Muslim religious leaders from every single country in Africa have just concluded a 5-day summit in Istanbul.
The Summit of Religious Leaders of Muslim Countries and Communities in Africa (SRLMCC) was organized by the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs.
The Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, spoke at the opening session of the conference, declaring that though his country is not part of Africa, his people are deeply pained by the happenings in the continent.
"There is a systematic campaign across the world against Islam. The negative perception of Islam as a religion of conflict as being portrayed by the media is very wrong. The media is using some marginal examples to define Islam as a religion of conflict and terrorism and as Muslims, we have to come together to overcome these challenges. Turkey will continue to assist Muslim communities in Africa in the areas of education, science and technology," he said.
Erdogan also addressed the crisis in Syria as a means to emphasize the importance of democracy for Muslim countries.
Erdogan said he had warned Bashar Al Assad numerous times to step down, "but he wouldn't listen."
"If you trust yourself, go to polls and let your people decide. If the polls lead you to power you may rule. But otherwise your office is only temporary," he said.
He concluded with, "I believe that unbiased and sincere consultation would be a lasting remedy for the issues our countries, nations and the entire Muslim geography face today."
Among the high level representatives who attended the summit included the president of the Comoro Islands and ministers from a number of countries.
Dr Abdul Lateef Adegbite, the Secretary-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, was represented atthe conference by Professor Yahya Oyewole Imam. The Shehu of Borno - Alhaji Dr. Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Kanemi - attende the conference in person.
"The time for such initiative and effort is more appropriate now than ever before. This is because in these days of globalization and science and information technology, Islam has continued to face greater challenge of unity, peace and harmony. These are no doubt easy to achieve if we all adhere strictly to the great tenets of Islam which guide Muslims of all ages on what to do and what not to do," he said.
The final declaration following the summit was released at the Religious Affairs Directorate's Conference Hall in Ankara today.
Hamza Idris, "Muslim Leaders Berate Media on 'Negative Representation of Islam' " All Africa November 24, 2011
"Borno's Sultan El-Kanemi: we should solve problems under the light of Islam" OANA November 21, 2011
"Syria, Brothership Main Subject of Religious Leaders Summit in Istanbul" CIHAN November 21, 2011
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today