nternational Islamic Unity Conference
The World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought was established in 1990 by the order of the Supreme Leader of Islamic Republic of Iran and the appointment of the Secretary General and members of the Supreme Council by His Holiness.
The mission and perspective of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought
The mission of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought is to promote knowledge about and deepen understanding and strengthen mutual respect between the followers of Islamic schools and consolidate string of brotherhood among Muslims without any distinction in terms of denomination, ethnicity or nationality, to reach a unified Islamic Ummah.
The World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought is an organization consisted of Islamic religious scholars in different countries of the world as one of the important centers for spreading proximity and unity in the Islamic world and sets the scene for interaction between the followers of different Islamic sects. This Forum intends to fulfill the following favorable conditions in the future:
1. Approximating the situation of the contemporary Islamic community to the era of the Prophet (PBUH) as an example for religious brotherhood and removal of sectarian prejudices and hostility among the followers of Islamic schools;
2. Expanding the existing solidarity between some Islamic religions to other Islamic religions and all Muslims;
3. Public acceptance of Muslims over religious disputes arising from the jurisprudential criteria;
4. Considering the behavior of the Imams of Islamic religions to each other as an example and spreading it among their followers today.
The official goals of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought
1. Assisting in the revival and expansion of Islamic culture and knowledge and defending the sanctity of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH);
2. Effort to create more familiarity and understanding between scholars, thinkers and religious leaders of the Islamic world in the fields of belief, jurisprudence, society and politics;
3. Development of the thinking of approximation between intellectuals of the Islamic world, and transferring it to the masses of Muslim and make them aware of plots of the enemies of Islam to divide Muslims;
4. Removing pessimism and doubts among followers of Islamic schools of thought;
5. Effort to consolidate and spread the principle of ijtihad and inference in Islamic religions;
6. Trying to create coordination and form a united front against propaganda conspiracies and cultural aggression of the enemies of Islam based on doubtless Islamic principles;
Strategies and Approaches of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought
The World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought tries to realize its goals through the following strategies and approaches:
1. Identifying and communicating with people, associations and various Muslim figures of the Islamic world in order to create areas of shared activities;
2. Authorship, research, publishing and distribution of books and journals and appropriate scientific and social surveys and examinations in the fields of common issues of Islamic denominations;
3. Creating and expanding activities of religious Seminaries and Universities in the field of Islamic sciences;
4. Holding conferences and attending appropriate meetings;
5. Membership in international associations, such as the OIC and the United Nations (The Non-Governmental Organizations Section);
6. Establishment of the proximity congregations in different parts of the world;
7. Helping the communities, institutions and individuals with tendency towards approximation;
8. If necessary, establishment of centers, branches and agencies in important areas of the world;
Pillars of The World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought
• General Assembly: Members of the general assembly are selected from among scholars, thinkers and leaders of Islamic schools around the world who believe in the Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought by the Supreme Council for a six-year period.
• Supreme Council: Members of the Supreme Council are selected from among scholars, thinkers and important figures of Islamic Schools of Thought by the Supreme Leader of Islamic Republic of Iran for 6 years.
• Secretary-General: It is the highest Executive Authority of The World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought who is suggested by the Supreme Council and appointed for a four-year period by the Supreme Leader.
• According to the organizational structure, the organization has some deputies which manage the executive activities based on the subject. In addition to the deputies, The Research Institute for Proximity Studies and University of Islamic Denominations are centers affiliated to The World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought.
1. International Deputy
2. Cultural Deputy
3. Deputy for Iran Affairs
4. Deputy for Executive Affairs and Planning
5. Deputy for Governmental, Parliamentary and Strategic Affairs
6. Deputy for Social Affairs
History of the International Islamic Unity Conference
Islamic Unity Conference is annually held by the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought currently directed by Hujjat-ul-Islam wal-Muslimin Dr. Hamid Shahriari. The event is held concurrent with the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) also dubbed as Islamic Unity Week, an inspiration by the late founder of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khomeini (RA) in a bid to bring the different Islamic denominations closer.
The main target of the conference is devising the ways of unity for Islamic world, and likewise sympathy and consultation between scholars and scientists in order to approach their viewpoints in intended fields. The subjects of its meetings are determined based on divergent issues/problems of Islamic world. The meeting is kicked off with the attendance of many scholars, religious thinkers and prominent figures from diverse countries.
