Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu OIC Secretary General
The recognition, the responsibilityâ€Śand a farewell Last October the United Nations Security Council held, on 28 October 2013, the first ever meeting to consider cooperation between the UN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The Security Council recognized and encouraged the active contribution of the OIC to the work of the UN toward the realization of the purposes and principles embodied in the UN Charter. The meeting is a milestone achievement in the history of the OIC for what it signifies and what it entails. The event itself and the high-level representation, the Presidential Statement adopted and the statements made by all Council members not only formally recognizes the importance of OIC as a global player and the weight of the UN-OIC strategic partnership in shaping events, but also the potential status it can occupy. Our responsibility now, as OIC General Secretariat and Member States, is to fulfill those expectations. It is our duty to rise up to the challenge and take our rightful place as the second largest intergovernmental organization embracing 57 countries and representing onefifth of the worldâ€™s population. It is also our obligation to take the lead in addressing and confronting the problems in our part of the world where, unfortunately, the most acute crises are, whether the long-standing, the festering or the about to explode. The OIC now stands ready and confident in its role. Its strength is in the unity and solidarity of its Member States and the support they provide to its actions. During my tenure as secretary general, I strived to lay the working foundation for the mandates envisioned in the new OIC Charter adopted in 2008 and implement the Ten-Year Program of Action adopted in 2005, which covered tackling conflicts, socio-economic obstacles, human rights and humanitarian issues, and advancing science and technology in the Member States as well as addressing plights of Muslim communities in non-member states and confronting Islamophobia; all this while keeping as a priority the Palestinian issue. To the last months and days of my term I undertook my duty with dedication and commitment. Among my last trips is a pointed visit to Palestine in support of the resilience of the Palestinian people and urging action to preserve Islamic presence in Jerusalem, and a landmark visit to Myanmar to extend a hand in resolving the plight of the Rohingya. With the UNSC recognition of the OIC as an indispensable partner for the UN in the maintenance of peace as the calumniation of my work in the OIC, I bid farewell and offer best wishes to my successor, my brother and friend Mr. Iyad Madani whom I have confidence will carry forth the responsibility with utmost diligence and aptitude. I put my humble experience and services at his disposal for the benefit of OIC and to the cause of the Ummah, which I will continue to consider as my duty to serve.
Issued by The Organization of Islamic Cooperation Editor - in - Chief Isam Salim Shanti General Supervisor & Managing Editor Maha Mostafa Akeel Editors Ahmed Salem Abdelhamid Salhi Layout & Design Mohammed Abdelqader Qalaba Advisory Board Ali Abolhassani Shahreza Hasan Oker Gurler
A landmark visit of good will to Myanmar
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Journal do not necessarily represent the views of the OIC, but are the personal of
The message of the delegation to the Muslims in Rakhine, especially the minority Rohingya who are the main target of the violence, is to assure them that they are not alone and their suffering has pained all Muslims. Meanwhile, the delegation also stressed to the Buddhists there that the OIC and its member states want to help the community reconcile and to provide humanitarian and developmental aid to the whole community without discrimination or bias.
While the international community is supporting and cheering the progress achieved so far in the political and economic aspects in Myanmar, it needs to continue keeping a watchful eye on the human and social element.
authors of the articles published in OIC
The OIC Contact Group on Myanmar made a landmark visit to the country, headed by the Secretary General, upon the invitation of the Government in a gesture of good will from both sides. It was particularly significant for the OIC delegation to visit the restive Rakhine Province where ethnic and religious tension has escalated during the past two years to extreme violence.
While Myanmar is moving studiously towards democracy and economic development, its efforts are tarnished and hampered by citizenship policies and human rights violations against Muslims, particularly Rohingya. Laying the foundations for the rule of law and democratic governance, building infrastructure and opening up for foreign investment is a long and tough process but what is even tougher is addressing deep seated animosity, suspicion and hate within a community on the basis of religion or ethnicity.
The views expressed by the writers/
by Maha M. Akeel
discretion to amend, revise, edit, delete or scrutinize any part or portion of the text as and wherever deemed necessary.
A few days after the visit, the UN General Assemblyâ€™s human rights committee passed a resolution, through the efforts of the OIC, urging Myanmar to give stateless Rohingya minority equal access to citizenship and to crack down on Buddhist violence against them and other Muslims. This is a critical issue that needs the international communityâ€™s constant attention.
In Focus UN Security Council advocates cooperating with OIC on resolving conflicts in the region
Heads of Police agree to establish a specialized unit under the OIC for security cooperation
OIC and Russia solidify their cooperation
Human Rights IPHRC establishes 4 working groups
Economy IDB and Earth Institute partner to meet Millennium Development Goals in Rural Africa
OIC Contact Group on Myanmar makes landmark visit
Culture Ghazni: Capital of Islamic Culture in the Asian Region for the Year 2013
Ihsanoglu visits Ramallah, Al-Quds and Hebron
OIC Health Ministers adopt Strategic Health Program of Action
OIC Related Links
OIC Calendar: November – December 2013
Subsidiary Organs The International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) www.fiqhacademy.org The Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Center for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) www.sesrtcic.org The Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA) www.ircica.org The Islamic Center for the Development of Trade (CIDC) www.icdt-oic.org The Islamic University of Technology (UIT) www.iutoic-dhaka.edu Islamic Solidarity Fund and its Waqf (ISF) www.isf-fsi.org
18- 21 Nov.: 29th Session of COMCEC – Istanbul, Turkey
Specialized Institutions and Organs The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) www.isdb.org International Islamic News Agency (IINA) www.islamicnews.org.sa The Islamic States Broadcasting Organization (ISBO) www.isboo.org The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Rabat (ISESCO)www.isesco.org.ma Affiliated Institutions Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) www.icci-oic.org Organization of Islamic Capitals and Cities (OICC) www.oicc.org Organization of the Islamic Shipowners Association (OISA) www.oisaonline.com World Federation of Arab Islamic International Schools (WFAIS) www.wfais.org Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation (ICYF-DC) www.icyf.com Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) www.ias-worldwide.org
23- 24 Nov.: 5th Session of the General Assembly of SMIIC – Istanbul, Turkey 22 -25 Nov.: 6th International Health Tourism Congress – Istanbul, Turkey 26 -27 Nov.: 4th Conference on Health Tourism in Islamic Countries (CHTIC) – Mashhad, Iran 27 -28 Nov.: Annual Meeting of OISA – Dubai, UAE 27- 28 Nov.: 13th Meeting of the Governors of the Central Banks and Monetary Authorities of the OIC Member States – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 28 -30 Nov.: 1st International Exhibition on Muslim Business – Dakar, Senegal 4- 6 Dec.: 8th Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers – Banjul, Gambia 9- 11 Dec.: 40th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers – Conakry, Guinea 16 -17 Dec.: 2nd OIC-COMCEC Private Sector Tourism Forum – Istanbul, Turkey 19 Dec.: 38th Board of Governors of IIUM – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
UN Security Council and OIC cooperate on resolving conflicts in the region
Secretary General Ihsanoglu delivering his speech at the UNSC and to his right incoming OIC Secretary General Iyad Madani
New York, USA – The Security Council recognized and encouraged strengthened cooperation with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), acknowledging the United Nations’ continued dialogue with the OIC in the areas of peacemaking, preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. It commended the Member States of the OIC for their ongoing commitment to international peacekeeping and peacebuilding, including through the contribution of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. The United Nations Security Council held a meeting titled ‘Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security: Strengthening the partnership synergy between the UN and Organization of Islamic Cooperation’ on 28 October 2013, the first meeting of its kind focusing on OIC. In a presidential statement adopted by consensus on 28 October 2013 at the Security Council’s headquarters in New York, the Council reiterated its commitment to a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and to seek a comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The statement, read out by the current President of the Council, Azerbaijan, noted that the United Nations and OIC shared common objectives in promoting resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a political solution to the Syrian conflict, in line with the 30 June 2012 Geneva Communiqué, as well as in fostering solutions to other conflicts. Noting the commitment of the United
General Iyad Madani. Ban Ki-moon touched on various issues where the United Nations’ work with OIC continued to be critical including Palestine, Syria, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Sudan, Mali and Somalia. He urged OIC to do everything possible to rebuild confidence between Muslim communities, particularly between Sunni and Shia communities, as well as to stem the influence of radical armed groups and violent extremists. “I believe the OIC could be uniquely placed to launch a major initiative working with the United Nations and others to help bring an end to this upheaval that has caused the loss of so many civilian lives and represents such a threat to wider security,” he said. Ban Ki-moon also pointed out that terrorism, while not associated with any particular cultures or people, had disproportionately affected OIC countries. He urged addressing the conditions conducive to its spread, adding that intercultural dialogue between and within faiths was more important than ever. The UN Secretary General said the UN and the OIC are working closely on issues ranging from conflict prevention and resolution to counter-terrorism, from human rights and humanitarian affairs to intercultural dialogue and sustainable development. He stressed that the United Nations and the OIC must continue to deepen their strategic dialogue. During their intervention, all 15 delegations of the Security Council recognized that there is a great confluence between the agendas of the UN and the OIC, especially in terms of the problems both organizations have to tackle. They praised the role it played in resolving conflicts such as in Afghanistan and Somalia and its potential role in such places as Syria and Mali while also referring to its significant role in addressing terrorism, religious intolerance and socioeconomic development. They all unanimously acknowledged the comparative advantages the OIC
Ban Ki-moon urged OIC to do everything possible to rebuild confidence between Muslim communities
Nations and OIC to foster a global dialogue on tolerance and peace, the Council called for enhanced cooperation towards a better understanding across countries, cultures and civilizations. It also asked the UN Secretary General to include in his next biannual report recommendations on ways to enhance such cooperation. In his opening remarks, United Nations Secretary General Ban Kimoon thanked OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu for his many years of leadership and service and congratulated incoming OIC Secretary
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enjoys, such as moral authority, and access to areas inaccessible to other organizations. They encouraged that these comparative advantages are benefited from while tackling the regional and global problems. Ihsanoglu stresses OIC’s commitment to active partnership with the UN In his statement to the Meeting, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu considered the fact that the Security Council has convened the debate on the cooperation between OIC and UN shows the importance it rightly attaches to it. He expressed his appreciation for the concept paper prepared by Azerbaijan, the current President of the Security Council, that further develops this issue, and expressed his gratitude to Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General for the tireless efforts to bring increasing significance to the existing relations and cooperation between the UN and the OIC. He stressed on OIC’s strong commitment to an active partnership with the United Nations in promoting peace, security and development. He also emphasized the need to reform the UN Security Council. Ihsanoglu pointed to the preamble of the OIC Charter, which reaffirms the commitment of its Member States to the Charter of the UN, and to the Ten-Year Program of Action, which calls for strengthening OIC activities in conflict prevention, confidencebuilding, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation in cooperation with international and regional organizations. Consequently, it established a peace, security and mediation unit; a center for the development of women; an independent human rights commission and an international cooperation and humanitarian affairs department. These steps, he said, indicate our understanding of the importance of socio-economic development, human rights and humanitarian assistance in promoting peace and security and it has made valuable contributions to the work of the UN in these fields. The Secretary General emphasized the need of expediting the reform of the UN Security Council, by promoting its transparency, accountability, adequate representation, and full democratization. “Our principled position is that any reform of the Security Council must ensure adequate representation of OIC Member States in any category of membership, given that our organization represents 57 Member States and 1.6 billion people of the world population.” On other hand, Ihsanoglu reaffirmed that the international community and the Security Council in particular, has a special responsibility to solve the Palestinian question, and that is by establishing an independent and sovereign Palestinian state. At the same time, he reassured OIC’s commitment to assisting the Palestinian people improve their socio-economic life. The Secretary General also expressed deep concern over the ongoing conflict in Syria. He welcomed all efforts aimed at the convening of Geneva 2 conference, however, he said that the Security Council has to assume its responsibility to do its utmost to protect the Syrian people and bring a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict through a political dialogue. He also called on the Security Council to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia as well as the restoration of peace to Somalia and Mali. Other issues he addressed include the eradication of polio, combating radicalization and the development and empowerment of women, children, youth and civil societies.
