Published on United Nations General Assembly, 61st Session, by UN News Centre, Sept. 26, 2011.
The political transitions in various Arab countries this year demonstrate that Islam is compatible with human rights and democracy, the Vice-President of the Maldives Mohamed Waheed told the General Assembly today.
“The democratic uprisings across the Middle East prove that Muslims yearn for democratic rights just as much as non-Muslims,” he said.
Dr. Waheed also said that the Maldives, a Muslim country that went through its own democratic transition in 2008, putting an end to “a 30-year authoritarian regime,” would organize an international conference next year on progressive Islamic jurisprudence and human rights to support the movement.
“We must counter the false perception that people must make the choice between devotion to Islam on the one hand, and the full enjoyment of human rights on the other. We strongly believe in the compatibility of Islam and human rights and seek to do our part to promote understanding and tolerance.
“With this conference, we hope to renew the concepts of peace and tolerance, co-existence and inter-faith harmony that exist in Islam,” he added.
In his address, Dr. Waheed also spoke about the urgency of climate change reform in the UN, echoing previous statements from other Small Island Developing States (SIDS), urging countries to act immediately so they can respond swiftly and adequately to natural disasters. (full text).