The First International Islamic Unity Conference was inaugurated in 1987 in Tehran, Iran. After holding the 4th Islamic unity conference which was organized by Islamic Promotions Organization of Iran, then Ayatollah Khamenei as the supreme leader of Iran ordered to establish “the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought”, since then, the conference is organized by the mentioned forum.
About the Guests of the International Islamic Unity Conference
Conference guests are chosen from amongst the elites and educated figures, the ministers of Muslim countries, scholars and muftis, university professors and other academic and cultural communities inside and outside the country. Hundreds of thinkers, scholars and reformers from around the world and thousands of Shia and Sunni scholars from different parts of Iran have participated in the conference and presented their lectures and comments. Also Islamic thinkers from many different countries such as France, Syria, Lebanon, Australia, Egypt, Malaysia, Sudan, Pakistan, India, Azerbaijan, the UK, Jordan, Iraq, Indonesia, Gambia, Palestine, Afghanistan, Senegal, Libya, Bahrain, Algeria, Yemen, Greece, Turkey, Uganda, Kuwait, Qatar, the Netherlands, the United Arabic Emirates etc. have participated in the International Islamic Unity Conferences.
A number of well-known figures from all over the globe are taken part in the event. On the whole, the participants (as the members/guests) include Islamic scholars, ministers of Islamic countries, clerics, intellectuals, representatives of scientific/cultural organizations and other significant individuals from different countries of the world. For instance, at the 29th Islamic unity conference there were over 600 prominent figures from Iran (as the host) and 70 countries from around the globe who participated in the meeting.
Subjects of the Held Conferences:
The subjects include the issues of concern affecting the unity of the Islamic Ummah, which were the main subject of the 33 conference held and have been discussed in those conferences.
1. Islamic Unity
2. Imam Khomeini (RA) and Islamic Unity
3. Achievements of Islamic Unity
4. Approximation between Islamic Denominations
5. Pioneers of Unity
6. The role of intellectual understanding in the approximation of Islamic Denominations
7. Fundamentals of Approximation
8. Quran and Sunnah
9. Conduct and Islamic Unity
10. Government from the Viewpoint of Islamic Schools of Thought
11. Fundamental Characteristics of Islam
12. Islam and the Islamic Ummah in the Next Century
13. Islamic Ummah, Sufferings and Aspirations
14. The status of Ahl al-Bayt (AS) in Islam and Islamic Ummah
15. Adherence to the Principles and Meeting the Needs of Time in Islamic Sects
16. The Universality of Islam and Globalization
17. Islamic Awakening, Future Perspectives and Guiding it
18. Strategy of Approximation of Islamic Schools of Thought
19. Muslims in Non-Muslim Countries
20. Properties of the Conduct of the Holy Prophet (SAW)
21. Charter of Islamic Unity, Criticism and Review
22. Islamic Ummah and the Strategic Plans to Meet the Challenges Facing Unity
23. Islamic Ummah, from Religious Diversity to Sectarianism
24. Intellectual and Practical Solutions for Realization of the Approximation of Islamic Schools of Thought
25. Evaluating 20 years of Activities of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought and Islamic Awakening Conference
26. The Holy Prophet (PBUH): The Symbol of the Identity for the Unified Islamic Ummah
27. The Holy Quran and its Role in the Unity of the Islamic Ummah
28. The Unified Islamic Ummah: Challenges and Solutions
29. Current Crises in the Islamic World
30. Unity and the Need to Confront the Takfiri Movements
31. The Unity and Requirements of the Modern Islamic Civilization
32. Quds; The Axis of Unity of the Ummah
33. Unity of the Ummah in Defense of Al-Aqsa Mosque
34. Islamic Cooperation in Facing Calamities and Disasters
A Summary of the Last Five International Islamic Unity Conferences
The 30th International Islamic Unity Conference
The 30th Islamic unity conference was opened by president Rouhani, speech under the banner of “Unity and the Need to Confront the Takfiri Movements” in Tehran, on 15 December 2016 with participation of diverse participants from different countries, such as: China, Iraq, UK, Malaysia, Indonesia, Lebanon, Thailand, Australia, Russia and so on, including more than domestic and foreign guests, several scholars and likewise 220 famous figures from different countries of the world took part in the conference.
