H.E. Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives to “PUIC”:

- Terrorism The Most Serious Challenge to Islamic World
- Terrorism The Biggest Challenge in Centuries
- Let Dialogue of Religions Turn Into Social Communication Muslims Face Most
- Grave Defiance Energizing Role of
- Islamic Organizations to Overcome Obstacles

PUIC Bulletin No.18 Winter 2016

السيد-رئيس-مجلس-النواب-الدكتور-سليم-الجبوري-16-11-2014-370x290In the interview conducted by the “PUIC” quarterly with H.E. the Speaker of the Council of Representatives of the Republic of Iraq, Dr. Salim Abdullah Ahmed AL-Jabouri, he addressed a number of pivots of special interest to the parliaments, governments and peoples of the Islamic World. These include the most important challenges that face Muslims in various field; Islamic solidarity, obstacles and ways to overcome them; terrorism and extremism, and the role of parliaments in their uprooting; fruitful dialogue of cultures and religions; role of parliamentary diplomacy; and future of the democratic process in Developing countries. Following is the text of this interview:
 
Most serious Challenge
“PUIC”: The Islamic World is facing several challenges in various fields. What are, in your view, are the poignant and imminent challenges? In what way can Muslims counter such challenges?
Dr. Al-Jabouri:
The most serious challenge facing the Islamic World today is the challenge of terrorism, especially the claim that this phenomenon grew out of the Islamic World environment, and that terrorist crimes are erroneously linked to Islam of which the latter is definitely innocent. This challenge is the gravest of its kind for centuries. Our Ummah has never witnessed a critical trial like the current one. The painful fact is that this Ummah is the primary victim of this phenomenon. This necessitates that we, as Muslim countries, should exert qualitative efforts for raising awareness by informing about Islam, and invalidating the accusations leveled against it through international contact and sustaining relations with the world.
Islamic Solidarity
“PUIC”: The issue of Islamic solidarity is still facing some obstacles. What are the most important of these obstacles and how can they be overcome? What are the necessary steps to establish effective Islamic solidarity on proper and strong foundations?
Dr. Al-Jabouri: Certainly there are obstacles in the way of Islamic solidarity, including the challenges of international relations that relate to historical blocs. Perhaps the paucity of contact, and preoccupation with domestic problems may be regarded among the most important impediments that hinder the realization of the expected full-scale solidarity. We believe that energizing the role of Islamic organizations, the PUIC and other Islamic institutions will furnish the opportunity for the promotion of the long expected Islamic solidarity and cooperation.
On our part we are seeking to effectuate the role of the OIC, the PUIC and the other Islamic organizations that will push forward Islamic solidarity and cooperation.  Iraq is waiting for this role through hosting the PUIC Conference in Baghdad early 2016.
 
Eliminating Terrorism
“PUIC”: Terrorism and extremism threaten stability in most regions of the world, especially the Middle East. How do you envisage the root causes of these two phenomena? How can joint Islamic parliamentary action contribute to eliminating and uprooting them?
Dr. Al-Jabouri:
The problem of terrorism and extremism is not newly born, nor is it the result of a certain phases. It is rather an ever evolving phenomenon in the life of humanity. Through successive ages the world has witnessed eras of terror manifestations. Several incidents in history have taken place due to extremist whims which resulted in the demise of millions of innocent lives in the most horrifying manner that brings shame to mankind. Therefore, it is not fair to link terrorism to Islam in any way. It is also unjust to relate terrorists to any specific region, ethnicity or group, which may be more harmed by their bloody actions and activities.
 