What they said:
President of the Council (Azerbaijan): - Attempts to create a conceptual link between Islam and terrorism are unacceptable. There is a vital need for joint efforts and dialogue to counter instances of defamation and misconceptions. Morocco: - The Joint OCHA-OIC Mission to the Sahel region was supported by the King of Morocco and these types of engagements should continue to ensure successful engagement with areas that are not traditionally open to the UN. Argentina: - Supportive of a stronger UN-OIC relationship in the areas of human rights, peace, technical cooperation, emergency operations, decolonization, disarmament and the Middle East peace process. Rwanda: - The UN-OIC relationship has yet to reach its full potential. Luxembourg: - The OIC has a strong humanitarian record. Australia: - Australia fully supports the OIC’s call to proceed in the Geneva II process on Syria, especially in light of the upcoming winter and resurface of polio. Pakistan: - The OIC and UN can work together to address the root causes of terrorism especially by supporting inclusion and development. Guatemala: - The priority in cooperation between the UN and OIC should be given to peacekeeping operations. The United States: - Command the OIC SG for his leadership and action on human rights, economy, science and innovation. - The OIC has become a strong voice in the international community against violence. South Korea: - Welcome the OIC financial assistance to Sudan and its help in conflict resolutions in Afghanistan, Sudan, and Somalia. United Kingdom: - Deeply committed in strengthening cooperation with the OIC. Togo: - Welcome the efforts to solve conflicts in the region. France: - Commend the courageous commitment of the OIC in Syria, and recognize the contribution of the OIC SG in fighting terrorism. - The OIC is a central actor in the UN AOC in combating intolerance, and a central partner in human rights. China: - The OIC should maximize its coordination with the UN by taking its comparative advantage to higher level. Russia: - The presidential statement adopted today should give momentum to the cooperation between the UN and the OIC. 5
OPINION Islamophobia is a deep concern for the OIC Dr. Isam Salim Shanti Chief Editor
or decades, the debate over religious intolerance and its relationship with freedom of expression and freedom of speech received greater attention in both the media and political discourse. Unfortunately, despite high exposure and wide recognition of the core issue, divergence in approaches by concerned parties prevented the enactment of effective and concrete remedial measures. The OIC, as the second largest international organization in the world, behind only the UN, the largest Islamic organization in the world and the largest voting bloc in the UN, one of its primary aims for almost two decades has been to bring about an international consensus to combat intolerance against all religions, including the religion of Islam as well as to correct the image of Islam and Muslims. In 1999 the OIC has set forth UN resolutions that would “combat defamation of religions.” Addressing western concerns over the issue of freedom of speech, the OIC in 2011 drafted new resolution that address both the OIC’s concerns about Islamophobia and freedom of speech. The result was the Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution 16 /18 to Combat Intolerance Based on Religion or Belief. Many, in the Muslim and western worlds, thought this resolution a paradigm shift. Later, the OIC has been engaged in a diplomatic process known as the "Istanbul Process" along with the United States and western governments to implement the HRC Resolution 16/ 18, which calls on all countries to combat "intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of all religions and beliefs. The issue of Islamophobia has always been of vital concern to the OIC. The Organization has been consistent in advocating concrete and consensual action by the international community in the interest of interfaith harmony essential to peaceful coexistence. In consonance with the Organization’s stated policy seeking political solutions to contemporary issues, the OIC Secretary General provided a breakthrough in outlining – at the 15th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2010 - an eight point approach for action, at the national and the international levels, aimed at addressing this issue of utmost significance on a consensual basis. 6
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For years, there is mounting public pressure on OIC Member States to draw a line and take concrete action towards seeking an end to the systematic pattern and increasing frequency of events that stigmatize and alienate Muslims and constitute an affront to their dignity. The Annual Coordination Meeting of the OIC Ministers, held on the sidelines of the 67th UNGA Session adopted a declaration urging all Governments, in line with their obligations under international human rights law, to take all appropriate measures, including necessary legislation against such acts that lead to incitement to hatred, discrimination and violence against persons based on their religion. It is in this backdrop that a Ministerial Brainstorming session titled “An OIC Approach to Combating Discrimination and Intolerance against Muslims” held at the 39th Session of CFM in Djibouti focused on the denigration of sacred symbols and revered personalities in Islam and the role of the General Secretariat in determining the methodology and mechanisms of unifying Member States’ positions in this regard. It was in this context that, highly committed to the matter and determined to reach common ground, the OIC has sponsored a new resolution on “Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination Incitement to Violence, and Violence Against Persons Based on Religion and Belief” which was adopted by consensus at the 16th Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), in Geneva. The consensual adoption of the resolution 16/ 18 vindicates OIC’s demonstrated ability to address sensitive matters through meaningful and result-oriented discourse. It strengthens OIC’s credentials as a political Organization resolved to accord primacy to multilateralism in seeking solutions to contemporary issues of vital concern characterized by divergent views. This is a major step forward in dealing with Islamophobia and the whole package of interrelated issues that continued to form a matter of vital concern for the OIC. It signifies a beginning based on a new approach to deal with the whole set of interrelated issues. This marks an era of “post-defamation controversy” and opens the path for unified and concerted efforts to better define and implement the legal concept of “incitement to religious hatred”. The consensus however would remain fragile unless it stands the test of implementation. In a world faced with the menace of terrorism, we cannot and must not ignore the implications of hate speech and incitement to discrimination and violence anywhere, or we would be faced with the unaffordable risk of the agenda being hijacked and set by radicals and fanatics. At this point, as the second largest international Organization after the UN, the OIC's calls should not be interpreted as calls for restriction of this freedom. However the OIC believe that mutual understanding, tolerance, respect and empathy should also be accompanying components when we advocate supremacy of the freedom of expression.
PALESTINE FILE Ihsanoglu and Judeh discuss Syria and Palestine issue
Amman, Jordan - Before embarking on his trip to Palestine, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu met with Jordanian Foreign Minister, Nasser Judeh, in his office in Amman on 26 August 2013. Ihsanoglu and Judeh discussed the overall developments currently witnessed in the region, and more particularly the events in Syria, and ways and means to achieve a political solution that would put an end to the ongoing crisis and halt the wave of violence endured by the country. The two sides also discussed issues relevant to the Middle
East and the preparations underway for the negotiations due to take place under the patronage of the United States. The Jordan minister highlighted the Hashemite Kingdom’s keenness to find a fair solution to the Palestinian issue and its role in supporting the negotiations in the service of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people. The meeting also touched upon the various regional developments and problems in the Middle East, with minister Judeh expressing his appreciation for the Secretary General’s efforts which have had a noticeable positive impact on the Organization’s performance. The meeting also addressed the bilateral relations between the OIC and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and ways to advance them. The Jordanian minister paid tribute to the Secretary General for his efforts throughout his mandate at the head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, particularly with regard to the Ten-Year Program of Action adopted by the Islamic Summit in Makkah in 2005 with well-defined objectives in the service of Joint Islamic Action. The Secretary General, on his part, highly commended Jordan for its support to the OIC and its projects and plans.
On a visit to Ramallah, Jerusalem and Hebron
OIC Secretary General in the helicopter ride over Ramallah
Palestine accords Ihsanoglu “The Star of Al-Quds” Decoration
President Abbas and the Secretary General discuss negotiations and settlements
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has paid a visit to the Headquarters of the Palestinian government in Ramallah, on 27 August 2013, during which he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who honored him on the occasion with the “Al-Quds Star” decoration, the highest award in the State of Palestine. During the ceremony, President Mahmoud Abbas said the decoration was in recognition of the Secretary General’s efforts in support of the City of Al-Quds and the Palestinian cause in general. Upon receiving the Secretary General in his office, Abbas said: “The State of Palestine will never forget the efforts contributed by Ihsanoglu in support of the Palestinian people and their struggle to achieve their legitimate rights.” In turn, the Secretary General expressed his profound thanks to President Mahmoud Abbas, and affirmed that the AlQuds Star decoration was the closest to his heart on account of its great significance as a reflection of the City of Al-Quds. He also reiterated his unwavering support for the just cause of Palestine and his continued action to mobilize the Member States’ efforts in its favor. The two-day visit was in response to an invitation from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The meeting took place with the presence of Palestinian Foreign Minister, Dr. Riad Al Maliki, the Minister of Endowments, Mahmoud Al Habbash, the Minister of Social Affairs, Dr. Kamal Al Sharafi, the President’s Director of 8
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Cabinet, Dr. Hussein Al Araj, the Presidency’s Secretary, Tayeb Abdul Rahim, and Amb. Jamal Al Shobaki, on the Palestinian side, and that of Amb. Samir Bakr, Assistant Secretary General for Palestine and Al Quds Affairs in international fora. The President lauded the role played by the OIC and its Secretary General in guaranteeing Palestine’s membership in UNESCO and raising the status of Palestine in the UN. He said that the Palestinian Foreign Minister has informed him of the honorable role played by Ihsanoglu in urging the member states to vote in favor of Palestine in international organizations. The President also expounded the great significance of Palestine’s accession to international organizations and highlighted the value of such a step. He further invoked the challenges facing the Palestinians in their drive to secure accession of the state of Palestine to the United Nations’ membership. President Abbas then offered a briefing on the start of the negotiations with Israel and the role played by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, in this regard, in addition to the upstream efforts put in towards moving the negotiations forward. He also laid out the Palestinian stand as to these negotiations and the fundamental principles taken into consideration by the Palestinian national authority in any potential rounds of negotiations. Also, President Abbas invoked the issue of the Jewish settlements, their grave repercussions on the future of the negotiations and their prejudicial effects on the Palestinian territories in the West Bank, and more particularly in Al-Quds Al-Sharif. Abbas said that whatever is founded on illegitimacy is, by way of consequence, illegitimate. The Palestinian President outlined his people’s position as to the issues linked to the final solution, and affirmed that the Palestinian leadership will never deviate from its intransigence over any of them. On his part, the OIC Secretary General expressed admiration for the steps achieved by the Palestinian leadership on all fronts, and reiterated at the same time that the Palestinian cause shall remain at the forefront of the issues which the Organization strives to support and does its utmost in favor of their resolutions.
OIC and PA agree on a coordination mechanism Ihsanoglu: All of OIC's potential in the service of Palestine capacities and had managed over the past seven years to make a significant contribution in support of the Palestinian rights. However, he noted that “There are still many obstacles that call for greater efforts on the part of each and every one.” The two parties also agreed in this meeting on OIC Secretary General meets with Palestinina Foreign Minister the need to follow Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the up on the results of the Baku Donor Conference in favor of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) agreed with the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Dr. Riad Ali Maliki, on some Al-Quds. In turn, the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Al-Maliki, practical measures in support of the cause of Palestine and the welcomed the Secretary General, Ihsanoglu, and reiterated his appreciation for his role and efforts in support of the just cause halting of the settlers’ advance on the Palestinian territories. During the meeting that took place in the Minister’s of Palestine. He declared “we in the Government and the office in Ramallah, Ihsanoglu stressed the need for the agreed Presidency, along with the entire Palestinian people, highly measures to be practical and implementable, particularly in appreciate your dedicated efforts, and your undertakings view of the multiple resolutions already adopted and yet to be will remain as a radiant spot in the OIC’s history, and that whatever has been extended by the President was the least implemented, on the Palestine issue. Ihsanoglu had a deliberation with Minister Al Maliki, that could be done in appreciation of your efforts in support following his meeting with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif. It is our firm belief that Abbas, in which he evoked ways and means for cooperation the people of Palestine need to be aware of all these efforts on between the OIC and Palestine, and ways to evolve sustained your part, and we shall do our utmost to follow on what you mechanisms for coordination between the two parties on have done in favor of our cause, which is the primary cause of issues of mutual interest, in support of the Palestinian cause all Muslims.” The Minister added that there was a lot that could be and particularly Al-Quds Al-Sharif. The OIC Secretary General laid stress on the need to achieved by the two parties through bilateral cooperation. affect a move towards practical steps that can be implemented He called for continued coordination between the OIC and in support of the citizens of Al-Quds. In wrapping up their Palestine, suggesting by the same token, that a mechanism be meeting, the two parties agreed on the practical steps that set up for ongoing bilateral coordination, and that the results can be taken in the future to make optimal use of the OIC’s of the Baku Conference be followed up. To this end, he said, potential and of its weight in international and other fora with arrangements should be made for the OIC Secretary General, together with the Palestinian Foreign Minister, to undertake its 57 Islamic State membership. The meeting was attended, on the Palestinian side, by joint visits to a number of concerned states. Later, the Minister offered a review of Israel’s schemes to Lady Ambassador Rawan Abu Seif, official in charge of the divide the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Quds, just as it had done with multilateral sector in the Foreign Ministry, as well as Amb. the Hebron Sanctuary, with the occupation forces permitting Ahmed Al Deek, assistant to the Foreign Minister, while on the the incursion of hundreds of settlers in the Noble precincts on OIC side there was Amb. Samir Bakr, OIC Assistant Secretary General for Palestine Affairs, and Dr. Shaher Awawdeh from a daily basis. In this regard, the Minister suggested that serious thought should be given to what needed to be done. the OIC Department of Palestine. The OIC Secretary General affirmed that his organization The Secretary General started the meeting by expressing his placed all its capacities at the service of Palestine, particularly appreciation for the warmth with which he had been received with regard to its action in international fora and the various and for the decoration accorded to him by President Abbas. He UN organs. The two sides also examined ways and means also acknowledged the appreciation expressed by President Abbas for the role of the OIC and its Secretary General in to put an end to the settlement expansion in the occupied rallying support for Palestine’s international recognition. He Palestinian territories, and they together laid out practical further added that the Islamic Ummah possessed considerable steps to that end. 9
The Blue Seat: A well-deserved Palestinian achievement
n the office of the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in display for the view of his guests from all parts of the world, the Palestinian leadership has placed a blue chair, with the logo and name of the United Nations inscribed on it. It is placed in the foreground
of the main hall where President Abbas receives his eminent guests, as a symbol epitomizing the Palestinian people’s pride in succeeding to raise the level of their UN membership to that of non-member state, following the historic vote at the UN General Assembly in November 2012. The photo shows the OIC Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, together with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, standing next to the chair, after a bilateral meeting at the offices of Ramallah, the West Bank. President Abbas had expressed gratitude to the Secretary General for the OIC’s role in support of Palestine’s access to the membership of the UN and the UNESCO, as Ihsanoglu had indeed undertaken a host of meetings in Paris with the ambassadors of the UNESCO Member States to rally support for Palestine’s accession to the said organization concerned with science an culture. Palestine’s UN membership was preceded by meetings undertaken by the OIC as well as contacts initiated by the Secretary General with many non-OIC Member States. The Secretary General’s support for Palestine was further manifested at the Council of Foreign Ministers held in Djibouti in November 2012, where he launched an appeal to all the Member States, in his inspirational speech, to avail Palestine of every possible support by voting in favor of its accession to the fold of the UN.