The participants in the 30th international Islamic unity conference in Tehran met with the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei with the presence of high-ranking Iranian officials and ambassadors of Islamic countries on Saturday. During the meeting, the Leader said, “Today, there are two kinds of determinations in conflict with each other in the region, [which include] the “determination for unity,” and the “determination for division.” Ayatollah Khamenei added that under such sensitive conditions “reliance on the Quran and the divine teachings of the Grand Prophet [of Islam] (PBUH),” as the best way to forge unity among Muslims, could put an end to the suffering of the Islamic world.
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution congratulated the audience on the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and Imam Ja’far Sadeq [the sixth Shia Imam] (PBUH), noting, “The sacred being of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) is so important that the Almighty God puts the entire humanity under obligation because of this unique bounty.”
Citing the Quranic description of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) as a “bounty for all humanity,” Ayatollah Khamenei stated that the teachings of the Grand Prophet of Islam opened a way for the salvation of the entire humanity and added, “The enemies of humanity and those with money and power are opposed to these blissful teachings and for this reason, God had ordered the Prophet to avoid following and compromising with infidels and hypocrites and engage in Jihad with them and be tough on them.”
The Leader added, “Of course, depending on different conditions, the Jihad against the enemies of Islam and humanity is sometimes military, sometimes political and at other times [it may be] cultural or even scientific and Muslim nations, especially religious preachers and youths, must study and know the divine teachings of the Last Prophet (PBUH) in order to be able to take advantage of this vital collection.”
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution then pointed to increasing efforts by the world arrogance and colonialist powers to sow division and weaken the power of Muslims, saying, “Today, the Islamic world is afflicted with numerous tribulations and pains, the solution for which is ‘unity, synergism, cooperation and overcoming religious and intellectual differences under the aegis of many Islamic commonalities’.”
Ayatollah Khamenei went on to note that if Islamic nations and governments were united, Americans and Zionists would not be able to impose their demands on Muslims and the conspiracy for causing the issue of Palestine to be forgotten would fail.
The Leader said assaults on and massacre of Muslims from Myanmar in East Asia to Nigeria in West Africa as well as confrontations among Muslims in the very important West Asia region were results of divisive conspiracies of arrogant powers, adding, “Under these conditions and circumstances, the British-style Shiism and the American-style Sunnism are busy stoking unrest and creating discord like two blades of a pair of scissors.”
Referring to the faceoff between the devil determination that seeks division and the dignifying determination that seeks to promote unity, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution said, “The age-old policy of the British, which is based on ‘divide and rule’, is now on the serious agenda of the enemies of Islam.”
Ayatollah Khamenei mentioned the policies and measure taken by the British officials during the past two centuries as a source of evil and misery for regional nations and pointed out, “During recent days, the British [officials] have quite brazenly called the oppressed and dear Iran a threat to the region, but everybody knows that to the contrary of such accusations, it is the British that have been always the origin and source of threat, corruption, risk and misery.”
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution mentioned the rise in anti-Islam activities of arrogant powers following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran as a sign of their fear of the establishment and continuation of a powerful Islamic establishment, which can be a pioneer and role model. The Leader added, “The enemies, even when they claim to be soft-mannered and have a desirable countenance, are in the depth of their nature wild and violent and nations must be ready for the encounter with these vile, irreligious, and unjust enemies.”
Ayatollah Khamenei described “unity” as the most important field of readiness needed by the Islamic world and added, “All Islamic sects, both Shias and Sunnis, must avoid sowing discord and take the valuable being of the Prophet, the Holy Quran and the Noble Ka’aba as the axis of unity and solidarity.”
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution then called for more vigilance of nations and governments in the face of mischiefs by hegemonic powers and added, “Why some countries, which are apparently Islamic, accept what the enemies say about internal threats and hostilities in the Islamic world and clearly follow their policies?”
Concluding his remarks, the Leader addressed the “dear and tested nation of Iran” and noted that “the continuation of the proud path of the [late] Imam [Khomeini] and the revolution,” “steadfastness in the face of the enemies,” and “unrelenting defense of the right and truth,” would undoubtedly bring dignity and bliss to Muslims both in this world and the afterworld.
Before the remarks by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani described the noble and illuminated birth anniversary of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) as the day for inviting people to what is right and all moral virtues and added, “The way of the Venerable Prophet [of Islam] (PBUH) was not to choose the middle way between the right and wrong, but when it came to choosing the right, he chose the best path and this is the real meaning of moderation.”
