The beginning of 2023 is an opportune time to look back on the past year, which has brought many fulfilling events to the Muslim world, especially in the areas of politics, sport and climate change. Let’s take a moment to recall five prominent events in the Muslim world in 2022.
Türkiye’s mediation in the Ukraine war
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to the global economy, resulting in the deepest global recession since World War II. While economies were on the path to recovery in 2021, the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, which began in the first quarter of 2022, again threatened the global economy. The world is on the brink of stagflation due to inflation and low global growth. However, we do not know when this hard war will end. Amidst this uncertain period, Türkiye’s mediating role in finding common ground between Ukraine and Russia was appreciated by world leaders.
Turkey’s peace efforts paid off with some notable outcomes, such as the landmark grain deal and the exchange of prisoners of war between Russia and Ukraine. In doing so, Türkiye has demonstrated its position as the subject and not the object of events and has emerged as one of the most important peace actors in the world.
Indonesia and the G-20 Summit
The summit of the Group of 20 (G-20) leaders is the premier forum for international economic cooperation and a focal point for systemic global issues that require not only economic policy coordination but also strategic vision and political action. Indonesia, the largest Muslim country by population, hosted the 2022 G-20 summit when the war between Russia and Ukraine divided the G-20. During the summit, G-20 leaders reaffirmed their commitment to uphold international law and to work together to safeguard peace and stability.
This time, US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the G-20, emphasizing the need for dialogue as a way to ease geopolitical tensions. The two, who were holding their first face-to-face talks since Biden’s presidency, met in Bali ahead of the summit, which was set to be fraught with tension over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As the first Asian leader, Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo not only visited Ukraine and Russia in June 2022 ahead of the G-20 summit, but also invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to participate in the G-20. World leaders hailed it as an attempt to find a balance between increasingly divided political blocs.
The global healthcare architecture, the digital transformation of the world economy and the energy transition were the focus of the 2022 G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. Indonesia is considered to represent the voices of developing and emerging countries outside the G-20.
Egypt and COP27
Egypt hosted the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2022 (COP27) in November 2022, the largest face-to-face gathering on climate change since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COP27 summit, held in Sharm el-Sheikh, an Egyptian city on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, will be remembered as the Climate Implementation Summit (CIS), which aimed to turn goals into action. Although progress on the implementation program to rapidly reduce emissions has been limited, agreement was reached on a Loss and Damage Fund aimed at helping the most climate-vulnerable countries deal with the devastating effects of global warming Milestone of the COP27 summit.
To deliver on the commitments made, COP27 emphasized building political will, technical and financial support to drive the much-needed transformation towards net-zero and climate-resilient pathways. Faith-based engagement was recognized at COP27 as beliefs can fuel ethical and moral motivations to transform climate action at all levels, including expanding climate finance and community-level climate adaptation.
The Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf also published a book entitled “Protecting the Environment Between Legislation and Human Responsibility” to shed light on how Sharia, or Islamic law, pays special attention to protecting the environment, on the grounds that whatever contributes , the interests of the country and people are at the core of Islam.
Anwar as Prime Minister of Malaysia
After decades of fighting for the rule of law, the world-respected and trusted popular Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim became 10th President of the Republicth Prime Minister of the nation after one of the most dramatic elections in Malaysian history. Many political scientists hailed Anwar’s rise as Malaysia’s best chance to revitalize the economy and regain the international limelight.
Well-read in Islam, economics and international affairs, the 75-year-old is well-respected in the international community. An Arab News columnist called Anwar’s rise good news not only for Malaysia but also for the Muslim world. In the 1990s, Anwar, as an able finance minister and deputy prime minister, led the Malaysian economy with significant growth and optimism
A socially conscious Muslim, he has led an Islamic revival movement in Malaysia called Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia) since the 1970s. His party had social concerns and cared for the poor with a clear Islamic vision. Anwar favors social progress within the nation state. Both the Islamic community and the world at large have praised his vision for Malaysia.
World Cup in Qatar
Qatar hosted the FIFA World Cup for the first time as an Arab-Muslim country and is a leading example to the world by preserving its values, traditions, culture and Arab-Islamic identity while remaining open and welcoming to visitors from around the world is. More than 1.4 million visited Qatar during the World Cup to witness the greatest show on earth. Since being awarded hosting rights in 2010, Qatar has spent more than US$200 billion developing and improving infrastructure, including building seven new football stadiums, roads, highways and bridges to seamlessly connect the entire country. Successfully hosting the World Cup, Qatar has responded well to criticism from Western mainstream media in recent years.
On the bright side, the 2022 FIFA World Cup brought together the region’s leaders. For example, the world saw President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi shaking hands, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman wrapping himself in a Qatari flag and directing the Saudi government to back up Qatar’s efforts to support the hosting of the World Cup. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also thanked Qatar for supporting the Palestinian cause through the World Cup. Qatar has promoted Islamic identity during the World Cup, such as banning alcohol in World Cup stadiums, preaching the Prophet Mohammed’s messages on the streets of Qatar and reciting verses from the Koran at the opening ceremony, which contributed to the unity of the nations while respecting diversity. Qatar has been exemplary in supporting environmental protection, recycling 80% of waste from FIFA World Cup stadiums.
At the 2022 World Cup, six Muslim countries – Qatar, Tunisia, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Iran – qualified and put on spectacular performances. Morocco, the Atlas Lions, reached the last four of the tournaments, the first African and Arab teams to do so. Saudi Arabia’s Green Falcons shocked tournament champions Argentina with a 2-1 win. Tunisia also left the World Cup with their heads held high by defeating France, the tournament’s runners-up.
All in all, 2022 was a remarkable year, widely remembered as a year of revival in Muslim brotherhood and cooperation. As the western world faces a global economic crisis caused by war-related high inflation and low growth, the hosting of such mega-events by Muslim countries all year round bodes well for a better year ahead. We hope that 2023 will be another year of cooperation between the Muslim world and that we learn from the strength of cooperation they have already shown over the past year.