Peace Must be More Than a Slogan

Developing Just Leadership

Zafar Bangash

Dhu al-Qa'dah 26, 1435 2014-09-21

by Zafar Bangash

The Islamic World Peace Forum take an exclusive interview with Zafar Bangash, Islamic movement journalist and commentator in Toronto, Canada and the Director of the The Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), to ask about some concepts considered as the keywords and basic ideas in this regard...

IWPF: Given the slogan of the UN General Assembly this year in line with the International Day of Peace (September 21, 2014), which is people’s right to peace, what practical measures do you propose to materialize this slogan?

Zafar Bangash: Peace must be more than a slogan that is uttered at appropriate times. If the UN is serious about establishing peace in the world, it must first examine the root causes of injustice and instability in the world.

Unfortunately, the UN itself does not live up to its stated ideals. The reason is simple: the UN, or more specifically the UN Security Council, is based on a gross injustice because its policies are dictated by the five veto-wielding members. Why should five countries in the world have the right to determine what policies are to be pursued globally?

Often, the veto-wielding countries or their allies are the greatest violators of International Laws. A quick glance at the record of the UN Security Council since its creation in 1945 shows that the US has cast the largest number of vetoes and most often to protect the Zionist regime from being brought to justice for its crimes. If the law is not equitably applied to all, then there will be no peace in the world.

If there is no justice, there will be no peace. Once the UN lives up to its principles, justice will prevail and peace will follow. Until then, peace will remain a mere slogan.

IWPF: In the light of the objectives and measures of Islamic World Peace Forum in the field of establishing just peace in the world, what measures do you propose for continuation and institutionalization of just peace in the world?

Zafar Bangash: In the absence of a global platform for the adjudication of conflict resolution based on justice and peace, platforms like those of the Islamic World Peace Forum (IWPF) assume even greater significance. Issues of justice and peace are too important to be left unaddressed. The efforts being made by the IWPF are very useful.

These must be institutionalized through regular interaction with scholars, academics and peace activists worldwide. By organizing conferences on various themes related to justice and peace, greater awareness can be created. Similarly a sense of urgency must be created among those concerned with issues of justice and peace to inspire them to take larger steps towards these goals.

Several steps need to be taken:

1: Scholar and academics must be motivated and mobilized because they are opinion makers and can mould the thoughts and actions of the younger generation.

2: Issues must be clearly defined and specific tasks assigned to individuals and groups to achieve appropriate results.

3: Goals must be clearly identified; this will make it easier to pursue;

4: Impediments in the way of achieving these objectives must be identified in order to find ways and means to overcome them.

5: The IWPF must also consider sponsoring the writing of books on specific topics by scholars such as examining the nature of Zionism and how to address it; understanding the nature of imperialism and its destructive impact on the peoples of the world; the rise of extremist ideologies whether among Muslims, Christians, Jews or people of other faiths and the reasons for their emergence; and how to tackle such challenges etc.

6: Seeking solutions from the Qur’an and the Sunnah and Seerah of the noble Messenger (saws) to address these problems and publish them in the form of papers and books.

7: to have a wide impact, conferences should be held in different parts of the world such as Turkey, South Africa, Malaysia etc. These need to be worked out carefully through local support and coordination.

IWPF: Given the recent developments in the world and in the region, what are the international requirements for creating a world full of peace and security?

Zafar Bangash:The world is gripped by conflicts, bloodshed, injustice and oppression. This is not because people have suddenly gone mad or become more belligerent; wars are instigated by vested interests that benefit from global turmoil whether it is the arms manufacturers, money speculators or criminal syndicates.

Understanding the nature of these conflicts and those behind them are the essential first steps.

At the global level, we can identify several competing interests: US versus Russia in Ukraine (as well as for world domination); US versus China for financial domination (rise of the Chinese yuan and decline of the US dollar); emergence of new blocs—BRICS, SCO etc—that are seen as challenging US global hegemony. Most of these conflicts are related to challenging the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

At the regional level, especially in the Middle East and South Asia, the real source of instability is the Zionist state of Israel. Since its creation, the region has been gripped by turmoil. The recent developments whether in Syria, Iraq or Lebanon, are all related to protecting the Zionist regime and its continued illegal occupation of Palestine.

Unless this cancer is uprooted from the land, there is little likelihood of peace in the region. Those that are struggling to resist the Zionist occupiers are being targeted.

While not much can be expected from international institutions such as the UN Security Council, the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court because all these institutions are dominated by the same powers that support the Zionist regime, the recent Zionist onslaught on Gaza has created a groundswell of support for the Palestinian people. It has also exposed the true nature of Zionism to most people even in the West. This is a good opportunity to mobilize world public opinion against the destructive policies of Zionism and Imperialism.

While people alone may not be able to prevent the warmongers from starting new wars, what can be achieved is to expose their true nature, to make life difficult for them at home and show the hollowness of their claims to being democracies that respect the wishes of the people. Further, if these regimes are tied down by domestic opposition, they will have a difficult time justifying their destructive policies to the rest of the world.

Expecting international institutions to establish justice and peace under the present circumstances is an unrealistic expectation.

Courtesy: Islamic World Peace Forum

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