Hakim Benchamach: Emergence of an Integrated Islamic Bloc

H.E. Mr. Benchamach: The future is for big blocs in all fields, which necessitates revilization and renewal of inter-Islamic, local and regional diplomacy in order to materialize this strategy.

In his interview with the “PUIC” publication H.E. Mr. Hakim Benchamach, the Speaker of the House of Councilors of Morocco, highlighted the role of the PUIC in enhancing dialogue and cooperation between Muslim Parliaments.

He also stressed Morocco’s rejection of any measure to alter the legal status of the City of Al Quds. His Excellency called tor establishing an integrated Islamic Bloc to function in the world arena. He also addressed a number of issues of common concern to joint Islamic action.

Following is the text of the interview: 

PUIC: The Moroccan Parliament hosted the second Conference of Islamic parliaments during the first years of the life of the PUIC. Now we are on threshold of the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of the Union, and Morocco is hosting this important event. How do, your Excellency, evaluate parliamentary activities among Muslim countries in almost two decades?

Mr. Benchamach: I would like on this occasion to underline PUIC action and initiatives since its establishment for the sake of enhancing dialogue and cooperation among the states of Member Parliaments, and consulting about different issues of common concern, whether at the political, economic, cultural or social levels.

I also commend PUIC efforts for establishing contacts and coordination with the various regional and international parliamentary, governmental and non-governmental organizations in order to address regional issues, project the position of Muslim States vis-à-vis issues and challenges existing on the international arena, inform about the sublime Islamic teachings and acting to propagate them, while affirming and defending the humanitarian principles of the Islamic civilization.

This is an occasion to confirm that the initiative to host this PUIC Session for the second time, comes in the framework of the involvement of the Moroccan Parliament in strengthening the bonds of cooperation among the states of the PUIC Member Parliaments, and enhancing coordination and dialogue about the various issues of common concern. It also comes in the context of the efforts of the Kingdom of Morocco, under the sagacious leadership of His Majesty King Mohammad Vl, may Allah grant him victory and support, aimed at consolidating and developing partnership and cooperation among countries and peoples of Muslim states, and seeking all horizons in order to enrich these relations.

PUIC: The cause of Palestine continues to be the focus of great attention to the Islamic World. Here we would like to refer to the US decision to relocate Washington’s Embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Al-Quds, and consequently making Al-Quds capital of the Zionist entity instead of Tel Aviv which means that the Palestinians lose some of their rights and demands. What is the stance of Morocco on this matter?

Mr. Benchamach: The Palestinian cause, was and still is, the primary cause of Morocco and Moroccans. Our country has a firm position on the occupied city of Al Quds. More than once, Morocco has confirmed its absolute rejection of transgressing upon the legal and historical status of Al Quds in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the international legitimacy; and Morocco calls for upholding all the agreements that lead to the establishment of a unified and fully sovereign Palestinian State, with Al Quds as its eternal capital.

We recall, on this occasion, the message which His Majesty, Emir of the Faithful, King Mohammad Vl, may Allah grant him victory and support, addressed, in his capacity as Chairman of the OIC Al Quds Committee, to the US President, in which His Majesty stated that the “City of Al Quds”, according to the relevant international resolutions of the Security Council, in particular, is at core of the final status issues, which necessitates preserving its legal position and refraining from any transgression upon its political status quo.

PUIC: “Parliamentary diplomacy is gaining further importance in the field of international relations. What role can this diplomacy play in shaping a new world order which is more equitable and beneficial, especially to the peoples of the developing countries?

Mr. Benchamach: The Kingdom of Morocco, faithful to the values of brotherhood, solidarity and cooperation, is resolved, under the prudent leadership of His Majesty King Mohammad Vl, may Allah grant him victory and support, to engage in all positive initiatives aimed promoting partnership and cooperation among our countries in the framework of mutual respect, good neighborliness and respect of the sovereignty and unity of states.

