The first “Asia-Pacific Countries Muslim Leaders Summit” organized and hosted by the “Presidency of Religious Affairs” took place in Istanbul. There were 125 religious leaders and delegates from 37 countries in attendance at the summit held between Oct. 13 and Oct. 16. The feeling of terror created by the massacre on Oct. 10 undoubtedly dominated the summit. The religious leaders must have understood the chaos the Muslim world is suffering with this last massacre.
Fundamental topics concerning Muslims were discussed at the summit under the theme “Unity in Abundance: Rethinking Wisdom and Peace.” It was specified that Islam's traditional heritage was depleted by newly emerging religious movements and Muslim sensitivity that ran from the past to the future with great speed and energy and had diverted from its path with ideological movements. It was emphasized that the dangerous past of the last few centuries had shaken the Muslims in the region in terms of belonging, dignity and identifying a mutual horizon, and that the Muslims were in need of a clear mind and the opportunity for envision in order to overcome these problems. In the conclusion declaration of the summit in which massacres were cursed, it was stated:
“ Islam's exalted teachings and principles will never approve of those who want to achieve their sinister goals by attempting to kill innocent people not only in Turkey but anywhere in the world. Commanding compassionate and merciful treatment towards all living creatures, Islam the evident religion rejected all kinds of terrorism regardless of the perpetrators or for whatever reason it was done. Killing one person is equal to killing the whole of humanity.”
The declaration emphasized that no matter what the language, race, sect or disposition of the Muslims, unity in abundance was to be ensured, the knowledge, wisdom and ingenuity that was presented to humanity by Islam should be followed, and peace, justice and compassion should be re-established. They expressed that, atmospheres of violence and chaos, including conflicts nourished by sectarianism and extreme force can only be defecated with the above mentioned.
As understood from the declaration, the Presidency of Religious Affairs organized the “World Islam Scholars, Peace, Continence, Common Sense Initiative” in order to stop the conflicts and ensure peace and harmony in the Muslim world. Continuing the work and sharing the results with the Asia-Pacific countries were required too.
Indeed, it would have been more appropriate if more comprehensive and active precautions were taken by the “Organization of Islamic Cooperation.” However, the structure of the organization isn't appropriate to provide such initiatives. State authority is no longer evident in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. These countries that are in civil war are actually divided into pieces. “Authoritarian” and “military” regimes ruled in many countries. The crises in Muslim countries have been triggered by these regimes. Hence, civil initiatives are needed to end these crises. The summit in Istanbul was important in this sense. Regrettably, these topics could not be thoroughly discussed.
In order to remove the worms that gnaw the trunk of Islam, the Presidency of Religious Affairs needs to assume more responsibility. Turkey can still play a major role in helping the Muslim world out of chaos. Our historical experience and cultural heritage reveals that the “unity in abundance” principle can be applied to our lives. We can make sure that this resource can be productive once again. And this can only be maintained by first instilling peace and brotherhood.