Date: Fri, 9 Jan 98 09:11:45 CST
From: rich@pencil (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Pressing for Democratic Reforms in the UN
Article: 25166

/** headlines: 152.0 **/
** Topic: Pressing for Democratic Reforms in the UN **
** Written 8:20 PM Jan 8, 1998 by newsdesk in cdp:headlines **
/* Written 10:49 AM Jan 1, 1998 by in hrnet.un-general */
/* ---------- <q>Ahmed Faiz: Pressing for Democratic</q> ---------- */

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## author :
## date : 01.01.98
Source: Direct Submission
Title: Pressing for Democratic Reforms in the UN
By: Ahmed Faiz, IKIM, Malaysia
Email: <>
Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 16:17:38 -0800

Pressing for Democratic Reforms in the UN

By Ahmad Faiz bin Abdul Rahman, Thursday 1 January 1998

The recent OIC summit in Tehran was truly one of the more significant that has ever been held by the OIC. As one observer had put it, If the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) summit held in Tehran from Dec. 9-11 had only brought together heads of State and senior representatives from 55 Muslim countries, and achieved nothing else, it would [still] be considered a major success. (Muslimedia International, Dec. 16, 1997)

The summit had the effect of bolstering Iran's image of defiance of Western inter-meddling in Middle Eastern affairs, in that instead of isolationism, Iran' image has come close to that of the only Islamic State which is truly independent of all external influences, and influential enough that many heads of State, especially from the Arab world, would flock to Tehran regardless of their affiliation with certain Western powers such as the United States or the UK.

And only three weeks earlier, a US-sponsored Middle East and North Africa conference in Doha, Qatar, was shunned by many of those who attended the OIC summit in Tehran. It were as though what Iran' Ayatullah Ali Khamenei had to say was more important than what any Western representative, including Madeline Albright, had to say.

In the words of Ali Khamenei, The majority of people of the world are poor, while a small number hold the major part of the assets and wealth upon the earth. Most nations are deprived of scientific progress while certain groups use their science and knowledge as a means to mete out oppression on others.

Wars flare in nooks and corners of the world while others live in constant fear of wars breaking out. The Western materialistic civilization is directing everyone toward materiality, while money, gluttony and carnal desires are made the greatest aspirations.

Finally, sincerity, truthfulness, altruism, and self-sacrifice have been replaced in many parts of the world by deception, conspiracy, avarice, jealousy, and other despicable motives.

These words, though used in a most general manner, aptly described the reasons for the lack of support for the Doha Summit. Truly a slap in the face for many a Western power as they continue to justify, not only to the world but to themselves, their coddling of Israel.

Then there was the expression of discontentment among the Muslim's of the Middle East which came in the form the demand for a Muslim seat on the UN Security Council. Of course, such a suggestion would not hold any merit with the existing permanent members of the Security Council.

And Kofi Anan being a realist that he is responded that the seats in UN Security Council are not catered for particular race or creed. Indeed, it would not be realistic to argue that the world s conflicts were divided between Christendom and Islam, for example.

However, the fact of the matter is, much of Western power geo-politicking is centred in the Middle East, and with no representation from that region on the Security Council, international security almost invariably means Western national interests .

This condition is incompatible with Islamic dignity, said Ali Khameini. Our opposition to the so-called Middle East peace process is because it is unjust, arrogant, contemptuous and finally illogical.... Isn't it time for the world of Islam to respond to this spirit of arrogance? Something has been done to us that at present we fear each other more than the enemy.... Political dignity and power are of greatest importance.

Alas, power lies not in the hands of any Muslim nation state. Otherwise a permanent seat would have been accorded to one, had any Muslim state truly been a power to contend with, much like how China gained its seat or how Russia was surreptitiously given its seat after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Hence as far as the international community (read Western community) is concerned, the matter is simply a non-issue, but not so in the Muslim world. Different kinds of sentiment have resulted from Ali Khameini s futile suggestion that Muslims should be given a seat on the Security Council.

One sentiment is that Muslims should not be driven by the need to make shurah (or consult) with the kuffar (non-believers) based on at-Taghut (evil) to resolve our problems. A clean break is necessary, perhaps in preparation for war or further armed struggle. Of course, this came with the usual rhetoric that an Islamic World Order should be established for bringing an end to the US/UN tyranny.

Another sentiment is that Muslims should take stock of the divisions or disunity among the Ummah in order to present a more viable front to the US/UN tyranny but through international institutions like the UN itself. Much like how OPEC had managed to force the developed North to the negotiating table, back in the 1970s.

Those who support the earlier sentiment perceive any negotiations with at-Taghut through a permanent seat in the UN Security Council or even through membership of the UN General Assembly itself is as absurd as having a Muslim MP in the Israeli Parliament or Knesset. In fact, some even perceive those who support the latter sentiment to be working against the establishment of the Islamic Caliphate, the supposedly ideal or only valid political entity that could safeguard the interests of the Ummah.

In response, those who hold the latter sentiment pose the question that if Muslims are never ever to have relations, specifically at the international fora, with what the Ummah collectively considers as taghut , then how does one explain the Hudaybiyyah Treaty between the Muslims of Medina and the pagan Quraish of Makkah where the terms had placed Muslims very much at a disadvantage, albeit that the Prophet's wisdom remains beyond question?

Bearing in mind that Muslims can barely put forward a united front, how are Muslims to deal with issues that urgently need addressing, e.g. Palestinian diaspora, ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims, recolonisation of the Third World through economic subjugation via the IMF and WTO, the denial of democratic rights of Algerians in Algeria, the unjust sanctions against the peoples of Iraq, the removal of sanctions against Sudan, Lybia...(and the list goes on)?

Do we wait until the Caliphate is properly re-established? The realist or pragmatic answer would be no , if only because pressing issues need to be addressed as effectively as they can be, especially when Muslims have so much to lose from inaction or self-caused impotence.

The crux of the argument is that when push comes to shove, we must not forget that afdarurah tubihul mahzurat or necessity permits what is generally forbidden, but of course, in line with the fundamental tenets of the Shariah (i.e. protection of life, religion, progeny, property and intellect).

A possible counter argument to all this is that one cannot compare membership of the UN to the Hudaybiyyah Treaty since the two are dissimilar in substance. For example, if the UN Security Council were to formulate a new resolution, it would be applied to members, even if they disagree with the particular resolution.

As opposed to a bilateral treaty whereby both parties agree the details and are aware what of they are getting into, no member of the UN knows exactly what they may or may not be expected to comply with in the months to come.

However, as seemingly convincing as such a line of argument may be, it is moot at best. Theoretically speaking, nations may opt not to comply with UN Security Council Resolutions either by withdrawal of membership or by ignoring them outright. Nations that have ignored them include Libya, Sudan and, especially, Israel. Yet, the difference between these nations is one of power and influence.

Just because a nation wishes to exclude itself from the UN or remains excluded like the people of Palestine and Taiwan, it would not result in insulation against the averse effects of power play. Thus, although there are stark differences between the Hudaybiyyah Treaty and membership of the UN, they are both the creatures or the product of necessity.

For want of something better, the Muslim peoples can only hope to press for further democratic reforms in the UN while consolidating their strengths by overcoming differences so as to be influential enough to make such reforms happen.