Displaying items by tag: KL Summit
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Iran, Malaysia, Turkey and Qatar are considering trading among themselves in gold and through a barter system as a hedge against any future economic sanctions on them, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Saturday.
At the end of an Islamic summit in Malaysia, Mahathir praised Iran and Qatar for withstanding economic embargoes and said it was important for the Muslim world to be self-reliant to face future threats.
“With the world witnessing nations making unilateral decisions to impose such punitive measures, Malaysia and other nations must always bear in mind that it can be imposed on any of us,” Mahathir said.
U.S.-allied Arab states Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar about 2-1/2-years ago over allegations it backs terrorism, a charge Doha denies. Iran, meanwhile, has been hit badly after the United States reimposed sanctions on it last year.
“I have suggested that we re-visit the idea of trading using the gold dinar and barter trade among us,” Mahathir said, referring to the Islamic medieval gold coin.
“We are seriously looking into this and we hope that we will be able to find a mechanism to put it into effect.”
The leaders agreed they needed do more business among themselves and trade in each other’s currencies.
The summit, which was snubbed by Saudi Arabia, was criticized for undermining the Saudi-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which represents 57 Muslim-majority nations. Malaysia said all the OIC members had been invited to the Kuala Lumpur summit but only about 20 showed up.
By the fourth and final day of the summit, no joint statement had been released. The summit had been expected to discuss major issues affecting Muslims, including Palestine, Kashmir and the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and China’s camps for Uighur Muslims in its western Xinjiang region.
Without naming any country, Mahathir said there was concern that Muslims in non-Muslim countries were forced to undergo assimilation.
“We support integration but assimilation to the extent of shedding our religion is unacceptable,” he said.
At a news conference, he said the summit participants had been told that Uighurs were being detained in China.
“We have to hear the state, we have to hear the people who complain, then only it will be fair,” he said.
He called India’s new citizenship act unfortunate. The act facilitates for faster naturalization of non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who had settled in India prior to 2015.
Published in: Reuters.com, 21 December 2019
Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit) 2019 chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad ended with considerable pessimism. As an observer of geopolitics, I would not deny the perception that the summit had failed to deliver.
However, we should look at the bigger picture based on a larger framework of analysis with respect to the collective fate of Muslims.
Dr Mahathir stresses that the summit is not a replication of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) or to challenge the latter’s role in bringing Muslim countries together. However, the ummah needs no coffeeshop conversations. We need to put work into action. We should not wait until everyone agrees.
So, work within your capabilities — is what I decipher from Dr Mahathir’s initiatives. Starting with the signing of memoranda of understanding (MoU) between five countries in line with the seven pillars — development and sovereignty, integrity and good governance, culture and identity, justice and freedom, peace, security and defence, trade and investment and last, technology and Internet investment.
The second bigger picture is to open a new discourse to fill the vacuum in the era where the Anglo-American-led liberal world order is fizzling out. The US dollar should no longer be the sole global currency and an alternative should be offered to the international community, instead, in the form of a gold-backed cryptocurrency.
The US dollar’s dominance has, for a very long time, affected not only the less developed Muslim countries, but also poor nations around the globe. The US-China trade war has disrupted the supply chain of the global economy with countries such as Malaysia also impacted.
The vacuum in the world economic order should not only be blamed on the attitudes of the economic giants. It calls for a responsible reconstruction by other state actors (in this case, Muslim nations) for a better and prosperous system for all.
The third bigger picture is to induce actions by Muslim countries on the issues of the ummah. As stressed earlier, resolutions are not actions. We must not end with merely tabling resolutions at the international level. Actions have to be measurable and operatable.
Though actions are framed on a small scale initially, they must result in active execution by state actors. Actions might not be carried out by states individually, but joint efforts can only be constructed if mutual understanding is forged out of government-to-government interactions.
After all, the summit gathered scholars, technologists, policymakers, government officials and academics to focus on the concerns of the ummah.
Ultimately, the goal of “reviving Islamic civilisation” is noble. The Islamic civilisation once reigned, ornamenting the world with good governance and mastery of philosophy, science and technology. The huge difference between the past and present is surely caused by many factors, internal and external.
The quest for an explanation for our downfall would be long, winding and meaningless. In fact, what the ummah needs is a synergised moving-on process involving all actors and stakeholders. We should progressively empower ourselves instead of putting the blame on other nations.
