Iran’s culture minister has told an Islamic Conference of Information Ministers that the Muslim world needs solidarity and cooperation more than ever before.
Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati said Wednesday that the Islamic Republic of Iran is fully committed to the objectives of the OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation] in promoting media convergence and will spare no effort to advance that cause.
Jannati made the remark in a keynote address at the inaugural ceremony of the 10th Session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers (ICIM).
He said: “We convene here at a time when the world of Islam faces numerous challenges, particularly in the Middle East region. Challenges that are posed by extremism, violence, terrorism, military invasion, violation of national sovereignty of the states, occupation, accompanied by massacre of innocent children, women and men.
“This has caused serious concerns among the Islamic Ummah. It is quite unfortunate that many of these crimes are committed under the sublime name of Islam to tarnish the true and enlightening image of our religion.
“[…] The recent unprecedented killings and devastation in the Gaza Strip constitute a clear case of war crimes and crime against humanity, perpetuated by the Zionist regime which has stepped up its aggression against the al-Aqsa Mosque as well as its Judaization of al-Quds, coupled with destruction of its civilizational spots.
“Extremism and violence, the main source of crisis in our region, have added to our pains. Continued terrorist attacks in Iraq and Syria have inflicted devastating impact on innocent civilians and infrastructure. […] Today, it is all but important to confront extremist groups and their dangerous ideologies which have nothing to do with Islamic principles and values.
“Unfortunately, these dreadful developments have stoked the Islamophobia project by the Western media. The alleged affiliation of these groups to Islam has now become instrumental to their campaigns. These actions do not lead to salvation of humanity. They, however, add to divisions, in particular, among the Islamic Ummah, the outcome of which is war and conflicts, prevailing already in some regions.
“Our common responsibilities are heavier than before. Under this trying situation, the Islamic world is in dire need of solidarity, unity and cooperation. It is critical to commit to “hold fast by the covenant of Allah all together and be not disunited”. The main source of strength of Islamic Ummah is its unity.
“The global and regional challenges that face the Islamic world require our collective actions. The OIC, on the basis of the principles and noble objectives enshrined in its charter, has a lot to offer for promotion of Islamic solidarity. The Organization can take numerous and diversified activities for the realization of aspirations of the Islamic Ummah.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a founding member of the OIC, is committed to the noble objectives of the organization and supports its activities for promotion of cooperation among the member states. We, from the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, have contributed to unity, promotion of the rich Islamic culture, understanding and peace in the Islamic world.
“On this basis, the Islamic Republic of Iran has always upheld the collective interests of the Islamic Ummah towards creation of a more stable world. In this regard, I would like to recall the initiative of H.E. President Rouhani, on “World Against Violence and Extremism” which has received extensive support of the international community, and in particular Muslims throughout the world. Undoubtedly, the initiative has now become more meaningful, considering the increasing threat of violence and extremism for international peace and security.
“We convene here under the theme of “Media Convergence for Peace and Calm in the Islamic World”. In today’s world, the crucial role that media plays and its impact on international developments cannot be emphasized enough.
“Globalization of media has enormously contributed to availability of information in the cyber space. This has serious bearings on shaping the private and social lives of the individuals and relations among countries as well. Targeted dissemination of information and the monopoly that is exercised over media and cyberspace has helped certain Western media to project misperceptions about Islam and Muslims. Such actions have intensified discrimination and injustice against Muslims in non-Islamic countries.
“I firmly believe that in spite of extensive religious and cultural commonalities, the Islamic world still suffers from a lack of adequate knowledge on media and ways and means of bridging the information gap. The Islamic countries should strengthen their information and media interaction in an effective way, to be able to confront attempts that are aimed at widening the divides. We believe none of the Islamic countries can alone confront these challenges. Under these circumstances, joint action and collaboration are the only viable solution for ensuring a bright future for the Islamic Ummah. Indeed, cooperation is not an option, it is a requirement.
“To establish peace and moderation and confront extremism and violence, we should seriously transform our media to effective and influential institutions. Therefore, enhancing professional relations among media circles in the Islamic countries at various continental, regional and sub-regional levels is critical.”