Dialogue of Religions and Cultures
“PUIC”: There is an urgent call for establishing meaningful dialogue of cultures and religions for the benefit of the entire humanity. How do you envisage the bases and conditions on which this dialogue may be established in order to realize its objectives?
Dr. Al-Jabouri:
Dialogue between religions has remained during the past time confined to specialized research, closed discussion rooms, meetings of concerned people, and conferences full of protocol atmospheres. This is not adequate for realizing this project which we view as wider and bigger than the prevailing practice. We would like dialogue between religions to be transformed into social communication that proceeds from the bottom to the top. It should be the concern of the university and the coffee-shop as well as websites and mass media. All peoples ought to be involved in it, and not to keep it confined within the walls of  mosques, churches or political fora. At the time we call for the adoption of such orientation, we underscore the importance of creating a careful balance between the areas of absolute freedom and responsible freedom. Dialogue concerning religious issues may, if their tempo is not controlled, turn into societal squabbles that cause schism and not association. Manifestations of religious dialogue are not only perceived in meetings and discussions but should reach out to creative practices such as activation of tourism and commercial, cultural and technical exchanges.
I believe that the primary basis for dialogue between religions should proceed from the idea of propagating tolerance, avoidance of extremism and takfeer of the other. It may be noted that all religions suffer from the notions of extremism and takfeer. They are a common concern that should bring all people together in combating zealotry.
 
Parliamentary Diplomacy
“PUIC”: How do you perceive the role which parliamentary diplomacy may play in the formation of a new world order which is more fair and beneficial to all peoples of the world?
Dr. Al-Jabouri:
Diplomatic action by governments in today’s world is in dire need of tributaries to support and assist it for the sake of developing its capacities to enhance bilateral and multilateral relations between states. These tributaries take several shapes and kinds in the context of parallel diplomacy (diplomacy of civil society, political parties, trade unions, professional organizations, etc). Parliamentary diplomacy, however, comes in the forefront of these kinds. Not only because it is practiced by parliament, which expresses the popular will, and consequently translates the democratic practice on which contemporary international relations are built, but also due to the importance of its interventions in a more globalized international milieu at all levels. For this purpose, I find it necessary to energize parliamentary diplomacy in order to bolster the official diplomacy. This is why the Iraqi Council of Representatives is active and communicating with parliaments of other states in order to support and deepen governmental diplomatic contact. The committee on Foreign Relations at the Iraqi Council of Representatives is exerting exceptional effort through several parliamentary friendship societies with many states of the world which positively affects the creation of an integration role between governmental and parliamentary diplomacy. Both act to enhance our relations with the international society and the peoples of the world.
 
Future of Democracy
“PUIC”: What is the future of the democratic process in the states of the Developing Countries? What are the outstanding challenges in this respect? How can the foundations of democracy in these states be consolidated?
Dr. Al-Jabouri:
The relative regression of US interest in involvement in the Middle East region, and the wide-scale turmoil in some states will definitely lead to critical changes which may impact the future of democracy in the region, and which may have long term effects, together with the possibility of the emergence of regional competitors that attempt to be the sole leaders of the area, which in turn increases the chances of the continuous infringement of the regional order by super powers. This intensifies the probability of the emergence of real dangers and additional tension spots whose characteristics and results are difficult to predict. This is due to the intertwined and intermixed nature of the region. The accelerating international and regional developments make it necessary for the states of the area to maintain sound analysis, wise policies, and conducting dialogue among all the various sides and conflicting powers in our region. It is clear and realistic to know that the principle of dialogue among the states of the region acquires its historical usefulness from the failure of all means to solve extant conflicts through armed force, option of arms and elimination of the other.
Opting for dialogue, patience, positive interaction, confidence-building, accepting the other as a productive, and not a consuming, partner, will eventually produce in the end peace, security, prosperity and unity.
Let us, therefore, exert effort, each from his own position, to make dialogue, confidence building, protective diplomacy, and regional cooperation the ideal repository for the containment and resolving of all conflicts, and thus saving the peoples of the regions from all harmful effects.
The above sheds light on the urgent need for the existence of effective measures to ensure regional security, and enhancement of the power of balance and stability as well as prevalence of balanced security for all states of the region.
It is obvious that restoring regional security and overcoming communal, doctrinal and ethnic differences are necessary requirement in this regard, which necessitates the establishment of security cooperation and coordination between all the states of the region in order to confront such challenges which do not spare any state or regime.