The Islamic World Peace Forum (IWPF) take an Virtual Roundtable about 21 September 2016 International Day of Peace by scholars including Dr.Chandra Muzaffar, Dr. Zafar Bangash Dr. Ilgar Ibrahimoglu Allahverdiyev, and Dr. Hans Ucko.
Flowing is the text of this interview:
IWPF: Given the slogan of the UN General Assembly this year in line with the International Day of Peace (September 21, 2016), which is The Day’s theme for 2016 is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.”, what practical measures do you propose to materialize this slogan?
Chandra Muzaffar: Sustainability is an idea that permeates the UN's Sustainable Development Goals 2030. However sustainability whether in water or energy or consumption or development would only be possible if we can bring to an end wars within and between states. Our immediate goal should be to end wars, all wars. One hopes that the next Secretary-General of the United Nations will call for an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly with a single item on the agenda: the adoption of a resolution that seeks to prohibit wars within and between states. War should be criminalized. No one should go to war in order to resolve a conflict. If we can ban war, it would be easier to pursue sustainable development for the sake of building peace.
Zafar Banghash: The overwhelming majority of people in the world are engulfed in turmoil because of gross inequalities and injustices whether in the political, social or economic fields. The root cause of these injustices is the extreme exploitation of the world’s resources for the benefit of a tiny minority at the top. Such exploitation causes immense damage to the environment through pollution; the global eco-system that Allah has created for the benefit of entire mankind is disrupted leading to many disasters. Floods, drought and famine are the direct result. The victims are ordinary people that constitute the overwhelming majority in the world.
Instead of exploitation, if human beings start to think in terms of the utilization of these resources as Allah has explained in the noble Qur’an (43:13 and other ayats), it will benefit the whole of humanity. Sustainable development requires the utilization of natural resources in a responsible manner.
Carbon dioxide emissions from factories have caused immense damage to the ozone layer. The US, China and India, in that order, are the primary culprits. Their irresponsible policies are affecting people all over the world. Dumping of chemicals from factories into rivers and lakes has caused massive pollution, poisoning fish and marine life. Humans that consume such products are affected through mercury and other forms of poisoning thereby adversely affecting their health.
Destruction of forests by over-logging has caused floods and landslides. All these are caused by greed and irresponsible exploitation for the benefit of a few. The overwhelming majority pays the price. Such practices have resulted in great polarization and inequality in the world disturbing global peace.
Sustainable development requires an end to such exploitation. Violators, not victims ought to pay the price for such irresponsible behavior. Only then will there be some hope for peace in the world.
Ilgar Ibrahimoglu Allahverdiyev: First of all, let me note that given slogan of the UN General Assembly will have real force only when the major powers of the world, in fact, those that determine the policy of the UN, will adhere to the concept of justice. Since building of peace includes at least two concepts: constructive building, constructive endeavor and peace. Unfortunately, in reality we see counter effect. Today we see that leading countries of the world adhere to the slogan "stronger one is the right one." There is no doubt, the countries that promoting democratic values in words stay behind of all hotbeds of tension in the world. The whole Islamic world is enveloped in flames of war. The territory from Maghrib till Central Asia that inhabited by millions of Muslims turned to arena of conflict among geopolitical interests. Hegemonic and Zionist powers conduct undeclared war already 10 years making Takfiri mercenaries do all the work. The number of victims is millions; the number of refugees is ten millions. Indeed, against the entire Muslim ethnic range unleashed the World War III. This is a war without rules; conventions are not observed; there is not even any captivity. There is no quarter neither to elderly, nor to women or children.In this regard, it is very important, the countries that are not related to the hegemonic countries have to work on the creation of a new world order, a new geometry. Certainly, we do not expect the reign of absolute justice in the world before the appearance of the most Pure 12th Imam (a.f.). But we have to try to approach this blissful day. In this case, it is important to create international mechanisms to deter hegemony, to confront against aggression. It is necessary to achieve greater transparency, real transparency, fight against discrimination and double standards. It is essential to create new geometry of international relations without "senior" and "junior" one.
Hans Ucko: A sustainable development is not achieved like instant soup, where you just add water and stir. If development is a concern and peace is a vision, the development action must be more than “alms for the poor”; it must be built on justice and human dignity; those who have become victims must be compensated and they must no longer be object but share in being a subject enabled to act towards achieving justice.
