Dear Tun Dr. Mahathir, dear guests – as-salamu´alaikum
It is a great pleasure and honour to have the opportunity of greeting you all here.
We are particularly pleased to have been able to get you here again – Tun Dr. Mahathir – for one of your lectures which we so highly appreciate. I – and all of us here – are eagerly awaiting what you have to say to us. We are thus continuing the exciting discussion about the role of Eurasia, and the role of the Muslims, which we have already begun in our Eurasian Encounters in January 2007 in Istanbul.
The world has been listening for decades to your analyses and messages. Your voice and your call for a just world have quite rightly earned you worldwide respect.
Men who are endowed with intellect see dangers earlier than simple people.
You my dear Dr. Mahathir were without doubt one of the first thinkers who already in the 90’s denounced the basic elements of the present financial crisis. Through you, many people heard and learnt for the first time that there was a new kind of weapon of mass destruction – speculation. Some years passed before one understood in the West that ‘soldiers’ can also wear ties and suits.
Malaysia is still the country in which the most important question of our time, the need for a new and just economy, is freely discussed. One would like to add to modern economic freedom, and in the light of the pictures in Egypt, that the free choice of the means of payment also belongs to every true revolution.
Please allow me to say a few words about the project ‘Globalia’.
The magazine which we are presenting to you today is part of the work of European, African and Asian Muslims. The spirit and the aim of the magazine is simple to describe: we want to win over the people!
We want to present Islam – which in parts of western societies has become an enemy stereotype – in the most positive manner possible. We want to link the Muslims – who are unfortunately again and again associated with terrorism and disaster – with success, enthusiasm and positivity.
For this mission we also need today modern media and information sources of good quality. The power of the media, the power of perspective decides today what is perceived to be ‘important’ or ‘unimportant’. The power of images can easily depict a phenomenon in a good or bad light, depending on the desired aim.
In this respect we Muslims, as creators of media, have – as one says today – a ‘clear edge in information’. To put it in another way: we even have a priceless advantage.
Why I say this is quite clear:
Islam reveals an ocean of knowledge to us. Through the Qur’an we have a powerful key for understanding the world. The single ayat from the Qur’an: „Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden usury“ can inspire us to countless new documentaries, new films, new articles or new blogs.
Of course we also know that, up until now, the Muslims have had only relatively weak international media at their disposal. For this reason we have established contact -at a global level- with the muslim business world in order to create a new, strong magazine. This is not only a question of a printed and on-line medium but we also want to encourage an exchange between important and successful elites. Gatherings such as the one today is the desired side effect of our efforts.
As you know, our media house is based in Berlin.
For us European Muslims it is also important to present the current state of European thought. As you know political and philosophical terminology has been determining Europe since the ancient Greeks. What we have to understand in this respect is that many of these concepts are ‘secularised theological concepts’. Europe has forced God out of the world. Afterwards this ‘God’ was substituted by the state, and then by the banks.
In Globalia we present the writings of brilliant thinkers and intellectuals who describe our situation, the ‘condition humaine’. In this regard it is irrelevant whether you are a Muslim or not.
We should not forget that one can learn a lot from the destiny of Europe. Even right up to today Europe’s philosophy is basically the desperate search for tawhid.
Europe’s political and historical experience of the last century is that nihilism only produces dangerous ideologies and totalitarian worldviews.
The great Russian writer Dostoyewski was quite right when he predicted: ‘Soon rules will no longer apply in a world without God’.
Many years ago I began a lecture to young people in Kazakhstan with a little joke. I said then as a young Muslim myself: ‘It is old fashioned not to be a Muslim’. People were naturally very surprised that a German from the land of Daimler-Chrysler could say such a thing.
However the statement is basically correct: Islam is indeed more actual then ever before. There are many reasons for this thesis.
I am more convinced than ever before that the unity and clarity of the Qur’an is basically superior to the multiplicity and confusion of the internet. The Book brings us all together.
We are enjoying here in Malaysia its splendid, traditional hospitality. There is really a palpable difference between having a large number of ‘brothers in Islam’ and just many Facebook friends.
A revelation which places the „prayer and zakat“ – that is, the right of Allah and solidarity with the poor – in a central position cannot be old fashioned. In the light of the dangerous situation in which mankind finds itself, this revelation could not be more relevant.
As a lawyer I am also convinced that only the Islamic laws of economics will be able to limit the unbridled nature of capitalism.
Let me briefly sum up:
Islam is not against anyone, rather Islam is for us. Of course we are not alone in the world. Our model is good if it can win over other people and does not drive them away out of fear. Our approach, naturally also as a magazine, is therefore absolutely positive.
Islam is not a culture and so can bring together the most disparate people from differing cultural spheres. Our colourful editorial board proves that Huntington´s thesis of the inevitable clash of cultures is – from a Muslim point of view – nonsense.
Globalia Magazine is therefore a truly global project.
In this respect the vantage point of the Eurasian continent is of great importance. In this sense the Muslims of Europe, Turkey, Central Asia and Asia form a dynamic power. I would like to urge you all -in a spiritual sense – to become subscribers of this project.