Therefore, Muslims, regardless of nationality, should come together in this new journey. Regardless of our capacity and circumstances, there is a calling as
a responsible Muslim to lend a hand in ensuring the workability of the idea.
We believe that God will not change our destiny until and unless we make a change. So, what needs to be done to make it work? KL Summit needs an operational workforce. The signing of the MoU across all disciplines and nations is a good start; nevertheless, it needs support from the grassroots.
There should be more dialogues and workshops among Muslims at the national and international levels — exploring more ideas on the seven clusters. In short, KL Summit should be results-driven and goal-oriented.
To conclude, KL Summit is not a failure. It is an initiative of a few leaders to revamp the worldview with regard to Islam, its civilisation and ummah. We have to thank them for putting down the first brick in the effort to renew Islamic civilisation.
The success or failure of the journey cannot be attributed to them alone, but is also the responsibility of Muslim communities, which have just witnessed an opportunity but failed to make it work.
The externalities seem to suggest a consistent trend that Islam and Muslims are in a vulnerable state. We can either be proactive and seize the opportunity, or remain a pessimist who discredits the idea of civilisation renewal, and at the same time points the finger at others who have made Muslim life a state of despair.
The writer is the chief coordinator of Akademi Harimau Asia and currently working as Special Functions Officer to the Minister of Youth and Sports.
Published in: New Straits Times, Tuesday 21 January 2020
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has warned Muslims that they will suffer continuous oppression, and their religion will be denigrated as a religion of failure, oppression and terrorism if their current state of affairs persists.
In his keynote address at the Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit) 2019, he said Muslim nations were lagging behind in development and some were even known for being failed governments.
(KL Summit) 2019, he said Muslim nations were lagging behind in development and some were even known for being failed governments.
He said, at the same time, the ummah in several countries were involved in fratricidal wars, which had led Muslims to flee to non-Muslim nations.
He said when they were unable to defend themselves, they would need to rely on non-Muslim nations for arms and protection.
Even more pressing, he said, was the perception of Islam, as Muslims and Islam were no longer associated with civility.
He said the decline of the advanced Muslim civilisations of the past began in the 15th century of the Common Era, and from that point, Muslims gradually began to lose “the respect of the world”.
He said Muslims today were unable to return to the era when they were well-versed in all fields of knowledge, including science and engineering and manufacturing of goods.
“There were attempts to find the reasons for their (Muslims) decline. But discussions and scholarly writings have not resulted in the recovery of their past greatness.
“So, if the future remains as we are now, we will suffer continuous oppression. We will decline further and our great religion will be denigrated as a religion of failure, oppression and terrorism. “Muslims will be turned away from Muslim countries (leading them) to seek refuge in non-Muslim countries.
“The ummah will not be protected as enjoined by the Quran,” he told an audience of more than 500 delegates and representatives from 56 countries at the opening of the KL Summit yesterday.
The summit is themed “The Role of Development in Achieving National Sovereignty”.
Present were Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Dr Mahathir said in the past, Muslims adhered to the teachings of Islam as a religion of peace, while succeeding in infrastructure and governance.
“Muslims built great cities, sailed and mapped the seas, traded between the East and West along the Silk Road and many other things that boosted the reputation of Islam and Muslims.
“Their military strength was incomparable. Muslims and their countries were treated with respect.”
On Muslim nations, he said none was classified as developed despite the immense wealth in some of the sovereign states. Many of these nations, he said, were weak and incapable of protecting the ummah, which was their duty in Islam.
On Muslim nations, he said none was classified as developed despite the immense wealth in some of the sovereign states. Many of these nations, he said, were weak and incapable of protecting the ummah, which was their duty in Islam.
“In fact, although the Quran enjoins upon us to be prepared to protect the ummah, we are unable to do so because for a long time we cannot even equip ourselves with the means to ward off attacks by others. We depend on our detractors to supply us.
“We can accuse the non-Muslim world of being biased and unjust in their assessments.
“But we cannot deny the fact that there are fratricidal wars in several Muslim countries, that many are beholden to the powerful non-Muslim nations, and that Muslims are running away from their countries to seek refuge in non-Muslim countries.”