Hence, regional Truth and Reconciliation Commissions should be established in different regions to create a forum, where grievances can be heard and reconciliation can be put in motion as the end of the tunnel. There will be a long way to walk in the tunnel before peace is at hand but the walk towards it needs to begin.
IWPF: Given the recent developments in the world and in the region (Daesh, Saudi’s attacks in Yemen war crimes of Zionist in region…) what are the international requirements for creating a world full of peace and security?
Chandra Muzaffar: One can only create a world with peace and security if the tendency among some elites to establish global or regional hegemony is checked effectively. It is the desire for hegemony that is the primary cause of wars and conflicts. People everywhere should be made aware of this. More than that, they should act to combat hegemony through non-violent means in order to create a just and peaceful world.
Zafar Banghash: Peace requires, first and foremost, some basic rules that everyone must follow or be obliged to follow. In the world today, there are rules—the UN Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions etc—but those with power and wealth are able to get away, literally, with murder. While there are mechanisms to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice (International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice etc) regrettably, the world is not governed by the rule of law. Powerful countries and their allies are protected from censure because their interests dictate it.
The Saudi and Zionist regimes should be charged with war crimes for their aggressions against the people of Yemen and Palestine respectively but this is not happening because they are allied with the US that is protecting them. If the US were against some country and its rulers had indulged in such policies, they would be hauled before the International Criminal Court.
Adherence to the rule of law by everyone is the only way to achieve peace and security in the world.
Ilgar Ibrahimoglu Allahverdiyev: Creation of total security in the world doesn’t seem real yet. As long as there is self-interest and conflict of interests, the parties will attempt to resolve matters in their favor, which will definitely create new tensions. Countries of the world should take effective steps toward creation of supranational security structure, which is not under the influence of hegemonic forces’ interests. We have to note with great regret that behind the crimes of Zionist regime, terrorist organizations like "Al Qaeda" and DAESH, as well as Saudi aggression against Bahrain and Yemen stay the same forces: the structures of the West, including NATO. And, accordingly, the more efficient when countries in the world will struggle to limit hegemonic aspirations and neglect attitude to international law, the more successful will be the establishment of a just world.
Hans Ucko: There needs to be a commitment towards the challenge of the biblical saying: Let your word be “Yes, Yes” or “No, No”; anything more than this comes from the evil one (Mt.5,37). The powers that be, USA, Russia, China, UK, France, etc. say one thing and do quite another. They may protest against Daesh, Saudi Arabia and Israel but their actions do not match their speech. The Yes of words is not followed by a Yes to action. This is particularly the case in the military support of and economic dealings with Saudi Arabia and the State of Israel. It is immoral. The occupation is soon 50 years old and settlements continue without impediment in the West Bank.
IWPF: In the light of the objectives and measures of Islamic World Peace Forum in the field of establishing just peace in the world, what measures do you propose for promoting just peace discourse in the world?
Chandra Muzaffar: IWPF is helping to raise consciousness about the importance of a just peace. At the moment the IWPF's primary concern appears to be the Muslim world. But it should go beyond the Muslim world and embrace the whole of humanity in its discourses about issues of war and peace. After all, the Prophet Muhammad was sent as a messenger to the entire universe, Rabb-il Alamin.
Zafar Banghash: The Islamic World Peace Forum should coordinate with like-minded organizations and NGOs around the world to advocate adherence to the rule of law for everyone, irrespective of their power or wealth. Institutions to create global peace and security exist; what is lacking is an enforcement mechanism to curtail—or if they do not desist—to punish the violators.
Ilgar Ibrahimoglu Allahverdiyev: The Islamic World Peace Forum (IWPF) has got extremely important and significant activity. Discussions, forums, initiatives all this activities are significant asset toward creation of the new international situation. I think it would be possible for IWPF further rapprochement and coordination of structures of different confessions and ideologies. Communication capabilities between the various centers of analysis and discussion greatly developed the globalization and this contributes the institutionalization of a just peace in the world.
Hans Ucko: 3The Islamic World Peace Forum should become a forum, where people of different religious traditions and convictions meet not to talk at each other but talk with each other on the common challenges they face and where they through their dialogue devise strategies how to work towards a just peace that is more than words, slogans and proclamations. The Islamic World Peace Forum should through dialogue embark upon concrete projects and constructive programs that make obvious that religion can no longer remain a tool for conflict but needs to become an instrument for peace.