Unification News for September 2002

IIFWP - Summit of World Muslim Leaders

by Nadine Andre

On August 3-5, 2002, the Summit of World Muslim Leaders was held in London, England. This was the second in a series of Muslim Summits that have been designed to explore the "State of the Muslim World Today," which was this Summit's theme.

Approximately 54 Muslim leaders and scholars attended representing 21 nations. The goal was to keep the proceedings intimate enough to foster true dialogue and sharing at a time when the Muslim world needs most to come together.

The Opening Plenary titled the, ‘Role of Islam in the 21st Century,’ was moderated by Mr. Tajeldin I. Hamad, Chair of the Planning Committee and included Baroness Manzala Pola Uddin from the House of Lords in London, Dr. M.A. Zaki Badawi, Principal of the Muslim College in London, Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman of the IIFWP and H.E. Abdurrahman Wahid, former president of Indonesia from 1999-2001, who has been instrumental in making this conference series a success.

Session Two: ‘Islam, Human Rights and Democracy,’ was chaired by Dr. Imtiyaz Ahmed Shaukat Ali Yusuf, Professor at Assumption University, Thailand and included Professor Sulayman S. Nyang, Professor of African and Islamic Studies, Howard University and Grand Imam Sayyed Mohammed Musawi, Secretary General of the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League.

The Third Session, ‘Quaranic Interpretation in Changing Times’, was chaired by Dr. Suhaib Hasan, Secretary of the Islamic Sharia Council, U.K., The speakers included Chief Imam Cheikh Hassan Cisse, Founder and Chairman of the African American Islamic Institute, Dr. Mohamad Abdulrahman Al Habach, Director, Islamic Studies, Syria and Professor M. Abdul Haleem, Director of Islamic Studies (S.O.A.S), UK.

Session Four which continued on the second day included: ‘Issues in Islamic Education: Problems and Prospects,’ and was chaired by Dr. M. Habib Chirzin, President of the Islamic Millennium Forum. The speakers included Dr. M. Hussin Mutalib, Director General of the Center for Contemporary Islamic Studies, Singapore and Dr. Mumtaz Ahmad, Professor of Political Science, Hampton University.

Followed were group discussions that courageously took on the most pressing issues facing the Islamic world today. Although the Summit was short the impact was far reaching. At the first Summit, which was held in Dec. 20-23, 2001 in Jakarta, Indonesia soon after the events of September 11th, 150 Muslim leaders attended representing 51 nations. It was during this summit that the significant Jakarta Declaration was drafted. This declaration affirmed Islam as a religion of peace and justice and concludes by saying, "We pledge to be courageous defenders of peaceful teachings and interpretation of Islam and to be exemplary peacemakers in our personal, family and social conduct of our lives."

The proceedings of the Second Summit will be published and made available from IIFWP. The proceedings of the first Summit, ‘Islam and the Future of World Peace,’ are now available and can be purchased by contacting iifwp@iifwp.org.

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