Abu Dhabi forum urges UN to help protect minorities

Tariq Al Kurdi, Abdul Naser Mousa, Abul El Basal and Dr Hafis Arkeebi at the panel discussion world conference on Muslim minorities in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi: A global conference on Muslim minorities on Wednesday adopted a ‘Global Charter for Muslim Communities’ urging the United Nations to make a binding agreement for protecting rights and freedom of minorities as religious, ethnic and linguistic groups, and to prevent racial and religious discrimination.

The global agreement should prevent abuse of religion and criminalise all kinds of ethnic cleansing, according the charter adopted by the International Congress on Muslim Minorities that ended in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Around 550 delegates from 140 nations across world who attended the two-day conference discussed the provisions of the charter and approved them.

The conference condemned all acts of terrorism and extremism in all forms.

The participants agreed that the main objective of the conference was to integrate Muslim minorities with societies they live in and achieve safety security, peace and respect for multiculturalism, said Dr Rashid Al Nuaimi, chairman of the higher committee of the conference, who announced the charter in the closing session.

The 14-chapter charter will act as a practical reference and guide for future actions of the World Council of Muslim Minorities based in Abu Dhabi, which was launched in April to address challenges faced by around 500 million Muslims living outside the Islamic world.

The Council will act as an international institution to coordinate all institutions of Muslim communities in non-Muslim countries.

The charter called upon all world nations to incorporate provisions of the charter in their domestic laws and create specific laws, if necessary, to protect the rights of minorities.

It urged Muslims to fulfil their national duty to their societies and nations to achieve peace and security, and work hard to protect their children from extremist and terrorist elements.

The charter envisages a ‘civilizational model’ to encourage Muslim communities to contribute to the renaissance of their countries, and to correct the distorted image of Islam and Muslims.

It also asks Muslims to bridge the intellectual, cultural and social gap between Muslims and other communities.

The charter has called upon the Council to develop a strategic plan to mobilize cultural action in Muslim societies and revamp the religious discourse based on moderate principles.

The Council has been asked to develop and activate a strategic plan to coordinate among all relevant institutions, especially international Islamic organisations.

The participants of conference also recommended the Council and all relevant parities to take practical steps to address the conditions that cause the spread of extremism and terrorism in all forms, whether political, social, economic or intellectual, by eradicating their roots.

They also urged to accelerate the efforts of international cultural organizations to strengthen dialogue, tolerance, understanding between religions and civilizations, and stop abuse or disrespect of religions, especially through social media and all electronic media platforms.

The charter asked political and religious leaders of Muslims to refrain from using hate speech or intolerant messages that may be transmitted through social networking sites or any communication channels to incite hatred or extremism.

Muslims are encouraged to use social media and various media platforms positively to reach out to other communities and disseminate a culture of peace and tolerance and counter all forms of extremis.

The council envisages organising various programmes such as workshops to bring together various other cultures and religions. Various training programmes for influential and opinion leaders of the community will also be organised.

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