Emphasizing the need to achieve material and spiritual progress in parallel, the Iranian president said, “Today, enthusiasm of the country’s youths for spirituality and their vivid presence in spiritual arenas is more than the past and with regard to material advances, as reported by the Central Bank, the country’s economic growth has reached 7.4 percent during the first six months of the current [Iranian calendar] year.”
Rouhani also touched upon the situation in the region and while noting that some groups and currents have tarnished the image of religion with terrorism and violence in the name of the Prophet of Mercy (PBUH), added, “The Islamic Republic of Iran has always stood by the oppressed nations of the region against terrorism and will continue to do so.”
The Iranian president then took to task some Islamic governments that are worried and upset about the achievements of the people and armed forces in Iraq and Syria in their fight against terrorism, adding, “Unfortunately, instead of being concerned about the oppressed people of Syria as well as women and children and the injured and homeless people in [the Syrian city of] Aleppo, some Islamic governments are concerned about the fate of terrorists and are seeking their safe exit from Aleppo.”
Rouhani described fighting oppression and aggression as the way of the Venerable Prophet of Islam (PBUH) and said, “Divergence among Islamic countries blocks their way to grandeur and progress and the sole way to save the Islamic world is through convergence and unity.”
At the end of the meeting, a group of participants in the 30th international Islamic unity conference met with the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in person.
The 31st International Islamic Unity Conference
The 31st international Islamic unity conference was held on 4 to 6 December 2017 in Tehran. 520 dignitaries and scholars are attending this year’s event which is held on the occasion of the Prophet Muhammad’s birth anniversary. The conference started on Tuesday with a speech delivered by President Hassan Rouhani, with high-ranking officials from Muslim countries as well as Shiite and Sunni scholars in attendance.
The main subjects discussed in the three-day international event will revolve around the current crises facing the Muslim nations. Attendees at the Islamic Unity Conference, which lasted until Thursday, included more than 500 educated Muslim figures, ministers of Islamic countries, clerics, scholars and representatives of scientific and cultural circles from Iran and across the world. Titled “The Unity and Requirements of the Modern Islamic Civilization”, the gathering is to discuss ways to promote unity and solidarity in the Islamic world and bring closer views of Muslim clerics and scholars’ on diverse religious issues.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said in the speech at the opening ceremony of the 31st International Islamic Unity Conference: “The region and the world owe those who fought terrorists in Syria and Iraq, as they fought for regional security and stability. Terrorism is not a threat only to the region, rather it is a menace to the entire world, including the US and Europe. A major part of the big plot that was hatched by the global powers, arrogance and Zionism against the nations in the region, has been neutralized. The attempts by Muslims against terrorism, however, will continue until eradicating all elements and its offspring in the region.”
The 31st edition of the Islamic Unity conference on the theme of “Unity and Requirements of Modern Islamic Civilization”, in its closing ceremony, released its final Statement in 26 articles. The statement briefed on the ins and outs of the conference, the issued discussed and proposals given by the key speakers during the event.
The 32nd International Islamic Unity Conference
The 32nd International Islamic Unity Conference was inaugurated by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Saturday morning with high-ranking officials from Muslim countries as well as Shiite and Sunni scholars in attendance. The high-ranking political officials and religious figures, including 10 ministers and 40 Muftis, most senior religious scholars, were participating in the November 24 to 26, 2018 international event. The 32nd conference began with representatives from 100 countries in attendance.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the international event, being held under the motto of “Quds; The Axis of Unity of the Ummah”.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday, November 24, 2018, called for Muslim unity and resistance against what he called “hostile” policies of the United States and Israel and said:
“Muslims have no way but to remain united in order to achieve victory over the US and fight its blatant oppression. Submitting to the West headed by America would be treason against our religion ... and against the future generations of this region. We have a choice to either roll out red carpets for criminals, or to forcefully stand against injustice and remain faithful to our Prophet, our Koran and our Islam. Today, the Muslim world is alone and Muslims should join hands. Relying on outsiders is the biggest historical mistake. Today, there is no way for Muslims except unity and solidarity and if we unite, we can undoubtedly score a victory against the Zionists and the Americans.”
President Rouhani said unity and brotherhood among Islamic countries must be assumed as a duty. Unity, however, cannot be achieved with words and requires collective action, he said.
