VIth EURASIAN ISLAMIC COUNCIL MEETING ISTANBUL IIFINAL DECLARATION
The sixth meeting of Eurasian Islamic Council was held in Istanbul from 5th to 9th September 2005, which is composed of religious representatives of Turkish Republics, Balkan and Caucasian Countries, Turkish and Islamic societies. During the meeting the problems regarding religion, identity and culture in Eurasian societies were discussed.
There is a strong bond between identity and culture. Religion teaches one the final purpose of life and the ability to regard life and existence in an incorporated values system. The conscience of existence and lifestyle given by religion to individuals turns into a social culture and identity within time.
As a select part of the humanity family, the Muslim societies who live in Eurasian geography form an important section in the Muslim world. The religious and cultural values of Muslim societies take their source from Islamic belief, worshipping and ethical principles and from historical background of Islamic culture and civilization.
Today, new religious, cultural and social problems were added to the ones transferred from the past. Two world wars and following these, polarization processes over the cold war in XXth century paved way to serious crises in Eurasian Muslim societies, as in the entire world. The collisions burst at the end of the previous century and structural transformations in Balkans and Soviet Union both brought new problems to this geography and opened the door to new hopes. During the same period, Islamic world being displayed as an area of violence, despite not deserving this, and the chaotic environments the world was taken into, made the problems more difficult to get out of. Search of common sense and cooperation of international society, self-criticism of the Muslim world and attempts of solidarity keep hopes alive on the way to get over the problems.
From Balkans to Caucasia and Central Asia, religious leaders of Eurasian Muslim societies have the determination and resolution to do what is required to keep religious identities, cultures and values alive, to make justice, peace, cooperation, mutual respect, understanding and tolerance dominant in international relationships. Undoubtedly, the first thing to do for this purpose is to start the comprehensive discussion processes in each level and go on with determination.
The Islam religion has a historical and potential position on the way to increase the possibilities of permanent peace both in our region and in our world. Eurasian Islamic Council has had a structure to make important contributions on this way since the beginning and it will go on to do so. Members of the council have a desire to share the humane aspect of universal message of Islam and the gospel of light for humanity with all human beings in the Earth.
Members of the council find the inauspicious situation unacceptable, which has been dominant in the world and prepares the grounds for the destruction and termination of humanly, religious, cultural and historical heritage of especially the Muslim world. The distortion between the system of power and system of ethics has been threatening not only the Muslims but entire humanity. The show of power, violence and terror arisen due to that distortion have turned into a crisis which drives everybody from their homes, have started to cause heavy costs for all humanity and have been a global nightmare. Islam, which is a religion of peace in all aspects, is attempted to be announced as a legalizing power of violence and destruction, which actually finds its roots from different sources, and this is injustice not only to Islam but to all religions, all spiritual values that bring hope and peace to humanity. Eurasian Islamic Council repeats the wish for the stoppage of all collisions in the Earth, Iraq and Palestine to come first, for the stoppage of the bloodshed and tears; and the Council condemns all kinds of terror and violence towards innocent people via such collisions.
Eurasian Islamic Council announces the agreement text on the following subjects to public:
Decrees of the Council
1. Identity is the way and tool of any human society to define and represent itself. The Muslim identity describes people who believe in the principles of Islam and define themselves with their belonging to Islam. This identity is a uniting and surrounding upper identity, which does not exclude geographic, ethnical, or national identities, and which rejects discrimination between genders.
2. The problems faced by the Muslims in the world and in our region vary. However, the common problem is the issues regarding the resolution, erosion and even lost of identity within time. The cultural environment in which the identity leafs out is changed in a fast manner and the future dream of Muslims is being weakened day by day.
3. Especially in Western media, blames directly targeted to Islam and Muslim identity, efforts to equate terror and violence with Islam have been taking all Muslims to a perception of identity full of violence. The events that encourage the conflict of civilizations, interventions and applications on the Muslim world in todays world also turn the perception of identity to a representation of the potential of violence. Therefore, an anti-Islamic identity design encourages global violence together with execution and insulting against Muslim masses frequently, therefore all these factors prevent revelation, teaching, internalization, and transfer of actual aspect and the message of Islam.
4. No reason may be claimed and accepted for any violence and terror acts towards innocent people. However, this is seen obviously that any connection attempted to be found between social violence actions and any religion would be distorting and misleading. Undoubtedly, such a relation may be accepted neither for Islam nor for other religions. Basic problems that lead people to violence may feed upon various elements. Instead of seeking the actual source of violence in any religion, one should make a deep analysis of poverty and impecuniosity that exist in the geography of violence. No relationship based on essence may be connected between any religion and terror. Islam is a religion in essence which gives priority to keeping alive and living in peace. Civilizations constructed by the Muslims throughout history have shown the examples of not living perceptions or constructions of identities as aggressive processes towards others for many times. This has shown that an experience exhibited in a historical era is not a coincidence, but this emerges from the basic principles of Islam.