Dr Mahathir said many Muslim countries were occupied by European powers in the 18th to mid
20th century, but even after gaining independence, many of these nations regressed to the point of being once again dependent on their former colonial masters.
“If we care to honestly assess our situation, we must admit that we and our religion have become the subject of much vilification and defamation.
“Muslims and Islam have been equated with terrorism and failures of government, as well as irrationality and acts unworthy of civilised behaviour.
“Muslim countries are accused of authoritarianism and lacking concern for human rights.”
However, Dr Mahathir said, good governance was not impossible as governments in Muslim nations could achieve success if they always uphold the teachings of Islam in their policies.
He touched on the different sects in Islam, which he said occurred after Muslims began neglecting all acquisition of knowledge other than that of Islam. He said the disunity of the ummah occurred when Muslim scholars came up with differing interpretations, which gave birth to the differing sects.
At the same time, Muslims were divided based on their nations or states.
“We were one ummah before. But we have broken up into nation states with boundaries separating us from each other. And in different states, our religious practices differ.
“And this has broken our unity. We are no longer brothers in Islam. We no longer have a paramount ruler — the caliph or khalifah.” He said the infighting among sects, in which opposing sides often claimed that the other was not a true follower of the religion, reflected poorly on Muslims.
He said Islam’s detractors did not care about the different sects because they regarded all of them as Muslims and their differences were irrelevant.
Dr Mahathir warned Muslims against waging wars based on anger and frustration as nothing could be gained through indiscriminate violent acts.
“We can declare that Islam does not advocate such violence. But for as long as we act in anger, as long as we do things that frighten people, and worse still, if we proclaim that we are performing jihad, the fear of Muslims and Islam will not diminish.”
He said when Muslims killed each other in the name of jihad , it created a bad perception of Islam.
“The Al-Quran forbids killing, above all killing a fellow Muslim. But Muslims are killing each other indiscriminately. They are killing innocent people, including fellow Muslims. Is this a jihad for Islam? I think you will agree that killings and fratricidal wars are not the jihad advocated by Islam.”
He said there were some Muslims who committed violent acts and killed innocent victims as well as the sick and incapacitated because their countries were unable to provide security for them or as a form of retaliation when their land was seized.
“Frustrated and angry, they react violently without in any way achieving their objectives. They seek revenge, but all they succeed in doing is to bring disrepute to Islam.
“They have created fear by their actions and now Islamophobia, this unjustified fear of Islam, has denigrated our religion in the eyes of the world.”
Dr Mahathir said Muslims must know how this fear was generated and to determine whether it was the detractors’ propaganda.
He said such questions needed to be answered during the KL Summit, which was meant to discuss the critical state of Muslim affairs.
“Understanding problems and their causes may guide us in overcoming or mitigating disasters that have fallen upon the ummah. We have seen other countries devastated by World War 2 not only recovering, but growing strongly with development.
“But some Muslim countries seem incapable of being governed well, much less prosper.
“We have to deal with fratricidal wars, civil wars and catastrophes that have affected the ummah and Islam.
“Yes, Islam and Muslim countries are in a state of crisis and unworthy of this great religion, which is meant to be good for mankind. It is for these reasons that the summit was organised.”
Published in: The New Straits Times, Friday 20 December 2019
KUALA LUMPUR: Self-reliance among Muslim nations remains crucial as there is no sovereign state impervious to international sanctions.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that if Muslim nations cooperated, especially on ensuring mutual economic wellbeing, it could help tide over external challenges.
He said in the future, unilateral sanctions or boycotts currently imposed on Muslim countries such as Iran and Qatar may not be confined to these two states.
“Such sanctions and embargoes are not going to be exclusively for Iran and Qatar. With the world witnessing nations making unilateral decisions to impose such punitive measures, Malaysia and other nations must always bear in mind that it can be imposed on any of us.
“It is all the more reason for us to be self-reliant and work towards that with other Muslims nations to ensure that if and when such measures are imposed upon us, we are capable of facing it,” Dr Mahathir said in his closing remarks at the 5th Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit) 2019 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
More than 400 delegates from 56 Muslim countries attended the three-day summit themed “The Role of Development in Achieving National Sovereignty”.
Dr Mahathir said that the summit managed to gather the heads of state and government of Iran, Qatar, Turkey and Malaysia, who together with other leaders present, had agreed that the brotherhood shown by the participating nations should be further enhanced.
