by Khalid Amayreh
The latest Islamic conference, which took place in the holy city of Macca this week, has apparently failed to meet the minimum aspirations of Muslim peoples around the world.
The conference was high on symbols and rhetoric, but low on substance and concrete achievements.
As usual, the Saudi hosts dazzled their guests with spectacular hospitality, reflecting the huge wealth of the oil-rich country.
However apart from this, the 57-member organization utterly failed to take practical measures to solve the many grave problems and plights facing Muslim nations.
Needless to say, these problems are too numerous and too urgent to be listed in a few lines or, indeed, left for chance.
There is the enduring Palestinian cause and unrelenting Israeli efforts to liquidate it by way of ethnic cleansing and land theft. The Israeli occupiers are actually trying to take over the Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place on earth, step by step. The latest Zionist feat in this regard has been a vicious proposal tabled by an Israeli lawmaker that would transform the large courts of the Haram al Sharif (the noble sanctuary) into a public park.
There is also the ongoing genocidal war the criminal sectarian regime in Syria is waging on its own people. Indeed, as the kings, emirs and presidents were convivially chatting not far from the Kaaba, the House of God, the cultic regime of Bashar al-Assad was executing another massacre in the town of Azaz near Aleppo. Now, we have just heard that another massacre has been carried out in Aleppo itself where more than 70 people were brutally murdered Thursday when the Alawite thugs of Bashar al-Assad attacked a bakery outside which hundreds of people were waiting to obtain bread for their families. The situation in Syria resembles the situation in Bosnia during the heighdays of war in former Yugoslavia and every Syrian town and village is increasingly looking like another Srebrenica.
Then there is the tragic problem of the small Muslim minority in Myanmar where Muslims in that country have been the target of a virtual holocaust at the hands of the primitive Buddhist authorities, including the government.
In recent months, the hair-raising scenes from that country should have awakened the conscience of humanity to the genocidal episodes. However, from the world's callous indifference and inaction, it is amply clear that the world's new order has no real human conscience.
Then there is the Iranian problem and constant Israeli threats to attack the Islamic republic as if the lives, lands and skies of Iran had no sanctity. Perhaps, the Muslim states lacked the willingness and the inclination to challenge Israel and its guardian-ally, the United States.
However, the least, the very least, Muslim states should and could have done was to issue a terse but stern statement viewing any aggression against Iran, a key member state of Islamic conference, a direct aggression against all member states.
Indeed, the fact that no such statement was issued in the conference's final communiqué underscores the weak leaderships of the Muslim world.
It also makes Iran feel isolated even among Muslim countries which is not politically wise.
In fact a message of solidarity with Iran by the 57 member Organization of Islamic Cooperation would have induced the Shiite Islamic Republic to edge away from the murderous regime in Damascus. It is sad that the thought has escaped the leaders of the Muslim world, especially the Saudi hosts.
I am not really a fan of the regime in Tehran, but regimes come and go. In any case, it is religiously, politically and morally wrong for Muslims not to identify with Iran in its looming showdown with Israel. After all, Israel is the ultimate enemy of Muslims, irrespective of how would we view Iran's sectarian dimension.
Besides, Iran has every right under the sun to develop nuclear energy, even a nuclear deterrent to protect its people and defend its territory. Indeed, if Jews have such a right, why not Muslims?
I strongly believe that the multitude of leaders meeting in Makkah should have done more for the Syrian people who are being massacred, starved and raped on hourly basis by their own cultic sectarian government.
I'm not alluding to military intervention, although this wouldn't be a bad idea to save lives. The OIC could have urged member states to withdraw ambassadors from Damascus and sever all relations with the Assad junta. Suspending the Syrian regime from the organization is a laudable step, but it is only a symbolic measure which won't really affect the regime.
Moreover, the OIC should have taken a pro-active decision to help the Free Syrian Army repulse and defeat the so-called Syrian army, which is actually nothing more than a criminal sectarian death machine utilized by the Alawite minority to keep and perpetuate its monopoly of power over the Syrian people.
I realize that such a decision would have upset some member states such as Iran. However, it should be clearly understood that saving the lives of Muslims in Syria is far more important than satisfying the sectarian sensitivities of even a large and important country like Iran.
As to the Palestinian issue, it was nice that the Egyptian Islamist leader, Dr. Mursi, reaffirmed the notion that despite all troubles besetting the Muslim world, the Palestinian cause was still the number-one issue commanding the concerns of Muslims all over the world.
That was an unmistakable message, though not powerful enough, to the colonialist entity, Israel that Muslims will never ever come to terms with the Israeli fait accompli in occupied Palestine.
Finally, the recommendation for the establishment of a center for dialogue between Muslim sects is really an immensely positive effort which should be encouraged and supported at all levels.
Repugnant sectarianism is a real perpetual bane that must be treated urgently lest it become an incurable cancer permeating through the blood vessels of the Muslim Umma.
However, in order for the idea to succeed, there has to be good will from all parties concerned.
Both Shiites and Sunnis have some house cleaning to do without which any respectable amount of mutual trust can be regained.
In the final analysis, both sides would have to accept the judgment of the Book of God, the Holy Quran.
More to the point, Shiite Muslims, especially the Jaafari Ithna Asharis, would have to terminate the repulsive age-old habit of badmouthing the companions and wives of the Prophet Muhammed, May Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon him, his progeny and companions.
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|William A. Cook|