Ihsanoglu visits Arab Child Home and Al Maqasid Hospital in Al-Quds
n the course of his visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif as a whole, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, together with his accompanying delegation and in the company of Mahmoud Al Habbash, Palestinian Minister of Endowments, and Ambassador Jamal Al Shobki, made a stop at the Arab Child Home School. He was greeted by a host of the city’s officialdom and dignitaries, led by His Eminence the Grand Mufti of Al-Quds and the Palestinian territories, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, and Adnan Al Huseini, Minister of Al-Quds Affairs and Governor of the City. Mrs. Mahira Al Dejani, Principal of the School offered a detailed presentation on the role played by her school in preserving the authentic features of the City of Al-Quds and the services it extends to the Palestinian school children in the the Israelis’ aggressive targeting of all aspects of livelihood City in the context of the Israeli onslaught endured by the edu- in Al-Quds, with the educational sector in the forefront. The cation sector in Al-Quds. She then briefed the visitors on the Secretary General laid particular stress on the importance of establishment of the school which was founded in the wake education in creating a conscious generation, well aware of of the Dir Yassin massacre in 1948, to provide education for the value of their city and of the challenges facing it. the orphaned children, victims of the massacre, and was later expanded and turned into a major school and college offering The Secretary General then moved on to the Islamic Charitable Al Maqasid Hospital in Al-Quds City, considered as the its educational services to the Jerusalemites in general. The OIC Secretary General expressed his admiration for mainstay of the Palestinian Health sector. This was the last the school’s pioneering role and noble mission and for the stage in the Secretary General’s visit to the Holy Mosque of dedicated efforts of those in charge of it, particularly under Al-Aqsa and its adjacent facilities in Al-Quds Al-Sharif. 10
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Ihsanoglu calls on Muslims to visit Al-Aqsa by the millions
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), on a visit to the premises of the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Al-Quds Al-Sharif, called on Muslims from all over the world not to hesitate in paying visits to their First Qibla and Third Holy Mosque by the millions. He stressed that such action would comfort the Jerusalemites in their steadfastness, as well as empowers them and help them break the gradual isolation imposed upon them by the occupation and the settlers aiming to push those who remained in the City to leave it by stifling their livelihood and trade. In his declaration, Ihsanoglu affirmed that visitors from all parts of the Islamic world to Al-Aqsa and its surroundings are free to have access to the Holy Mosque and to pray in it, to stay in hotels owned by Palestinians and eat in Arab restaurants, and do shopping in the stores of the old city and elsewhere. This is to benefit the Jerusalemites’ revenues and promote tourism in favor of the Arab inhabitants of the City. Ihsanoglu had visited the premises of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on 26 August 2013, arriving in Ramallah, Palestine by helicopter from Amman, Jordan. The OIC Secretary General was then driven in a special convoy to the City of Al-Quds, where he stepped off for a walk in the courtyards of the Holy Mosque in the company of a Palestinian delegation led by the Minister of Endowments, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, and Adnan Al Huseini, Minister of Al-Quds Affairs and Governor of the City, along with the Grand Mufti of Al-Quds and the Palestinian Homeland, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein. The Secretary General then moved on to the Holy Precincts of Al-Aqsa where he performed the Asr Prayer at the Dome of the Rock mosque, inspected the grounds of the mosque and its courtyards and listened to a detailed briefing on the daily aggressions it faces at the hands of the settlers with their chronic incursions. The Secretary General’s visit to the Holy City represents
a direct call to Muslims to visit Al-Quds, a call which he addressed through the media present on the occasion. Ihsnaoglu invited all Muslims, through the media channels, to visit the besieged Al-Aqsa Mosque, with the understanding that such an act, however modest, would offer comfort and support for the Jerusalemites and consolidate them in their steadfastness. Ihsanoglu emphasized that calls to refrain from visiting AlAqsa are in fact an error and a counterproductive idea, since these calls unwittingly contribute to the City’s isolation and cause prejudice to its interests. It is worth noting that this was the current Secretary General’s second visit to Al-Aqsa, the first one having taken place on 23-24 May 2005 in the company of a high-level delegation where he met with His Eminence Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, Grand Mufti of Al Quds, and Sheikh Abdul Azim Salhab, Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Authority, as well as with Adnan Al Husseini, Head of the Islamic Endowments Division, Sheikh Mohamad Hussein, Curator of the Holy AlAqsa Mosque and Mohamed Zuhdi Al Nashashi, member of the PLO Executive Committee, among others. The Secretary General had underlined during his meeting with his hosts at that time that the responsibility fell on the shoulders of Muslims for the restoration of the Holy Sanctuary, having also stressed the importance of coming out with practical decisions in support of Al-Quds and the Palestine cause. The Palestinian officials reiterated their demands which have yet to be answered on account of the Israeli occupation’s obstinacy, and which include the need to pressure Israel to allow Palestinian worshipers free access to perform their prayers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to the City of Al-Quds on all days including Fridays, as Israel has been in the practice of denying Palestinians below the age of forty access to the AlAqsa’s precincts, its intention being to lay its hands on it and minimize the presence of Palestinians in it. 11
400 settlers bent on driving out quarter a million Palestinians from their city
n the course of his visit to Palestine, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, made a trip to the city of Hebron on 26 August. He was thus the first OIC Secretary General to visit this time-honored city where he met with its governor Kamel Hamid, in the presence of a number of the city’s dignitaries including its mayor, Dawood Al Zaatari. On the occasion, the governor and the mayor offered a detailed briefing on the city’s conditions under the ceaseless violations and aggressions perpetrated by Israel and its settlers. The City accounts for 250 thousand inhabitants while the number of settlers is 400, comprised of radical extremists who are busy turning the City’s life into an unbearable hell. Israel regularly carries out abusive actions to provide protection for these settlers who have forcibly taken possession of the homes of Palestinians. Israel indeed frequently closes entire streets and denies their access to Palestinians, allowing in settlers only. Israel has also laid its hands on the City’s public facilities under the pretext of ensuring the settlers’ security. These facilities include three primary schools, the City’s vegetable market and many commercial outlets alongside or nearby streets frequented by the settlers who regularly attack the Palestinian citizens under the Israeli police’s protecting eyes. Ahmed Saeed Bayoudh Al Temimi, curator of the Al Temimi Endowment, spoke of the Waqf which the Prophet, Peace and Blessings be Upon Him, had awarded to Aws Bin Tamim Al Dari. Ahmed voiced the view that there was a need to extend assistance to the City’s endowments and mosques to consolidate the Ibrahimi Mosque’s guardianship and provide protection for Khaled Ibn Al Walid Mosque against the settlers’ aggressions. After a long meeting with which he wrapped up his visit to Palestine, the Secretary General paid a visit to the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Old quarters of the City of Hebron. He preformed Dohr prayer there and listened afterwards to a briefing from the City’s Religious Endowments In-Charge, regarding the situation of the Ibrahimi Mosque, on more than half of which Israel has laid its hands, allowing Jews to pray there, in the wake of the massacre committed by the extremist settler Baruch Goldstein in the Holy Mosque, in 1994 and in which he cowardly took the lives of 29 Palestinians while they were prostrated in their Dawn (Fajr) prayer.
Ihsanoglu, First OIC Secretary General to Visit Hebron
the OIC Journal www.oic-oci.org September - December 2013
Imprisoned grapevine on the Bethlehem-Hebron road
any are those who have related tales about fiscation crime. the fenced grapevine-tree, on the bank of The Israeli occupation’s crimes against the Palestinians in winding road between Hebron and Bethle- the province of Hebron are not limited to a passing tale on the hem. Some have reported that a settler had road. Quite to the contrary, over the past few months, between tricked the Palestinian land-owner, offering him for it forty the past and current year, settlers have committed aggressions shekels. The owner thought the deal was offered for the tree’s five times on the vineyards in the province of Hebron which crop, nothing more… Others say that the Israeli occupation is reputed for its vineyards and grape trading. In April 2013, had laid its hands on the little vine-tree, as a step prior to their the settlers cut down more than one hundred olive-trees and forcibly taking possession of the whole piece of land, which vine-trees in the surroundings of Hebron, and the settlers of had already been cut in half by the road, and confiscating the “Karmistour” colony uprooted 13 vine-trees in the township other half to build settlement units. of Beit Ammar, in north Hebron. According to other narratives from the Palestinian press, The occupation authorities are busy trying, through their the land-owner whose name is Dawood Al Zair (Abu Moussa) settler arm, to shrink the expanse of vineyards, by limiting wahad sold this little tree in the early eighties of the last century, ter resources, filling water collection basins with rubble and for a million US Dollars, which he deposited at the Palestine confiscating irrigation pipes. They also are pursuing a systemBank, to a Jewish settler who was quick to set an iron enclo- atic policy of vandalism and constraints against the Palestinsure around it with his name on it. ian farm crops, forcing these products to be sold for a pittance Narratives may differ, but all indications on the ground on the local markets. Indeed, Hebron which produces 50 tons tell a different story, where the settlers are bent upon squeez- of grapes annually, and cultivates 40 thousand acres of vineing the Palestinians out by all manner of warring, be it moral trees, is faced with constant aggression targeting its old city or material, at times brandishing sticks and at others waving quarters and sanctuaries through the misappropriation of most carrots. Eating away at the Palestinian land by the force of of the Ibrahimi Mosque’s grounds and undermining its trade arms, Israel confiscates fertile land through trickery, entice- and agriculture, through a fierce grip on the most important ment, monetary incentives and pressure, for the construction sources of livelihood for the citizens of the Hebron province. of more and more settlements. However, the enclosed vine-tree, standing at a juncture on what is known as the Al-Sitteen-Street between Hebron and Bethlehem does not reveal the full story. Even if the (million dollars) were to be true, it is still a fact that in the seventies, the occupation forces had confiscated 60% of Sheikh Moussa’s land property, out of which 15 acres were annexed to the (Afrat) settlement, and a circular road was constructed that ran through it, while the rightful owner is still steadfastly upholding his stand, refusing to accept any monetary compensation from the occupation authority so as not to legitimize its con-
Al Juffali Museum… Preserving Arab imprint in Al-Quds
IC Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, made a impromptu tour of Sheikh Ahmed Al Juffali’s Museum for Palestinian Folk Heritage, a major institution and outstanding landmark in the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif, funded by the late philanthropist Saudi businessman, Sheikh Ahmed Al Juffali, husband of the well-known Palestinian lady, Souad Al Husseini. The museum offers a display of Palestinian artifacts and folk garments. It also documents the Dir Yassin massacre with its tragic episodes and horrendous effects that spread fright and terror among the peaceful Palestinian villagers, in preparation for their supplanting by Jewish settlers. The museum offers as well some antiquities and certain procurements which
symbolize and document the episode of the Big Tragedy (Nakba), such as the keys to some of the homes in the territories occupied in 1948 and other archeological pieces; all displays representing the historical depth, variety and symbolic value of the Palestinian cause. The museum, which can be approached through an arched gate made of stone and crafted according to the Islamic architecture resting on two Roman pillars, represents an Arab contribution still deeply entrenched in the Palestinian homeland. The tangibly noticeable Arab presence through the abandoned buildings of the former Saudi and Kuwaiti consulates reflects the City’s unquestionable Arab manifestation before the Israeli occupation in 1967, revealing so many facts about the identity aspects of the usurped Palestinian rights.
