The objectives of Iran’s annual Islamic Unity Week
As a numerical minority - of course Shia are the Muslim group most interested in Muslim unity: It means survival. It has meant this since the very passing of Prophet Mohammad, and both “Muslim unity” and “the survival of Shi’ism” has been inseparable ever since.
The logic of that concept - that “Muslim unity” is the best protector of the largest minority in the Muslim world - should be self-evident. Minorities need peace to thrive - they are outnumbered in conflicts/votes.
It is only divisive imperialists, and their puppets in some Muslim countries, who reject this logical idea and propagate the opposite - that, instead, Shia are trying to divide the Muslim community; that the minority Shia are bent on war with Sunnis.
Of course, that is a war which is already prohibited by Islam - faith can never be forced on someone - so such persons (and I refer to isolated extremists who hold no democratic political power anywhere in the Muslim world) are always rejected as being un-Muslim.
No thinking Muslim needs a conference to restate this millennia-old conversation and settled law. Iran’s annual International Islamic Unity Conference, which just concluded its 35th meeting, is light years beyond these phony non-issues.
What the conference does is to provide a forum to create an Islamic-geopolitical path to resolve insecurity in the Muslim world. Such insecurity is allowed to occur, in our modern area of imperialism, because there is disunity on fundamental topics of political modernity among Muslims.
Islamic Unity Week was initiated in 1987 and is held on the week of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. The conference is not held to proselytize in favor of Shi’ism (again, proselytizing in Islam is forbidden, which is why there are no Muslim missionaries) but to strengthen unity among Muslims in a practical sense.
Yes, the event is held under the auspices of World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, which paves the way for Islamic scholars to get to know and understand one another. Creating theological empathy and respectful intellectual understanding among Islam’s many sects is indeed an integral part of the conference.
But the presence of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the heads of Iran’s Foreign Minister and Minister of Culture, major Iranian political leaders, political scientists, communication specialists and others attest to the very practical, very real-world results which the conference is expected to produce.
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