5. New movements which attribute themselves to Islam from time to time give harm to Islam and Muslim identity. This situation acquires both keeping the critical mind open against such movements and rejecting insensitivity that leaves responsibility to others.
6. It is obvious that Islam goes through serious problems of representation in our region, as well in the entire world on religious and moral level. It is not possible to get over the problem by attributing the responsibility to bodies other than us. The Eurasian Islamic Council has revealed the requirement of the member societies to make self-criticism within them. Today, the search for a competence that will represent the Muslim society on the scientific, humane and moral level carries the risk of leaving its place to political and sordid relationships. And this acquires the effort of each individual for being a good Muslim, primarily sensitivity in representation. The divine order regarding Ordering goodness and taking far from badness should be a motto to be carried out in all aspects today.
7. Muslims live in Eurasian Region as either independent states or minority societies in a defined legal status. As a natural consequence of this variety, the problems faced have been varied and differentiated. It is not possible to wait for getting over the existing problems unless the obstacles before the continuation of Muslims own existence in local level and stress points arisen from such obstacles are defined expressly. Within this frame, VIth Eurasian Council finds it necessary to emphasize the requirement of having a full inventory of the problems regarding identity and culture of Eurasian Muslims. Within this context, archives of Turkish Republic shall be surveyed for re-determination of the foundation properties lost in Western Thrace and Balkans.
8. Certain rights arising from historical treaty and agreement of some Muslim societies who live in Eurasia under minority status are being violated and this makes religious life, representation and identity declaration difficult. This situation makes cooperation and attempts both between Muslims and societies inevitable. Within this frame, the authorities are waited for showing putting necessary interest on the subject of returning religious representatives to their positions, who were elected with the voting of Muslim Turkish society in Western Thrace and applications of whom were accepted and attested according to international law.
9. Certain minor Muslims in Eurasia are exposed to anti-religious propaganda intensely and their liberty of belief and worshipping is restricted. Exploiter missionary (proselitism) activities carried out under the name liberty of religion may never be accepted.
10. An important portion of religious-cultural heritage was destroyed in extraordinary times and the remaining is under the risk of destruction due to negligence and indifference. Endeavors for redevelopment and restoration started previously in order to protect this heritage in compliance with its original structure shall go on.
11. The Eurasian Islamic Council shall continue to be a platform where the experience of member societies and states are shared. In order to achieve continuous, deep and high quality activities on this field, care shall be given to have member state representatives share their problems, experiences and information between each other, have an institutionalized communication and interaction. Before the identity problems faced on both sides of Eurasia, Turkey has the historical depth, experience and background required to overcome these problems, as a laic and democratic state of law. All member countries and societies share a serious responsibility for coming over the existing problems and making up of the losses, Turkey being the first.
12. Activities shall be carried out for strengthening the institutions executing solid religious services in Eurasian Muslim societies; educational activities shall be commenced that will give possibility for the increase of both informational background and religious-spiritual experience. Background of Eurasia shall be motivated on this subject.
13. The religious, cultural and educational cooperation between Eurasian Muslim societies shall be strengthened and carried on. In connection with this, concrete projects shall be generated for improving especially the common language of majority, Turkish, and mother tongues of these societies.
14. A permanent secretariat and audit body shall be established within Eurasian Islamic Council and its institutional structure shall be strengthened and make functionalized, and cooperation shall be formed with international organizations such as Islam Conference Organization, etc. Infrastructural activities shall be carried out required for Eurasian Islamic Council to have an international identity and suggestions on this matter shall be handled in the following Council.
15. Eurasian Islamic Council countries and member societies shall share their background and develop their relationships with newly-organizing members such as Northern Cyprus Turkish Republic Directorate of Religious Affairs.
16. The Eurasian Council shall take within participants under the title of representatives or observers from other Islamic world and especially European Muslims.
17. Sub working groups shall be established within Eurasian Islamic Council and local working environments shall be constituted out of Council general meeting according to requirements. Regional problems shall be handled in the following Council.
18. A good will board shall be established for the representation of Council, in connection with religious-cultural relationships and to make emergency interferences in case of disputes.
19. In order to follow the problems faced by the member countries and representatives and other events in the region and share these with the world, a bulletin named Eurasia Report shall be published periodically, with the leadership of Eurasia Islamic Council.
20. Special activities shall be carried out for family, women, youth and children, which have a vital place in protection and improvement of religious belief and culture. Family series booklets shall be issued, which include principles of Islam religion on fields of belief, worshipping and ethics and social life and public relationships.
21. Certain basic works shall be translated from Turkish to local languages and be published, in order to spread solid religious knowledge.
22. A WEB site shall be constructed in order to accelerate informational communication between the council members. A religious, ethical program shall be broadcasted to address to Eurasia on the channel TRT-Int, with the cooperation of TRT.
23. VIth Eurasian Islamic Council declares competing of Muslims for goodness both among themselves and in humanity family, never cooperating for badness, protecting goodness and preventing badness as the principal dynamic of its own establishment.