We bear a historic responsibility to open the way for the dignity and prosperity of the Muslim Ummah/ Takfiri and extremist thinking of the world today has caused ignorance, fanaticism, murder and destruction

Speaking at the 1st Roundtable Session of the Priority of Development and the Challenges at the Kuala Lumpur Summit, President said that we have a historic responsibility for clearing the route of dignity and pride for the Islamic community, stressing, "Today, it is time to think of a place that the Islamic Ummah deserves”.

Thu 19 - December 2019 - 12:59

At the session that was held on Thursday at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia, President Hassan Rouhani said, "I would like to re-express my thanks to the Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia for giving the valuable opportunity to us and experts”.

Full text of Dr Rouhani’s speech is as follows:

In the name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

Once again, I would like to thank the Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia for providing this valuable opportunity for us and scholars.

We bear a historic responsibility to open the way for the dignity and prosperity of the Muslim Ummah and eradicate obstacles on the Ummah progress and participation as well as growth and perfection of human society.

I am confident that you have participated in this gathering on the belief and aspiration that Islamic civilization could experience its golden era once again under the new conditions of the world today.

The decline of the Islamic civilisation began when a tide of superficiality and narrow-mindedness and fanaticism ignored the dynamism of Islamic jurisprudence as well as the role of human wisdom and experience in managing societies. This is while the Almighty God has sent us two messengers for our guidance: one is our internal messenger that is our wisdom and mind and the other is our appearing messenger that is Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Some of us abandoned such a blessing by the Almighty God and did not benefit from our wisdom, mind and knowledge as well as the knowledge of other humans. This is while the Almighty has admonished us that we should seek wisdom and knowledge wherever they exist and our holy prophet has instructed us to search for science and knowledge as a necessity as significant as praying and worshiping.

Backwarded thinking resulted in the underdevelopment of our societies and led to the creation of a radical approach which damaged our civilization and progress and tarnished the true image of Islam. And as we see today the Takfiri and extremist thinking of the world today has caused ignorance, fanaticism, murder and destruction.

As against this extremist attitude which deprived us from wisdom, knowledge and experience of others, lies another radical approach in the Muslim world, being inspired from the Western models for our development. Such an approach makes any development and progress of Muslim nations conditional on ignoring national traditions and religious beliefs and tells us to place faith absolutely in the West and Western patterns. Therefore unfortunately some of the Muslim countries deprived their society from their Islamic identity as the result of absolute imitation of Western patterns and abandonment of national traditions and religious beliefs. Muslim societies regrettably paid a very high price for incorporating these two radical approaches.

And today, it seems obvious to all that in the long run, development would have catastrophic impacts on our societies without focusing on historical values and religious beliefs.

Poor attention to the cultural dimension of development impedes national creativity and innovation and diminishes the capacity of society to counter unwanted foreign patterns.

Now is the time for us to think about a status deserved and triumphed by the Muslim Ummah. The Muslim Ummah may not earn what it deserves unless it is able to retrieve the string of compassion and affinity amongst it and crush the cells of imprisonment in the cycle of rage and hatred. Without being prepared for full cooperation with Muslim communities and our brothers, one cannot achieve anything but the repeat of failure. We have learnt that Islam is not the civilization of clashes and conflicts. It is the civilization of toleration, invitation and co-existence.

The Islamic Republic of Iran stands ready to cooperate with other Muslim countries. The fruit of extensive investment in higher education and training young scientists has been spectacular accomplishment for Iran being places in highest ranks globally and regionally in nano- and bio-technology, cognitive sciences and peaceful nuclear.

 Fortunately in defence industry and research, we have arrived at a point wherein we can defend ourselves against threats and in some defence industries our capabilities can compete with developed countries and this could not have occurred without the awakening of our younger generation in learning new science and technologies while maintaining national and religious culture.

On the other hand, Islam-based democracy has paved the ground for the active participation of people in determining their own destiny.

The main reason superpowers have been unable during the past 41 years to hurt our independence and establishment is because of our democracy and public participation.

Iranians have participated on average once a year in nationwide public elections and we held 38 elections in 40 years. And our people determine their future in ballot boxes and in today’s world, independence and development are impossible without public participation. And we are pleased to have been able to reconcile our religious culture democracy, vote and ballot box with the opinion and consultation of the people as the Almighty God tells us in the Holy Quean to consult amongst ourselves. This is an Islamic instruction to attain our goals with the participation and joint efforts of each other.

Mr. Chair

Today is the day of decision for progress on the basis of cooperation. Our countries enjoy a lot of ground for synergy and integration. What is important is to be able to take calculated and tailored steps. We can begin from areas in which we are more prepared to take action and prepare the ground for more extensive cooperation.

In our view, in economic areas, we can establish closer multilateral cooperation in five main areas. The first area is monetary and banking and insurance cooperation. We know that today many of our economic activities are dependent on foreign insurance and big countries. This is while we as Muslim countries are able to set up a joint insurance particularly in transport to save ourselves from depending on others. Today under the conditions of sanctions, we should be able to cooperate to set up our insurance structure.

In banking sector, we should transact without national money. Without national money and with reliance on dollar we would be unable to maintain our economic independence.

Other area of cooperation is new technologies. Muslim states have made remarkable advances in new sciences and technologies and today we are able to stand on our own feet. We recently were able to stand on our own feet in oil and gas as we began manufacturing turbines and compressors and we have no need to foreign companies. And this is significant for us that we enjoy power in the Muslim world and we can complement each other in such industries.

The third sector is commerce and trade. We in the Muslim world could cooperate especially in the area of Halal goods and services.

Today Halal food and industry enjoys a special place even in developed nations and among non-Muslims who have converted to Halal brand and food. And we can initiate a very big movement in the global market of Halal goods and services.

The other area is trans-national transit and related services in which we can assist each other and cooperate. 

As with tourism, the Muslim world enjoys a very good opportunity as we profit from cultural and historical heritage and handicrafts as well as climate diversity and health tourism. We can develop cooperation in such areas.

With the emergence of the block chain industry, today we can found a single Muslim crypto currency in cooperation with our central banks. Mr. Mahathir Mohamad in the past was seeking to set up Muslim Dinar. Perhaps we are able to establish a new money in the Muslim world thanks to the new technology and benefit from the advantages of digital currency in order to make ourselves immune from sever bureaucratic market fluctuation.

In order to support innovation and development in new technologies, we can set up joint investment venture fund. It can provide proper support and services to all start-ups and technoparks of the Muslim world.

The other area of our cooperation is in the field of culture and society. I would like to propose that we put on our agenda the issue of designing and launching a network of tourism and information and communication among Muslim states and conduct joint research on artificial intelligence and establishment of a joint market for cultural and media products of Muslim countries.

We can agree on a short- and medium-term plan of action and design a mechanism for the continued monitoring of issues and presenting realistic and practical solutions. It should be made clear to all that the goal of this new movement which could be titled the Islamic Development Forum (IDF) is to provide prosperity for Muslim communities and improve their participation in human society. This movement pursues the common causes of all Muslims and would never move against the expedience of any Muslim or Islamic country. 

I thank you for your kind attention.

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