In an attempt to obliterate its Arab-Islamic identity and historical spirituality Israel Seeks to Transmute Jerusalem into a Soulless Metropolis
A view of Al-Quds from the window of Al-Aqsa Mosque
he City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif has been living un- raeli territory” as they deemed appropriate, by the mere issue der the yoke of Israeli occupation for about 45 of a decree. On the following day, 28 June 1967, the governyears during which it has been subjected to sav- ment again issued a decree on the enforcement of the state age aggressions at the hands of the occupiers in an law, judiciary and administration over an area of 70 thousand attempt to swallow it up and rob it of its Arab character and Donems which cover the Old City entirely in addition to broad Islamic faith, disfiguring its history, besieging its present and expanses around it. These various steps formed only part of an overall policy threatening its future. To discuss the current state of Al-Quds as a city under occupation, one needs to spotlight the racist with three major prongs all converging towards one common practices perpetrated against the Palestinians in Al-Quds in aim consisting in the quest to turn Al-Quds into a fully juparticular detail, as this can help identify optimal courses of deized city, a city with disfigured history, a city without Arab inhabitants, be they Muslim or Christian. The Israeli scheme action and fields of intervention. Since the very early stages of its occupation of Al-Quds involves the entire city. It includes merging the two halves of Israel set about implementing its pre-established scheme to the city and obliterating its Arab-Islamic character and idenevacuate the Holy City of its original citizens, to alter its fea- tity, in preparation for its invasive judeization through the estures, to judeize it and turn it into the capital of Israel. The tablishment of Jewish quarters within the Old City’s ramparts decisions to annex Al-Quds to Israel ran side by side with such as in the Al-Maghariba district and the Al-Sharaf district. actions on the ground in that respect, either leading the way This also involves the implementation of what is known as the or following in the footsteps, depending on the obstacles or “Green Belt”, which means the demolition of the old districts developments encountered by the Zionist entity in that regard. and the historic graveyards around the Al-Quds ramparts, in Israel saw to it that these decisions were issued about two addition to the establishment of Jewish colonial settlements weeks only after the end of the combat so as to impart legiti- all around the city in favor of the “Belt” to link it with heartmacy to what its military powers were executing in terms of land of Israel and block all the Arab entrances. The scheme also included extending the confines of Alannexation on the ground. Indeed, on 27 June 1967 the Knesset endorsed a bill presented by the government calling for Quds to include Southern Ramallah, Bethlehem and Khanal the amendment of the 1948 provisions relevant to the ruling Ahmar, in other words turning Arab Al-Quds into a small ispower and the judiciary, and thus the occupation authorities land submerged in a Jewish sea, thus fully judeizing it and accorded themselves the right to annex expanses of “the Is- effectively imposing Israel’s control over it and isolating it 14
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completely from its Palestinian environment. A further stage Israeli settlements set up there to Israel, thus tearing apart the involves curtailing the Arab inhabitants’ connections through West Bank and preventing the establishment of a contiguous the establishment of lines connecting Al-Quds with the settle- Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories, and effecting ment centers set up in Tel Jafut, Maali Edomim, Efrat and a total isolation of Al-Quds from the rest of the Palestinian Tefaat Zeef. territories. Within the framework of its policy to empty Al-Quds of The Separation Wall is 705 kilometers long, twice the its Arab inhabitants and drive them out, the occupation au- length of the Armistice Line (the Green line) between the West thorities resorted to a series of procedures aimed at pressuring Bank and Israel which is only 320 kilometers long. Upon the them and denying them any options other than that of depart- completion of the Separation Wall only about 15% of it will ing from their city. These procedures include terrorizing the be on the Green line, with the remaining 85% actually courscitizens, demolishing their homes, obstructing the construc- ing through the West Bank, thus effectively isolating around tion of new buildings, and economic and social pressure. 9.5% of the West Bank territories including Eastern Al-Quds Towards the achievement of these designs, Israelis are pur- and the sanctified zone. As for the Wall’s course through Alsuing a service system that is founded on segregation between Quds itself, it will be running through the City over 181 km, Jews and Palestinians, with the municipal budgetary alloca- of which only 4 km, coincide with the course of the Green line. tions providing only 10% for the Palestinian Jerusalemites de- This Wall alters the geographic, economic and social realities spite the fact that they represent, even according to the Israeli of the City, affecting not only the Palestinian citizens residstatistics, some 36% of the city’s population. ing in the Al-Quds area as defined by Israel, but also those Social and economic pressure is also manifest through residing in the larger urban area, as it separates the Palestinian the lack of sufficient public amenities, the shortage of hous- districts and suburbs from each other and isolates them from ing and the heavy congestions, in addition to Israel’s resort- the urban centre, just as it isolates the rural communities from ing to abusive laws and regulations as to land ownership and their farmlands and from the areas surrounding Al-Quds. planning, along with its disregard of the deterioration of the Excavation works under the Al-Aqsa Mosque environmental and natural resources and the confiscation of Following their occupation of the Old City, the Israeli people’s identity papers thus prejudicing their right to inhabit authorities engaged in a systematic looting of whatever they the city and obtain entry permits and also hampering their ac- could of the religious, cultural and historical relics. However, cess to work sites or educational and other services. the most serious development that needs attention is the exAnother procedure meant to push Palestinians to leave cavation works being carried out under the Al-Aqsa Mosque, their hometown, consists in the confiscation of land and prop- which threaten to cause it to collapse, despite the fact that all erty with the occupation authorities engaging in such an ex- their excavations have failed to find any scientific evidence of ercise to facilitate settlements and judeization programs in an the existence of the so-called Temple or any remnants from attempt to force the inhabitants to depart from the Old City the city of David or relics from the era of Solomon. These of Al-Quds. The land and property of those who are absent excavation works are in fact intended to advance the objecare confiscated under the pretext of using them for the public tives of the Zionist bigotry and the Israeli occupation, and not interest, where public interest means no more than the Israeli to elucidate any objective reality, for what the excavators seek settlers’ interest, in addition to imposing severe restrictions on to establish is what they claim to be the “right” for Jews to education with the occupation authorities laying their hands, return to the holy land, all the time deliberately ignoring the after the annexation of Al-Quds, on all public schools and re- other civilizations, making use of the exploration findings to voking the prevailing educational programs and all the school support their religious and historical claims and allegations. It manuals, replacing them by Israeli educational programs, and is to be noted that these excavations were undertaken in the annexing the schools to the Israeli Al-Quds municipality. As Old City and in the area around the Holy Mosque in particular, for the non-governmental schools, they have been subjected to an area which represents the jewel in the crown of Islamic severe restrictions and obstacles and so many other asphyxiat- belief and heritage. ing measures. Within the same context, Islamic and Christian sanctuaries Defacing the features of Al-quds and historic landmarks in Al-Quds have been the subject of To complete their obliteration of the City’s historical land- continued aggression since the occupation of the City’s westmarks, the Israeli authorities have engaged in changing the ern part in 1948 (particularly the Ma’man Allah Islamic gravenames of Arab streets and squares substituting them with He- yard and a number of Christian graveyards in New Jerusalem). brew ones, despite the fact that every substituted name has a After the 1967 war, with the fall of all Islamic and Christian particular meaning attached to the Arab heritage in the City. sanctuaries in the hands of the Israeli occupation of Al-Quds, These alterations are compounded with the use of Hebrew in this aggression gained strength, with even more sanctuaries the road signals, postage signs, official announcements, ad- being violated, misappropriated, confiscated or demolished, ministrative documents and the media. and with many endowment buildings flanking the Al-Aqsa On the other hand, there is the construction of the Apart- Mosque on the West and South being razed to the ground. heid-like Separation Wall under various security excuses and With the occupation of Al-Maghariba Gate, one of the Gates to within the framework of oppressive procedures and a stifling the Holy Mosque’s precincts, and the setting up of a military blockade imposed by Israel on the Palestinian territories fol- post there, the entire Al-Maghariba Gate area is today facing lowing the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada (Uprising) of Sep- a full onslaught, with fierce excavations devouring the City’s tember 2000. It is aimed furthermore at misappropriating even history and usurping historical schools and shrines as well as more Palestinian territories in the West Bank and annexing the the Mercy Gate graveyard and the Josephite Cemetery. 15
Review of the Strategic Plan for the Development
he Strategic Plan for the Development of the Vital Al-Quds confirm the pressing need for the Islamic Ummah to Sectors in Al-Quds Al-Sharif constitutes a detailed make its contribution towards the defense of the First Qibla road map for any donor conference or organized and its sanctuaries. efforts to extend assistance to the City and its surAn the end of 2009 the OIC had delegated a mission to roundings. The said Plan was adopted by the Twelfth Islamic Al-Quds comprised of the OIC General Secretariat and the IsSummit Conference held in Cairo, in February 2013. lamic Development Bank, to identify the Cityâ€™s most urgent The package plan, as such, includes an introduction by the needs. This was followed by a meeting of a technical comOIC Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu in which he mittee that included representatives of a number of Member formulated the view that the hardships endured by the City of States and the OIC relevant institutions. After considering the 16
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of the Vital Sectors in Al-Quds Al-Sharif The Plan offers a strategic vision detailing the needs of Al-Quds and defining its priorities in twelve vital sectors as well as the fields and modes of intervention such as to help the City withstand the challenges imposed by the Israeli policies and practices and such as to help the City’s inhabitants to remain in their homestead and face up to the economic and service-related pressures targeting their very existence. The Plan’s importance also lies in the fact that it is a comprehensive developmental one offering the Ummah the possibility to contribute to the development of the key sectors in the City. This Plan, the first of its kind presented by the OIC in favor of action in Al-Quds, seeks to contribute to the protection of the sanctuaries and the preservation of the Islamic Ummah’s interests. The key message included in the Plan for the development and protection of Al-Quds is rooted in the matter’s urgent character, as the conflict in Al-Quds is weighted in centimeters and minutes. Indeed every time period that lapses without any action on our part in favor of Al-Quds marks the loss of a piece of the City. The present plan is distinct from previous ones inasmuch as it is the only one grounded in a data-base with specific projects for implementation. These reached 166 projects spread over 13 economic sectors, at a total value of 499.16 million US Dollars. The projects have been divided into two categories. First: the Projects within the City, representing 91.87% of the total value of the projects with a focus on the developmental needs of Al-Quds and its inhabitants, impacting twelve different sectors. The City here is defined as all that lies within the Rampart. Second: projects for the province, within the confines of the province of Al-Quds, representing no more than 8.13% of the total value of the project, as the plan is actually designed for the City of Al-Quds itself primarily, and more specifically the areas within the Rampart. Furthermore, 39.24% of these projects had to do with the agricultural sector, particularly in the villages around the Rampart, in a drive to guard against the annexation of these lands and the expansion of the settlements. Also, those projects were divided into three categories in relation to their readiness for implementation. The first group involves those projects that are fully ready to be executed subject to the availability of funding. They represent 77.30% of the total value of the projects and they joint mission’s report and the multi-sectoral study submitted by the Palestinian Government, the Committee recommended have been prioritized. The Second group involves projects that are partially ready, needing still the completion of certhat the Council of Foreign Minister (CFM) adopt the compretain procedures to be fully ready for executive. They represent hensive strategic Plan of Al-Quds. The Committee’s recom11.25% of the total value of the projects according to the primendations were adopted by the 37th and 38th sessions of the ority of each. The third segment involves projects that are yet CFM, and as a follow-up, the 12th Islamic Summit Confer- to be made ready. These are projects which the economic and ence held in Cairo 6 - 7 February, 2013, called for the conven- social studies have shown to be required for Al-Quds. They represent 11.45% of the project’s total value. ing of a Donor Conference to finance the Plan.