“It was pointed out that if Muslim countries are independent and capable of standing on their own feet, we will not be subjected to such treatments.
“Nevertheless, leaders of all four countries were especially heartened by the brotherly and friendly relations that have strengthened despite the complexities of the region.
“These, to us, are the very essence that will ensure the foundation that we want to build will be successful.”
When elaborating on what was highlighted during the summit, Dr Mahathir, who is the KL Summit chairman, said much of the current achievements of the Muslim world were also revealed by delegates during the event.
It includes the successes of Muslim nations to overcome adversity amidst external pressures from a world superpower and boycotts from their regional neighbours.
He pointed out that there was a silver lining in the sanctions that were imposed by the United States on Iran and the boycott by certain Gulf nations imposed on Qatar.
He said as what was related by their respective heads of state, who had attended the summit, Iran and Qatar were able to rise above the challenges before them and become self-sufficient with notable achievements in several fields.
“It is important for me to point out that Iran in particular, despite the years of sanctions, had been able to continue to progress and develop. It proudly stands as a nation with the fourth-highest number of engineers in the world.
“Qatar, too, has been subject to the embargo and like Iran, it has managed to rise above it and progressed impressively.”
He said when it comes to measures that could boost the economic standing of Muslim nations, a proposal highlighted by delegates to set up a common currency and consider new types of trade must be looked into.
“I have suggested that we re-visit the idea of trading using the gold dinar and barter trade among us. We are seriously looking into this and we hope that we will be able to find a mechanism to put it into effect.”
He said the purpose of the summit was for the participating nations to assess their strengths, weaknesses and their assets to benefit one another.
In this regard, Dr Mahathir said the more prosperous and stable Muslim nations needed to help weaker Muslim nations to get back on their feet, citing the possible economic or human capital collaborations.
“Simply put, if one of us has expertise in a particular area, we offer it to another or all the other participating countries and establish a realistic collaboration.”
He said he was extremely proud that after three days, the summit had witnessed 18 successful exchange of instruments in various fields including advanced hi-technology; media collaboration; the centre of excellence; food security and youth leadership and exchange programmes.
“There are several more in the pipeline which is being worked out resulting from discussions during this Summit. These are tangible outcomes from the Summit as to how we had envisaged when we embarked on this programme.”
He said the summit’s focus was mainly on the economy, science and technology as well as the defence industry.
“But the most important aspect of all the focus is the need to be able to produce and create new indigenous technologies.
“For as long as we are dependent on the technology created by the enemies of Islam, they will forever be able to circumvent, dictate and control our efforts to improve our technologies and defence system in particular.”
Dr Mahathir said many Muslim leaders expressed the need to have a more proportionate Muslim representation in all fields globally because the 1.8 billion Muslim population worldwide represented almost a quarter of the total world population.
He said that leaders at the summit had described the disproportionate representation of Muslims in the fields of science, technology and humanities as something “pitiful”.
He also addressed the criticism which had been levelled against the KL Summit ahead of its opening and said that some people may have misunderstood the purpose of the event.
“Admittedly, some had misunderstood our intentions, intentionally or otherwise, some had felt slighted while a few were suspicious. By now, I am sure it is obvious that the negative opinions were misplaced and not justified.
“We are not here to replace any other Muslim platforms, neither are we intending to create different categories or classes of Muslim nations nor to undermine others.
“It is a congregation of a few Muslim nations of which some of the leaders wanted to get together and discuss some areas that are possible for us to establish collaborations that will first benefit the nations involved and then taken onto a bigger platform and collaboration to benefit the Muslim world as a whole.”
He believed that while he may not be able to allay the suspicions and opposition raised against the summit, he was elated that the participants remained steadfast in using the platform to focus on seven pillars of discussion - development and sovereignty; integrity and good governance; culture and identity; justice and freedom; peace, security and defence; trade and investment; and technology and internet governance.
Despite the summit being apolitical and non-religious, Dr Mahathir said that such issues could not be avoided during the event as certain communities were now faced with persecution due to their religion or ethnicity.
“There is also concern that Muslims in non-Muslim countries are forced to undergo assimilation. We support integration, but assimilation to the extent of shedding our religion is unacceptable.”