The 33rd International Islamic Unity Conference
The 33rd International Islamic Unity Conference was held on November 14 to 16, 2019 in the Iranian capital of Tehran participated by luminaries and intellectuals from across the globe. More than 350 religious and political figures from 93 countries attended the event to discuss “Unity of the Ummah in Defense of al-Aqsa Mosque”
In the conference, Ayatollah Mohsen Araki, secretary general of World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought said: “Islamic Unity Conference is announcement of victory for the resistance front, unity discourse and Islamic Republic of Iran against Takfiri movements” and stressed the annual event as influential for the entire world of Islam. Ayatollah Araki slammed the hostile propaganda before and after the conference. He hailed the Islamic Unity Conference as counter-sanction measure and noted, “This conference is capable of foiling anti-Iran measures taken by arrogant powers and their allies.”
Top Iranian scholar also underlined massive participation of different Islamic countries in the annual meeting calling that a renewal of alliance with the Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution and Islamic Republic diplomacies as well as voicing solidarity with the resistance front.
He said, “We can claim that Iran, unity center in the world of Islam, achieved victory against Takfir due to endeavors of all proximity institutions” referring to remarks by the Supreme Leader praising the country for defeating Takfiri terrorist moves.
The cleric called Takfir a failed discourse and stressed, “We made it to promote unity as a practical discourse in the world. Should the Muslim youths from across the globe gathered in Mecca, over tens of millions of people would convene to call for resistance and freedom of Palestine, the best proof for victory of Islamic unity movements.”
Iranian top cleric called the 33rd Islamic Unity Conference as the symbol for participation of all pro-unity movements from across the globe and said, “To hold such a big event amid the US sanctions against Tehran proves Washington’s anti-Iran struggles as vain.”
He announced participation of more than 350 political figures from 90 countries in the Islamic Unity Conference translates to Iran’s central role in the world of Islam and said: “Islamic Unity Conference is announcement of victory for the resistance front, unity discourse and Islamic Republic of Iran against Takfiri movements.”
The 34th International Islamic Unity Conference
The 34th International Islamic Unity Conference was held in the form of a webinar from the 8th to the 13th of November, 2020 to discuss “Islamic Cooperation in Facing Calamities and Disasters”.
The Islamic Unity Week in 2020 was held in a situation where the Islamic world -along with the good progresses of the Islamic Ummah in order to expand and deepen the teachings of pure Islam, the discourse of the Islamic Revolution and achieve the lofty goals of a single Islamic Ummah- was faced with some difficult challenges. These challenges included: insults to the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH) by idiots in the West, the desperate efforts of some Arab leaders to publicize and normalize treacherous relations with the occupying regime in Jerusalem, the development of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and the continuation of the house-burning war of the leaders of Saudi Regime against the oppressed Muslim nation of Yemen.
On the other hand, thinkers, elites and influential people of the Islamic world held this year’s Islamic Unity Week in the situation of Corona Virus outbreak, while some influential figures of the proximity and unity of the Islamic Ummah, including the late Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Taskhiri as the symbol of science and thought in the proximity of Islamic denominations, Martyr General Haj Qassem Soleimani as the example and model of struggle and self-sacrifice in strengthening the proximity, integration and unity of the Islamic Ummah, and three thinkers in the field of proximity and unity of the Islamic Ummah, Hossein Sheikholislam, Ayatollah Seyyed Hadi Khosroshahi, and Dr. Touba Kermani left the temporal world and watched the developments of the Islamic world from the sky and heaven.
The coincidence of the Islamic Unity Week and Birth of the Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH) this year with the 13th of Aban (World Anti-Arrogance Day), provided another opportunity for the Islamic world to re-read the importance and necessity of continuing to fight oppression and global arrogance and their followers more than ever, pave the glorious path of unity for the Islamic Ummah. The truth is that the enemies of the Islamic world, led by the United States and international Zionism and centered on the fake Zionist regime, have made every effort to divide the Islamic world by creating strife, war, excommunication and terror, and by tearing apart Islamic societies and different Islamic denominations from each other, destroy the security and authority of the Islamic Ummah.
From this perspective, the respectable presence of the elites and intellectuals of the Islamic world in a Conference that considers its main task to promote Islamic principles and values and have made its efforts to promote the discourse of proximity, unity, consistency and integration of the Islamic Ummah and prevention of war, conflict, extremism, ignorant prejudices, prevention of insult to the sanctities and revelation of the sinister conspiracies of the enemies, is very grateful.