A Tale of Two Doctors Shaher Awawdeh, PhD Department of Palestine
In his well-known novel “A Tale of Two Cities”, Charles Dickens skillfully describes the prevalence of injustice, oppression and brutality that shaped an important episode of the French history. It was an age of conflicting feelings as Dickens says, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”. It was an era where noble characters like Dr. Manette confronted the darkness and cruelty of oppressors. Dr. Manette, who was a victim of the social ills that plagued France in the eighteenth century, spent eighteen years of incarceration cobbling shoes. He was "Prisoner 105, North Tower" in the Bastille. Unlike Dr. Manette, who exemplifies the noble nature of physicians, the other character of this tale is of a different breed of physicians that you would only meet in nightmarish tales. Dr. Baruch Kopel Goldstein, an Israeli physician, was neither cobbling shoes in the Bastille, nor was he helping people dream of a better and more valuable life. He was not a victim of a French Marquis’s tyranny, but rather a victim of his own fanaticism. He was not a victim of solitary confinement like Dr. Manette, and did not suffer the agonies that the unsung hero of “A Tale of Two Cities” went through. To put it briefly, he was no less cruel than the worst blood-thirsty figures human history has ever seen. While it is not known if Dr. Manette went to any religious seminary, Dr. Goldstein attended the Orthodox Yeshiva of Flatbush in Brooklyn and University Yeshiva in New York. For my money, nobody at the Yeshiva told him what Micah told Judah: "Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God." Dr. Baruch Goldstein did not follow the path of Dr. Manette who traveled from London to Paris to perform what doctors usually do; he chose to travel from New York to Palestine to be a mass murderer. Neither his religious education nor his medical studies could fix his chronic moral paralysis. He was a kind of a doctor who doesn’t
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heal, but causes human agonies for other healers to cure. At the dawn of 25 February 1994, Dr. Goldstein put on a military uniform instead of the white doctor's coat. He left his house hanging something on his back. What he was carrying did not look like the doctor’s kit, which was carried by Dr. Manette when he visited Paris before the French Revolution. It was not at all something that doctors carry. Donning an army uniform and carrying a machine gun with extra loads, Dr. Goldstein broke into the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and opened fire at a crowd of praying Muslims. The Doctor’s shooting killed 29 worshippers and injured 125 others. Ultimately, the mass murderer faced his bloody fate at the hands of the survivors of the massacre he perpetrated. The events entailed by the killing of Goldstein were no less heart-rending. Palestinians took to the streets to protest the massacre, but sixty protesters were massacred the same day by Israeli forces. Ironically, Israel pressed charges against the people who were involved in overcoming and killing the murderer. In the aftermath of the massacre, Israel decided to divide the Mosque between Muslims and Jews. Muslims will have very restricted access to a small part of their mosque. The rest became smoothly accessible to Israeli settlers, the majority of whom share fanaticism with Goldstein. Despite his horrendous act, Goldstein became a much venerated figure in his community. The epitaph on his grave says that Goldstein "gave his life for the people of Israel, its Torah and land". Furthermore, Rabbi Dov Lior made no bones about his admiration of Goldstein’s undertaking, by describing him as a saint whose "hands are innocent, his heart pure". Considering a savage blood-thirsty murderer as a saint is just an Israeli version of the “fascination of the abomination”, of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”. The grave of the ill-famed doctor became a monument visited and venerated by extremists coming from all Israeli colonies in Palestine. Inside the grave lies the body of a fanatic man who, just like the Marquis in “A Tale of Two Cities” believed that "Repression is the only lasting philosophy. The dark deference of fear and slaveryß will keep the dogs obedient to the whip". Nevertheless, the graves of the victims of the massacre did not have similar epitaphs. The graves contained only the remains of people who shared what Carton thought before his execution in Dickens’s novel: “I see long ranks of the new oppressors who have risen on the destruction of the old. I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out”.
A day in an embattled Syrian zone
Syrian-Turkish borders (dpa) – Fadwa’s full time occupation day and night is to ensure bread, milk and veggies for her four children. She is living now without a bread-winner since her husband, Ramadan, joined the opposition on the battle-field a few months ago, against Assad’s government. He only returns once or twice every month to visit his family in one of the villages of Edlib, north of the country, near the Turkish border. Fadwa, in her mid-30s, says “when I married Ramadan, I was about twenty years old. I had obtained a high-school degree with arts as a major, and my husband had graduated from an engineering school. We set up a home with the assistance of our parents and we had a little plot of farmland to support us in addition to my husband’s job. We have three sons and one daughter who is the eldest. Before the war broke out, our life was similar to that of many other Syrians. We were relatively all right. Our kids started to grow and we began to think of their future. After the onset of the war in Syria and from there on, we started to live in fear of air-raids, for no place in our region was spared shelling. My son, Ahmed, was killed in one of the raids as he was playing near his grandfather’s house. He was 7 years old. My husband, Ramadan, could not bear the shock, took up arms and joined the ranks of the fighters against the government, and since then, I just wait for my husband’s return, praying all the time that he may return alive.” Mohamed Al Seloum is a young graduate from the arts faculty in Aleppo who had worked as a school-teacher in his village for many years before he became several months ago the manager of a periodical newsletter. “Daily life here in Kafr Nobl has a special character,” he said. “The people have evolved a collective system of mutuality.” He says that people have no option but to go to the governorate offices to get their salaries since the government has decided to have these salaries delivered only there. Some, who may be on the list of wanted people, pursued by security branches, do not take the risk to go there, and as a result they are dismissed from their jobs after some time.
Some others are dismissed for various reasons, foremost of which any rapport or cooperation with the rebels or any links existing between a relative and a banned party for instance, or maybe also due to a secret report made by some unknown person or an informant in the service of the government. Moreover, the cost of travelling to Edlib is 800 Syrian Liras out of a salary that may not exceed 15000 liras at times (one dollar is equivalent to 225 liras), and you may not even be sure you’ll be paid on your first visit. In addition to the delays of salary payment, often around 20 days every month”. As to the availability of enough food supplies, Mohamed Says: “Overall, they are available but very expensive, so not everyone is able to afford them, and they therefore resort to the produce of their own plots of land and their own animal stock. Turkish products now exceed Syrian products in our markets as they are of easier access. Indeed, travelling to Aleppo or Damascus, the normal store of provisions, is risky and almost impossible. Mohamed reminisces on how things used to be before the breakout of the uprising. “For water, we used to suffer
from it being rationed, that is having access to it once a week; but now, after the revolution, we no longer see it at all, due to the broken water-supply network and the absence of maintenance. The government intentionally leaves things in disrepair… Some villages, through which the water pipes run, steal water from them to irrigate their crops. We get water from wells that were dug before, at a cost of 1500 Syrian liras or more for each tank-full. As for electricity, it may disappear for days on end, with an average of 4 to 5 days. And when it is available, the daily average hours of supply are around 6 hours.” Mohamed goes on to say: “Regarding cellular phone communications, it used to be cut off for months on end, to then be reestablished for short periods. Now, after the rebels took control of our village Kafr Nobl on 10 August 2012, there is absolutely no coverage at all, due to the dysfunction of transmitters and the looting of whatever has remained of the coverage poles, with the exception of some elevated zones that benefit of coverage reaching them from distant areas such as Hama and Salanfa, however with bad quality of reception most of the time. As for the internet and
WORLD AFFAIRS land-line communications, the shelling that took place during the onslaught destroyed the post-office building to deny the citizens any service. It was later bombarded by the airplanes of Assad’s government, and thus communications were cut off for good. We depend on satellite internet which has spread in our areas. These are very expensive Turkish equipments, and recently some have seized on the situation to turn it into a profitable business, with investments in networks that have come to cover considerable expanses of township.” Mohamed says: “There are cases of abject poverty and destitution that have come to be seen in the town. One of the reasons behind people’s exodus to Turkey – other than the shelling – is this extreme poverty. People think that in the Turkish camps they will at least be provided with food for them to survive."
Heads of Police Organizations and Agencies in OIC Member States Agree to establish a specialized unit under the OIC for security cooperation Istanbul, Turkey – The Heads of Law Enforcement Orga- a sense of estrangement and victimhood, which may in turn nizations and Agencies of the Organization of Islamic Coop- induce those who perceive themselves as targets to resort to eration (OIC) agreed to establish a police cooperation mech- blind violence. anism within the OIC, cooperation in international police The heads of law enforcement agencies of the OIC Memtraining and on counter-terrorism. This was announced in the ber States had met in 2009 in Azerbaijan and adopted the Baku Istanbul Declaration following the 3rd Meeting of Heads of Declaration, which included establishing the necessary infraPolice Organizations and Agencies in the OIC Member States structure for regional and sub-regional cooperation of criminal held in Turkey on 5 September 2013. justice institutions and law enforcement agencies to prevent The Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and effectively investigate all forms of transnational crimes in his statement to the meeting, insisted that the UN Global with special emphasis on organized crime. Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which it had contributed to adoptThe Secretary General concluded by declaring OIC’s suping, must include a clear-cut definition of terrorism in order to port for the outcome of the meeting with a view to strengthenlift any ambiguity and maintain strong consensus around the ing cooperation in the field of combating terrorism and intersubject. national crime. The Secretary General pointed out that the OIC has always The Istanbul Declaration stated that security cooperation urged its Member States to coordinate efforts and collaborate among the OIC Member States, which have so far neither to strengthen international partnerships through the UN, which adequately responded to expectations nor met requirements, in September 2011 endorsed the Saudi and OIC-backed initiashould be reinvigorated and continued with firm resolution. tive to establish an International Counter-Terrorism Centre. Therefore, it is necessary to establish a mechanism within the Ihsanoglu stated that the OIC also believes that to effecframework of OIC to follow up and facilitate police cooperatively combat terrorism, it is imperative that we address its tion among Member States. root causes in a holistic manner with a view to evolving an The meeting agreed that part of the envisaged mechanism approach that incorporates the political, economic, social and should include a permanent structure to maintain communicacultural aspects that underpin it. In this context, the OIC is tion and networking; a specialized unit to be responsible for credited with having pioneered the cause of Dialogue among coordinating international police training activities; working Civilizations in 1998, a move that received the backing of the groups in various fields including organized crimes, counter international community which declared 2001 as the Interterrorism, drug and human trafficking; and a structure to conational Year for Dialogue among Civilizations. In addition, ordinate the academic research in the field of security studies. the OIC welcomed and has supported the establishment of Furthermore, this mechanism should function as a “specialKing Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Centre for Inter-religious and ized unit” under the umbrella of OIC along with the deployIntercultural Dialogue based in Vienna, to promote cultural dialogue, multiculturalism and to reinforce global peaceful ment of a General Coordinator and three Program Coordinators and a reasonable number of experts and support staff. coexistence and harmony. Ihsanoglu added that the OIC strives to intensify its efforts An institutional focal point should also be appointed in each to promote cultural dialogue and positive engagement in or- Member State. Working Groups including but not limited to the fields of der to avoid misunderstanding leading to exclusion, alienation, and extremism, as well as the growing wave of Islamophobia organized crimes, counter terrorism, drug and human traffickin parts of the world, all of which contribute to the rise of ing to be comprised of experts from interested 20
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Concern over sentencing Uygur Muslims in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in China Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Spokesperson of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, in a statement in August, expressed his concern over the report of sentencing two Uygur Muslims to death penalty and jail terms to three, for the alleged involvement in clashes reported to have taken place in the city of Kashgar of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in China in 23 April 2013. While commenting on the close cooperation between the OIC and the Government of China, he reiterated once again
that the reasons behind protests or clashes need to be addressed. He also urged the Government of China to address the root-causes of the situation and respect the desire of the indigenous people to express their cultural, religious and ethnical identity, without impediment. He also expressed his hope that Government of China will use their wisdom to reconsider the possibility for an appeal of the court decision and spend more efforts for dialogue and building confidence with the people in the said region.