Dr Mahathir also urged Muslims to acquire knowledge as it was the only hope in preventing them from continuously being bullied and mistreated by their enemies.
“We hope from this point onwards, our other Muslim brethren will see for themselves that what we intend to do is to unite the ummah on strategic and advanced technologies.”
Published in: The New Straits Times, Saturday 21 December 2019
Whenever a catastrophe befalls Muslims anywhere in the world, many would react with stereotypical behaviour claiming that this would never happen if all Muslim nations are united.
However, many endeavours by Muslims that glamorously draw a “unity” image have culminated in fiasco.
Such failures teach us that no success will emerge from huge gatherings unless there is a sincere intention to produce something tangible.
The Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit) 2019 constitutes a lesson learnt from past failures of Muslims in holding big gatherings and joint protests, and making bold declarations.
Quantitatively, what we witnessed was not like a huge Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) gathering, as Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had already stated that the summit makes no such claim.
However, in Islamic public opinion, this summit was regarded as more promising than many of the previous OIC gatherings.
What has rendered the summit promising is the sincere intention to do something.
During the 74th United Nations General Assembly, the trilateral meeting between the leaders of Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan, and the joint projects proposed afterwards probably saw the sowing of the seeds of this gathering in Malaysia.
The fact that the summit drew considerable attention — along with criticism from some Muslims — even before it began was indeed a sign that it has the potential to trigger real changes in the Islamic world.
That is why some powers among the Muslims, which seem to be contented with the status quo of the ummah, refused to take part in this gathering.
As is known, the summit was to have been pioneered by Malay-sia, Turkey, Pakistan, Qatar and Indonesia.
Yet, changes of mind by Pakistan and Indonesia happened, which led to an unexpectedly high-level participation by Iran.
Eventually, the leaders of four participant nations made a substantial difference, addressing the key and less-mentioned issues of the Muslim world.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasised once more that the five permanent Security Council members of the United Nations no longer determine the fate of Muslims, saying that “the world is bigger than five”.
Apart from suggesting a new and more peaceful world order, he also underlined the inadequacy of the Islamic world to remedy the plight of the Palestinians, as well as offering any solution to sectarian divisions among the Muslims.
It was indeed an implicit message to the Muslim world suggesting some serious changes in approach.
Making no compromise on his realism, Dr Mahathir explicitly talked about the facts of the Muslim world, referring to the mistakes, shortcomings and inefficiencies of followers.
He also gave a reminder of the golden age of Muslims when they were regarded as the best model in science, technology and art, and stated that Muslims have no other way but to work hard, study science and produce if they want to rebuild the “Great Islamic Civilisation”.
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani talked about the defects of Muslims just like Dr Mahathir as he blamed some “Islamic” regimes that exploit religion, disregard human rights and cause fragmentation.
He demonstrated once more that Qatar will not follow the attempts by the Gulf nations to isolate Iran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani put forward similar points along with a significant proposal to initiate a Muslim cryptocurrency as a game-changer in the face of the US dollar’s monopoly.
All in all, what we observe from the speeches and the outcomes of the KL Summit is that quality matters in order to make changes for the Islamic world, as suggested by Dr Mahathir repeatedly.
This has been a small but meaningful start by a few nations.
No sectarian differences were highlighted and no key issues that needed to be talked about were bypassed.
The main focus was how to overcome the underdevelopment in the Muslim world and revive the Islamic civilisation by any means.
Such a spirit produced very good initiatives from the participants. The agreement between Turkey and Malaysia to establish a communication centre that aims to combat global Islamophobia is one of them.
A proposed formation of a centre of excellence in scientific and technological research is also another tangible solution, while the agreements between Turkey and Malaysia in the fields of science and defence are among the constructive outcomes of this summit.
If one should summarise what the KL Summit means for the Muslim world, it would have been through reference to the unforgettable remarks of Dr Mahathir on the joint TV channel project by Turkey-Malaysia-Pakistan: “This special TV channel is a move to do things instead of just making a declaration and forgetting about it.”
This is what the summit was all about. Rather than declaring some assertive statements, condemnations and proposals — soon to be forgotten — these few nations decided to do something, big or small.
The writer works at the international news media Anadolu Agency, Turkey, as Malaysia Representative
Published in: The New Straits Times, Monday 23 December 2019