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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Abu Dhabi congress to tackle disenfranchisement of Muslim minorities

The International Muslim Minorities Congress, is being convened by the Muslim Council of Elders and will include representatives from 140 countries

The millions of Muslims who are minorities in the countries where they live must do more to integrate amid fears they could fall prey to extremist recruiters.

Muslim leaders and government officials will meet in Abu Dhabi next month to discuss ways to prevent radicalisation among an estimated 500 million people.

The conference, The International Muslim Minorities Congress, is being convened by the Muslim Council of Elders and will include representatives from 140 countries.

Dr Ali Al Nuaimi, chairman of the conference said the conference would be a platform to tackle issues of marginalisation and disenfranchisement in non-Muslim countries.

“Muslims in non-Muslim countries are facing many challenges, whether in terms of services or education … but the biggest challenge is for them to fit in with their societies."

He said not integrating into society was no longer an option, but a necessity.

“If a person wants to live in Germany, they have to live by German laws and as a German citizen given their rights and fulfilling their obligations.

“In the UAE we feel a responsibility to help Muslims blend in with their societies; Islam was hijacked from and presented to the world in a distorted image, and some countries have abused that to serve their political agendas. And there has been many victims as a result.

“So we feel a responsibility to provide them will full citizenship opportunities,” he said.

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The congress will also stress that Muslims living in non-Muslim societies must reflect civilised Islamic behaviour.

“People will ask why is the UAE doing this? Well we have always been a station to launch humanitarian, Islamic and Arab programmes to serve the individual wherever he is.”

He said the UAE has received requests from many Muslim minorities around the world to provide such a platform for them “to create a road map and face their challenges”.

“When we speak of minorities we are not talking about Muslim immigrants (only), we are talking about more than 200 Million Muslims in India who were born and raised there, we are talking about native Muslims in China, Russia …” said Dr Mohammed Bechari, vice-chairman of the conference’s high committee.

The congress will also clear up some misconceptions regarding contradictions between one’s religious affiliation and citizenship.

For instance, French Muslim soldiers have asked whether it is permissible for them to participate in wars launched by their countries against Muslim nations.

“We want to speak a different language that fills the gap and brings all the stakeholders together,” said Dr Al Nuaimi.

“The success of such, will help bring more security and stability across the world, and to showcase Islam as a religion for peace and love.”

The congress will be held on May 8-9.