Bringing peace and harmony between Hindus and Muslims in Uttar Pradesh State, India Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The OIC Secretary General expressed concern at the incidents of communal violence that have erupted in several villages in India’s Uttar Pradesh state in early September. The initial reports indicate that more than 28 people have been killed and hundreds of Muslim families have fled their homes and villages and have been subject to intimidation and violence. The OIC Spokesperson added that the OIC urges the Indian authorities to restore calm and protect the lives, property and places of worship of Muslims citizens of India and bring
the perpetrators of violence to justice. He expressed regret that this incident appears to have been the one for worst incidence of communal violence in more than twenty years since the destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992. The OIC Spokesperson expressed concern that the communal tension between Hindu and Muslims may spread to other regions of the country if it is not addressed properly. The OIC is willing to lend its support to all serious endeavors to bring peace and harmony between the two communities in the country.
OIC supports Saudi position on UNSC reform Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, indicated that the apology of Saudi Arabia to hold a seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) because of its inability to perform its duties and discharge its responsibilities in maintaining international peace and security and in particular finding a comprehensive and just solution to the Palestinian issue and the Syrian crisis with all its humanitarian consequences, and establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, reflects the Kingdom’s keenness to achieve the desired reform of the United Nations organs, especially the Security Council. Ihsanoglu reiterated that this is the principled position that OIC has been confirming in all decisions issued by its Islamic summits and ministe-
rial meetings. The OIC Secretary General expressed his hope that these developments would expedite the process of UNSC reform, by promoting its transparency, accountability, representation, and democratization so that it can play its full role in the maintaining international peace and security in accordance with the United Nations Charter. The OIC Secretary General noted that the OIC Member States have a direct and vital interest in the UNSC reform recalling their demand for an appropriate representation on the UNSC, in line with their demographic and political weight, and in accordance with the proportion of their membership in the United Nations and to ensure the representation of the main forms of civilization in the Council.
Commencement of National Dialogue in Tunisia Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, expressed his satisfaction and welcomed the agreement of all the political parties involved in the quadrilateral initiative to start national dialogue and the start of implementation of the agreed roadmap to end the transitional period in light of all parties’ respect of their respective pledges. The OIC Secretary General commended the courageous and responsible attitudes of all Tunisian political parties, through their involvement in the national dialogue and accep-
tance of all provisions of the road map, demonstrated their eagerness to place the supreme interest, security and stability of Tunisia and restoration of its development above all personal and partisan considerations. The OIC Secretary General expressed his wishes that the concerted efforts of all parties are galvanized for the success of the national dialogue and achievement of the demands of the Tunisian people in establishing the Tunisian democratic institutions and good governance.
OIC Foreign Ministers Annual Coordination Meeting at the United Nations
The Secretary General urges Member
New York, USA – The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held their Annual Coordination Meeting (ACM) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 27 September 2013, under the Chairmanship of Mahmoud Ali Yussof, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Djibouti. UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson attended on behalf of Ban Ki-moon and delivered his message in which he applauded the OIC’s engagement on sustainable development, saying “I count on you to help us reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and shape a vision for a common agenda beyond that date.” Ban Ki-moon added that he shares the OIC’s concerns about surges of violence across sectarian and identity lines. “Our two organizations must join forces to respond by promoting tolerance in partnership with leaders from civil society, academics and religious figures. The media can also play an important role. I count on the OIC to use the satellite channel it plans to launch to promote greater cross-cultural understanding. At the same time, I count on the OIC to help address the tumults that the Arab countries face in this delicate time of transition from authoritarian regimes to new democracies,” said Ban Ki-moon in his message to the OIC meeting. In his speech, the Secretary General of the OIC warned that the Israeli settlement activities, especially in occupied East Jerusalem, which have manifestly escalated recently, remain the core challenge to making progress in peace negotiations and need to be seriously addressed by the international community. “Israel’s settlements are illegal and will remain illegal. We have to remember that unjust acts cannot create law,” he stressed. On this occasion, he commended the EU stance on Israeli settlements and
expected the OIC Member States to go a step further, and are encouraged to do more. Ihsanoglu also stressed that every Muslim has a share in Al-Quds, and has a duty to support the city with all possible means including visiting it. “I would like to highlight that Muslims’ visit to Al-Quds is a religious duty that represents a crucial economic and moral support to the city.” On the other hand, Ihsanoglu said that the OIC remains convinced of the need to urgently work out a political solution to extricate Syria out of this bloody crisis and restore peace and security in the country. On Afghanistan, he said that it is set to face up to new challenging days starting next year as it will retake full responsibility and control over its destiny. Afghan people will also take part in the important presidential election next year. He reassured Afghan people that the OIC, as in the past, will continue to fully support the country during the crucial months and years ahead to help Afghan people to successfully ride political, security and economic challenges. In another important development, and just a few days before the ACM, Ihsanoglu said that an important conference of Muslim Ulema was convened in Kabul in a joint effort by the Afghan High Peace Council and the OIC. The main objective of the Conference was to establish a platform that would contribute to the reconciliation process and to exploring the ways of securing a peaceful future in Afghanistan on the basis of the teachings of Islam. Meanwhile, the Secretary General conveyed the plea of the Kosovo authorities to the OIC Member States to seriously consider recognizing Kosovo that have not done so yet. So far, 34 OIC Member States have recognized Kosovo and more recognition is required in order to help Kosovo achieving UN membership.
Ihsanoglu: Muslims’ visit to Al-Quds is a religious duty
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States to continue supporting OIC Since the UN General Assembly focused this year on the development agenda and the follow-up on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, the Secretary General pointed out that the OIC achievements in the economic sector feature the steady implementation of its various programs. In his speech he listed the achievements in the OIC trade preferential system, the increasing interventions under the poverty alleviation programs, and the rigorous implementation of the various programs and projects in the domains of agriculture and food security, labor, youth and women empowerment and productivity as well as tourism and infrastructure development, among others. He therefore hoped that, while steady progress continue to be made in the current programs, projects and activities, the Member State’s collaboration would also go a long way in ensuring the success of new socio-economic projects, including the creation of a specialized institution for food security in Astana, Kazakhstan, the successor program for the Special Program for Development of Africa, the take-off of the Plan of Action for Cooperation with Central Asia, and the creation of a specialized institution for labor, employment and social protection in Baku, Azerbaijan. On the humanitarian front, Ihsanoglu called upon Member States to strive for the establishment of a Humanitarian Emergency Relief Fund (HERF) so as to provide the General Secretariat with all necessary means to fulfill its duties towards the needy and vulnerable populations in the face of increasing humanitarian challenges in the Muslim world. Beyond and above all these challenges and the issues related to the United Nations agenda, he emphasized that the OIC has a lot more to offer. Ihsanoglu referred to the General Assembly Resolution on the UN-OIC Cooperation adopted in August, which calls for enhanced cooperation between the two Organizations.
for the continued violence and destruction of property. The Meeting called for immediate cessation of violence, killings and destruction, for the respect of Islamic values, human rights, and for saving Syria from the danger of an all-out civil war, including its dangerous consequences on the Syrian people, on the region, and on international peace and security. The Meeting called for the commencement of immediate implementation of a peaceful transitional mechanism that would allow building a new Syrian State based on pluralism, democratic and civilian system where there would be equality on the basis of law, citizenship and fundamental freedoms. The Meeting affirmed its strong commitment to secure humanitarian assistance for the Syrian people and urged Member States to donate generously to enable the General Secretariat to implement immediately effective humanitarian assistance activities for the Syrians based on burden-sharing principles. The Meeting held the Syrian government fully responsible for the chemical attacks against the Syrian people, which took place in Al-Ghoota in the suburbs of Damascus. It urged the international community and the Security Council to take all the necessary measures to stop the slaughter of the Syrian people and hold accountable all those involved in this crime by bringing them to international justice like all war criminals. The Meeting’s Final Communiqué addressed several other issues on the agenda of the OIC.
Ban Ki-moon: I count on OIC to help address tumults facing Arab countries in transition
OIC calls for immediate implementation of a peaceful transitional mechanism in Syria Meanwhile, the OIC Annual Coordination Meeting reaffirmed the centrality of the cause of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif to the entire Islamic Ummah, and reiterated the OIC’s full support for the just cause of Palestine and the rights of the Palestinian people. On Syria, the Meeting stressed the need to preserve Syria’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. It strongly condemned the ongoing bloodshed in Syria, and underlined the Syrian Government’s primary responsibility
Contact Group on Somalia: OIC to have a Development Office The OIC Contact Groups on Somalia met at the Ministerial level on 23 September 2013 on the sidelines of the Annual Coordination Meeting of Foreign Ministers during the 68th UNGA session in New York. The meeting on Somalia welcomed the initiative of the Government to package the Six Pillar Plan and expressed its full support to the Policy, which seeks to address the current challenges facing Somalia. The OIC continues to maintain its presence and visibility on the ground in Somalia through the activities of its Humanitarian Office, which the Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said in his statement to the meeting that it is set to be transformed into a Development Office with the added responsibility of monitoring the democratization process including the finalization of the constitution. The Office is already focusing on the resettlement of IDPs (internally displaced peoples) to their villages and homes as a way to promoting sustainable stability. 23
Ihsanoglu said that he is also vigorously pursuing efforts with the Member States to activate the OIC Trust Fund established by the 38th CFM in order to support sustained development in the country. He thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the recent signing of a MoU with the OIC to implement a US$72 million worth of development projects in some priority areas over a period of three years. He appealed to other Member States to emulate this example and step up their assistance to Somalia as a practical way of contributing to peace, state and institution building. He also launched an appeal to the UN Security Council to lift completely the arms embargo to contribute to the acceleration of the capacity building of the Somali Security Forces. OIC Contact Group on Sierra Leone endorses continued support The OIC Contact Group on Sierra Leone also met at Ministerial level on 23rd September 2013. The meeting urged the Member States to assist Sierra Leone in developing and upgrading its medical facilities, water sewage systems and sanitation so as to control the outbreak of epidemics such as cholera and water borne diseases. Last year Sierra Leone had to deal with a serious and dangerous outbreak of cholera which claimed many lives. The meeting lamented the dire financial situation of the Sierra Leone Trust Fund and requested that very urgent actions be undertaken with the State of Qatar and other major donors to revive the existing Fund. The meeting stressed the need for the Fund to diversify its activities in partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone, which has set priorities in the fields of low cost housing, development of agriculture; tourism industry; mining; banking and education. The Secretary General in his statement to the meeting expressed his heartfelt thanks to the Government of Qatar, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and the Islamic Solidarity Fund for their unwavering support to the Sierra Leone Trust Fund. Ihsanoglu holds bilateral meetings with officials from Guinea, Comoros, Kosovo and OCHA Meanwhile, the Secretary General had bilateral meetings on 23 September with the Foreign Minister of Guinea who reviewed with him preparations for the upcoming CFM to be hosted by Guinea in December; with the Minister of External Affairs of Comoros who discussed with him developments in Comoros as well as the forthcoming visit by the Secretary 24
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General to Comoros; and with the Foreign Minister of Kosovo who thanked him for OIC’s continued support in recognizing Kosovo. Ihsanoglu also had a meeting with OCHA’s Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos and discussed joint humanitarian efforts in different OIC member states. Contact Group on Rohingya decides to table a resolution on Myanmar at the UNGA The OIC Ministerial Contact Group on Rohingya Muslim Minority met on September 24. The meeting took note of the Government of Myanmar’s positive response to OIC’s request to arrange for a visit by the Secretary General and a ministerial delegation of the Contact Group on Rohingya to Rakhine State and other areas where Muslims live in Myanmar. The Contact Group expressed the importance of forming a united opinion and coordinating initiatives expeditiously and over a long period of time. It decided to table an OIC sponsored resolution specific to Myanmar to the UN General Assembly at the 68th Session. In his statement to the meeting, Secretary General Ihsanoglu urged the member countries to push forward with their efforts to enhance active communication with the international community to implement the Makkah Summit recommendations. He expressed willingness to coordinate positions for the provision of the support needed to improve the situation of Muslims in Myanmar in order for them to recover all their legitimate rights and return to their land. Director General of the Arakan Rohingya Union (ARU) Dr. Wakar Uddin also spoke at the meeting and gave an account of the latest developments in Arakan and his participation in a US congressional hearing about Muslim minorities in Myanmar last week, which was facilitated by the OIC. The meeting called upon the OIC Secretary General to actively follow up the situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar within the implementation of the resolution adopted at the 4th Extraordinary Summit held in Makkah Al-Mukkaramah. The meeting also called upon OIC Member States and OIC financial institutions to contribute generously to the Rohingya Minority in Myanmar to ensure the return of the internally displaced persons and refugees to their homeland and construction activities in Rakhine State. The meeting called upon the government of Myanmar to find a lasting solution to the plight of the Muslim Rohingya
