Delivering the speech at the opening panel of the 3rd International Middle East Congress held yesterday in Hatay under the theme of “Sects and Ethnicity in Middle East: Conflict Resolution”, President of ICYF-DC Amb. Elshad Iskandarov underlined the pivotal point for inter-sectarian unity in the region.
The 3rd International Middle East Congress organized by Turkish-Asian Center for Strategic Researches (TASAM) and Governorship of Hatay was held between 6-8 May, 2015 in Hatay city, Turkey. The congress aiming to create an intellectual consciousness and communication channels to resolve conflicts in the name of protecting the rights of Middle Eastern countries and its people, hosted H.R.H. Princess Basmah Al-Saud, well-known academician Prof. Dr. İlber Ortaylı as well as political leaders, social and academia representatives from the region concerned.
Delivering his speech at the opening panel of the Congress on 7th of May ICYF-DC President proposed three levels of analyses to decompose the paradigm of inter-sectarian conflicts. He proposed to differentiation on analytical level reasons steaming from sectarian ideologies and other reasons. In his analyses most of the so called “inter-mazahib” clashes in history as well as in modern times have been rooted in geopolitical besides social and political developments which lead to marginalization and radicalization of certain groups rather than incompatibility of mazahibs. On the other hand Amb. Iskandarov called for necessity to develop paradigm of unity based on spiritual reading of Islam – the content as the speaker noted “hijacked from Ummah by external forces and internal radicals of all sorts”.
Amb. Iskandarov further put forward the analysis of the reasons behind radicalization of Muslim youth and the ICYF-DC approach to encounter this critical and dangerous trend. Referring to ICYF-DC research on the issue, which is reflected in the “10 Goals for 10 years” Istanbul Youth Declaration, he stated “The radical groups are recruiting four types of youth: the revenge seekers; identity seekers; status seekers and thrill seekers. It is crucial to designing specific programs both on governmental and non-governmental levels in the fields of non-formal education, and new opportunities of social lifting, as well as in sports, arts, creativity and entertainment to deny the radical groups to tap into those groups of youth”.
The speaker has also informed the Congress on the OIC Youth Forum programs for encountering the challenge of radicalization of Muslim youth in particular under the inter-sectarian banner. Within this frame he presented the ICYF-DC initiatives under the year-long “Istanbul OIC Youth Capital” Programme. “Within this program we will recall celebrate glorious history of Istanbul. We will celebrate Mehmet the Conqueror, who gifted us the Istanbul but also ‘Akshemseddin Hazretleri’ who was a spiritual motivation behind Mehmet the Conqueror’s success. The spiritual guidance was always behind the success of Muslims. To the contrary, the loss of spirituality cause regress. Our program will be aiming to revive this spirit among the new generation of the Muslim world” – underlined the speaker.