I.P.O. Information Service


International experts assess impact of "global war on terror" on Muslim-Western relations


Penang, Malaysia, 15 December 2007/P/ERE/20789c-is

At an international roundtable conference on "The 'Global War on Terror' and its Impact on Muslim-Western Relations" experts from Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Turkey discussed the notion of the so-called “global war on terror” in terms of legal theory, political science, international law, and cultural studies.

The two-day meeting (13-14 December 2007), held at Universiti Sains Malaysia (Malaysia Science University, USM)  in Penang, was sponsored by the Vienna-based International Progress Organization in co-operation with the Centre for Policy Research and International Studies (CenPRIS) at the USM. The meeting was opened by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Dato' Dzulkifli Abdul Razak. The sessions were alternately chaired by the International Progress Organization (Vienna) and the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) (Kuala Lumpur). The Director-General of the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT), Dato' Hussin Nayan, the Chairman of the Malaysian Interfaith Network (MIN), Dato' (Dr.) Anwar Fazal, and faculty members of the Malaysia Science University participated as observers.

In his introductory statement on "The Global War on Terror and the Metaphysical Enemy," Dr. Hans Koechler, President of the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.), said that the notion of the "global war on terror" is being used to legitimize a far-reaching unilateral effort at politically remodeling entire regions and “reinventing” civilizations. The facts underlying the threat perception by which this strategy is justified have never been clearly and consistently documented - while the Islamic civilization is being stereotyped not only as threat to international security, but to Western civilization as such. The events of September 11, 2001 (of which there still exists no undisputed account) have triggered a chain of events that actually intensified the terrorist threat which the “global war on terror” supposedly sets out to prevent or contain, the President of the I.P.O. stated.

In his keynote address on "Strengthening International Cooperation against Terrorism to Improve Muslim-Western Relations," General (rtd) Jaime de los Santos, former Supreme Commander of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor, spoke of the need for a comprehensive review of international and domestic responses to terrorism, explaining that the primarily "military approach to terrorism has resulted in a 'civilizational' backlash, complicating what is already a precarious situation."

The meeting at Universiti Sains Malaysia was a follow-up to earlier research projects and conferences of the International Progress Organization, in particular the International Conference on the Question of Terrorism held in Geneva (Switzerland) in March 1987;  The Baku Declaration on Global Dialogue and Peaceful Co-existence among Nations and Threats Posed by International Terrorism, issued on 9 November 2001 in Baku (Azerbaijan); and the Centenary Lecture delivered by the President of the I.P.O. in March 2002 on The United Nations, the International Rule of Law and Terrorism at the Supreme Court of the Philippines in Manila.

Among the issues discussed at the meeting were: the precise legal definition of the term "terrorism;" the semantic consistency of the notion of a "global war on terror;" the cycle of violence triggered by large-scale military operations in the Middle East, in particular Afghanistan and Iraq; the impact of the unresolved question of Palestine and Jerusalem on the ongoing conflicts; the increasing alienation between the Muslim world and the West resulting from those military operations; the unilateral nature of the "global war on terror" in terms of international law; and the role of the United Nations Organization in confronting challenges to the system of collective security resulting from the "global war on terror."

The papers presented at the roundtable meeting will be published by the International Progress Organization as vol. 30 of the series Studies in International Relations.

  • Program 

  • Photo (panelists)

  • Conference poster

  • Introductory Statement by Hans Koechler

  • The Baku Declaration on Global Dialogue and Peaceful Co-existence among Nations and the Threats Posed by International Terrorism

  • Initiatives of the I.P.O. related to the question of terrorism

International Progress Organization 
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