minority, including their legal status and birthrights. OIC Contact Group Meeting on Bosnia and Herzegovina emphasizes tackling obstacles to reform process The OIC Ministerial Contact Group on Bosnia Herzegovina also convened on 24 September. The meeting discussed in depth the developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and reiterated the OIC support to preserve the unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty and international personality of Bosnia and Herzegovina, within internationally recognized borders. The OIC Contact Group, in this respect, emphasized the importance of the decision-making powers of Bosnian legal structures for the proper functioning of the State, and stressed the need to tackle any existing mechanisms that may hamper these powers, as part of the reform process. The meeting called upon all the political factions to focus on the country’s economic and development priorities and the need for the country’s politicians not to engage in divisive or inflammatory rhetoric. The meeting also called upon the political leadership for more reforms and interethnic cooperation in order to strengthen State institutions. In his statement to the meeting, Secretary General Ihsanoglu stressed that sustaining the security and stability of the entire country is the key guarantee for ensuring a fully developed and prosperous society. He spoke about his visit to Bosnia Herzegovina in April 2013 where he met with the senior leadership of the country and raised the issue of the full membership of Bosnia Herzegovina in the OIC. Ihsanoglu stressed OIC’s full commitment to the reconstruction and development of Bosnia Herzegovina and reiterate the critical role of the OIC Contact Group on Bosnia in monitoring the situation in the country in order to help the Bosnian people. Ihsanoglu discusses OIC-EU relations with Baroness Ashton, meets Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka and President of TRNC Meanwhile, the Secretary General discussed the progress in OIC-EU relations with EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Baroness Catherine Ashton following the opening of the OIC Permanent Observer Mission in Brussels recently. He also had a fruitful meeting with OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier on cooperating in various fields. In his meeting with the Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka G.L. Peiris, he expressed concern over the situation of Muslim community in Sri Lanka following recent attacks targeting them, which the minister condemned and expressed willingness to cooperate with OIC on addressing this issue. The minister also raised the issue of Sri Lanka’s application for observer status to the OIC. On the other hand, the Secretary General met with the President of Turkish Republic of North Cyprus Dervis Eroglu and reiterated OIC’s support. OIC calls upon the world’s states to ban products of Israeli settlements from entering their markets The OIC Six-Member Committee on Palestine met on 25 September 2013. The Secretary General opened the meeting
with a statement affirming the OIC’s unwavering position on the cause of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif, and called for concerted efforts to put an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, to assist the Palestinian people to gain their rights of return, freedom, and the realization of a sovereign independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Ihsanoglu also welcomed the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly to admit Palestine as an observer state at the UN. Regarding the resumption of peace talks, Ihsanoglu said that OIC adopted a position supporting the Palestinian demands on the need for Israel to accept the clear terms of reference of the peace process, agree to the 1967 borders, release Palestinian prisoners detained in its prisons before 1993, while halting settlement in all occupied Palestinian territories, including Al-Quds. “The sponsor of the peace process and the international community must compel Israel to commit to these guiding principles which, if not observed, would perpetuate the conflict and instability and would lead to the vanishing of the possibility of the two-state solution.” On the Strategic Plan for the Development of Al-Quds adopted by the Islamic Summit, he invited all OIC member states, institutions and funds that have not made any pledges at the Donors’ Conference held in June to provide every possible support. “This plan is the first Islamic strategic plan which identifies the needs of the city and the priorities of financing its institutions and people. It is flexible enough to give states the possibility to adopt one or many projects or even an entire sector.” The meeting welcomed the decision of the European Union to exclude the Israeli settlements from any future agreement with any of the EU states and not to finance, cooperate with or provide any study or research grants to any Israeli individual or body in the settlements built on Arab and Palestinian land occupied since 1967. It called upon the world’s States to take the necessary measures to ban any products of Israeli settlements from entering their markets in fulfillment of the obligations contained in international treaties, to prevent Israeli settlers from entering their territories, and to impose sanctions on companies and bodies contributing to the construction of the wall and to the other illegal Israeli acts in the occupied Palestinian territory. Ihsanoglu meets President of Iran and the Foreign Minister of Myanmar The Secretary General Ihsanoglu had a bilateral meeting with the President of Iran H.E. Hasan Rouhani on the sidelines of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The two stressed on unity and harmony among Muslims and removing misconceptions associating Islam with terrorism. They also discussed fields for further cooperation between Iran and the OIC. The Secretary General also had a bilateral meeting with the Foreign Minister of Myanmar U Wunna Maung Lwin and expressed the concern of the OIC and the Member States over the situation of the Muslim community, particularly Rohingya, in Myanmar, and discussed arrangements for his and the Ministerial delegation upcoming visit to Myanmar. 25
WORLD AFFAIRS The Foreign Minister said that the government is doing its utmost to bring harmony in the country and welcomed the visit and cooperation with OIC in its humanitarian assistance. OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir reconfirms principled position Meanwhile, the Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir met on 25 September 2013 at the Ministerial level. The meeting was opened by the OIC Secretary General who reconfirmed the principled position of the OIC in fully supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their struggle to achieve their legitimate rights. OIC ready to assist the new government in Mali to achieve national reconciliation The OIC Contact Group on Mali also met at the Ministerial level on 25 September. The meeting welcomed the remarkable progress made in the political and security fields since the liberation of the North. In this context, it further welcomed the Interim peace agreement reached in Ouagadougou on 18 June 2013 between the Transitional National Unity Government and the rebel Tuareg opposition which paved the way for the implementation of the Roadmap leading to the successful conduct of the general elections and the restoration of constitutional order in Mali. In his statement to the meeting, the Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu congratulated the new authorities led by President Ibrahim Boubakar Keita. He urged the new leadership to give priority to an inclusive dialogue and comprehensive national reconciliation for durable solutions to legitimate grievances, which in the past have been exploited by rebel groups seeking to destabilize the country and the region. He stressed OIC’s readiness to assist the new government in this regard. He also urged the international community especially partners and countries in the region to intensify and sustain their engagement in partnership with the government for the long term recovery, peace building and development in Mali. The meeting requested the Member States and OIC financial institutions to provide the necessary assistance for the long-term development of Mali. It further urged that the required steps be initiated for the creation of the Trust Fund as decided by the 12th Islamic Summit. Turkey requested to host the next meeting of the Contact Group on Mali. Meetings with Sharif, Clinton, Al-Nasser, Zibari, Fahmi, Lackin and Eide The Secretary General was received by the Prime Minister of Pakistan H E Nawaz Sharif and talked about developments in Pakistan and means of OIC-Pakistan cooperation in science and technology, particularly that Pakistan is the chair of COMSTECH. Ihsanoglu had a cordial meeting with former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during which they exchanged views on the challenges facing the Muslim world. During her term 26
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as Secretary of State, cooperation between the US and OIC developed on different fields, including women empowerment in the Muslim world, and was highlighted with the adoption of Resolution 16 /18 at the UN Human Rights Council on combating religious intolerance and the joint launching of the Istanbul Process to follow up on implementing the resolution. Clinton was the first Secretary of State to visit OIC and that was in February 2010. Ihsanoglu visited the State Department twice and met President Obama at the White House in April 2011. The OIC and the US signed a MOU for cooperation in the humanitarian field in regions of the Muslim world needing aid. The Secretary General also met with the current UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar who assumed the post on March 1, 2013, and discussed with him future cooperation between the OIC and AoC. The Secretary General held bilateral meetings with the Foreign Minister of Iraq, Hoshiar Zabari; the Foreign Minister of Egypt, Nabil Fahmi; the Foreign Minister of Suriname, Winston G Lackin and the Foreign Minister of Norway, Espen Barth Eide. Ihsanoglu attends meeting on ‘Istanbul Process’ The Secretary General participated in a meeting on the Istanbul Process and HRC resolution 16 /18, hosted by UK Minister of State Baroness Warsi, of foreign ministers, on 26 September, to discuss international efforts to fight violence in the name of religion. The meeting also discussed efforts to promote freedom of religion and belief for all. UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/ 18 prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion or belief and the incitement of violence against people based on their religion or belief. OIC Secretary General discusses regional issues with UN Secretary General The OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu was received by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon at the latter’s office on Saturday 28 September 2013. In the meeting, Ban Ki-moon described Ihsanoglu as a regional and global leader who has established an unforgettable legacy of strong cooperation between the OIC and the UN during his nine years tenure. He mentioned that Ihsanoglu remained as a source of wisdom and inspiration for him while dealing with global crises situations. Ihsanoglu on his turn thanked Ki-moon for lending strong support through his seven years in office to the UNOIC relations guiding it to a strategic partnership. While introducing his successor Iyad Madani to the UN Secretary General he expressed his expectation that the upcoming OIC Secretary General would receive the same level of support and cooperation from the UN. The UN Secretary General assured Ihsanoglu of his continued and full support for the OIC as well as for his successor. Their discussion mainly centered on Palestine, Syria, Myanmar, and counter terrorism and radicalism initiatives.
at this year’s United Nations OIC Reception
Mali’s Global Enlightenment Campaign: Festival in Exile & Timbuktu Renaissance with the assistance of Manny Ansar, Chris Shields & Salif Niang
Photographs credited to Gloria Starr Kins
n May of 2013 and in accordance with Cairo Summit resolutions, a 22 member OIC Contact Group on Mali met to explore pathways for peace in the region, and to denounce the tragic events that had occurred since early 2012 that contradict Islamic values of compassion, tolerance and plurality. The meeting reaffirmed the position of the OIC towards Mali’s unity and sovereignty, and urged all OIC member states to contribute the necessary financial aid and post-conflict development support to alleviate the suffering of millions afflicted by the devastating crisis. The Contact Group also called on the OIC institutions to launch an Enlightenment Campaign to help spread correct Islamic values in the region, and refute the negative image propagated by extremists. The Secretary-General assured the gathering that the OIC would actively play the role assigned to it under the agreement to restore durable peace in Mali and the Sahel. To highlight this Enlightenment Campaign and encourage similar involvement among member states, on September 26, 2013, the OIC honored the internationally inspiring work of Mali’s newly elected President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and the Festival-in-Exile Platform (the Live Aid of tolerance and catalyst of Timbuktu’s symbolic renaissance) at this year’s United Nations OIC Reception. The OIC Secretary General delivered the following remarks to the 57 member state delegation, and special guests, followed by comments from Mali’s newly elected President IBK, the Saharan cultural
ambassador Manny Ansar, and an all-star performance of Mali’s finest musicians: “We have his Excellency, President Keita of Mali with us. His presence signifies the triumph of Democracy in Africa. We are all expressing our congratulations and support to him and to his beautiful country, an oasis of civilization, culture and music in Africa. Celebrated the world over for the richness of its music culture, the country of Mali is considered the very cradle of the Blues. Tragically, in early 2012, much of this vibrant heritage was silenced due to unfortunate developments. This included the exiling of Timbuktu’s Festival Of The Desert, which in recent times has become one of the world’s most famous musical pilgrimages. Join the OIC this evening, as we stand in solidarity with Mali’s new President [IBK], the cultural ambassador of the Sahara Mr. Manny Ansar; and his all-star gathering Mali’s leading musicians. We join them in their quest to spread peace and plurality through cultural exchange and the power of music.” 27
OIC and Russia solidify their cooperation the ‘Certificate for Great Contribution for the Development of Relations between the Russian Federation and the OIC Member States and the Enhancement of Relations between the Parliaments of Russia and the OIC Member States’. On the sidelines of his visit to Moscow the Secretary General also met the Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Dimitry Mezentsev, and discussed development of relations between the two organizations. Both sides expressed their commitment to continue consultations with a view to exploring ways to establish dialogue and cooperation.
