The international conference on the future of Muslim minorities, specific opportunities and challenges, running May 8 – 9 in Abu Dhabi, is intended to spread the culture of peace and tolerance among religions and cultures and to protect the children of Muslim minorities against violence and extremism, but also to defend the rights of these religious and cultural minorities in accordance with international conventions and treaties
The International Muslim Minorities Congress is taking place May 8 – 9 in Abu Dhabi with the participation of 400 Muslim leaders and government officials from 140 countries; the event is intended as a platform aimed at combating Islamophobia and religious extremism faced by Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries.
Officially titled ‘The Future of the Islamic Presence in Non-Muslim Societies: Opportunities and Challenges’, the congress is aimed at helping the over 500 million Muslims who live outside the Islamic world to integrate and at bridging the gap between Muslim minorities and the governments. The organisers of the event state that they want to implement all the necessary instruments to allow Muslim minorities fulfil their role as ambassadors of the Muslim world – that of being a good Muslims and model citizens. The event takes place under the patronage of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, United Arab Emirates Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development.
The conference arises from UAE’s civilisational message to promote the culture of peace and tolerance among the followers of different religions and cultures, as an effort to protect the children of the Muslim minorities from the currents of violence and extremism, and to defend the rights of religious and cultural minorities in accordance with the international conventions and agreements, reports the Emirates News Agency.
According to the organisers, the Abu Dhabi conference has three strategic goals: 1) International cooperation for rendering operational international agreements, particularly those related to Muslim societies, with a view to safeguarding global security; 2) Rendering religious diplomacy operational (by settling disputes and dissuading war, combating the tendency to violence and hatred and stimulating dialogue among people to achieve social peace); 3) Linking the efforts made by states and organizations to organize and accommodate the Islamic presence outside the Muslim world.
The organizers have also set five goals specific to this conference: 1) Improving the professional performance of western Islamic institutions, allowing them to preserve their role of ensuring the intellectual and spiritual security of Muslims living in non-Muslim societies; 2) Encouraging Muslims in non-Muslim societies to engage in the construction of their societies and to participate in their civil and civilizational rebirth; 3) Helping Muslims be a civilized presence in non-Muslim societies through positive interactions with the other components of the respective societies; 4) Launching initiatives together with other intellectuals of global standing to combat the phenomenon of radicalization and hatred towards the surrounding people; 5) Promoting the citizenship and social integration system of Muslim communities in non-Muslim countries.
The international conference on the future of Muslim minorities, specific opportunities and challenges, running May 8 – 9 in Abu Dhabi, is intended to spread the culture of peace and tolerance among religions and cultures and to protect the children of Muslim minorities against violence and extremism, but also to defend the rights of these religious and cultural minorities in accordance with international conventions and treaties, said Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, chairman of the International Muslim Minorities Congress.
This is the first conference where Muslim leaders from more than 140 countries will start initiatives to support Muslim minorities worldwide.
Each country has its own environment that is different from other challenges, and certain Muslim minorities have moved to other countries and succeeded, becoming essential components and contributing to the development of their host countries, explained Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, adding that at the same time, other minorities have faced challenges and some have not been able to integrate effectively into their new societies.
Muslims in non-Muslim countries are facing many challenges, whether in terms of services or education… but the biggest challenge is for them to fit in with their societies, said Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi cited by Emirates News Agency. Integration with society is no longer an option, but a necessity, he insists.
If a person wants to live in Germany, they have to live by German laws and as a German citizen given their rights and fulfilling their obligations. In the United Arab Emirates we feel the responsibility of helping Muslims integrate with their societies. Islam has been detoured from its original meaning and presented to the world with a distorted image, with some countries, unfortunately, having abused that notion to serve their political agendas. As a result, there have been many victims, said the Professor.
The major goal of the organizers is to develop a strategy that ultimately allows to protect Muslim minorities from radicalization risks, encourages them to play a more active role in their societies and combats extremism and hatred.
The role of Islamic institutions, particularly their responsibility as regards the intellectual and spiritual security of Muslim citizens, will also be discussed at the conference.
The participants say they agreed to take on this ample challenge because they want to build a common dialogue aimed at combating extremism and Islamophobia, for Muslim minorities to develop in their adoptive countries.
According to the United Nations, more than 550 million Muslim citizens, representing one third of all Muslims worldwide, live outside Organisation of Islamic Cooperation member countries, and represent minorities in their host countries.