unjust killing of a person to the killing of entire humanity. Within this understanding, the usage Islam and terrorism together is not possible.
In this respect, we the Muslims are disturbedby the usage of expressions like "Islamic terrorism, Islamist terror". Terror is simply terror. It has no religion or nationality, nor any justification, and it is a crime against humanity. The only way of combatting terrorism both in national and international levels is cooperation of all countries against this scourge.
Accordingly, a selective approach towards terrorist organizations is not acceptable.
On the other hand, the ones who misinterpret religion and commit acts of terror in the name of Islam do the biggest harm to Islam. However, Islam is the religion of peace and brotherhood. Unfortunately, in paralel to those developments we are observing the emergence of Islamophobic and xenophobic movements in the Western countries and in the US. The level attained by Islamophobic and xenophobic tendencies is alarming. Muslims living in Western counties are feeling deep insecurity thanks to particular actions and statements expressed by some parts of the societies they live together with. We cannot call such a world, “civilised world”. We believe that in order to resolve this situation, people from different cultures need to regard each other with tolerance and engage in dialogue. This meeting we are holding here today is one of such efforts. As a part of these efforts, we expect governmental and religious authorities of the western countries to reach out to their societies more often and explain them the true, toxical nature of Islamophobia.
One of the biggest problems of our times is the intolerance among beliefs and the hate speech. Today, hate speech rather surfaces as Islamophobia. I think that encouragement of dialogue between religions and faiths by official authorities would help promoting peace and tolerance in the society. And just as antisemitism is condemned and banned, so should Islamophobia be. We see it necessary that relevant legal regulations should be done in all countries to this end.
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