A summit of tangible hopes

pic by BERNAMA

IN YEARS to come, when participants reflect on the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019, they would say that it was probably the first serious attempt among a few Muslim nations to conjure something tangible that could give the rest of the Muslim world a model to work on.

It involved Turkey, Qatar, Iran and Malaysia — all four nations with their own reputation of being independent minded, resourceful and successful in their own right.

Turkey, under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had these past years proven to be a force in international diplomacy and a pride among Muslims.

Qatar, with Sheikh Tamim Hamad al-Thani as emir, had proven to be shrewd in the economic field and despite the embargo had achieved impressive growth and development.

Similarly with the case of Iran and its President Dr Hassan Rouhani — the seemingly unending sanctions had not stopped the country from continuing to be a nation of intellectuals capable of surviving under even the most punitive measures.

Malaysian and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, no matter what his detractors may say, continues to attract the support of independent minded leaders from the Muslim world with him viewed as their voice of conscience and courage.

It is obvious that the other leaders were at the Summit because of him and their expectations of the Summit are premised on his leadership.

And this is the Summit that didn’t go down well with some countries and not surprisingly, they were Muslim nations.

Allegations of a move to set up a new bloc to replace the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) were among the reasons for the opposition of the Summit. With Pakistan and Indonesia, the original participants withdrawing, the detractors were hoping that the Summit would be diluted and become uneventful.

Little did they realise that their efforts to undermine and diminish the Summit had in itself proved why the Summit needed to be held.

It affirmed the suspicions that some of the Muslim countries work on the dictates of non-Muslim powers, while others are just petty and only keen to be leaders, but not lead.

The detractors kept on harping that such a gathering must be held through the OIC for otherwise, it would lead to disunity among the Muslim nations.

Such an argument was obviously shallow and without intellect, given the fact one of the main lamentations raised in the Summit and that of other Islamic gatherings was the belligerence and hawkish nature some Muslim nations had toward others.

And the dependency of Muslim countries on non-Muslim nations to attack fellow Muslims amplifies the necessity of such Summit.

It also stands to reason for the Summit to involve only a small group of countries as the objective is to pursue specific targets such as establishing bilateral and multilateral cooperations among the nations present.

As pointed out by Dr Mahathir, chairman of the Summit, that if tangible projects and objectives were to be realised, a summit involving the OIC or too many nations will result in it being unwieldy and the targets are not implementable.

But small and petty minds will not see this and such people are not only from the opposing nations, but from within Malaysia as well.

Some were actually happy that Pakistan and Indonesia withdrew, gleefully insinuating and supporting the belief that they had pulled out after being pressured by a fellow Muslim country.

They didn’t seem to realise that such is the sad state of affairs in the Muslim world that efforts by some Muslim nations to find a solution to the plight of their brethren is subject to the dictate of another.

In other words, even if it is for the betterment of the ummah, it is not acceptable if it does not involve them or is without their consent.

It is a reflection of how their way of dealing with the other aspects in life that they will only pursue something after they obtain the approval, tacit or otherwise, from their Western masters, or worst, Tel Aviv.

While it seems to be a sad state of affairs of the Muslim world, the Summit should stand as a beacon of hope, either from its own perceived strength or that the Muslim world desperately needs something to hold on to and it came at a time when civil wars had seen the displacements of Muslims who then sought refuge from non-Muslim countries.

As it is, the Summit had witnessed several agreements struck between the nations involved and these cooperations and collaborations promised a whole new frontier for the Muslim world to explore.

It is not a talk shop and neither it is a stage to lament about the plight without any tangible ideas or solutions in helping Muslims to move forward.

It spoke about reviving the Islamic civilisation. While it meant that there’s nothing much in the Muslim world at present that is of substance, it is also a measure that what can be achieved in the past can also be achieved in the present.

It is about the state of the mind. The detractors stagnate in petty thoughts. For the advocates of the summit — well, they’ll attempt to reach greater heights.


Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.

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