Mr. President, distinguished guests and colleagues, I'm from Bangladesh. My name is Mizanur Rahman Khan, Joint Editor of the Prothom Alo. It is the largest Bengali newspaper of our country. I express my profound gratitude to Honorable Ambassador Popov for inviting me again to this august gathering.
I appreciate his unease when he talked about the Brexit,US election to recent French election. What is ''Islamic world'' is the question put by Mr. Lamani, I greatly agree with him. When Ambassador Popov talked that Russia is belong to Islamic world then I felt ashamed. I found that being the host of this conference Ambassador Popov has actually no such place in this room!
I am sure Ambassador will enjoy this wit and exonerate me for this ridiculous comment. I have gone through certain aspects of the constitutions of the OIC countries. It has 57 member states over four continents.
According to constituteproject.org, it is interesting to note that Islam has been mentioned in more than once in only 25 countries out of 57 OIC countries.
And I found only one country that is Iran, who adequately addressed religious diversity. It has stated not only about the religions of minorities but has also vowed to defend the other schools of Islam including Sunnis. Such provision has not been incorporated in other constitutions.
Indeed we see the mere inclusion of secularism cannot give us any automatic guarantee to defend religious pluralism, which has paramount importance to prevent hate. In Bangladesh it is being taught in the secular schools that greatest Jihad is to fight against the ''enemies of Islam.'' But the very constitutional pattern of OIC countries shows that there is a need of greater reform if we want to create a congenial atmosphere which will deter the proliferation of lone wolves and so called Islamic militants.
I found only two countries where their constitution includes the word 'Jihad', one is Iran and the other is Afghanistan. I will not be surprised if Iran may rethink about its definition in future. The constitutional developments among the OIC nations show that they are very much indecisive about what the position of religion should be in their national supreme law of the land. However, they have an overwhelming tendency to use Islam along the line with the political expediency of the Muslim rulers.
Thus the onus to project ''political Islam'' must be taken primarily by the concerned States and then obviously by the non state actors. It is no wonder that the some of the outstanding features like the universally acclaimed proposition of separation of Church from the state has definite similarities to the fundamental fabric of the historic Madina charter apart from Quranic verses and Hadith.
So it is time for the Journalists to study the Quran and Hadith and dispel the massive ignorance and misconception about Islam. What is striking to me is that there are only a handful of OIC countries who has declared Islam as their state religion. They are really a brute minority. And also they are still very few who have declared in no ambiguous terms that the only Muslims should be the head of the Government or the state or the members of the parliament.
Muslim journalists should come forward to create public opinions or to initiate appropriate discussions on whether this kind of conditions are contradictory to the ethos of Islam. It is to be focused that how such provisions could be abused and hurt the religious feelings of other faith.
Having the largest Muslim population, Indonesia has set an example by refusing Islam as a state religion. However, they have declared carefully that "the state shall be based upon the belief in one and only God.'' While Bangladesh, Pakistan and Malaysia have state religion and it is evidently clear they have done so for the sake of narrow politics, it has no relevance to respecting Islam. The non uniformity shows that there could be a space to build an international consensus to fix a Universal position regarding the place of religion in the constitutions.
The constitution is regarded as the supreme charter. So it should have a profound impact on the mindset and attitude of the masses. I would like to draw the attention of President Putin to take an initiative to encourage the OIC to engage in it.
With a happy note, I congratulate the grand Imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar University upon holding a peace conference with the Pope to ''eliminate the causes of conflict, violence and hate.''
This should be the part of a new world order to save the humanity. Media could play the role to popularize the ''religious pluralism''. It could prevent or lessen the rise of extreme right in the some parts of western and Europe which may not be a lesser devil than the ISIS.
I found a link between the Twin Tower tragedy to the Brexit, a tipping point which gave us so far Trump presidency, the referendum victory of President Erdogan, who committed to turn the Turks 'pious' and making a new brand of ''French revaluation'' which blessed Merry Le Pen.
Germany, Austria and the Netherlands are suffering from same fever what Ambassador Popov termed as not a ''simple thing''. Humanity does not deserve the rise of ISIS or Brexitisation instead of a win win globalization that could reduce the gap between north and south.
My humble request to Russia through is to thwart the rise of the far right beyond the so called Muslim territories by institutionalizing the process of interfaith dialogue.
Muslim journalists should not be obsessed only about the conspiracy theories even if it is credible. They should have priorities to focus why the certain militants and wolves are turning themselves into suicide bombers and falling prey to the conspirators?
The constitutional position of the kingdom of Saudi has special significance. It has stated that they are an "Islamic State" and possibly they are the only state which declared that they have only one religion. It must have chilling effect and undermine the religious pluralism.
Moreover, the Sauds to declare again: "there is no God but Allah". Let me draw your attention to think about its necessity and implications among the Muslims. But I believe the Sauds may have a new realization to bring some changes atleast in thier attitude. Recently a delegation of Saudi Grand Imams visited Bangladesh and they reportedly talked about the Islamic injunction of respecting other faiths.
To me it is not the time to highlight or give exposure by the Islamic press only to the credible contemporary conspiracy theories or to remind the misdeeds done by the ruthless rulers of other faiths from the ancient history books. It is the time for the journalists and other segments of the civil societies to stand up and try to shed some light on the fact that enough is enough; mixing religion with the partisan politics must come to an end.
I conclude with few suggestions:
1. Media should avoid reporting on deeds and actions of militants against law enforcers. Media should not project militants’ activities as `heroic deeds’.
2. Media gate-keepers should avoid or be more cautious in recruitment of journalists having unsupervised Madrasa education.
3. Foreign training is needed for education reporters to gather knowledge on curriculum and textbooks of secular and Muslim countries, and reporting on textbooks in those countries. I strongly support what is stated by the respected Mufti of Moscow that there should be a communication network among the journalists of Muslim countries.
4. Televisions and Radios should avoid broadcasting speeches of less educated preachers who frequently speak against other religions.
5. Media should disseminate more and more reports on funding and daily activities of religious schools and its teachers, students and their government supervisors, if any.
6. Media should avoid sensitive words which create hate towards other religions and should concentrate relentlessly to focus on the commonalities between the religions.
Thank you very much for your patience.
Thank you Mr. President.