Istanbul hosts an international conference to combat racism


On Saturday, the United Against Racism and Sectarianism organization held the first international conference against racial discrimination and sectarian intolerance in the Middle East and North Africa in Istanbul.

The conference was held at Sabah al-Din Zaim University in cooperation with the University’s Center for Studies of Islam and International Affairs, with the participation of thinkers, researchers and scholars from several countries. It takes one day to discuss papers on sectarianism and racism.

According to the organization, the conference aims to combat sectarian and racist intolerance in all its forms, expose violations related to it, raise public awareness of its diseases, and work to promote the values of tolerance and citizenship.

The Secretary-General of the organization, Abdul Karim Bakkar, said in his speech, “The Al-Aqsa flood may have painful effects for all of us, but trust that with it the countdown to the demise of the occupying state, rape and racism has begun, and a new history has begun. The countdown may take a little longer, but it has truly begun and the whole world is beginning to change.”

He added, “The organization is an extension of the principles of ethics and values of the Al-Fudul Alliance, which was held in pre-Islamic times and was attended by the Prophet (Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace) with his uncles. It was based on a great, generous principle, that the people in Mecca should stand with the oppressed in the face of the oppressor forever.”

He added: “God created us different in terms of ideas, beliefs, understandings, whims and interests, and He is a complex test in our social life. Our differences in the Islamic vision in order for us to integrate and cooperate in righteousness, piety, goodness, combating evil, and peace is the basis between peoples.”

He continued: “We do not have any problem with those who disagree with us. Our disagreement is with one group, which is the party that is aggressing, and we are commanded to stand up to the aggressor, even if he is a Muslim. The aggressor must be fought, whoever he is.”


He explained, “Humanity is based on 3 principles. The first is standing up to injustice regardless of the oppressor. The second is justice and delivering rights to those who deserve it, regardless of their position. The third is charity. This nation was founded on charity.”

Bakkar concluded by saying: “I hope to God that we will have an international conference every year that addresses an issue of racism and sectarianism, and we have 16 peer-reviewed papers at the conference that will be printed in a book and published for your benefit.”

For his part, the President of Sabah al-Din University, Zaim Ahmad Jawad Ajar, said, “Among the most prominent reasons for the lack of a major international reaction to the tragedy taking place in Gaza are ideological, sectarian, regional, and various reasons that make humanity remain silent in the face of the injustice taking place and combating it.”

He continued: “We find the Islamic world today governed by populism, and it is diverse not for division but for richness. We, as Muslims, are stronger united, but we have not been able to establish this unity.”

“United” is an international intellectual and cultural organization with diverse practical activities that was established in 2022, and includes personalities from various scientific and practical specializations who are active in public affairs and those who influence it.

In turn, Sami Al-Erian, director of the Center for Studies of Islam and International Affairs at Sabah al-Din Zaim University, said that the center was launched in 2017 and “its message and vision relate to the Islamic nation.”

He added in a speech that “the issues of racism, sectarianism, populism, pure secularism, and narrow nationalism from which the Islamic nation suffers were at the heart of the center’s first conference.”

He added: “When the enemy reached the nation, he knew its diseases, and Zionism is at the heart of the challenges. It is a movement that began more than a century ago and wanted to take the center of the Islamic world and has become the greatest challenge.”


Al-Erian called for “not getting involved in issues that divide the nation and devoting yourself to confronting the enemy.”

Issam Al-Bashir, Vice President of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, also spoke, saying, “The issue at hand – which is unity in confronting racism and sectarianism – has origins and starting points in our intellectual roots, and has observations in our civilizational experience, and has approaches in its practical challenges.”

Al-Bashir stated in his speech that, “In terms of principles, there are foundations for coexistence, which are the belief in joint work, the absolute dignity of human beings, and human brotherhood, the implementation of which is better than its neglect.”

Tariq Al-Hashimi, former Iraqi Vice President, said in his speech, “Sectarianism was cunningly exploited by global and regional powers and was used for political purposes to expand and extend influence, which led to the destabilization of security and stability and the loss of opportunities for progress, development and prosperity in our countries and homelands. Therefore, the solemn task is not and will not be an easy task.” .

He added: “Diversity is supposed to be a source of enriching cultures, improving coexistence and acquaintance, and to be a blessing, but in reality it has become a curse,” considering that “marginalization, exclusion, and deprivation of others from a free and dignified life is an ancient, renewed phenomenon, rooted in cultures, behavior, and policies, and it is a chronic disease that humanity is still suffering from.” from him”.

In his speech, Ammar Omeish, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in the United States, said, “We issued a report on the crimes and challenges faced by Muslims in America and we found difficult numbers that make us stand up to this challenge.”

He explained: “We recorded more than 8,000 cases last year, half of them in the last 3 months after the Al-Aqsa flood, and the current year is the most recorded year for violations, most of which are complaints against hate crimes and racism.”

The session witnessed other speeches and the reciting of poems by Walid Al-Tabtabai, a former member of the Kuwaiti House of Representatives, the President of the Lebanese University of Tripoli, Raafat Mikati, the lawyer Abdul Halim Yilmaz, an expert in immigration law and human rights, and Abdul Rahman Jamal Al-Kashgari, a member of the Union of East Turkestan Scholars.