I confirm that the future is for big blocs in all fields, which necessitates revilization and renewal of inter-Islamic, local and regional diplomacy in order to materialize this strategy, and ensure the best conditions for the emergence of an integrated Islamic bloc, through carrying out certain measures in the fields of governance, consolidating stability and providing the conditions for growth and production of wealth.

At this juncture, I call on the PUIC to be host to this choice through popular presence in all its programs, intensifying diplomatic initiatives, developing and widening its powers, and enhancing potentials put at its disposal.  

PUIC: Have Islamic parliaments the ability to expand economic and financial interactions in the Muslim space through enacting common laws?

Mr. Benchamach: Yes, we consider that Islamic parliaments have the ability to expand economic and financial interactions in the Islamic Space through enactment of common laws. Therefore, we stress, in the first place, their importance and role in consolidating joint action of Islamic States, and in enhancing and supporting parliamentary dialogue, considered as one of the most significant mechanisms of joint action, and an effective tool of cooperation and coordination, and also expressing the hopes and aspirations of Muslim peoples. Secondly, Islamic Parliaments may energize their powers in the field of legislations through enactment of laws that serve the expansion of economic and financial interactions, especially that relate to economic, financial, taxation and excise cooperation and to facilitate all that may serve the economic interest of our Islamic countries.    

PUIC: How do you envisage finding an effective and agreed mechanism in the Islamic framework aimed at combating the phenomenon of terrorism and Extremism?

Mr. Benchamach: We propose to set a work plan or strategy in the framework of Islamic States for combating the phenomenon of extremism and terrorism following the example of the UN strategy and action plan, and in this respect to be guided by the declaration concerning the measures for eliminating international terrorism which is enshrined in the General Assembly’s Annex No. 60/49, dated 9/12/1994, and the declaration supplementary to the declaration of 1994 relating to the measures for eliminating international terrorism, contained in the General Assembly’s Annex No. 210/51, dated 17/12/1996, and the conclusions of the World Summit Conference of 2005, especially the part concerning terrorism, in addition to all resolutions of the General Assembly on measures for eliminating international terrorism, including resolution No. 51/46 dated 9/12/1991, and resolutions of the Security Council concerning the dangers threatening international peace and security as a result of terrorist actions, as well as General Assembly resolutions relevant to the protection of human rights and basic freedoms in the context of combating terrorism.

We propose to benefit from the experience of the Kingdom of Morocco in the field of combating terrorism and extremism, recognized by the international community as pioneering, especially that relating to restructuring of the religious fields, and the adoption of a series of measures which aim, especially, at combating all forms of extremism and enhancing the values of moderation and tolerance which are enshrined in Islam. We recall here the establishment of “ Mohammad Vl Institution For Africa Scholars” which aims at unifying and coordinating the efforts of Muslim Scholars of African States in order to enhance propagating and consolidating the values of tolerance promoted by Islam.

We also refer to the efforts exerted to ensure religious action toward members of the Moroccan community in the diaspora, as well as of reviewing school curricula and courses relating to religious education, and also launching television channels to broadcast programs for the propagation of the teachings of Islam.

PUIC: Islam and Muslims are currently under attack launched by some circles in western countries, what, in your opinion, are the necessary ways and means to counter such an attack?

Mr. Benchamach: Among the ways and means necessary for countering this attack is to utilize whatever is suitable for correcting the image of Islam and Muslim at these circles, especially in the fields of information, communication, cinema, research and study centers, universities, scientific research institutions and political fora. Islamic States must seek to consolidate their influence in terms of election mechanisms, circles of decision-making and preparing, as well as economic and social actors. Also through actions to influence public opinion formation, and decision-makers in the West.

We must not ignore the important role of social contact media in countering this attack, and utilizing this media in such a way as to serve the just Islamic causes. This must go hand in hand with uncovering all designs that vilify and distort the image of Islam and Muslims.