Rustam Minnikhanov, President of the Republic of Tatarstan, welcoming OIC Secretary General Ihsanoglu in Kazan
Moscow, Russia – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu signed in Moscow with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov a Cooperation Framework agreement on 1 October 2013 between the OIC General Secretariat and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The signing ceremony took place at the Foreign Ministry’s Mansion in central Moscow followed by a joint press conference where Minister Lavrov awarded the Secretary General with the Russian Foreign Ministry’s `Medal for the Contribution to International Cooperation` and thanked Ihsanoglu for his dedication and continued efforts for enhancing the OIC-Russia relations. The Cooperation Framework aims at institutionalizing the ongoing fruitful cooperation between the OIC and the Russian Federation in various domains including political, socio-economic and science and technology. It also allows for regular consultations between the OIC General Secretariat and the Russian Foreign Ministry. The Secretary General also had a working lunch hosted by Minister Lavrov where the officials from the Russian Foreign Ministry were also present where both sides exchanged views on issues of mutual interest and reiterated their commitment to further the already existing good cooperation between the OIC and Russian Federation. During his visit to Moscow, the Secretary General had a separate meeting with the First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of Russia (Senate) Dr. Alexander Torshin and Deputy Chairman Ilias Ummakhanov who praised and thanked the Secretary General for his efforts to facilitate Russia’s observer membership to the OIC and his commitment to further develop Russia’s relations with the Islamic World. The Secretary General was awarded with 28
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Ihsanoglu speaks at Kazan Summit: Secretary General Ihsanoglu visited Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan of the Russian Federation, on 2 October 2013 to participate at the Fifth International Economic Summit of Russia and OIC countries (Kazan Summit-2013), held in Kazan, on 2- 3 October 2013. Ihsanoglu was received by H.E. Rustam Minnikhanov, President of the Republic of Tatarstan. In the meeting, the Secretary General commended the close working relations between the OIC General Secretariat and the Republic of Tatarstan, aimed at increasing intra-OIC economic cooperation in the areas of trade, investment and Islamic finance. President Minnikhanov expressed his thanks and appreciation to Ihsanoglu for his relentless efforts to enhance the OIC-Russia relations as well as his valuable contribution to Islamic World. Both side agreed to further the existing cooperation in the field of trade, Islamic finance, science and technology as well as education, especially in the Scholarship Programmes. During the visit the Secretary General gave a lecture at the Institute of International Relations of the Kazan Federal University attended by academicians, researchers and a serious number of students. In his addressed to the International Economic Summit of Russia and OIC countries, Ihsanoglu stated that the Kazan Summit has since benefitted from participation of many stakeholders from OIC member states in such critical sectors as civil engineering, telecommunications, manufacturing, industrial development and the Halal food industry. This has contributed to the current increase in the volume of trade exchanges between both sides as a group from US$ 60 billion in 2010 to US$ 80 billion in 2012. While commending the positive role of Tatarstan in the broader context of OIC’s growing relations with the Russian Federation as an observer member of the OIC, the Secretary General particularly referred to the increasing participation of Tatarstan in the development of Halal food industry and the promotion of Islamic financial products. The Secretary General hoped that the Kazan Summit will increase collaboration between the Private and Public Sector institutions for the development of a robust public-private partnership for accelerated socio-economic development within the Muslim Ummah.
In the same vain, Ihsanoglu delivered a speech at the Second Parliamentary Consultative Meeting of OIC Member States and the Russian Federation in Kazan on 3 October 2013. He declared that this forum would sustain the momentum generated by the increasing interaction among OIC national commercial institutions and their counterparts in the Russian Federation. Ihsanoglu said that the enhanced relations between both sides came from the role of Parliamentarians in fostering people-to-people relations among Russia and Muslim countries and in the adoption of relevant laws and legislations that would facilitate these processes. 225th anniversary of the Central Muslim Spiritual Board of Russia: The Secretary General also visited Ufa, capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan of the Russian Federation to attend high level conference on “Islam and the State in Russia” upon the invitation of Grand Mufti and President of the Central Muslim Spiritual Board His Eminence Talgat Safa Tadzhuddin on the occasion of the celebration of the 225th Anniversary of the Founding of the Central Muslim Spiritual Board of Russia on 22 October 2013. In his address to the ceremony commemorating the 225th anniversary of the founding of the Central Muslim Spiritual Board, Secretary General Ihsanoglu emphasized that Islam, as the second largest religion in the Russian Federation, enjoys a special status in the society. He commended Grand Mufti Tadzhuddin and the Central Muslim Spiritual Board of Russia for their great services in upholding and further enriching Islamic culture. The Secretary General further underlined peace, tolerance, compassion, moderation and modernization as the main principles of Islam and commended that Muslims in Russia live in peace and harmony together with the citizens of other faiths. Ihsanoglu stressed that the Islamic culture flourished and enriched the lives of the Russian people irrespective of their faith. He pointed out despite many trying times and challenges the Muslims of Russia passionately held on to their faith and culture for which they have earned the admiration of the whole world. He further stressed OIC’s commitment to interfaith and inter-religious harmony and highlighted its well-established position against terrorism where he strongly condemned the recent terrorist attack in Volvograd and offered condolences to families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded. The ceremony was inaugurated by President Vladimir Putin where he stressed Islam as an important element of Russian society, culture and history and commended the important work and sacrifices made by the Muslim community in Russia for their country. Ihsanoglu speaks about the future of OIC at the International Affairs Institute in Russia: The Secretary General addressed the International Affairs Institute in Russia on 15 September 2013 on the “Future of OIC, Its Role and Challenges in the Muslim World”. At the outset, he spoke about the developing relationship between
the Russian Federation and the OIC. Russia has become very active in OIC within the framework of its status as observer state and there are frequent political consultations and an institutional cooperation regarding political issues. Meanwhile, in economic matters, in financial matters, in cultural matters and in other areas, relations have improved. An agreement between some OIC institutions and economic institutions of Russia was signed the day before for expanding the cooperation between the OIC and Russian Federation. The Secretary General then spoke about OIC’s role and the challenges in the Muslim world and pointed to the many achievements it has made during the past few years. He said that the OIC future in the world from political aspect, economical aspect, and demographic aspect is promising. “I also think OIC in the UN should acquire a new position,” he said. Ihsanoglu pointed out that the OIC now is the biggest voting bloc and during the first reconsideration of the reform in the UN he suggested there should be a seat for OIC in the Security Council. “Because if you look to the structure of the Security Council of today, you have the P5 (Permanent Five) and there are representatives of different civilization, different cultures, political powers, of course, but you won’t find representative of more than 1.6 billion people of Muslim world. Meanwhile, when you look to the other 10 non-permanent members, you will find that 4 countries have always been from the Asian and African groups and they are always among the members of the Security Council. And I think the status acquired by the EU in 2011 in UN should also be acquired by the OIC. The EU has acquired a new status, where they can involve, propose items on agenda and speak in the General Assembly on behalf of the member countries. Well, some can argue that there is a difference between the structure of the EU and that of the OIC, but I think that we should keep in mind that we have to develop our position there.”
Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (R) enters the hall with OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu (epa)
Peace Committee for Southern Philippines reiterates commitment to engage for solution Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The OIC Peace Committee for Southern Philippines held a meeting at the OIC Headquarters on 4 November 2013, and reiterated its commitment to continue to engage in contributing to the comprehensive solution for peace in Southern Philippines. It also stressed on the importance of the continuation of the facilitating role of the OIC for the peace process between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The Committee also called for the acceleration efforts for the activation of the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum and invited the OIC Member States, subsidiary organs and specialized and affiliated institution as well as Islamic charitable organizations to increase their humanitarian assistance, with a particular attention to humanitarian situation in the city of Zamboanga after the violent incident in September 2013. Furthermore, the 5th Tripartite meeting between the Government of the Philippines (GPH), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the OIC, which was supposed to take place in September but was postponed due to the events that took place in Zamboanga, will be held after the 40th OIC Council of Foreign Ministers Meeting (CFM) in Guinea. In his statement to the consultation meeting of the OIC Peace Committee for Southern Philippines (OIC-PCSP) Ihsanoglu called for a plan of action to ease tension and reach
a comprehensive solution for peace in Southern Philippines. He said the plan of action ought to be based on 6 points. These points are: the full implementation of previous agreements in particular Tripoli Agreement of 1976 and Jakarta Agreement of 1996; the continuation of OIC’s facilitating role of the peace process; encourage and support negotiations between Government of Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF); activation of coordination efforts between the two Fronts (MNLF and MILF) through Bangsamoro Coordination Council; appealing to GPH to urgently settle the judicial position of MNLF leader Nur Missuari; and invite OIC member states and relief organizations to consolidate their relief efforts to the victims of events of Zamboanga and ease the humanitarian situation there. The Secretary General warned that the situation is really serious and threatens of complete deterioration, stressing that the only safety valve that prevents a complete flare up of the situation is the OIC. The Secretary General had issued a statement in October where he expressed deep concern over the number of persons displaced in the wake of the recent violence in Zamboanga, Southern Philippines, reportedly numbering more that 120,000 children, women and the elderly, whose homes and properties were lost to destruction and fire during those tragic events.
OIC ready to be partner for peace in Southern Thailand Thailand – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is following up on the conditions of Muslim communities in Thailand and reviewed the reports on the commitment of all parties to the ceasefire initiative in Ramadan. In a meeting with the Prime Minister of Thailand, Ihsanoglu reiterated the OIC’s readiness to be a partner in the process so that peace, security, economic development and prosperity could be enjoyed by all peoples of Southern Thailand. The OIC Secretary General met with the Prime Minister of Thailand Yingluck Shinawatra in Istanbul on 6 July 2013. The meeting was attended by Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and other senior government officials. The Thai Prime Minister expressed her Government’s desire to engage positively with the OIC on the issue of the Southern Border Provinces and emphasized her wish to secure peace and stability in that region. The Secretary General thanked the Prime Minister for her expressions of good will and encouraged the Thai authorities to accelerate the ongoing process of confidence building measures and to address the root causes of the problem through a comprehensive approach based on empowering the population of Southern provinces to assume the responsibilities of their internal affairs through a system that allows residents to exercise their cultural and linguistic 30
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specificities, and manage their natural resources under the full respect for the country’s constitution and territorial integrity. The Secretary General further welcomed the steps of the Government of Thailand, in cooperation with Malaysia, to start a constructive dialogue with BRN, one of the opposition factions, in order to develop a road map to resolve the existing problems through dialogue; and expressed the hope that in future this dialogue will expand and be more inclusive so that other organizations and groups representing Muslims in Southern Thailand can participate. The Thai Prime Minister informed the Secretary General that, following the common understanding expressed in the Joint Press Statement issued after the Secretary General’s visit to Thailand in 2007 and the statement following the 2012 visit of the Secretary General’s Special Envoy, the Government was in the process of lifting the emergency law in five territories following a process of consultation with the local communities. Progress had also been made in the field of education where government supported schools and religious learning centers catering to the local population had been established in the South earlier this year. The Prime Minister further reiterated the Government’s desire to engage in peaceful solutions to the problems of the South and to obtain support of the OIC in that regard.
OIC Secretary General hails Kosovo’s first post-independence elections as milestone Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu expressed his satisfaction of the successful conduct of the local elections held in Kosovo on 3 November 2013, despite some violent incidents that tainted the first electoral process in Kosovo post-independence. The Secretary General commended the tremendous efforts
deployed by Kosovar authorities, notably the Central Elections Commission, for ensuring an electoral process described by many international election observers as free and fair. He emphasized that these local elections mark a milestone in the democratic process undertaken in Kosovo and should in no way be impeded by the few extremist factions that seek to subvert it.
OIC commemorates Kashmir Black Day
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – In commemoration of Kashmir Black Day, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu inaugurated a photo exhibition at the OIC Headquarters on 4 November 2013 depicting the atrocities and human rights violations committed in Indian-Occupied Kashmir. The exhibition, organized by the Embassy of Pakistan in Saudi Arabia, was attended by the Ambassador of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia Naeem Khan, the Consul General of Pakistan Aftab Ahmed, and the True Representative of Kashmiris Ghulam Muhammad Safi - who all spoke at the occasion on the poignant memory and aftermath - as well as Saudi dignitaries and officials from the diplomatic community in Jeddah. In his opening remarks, the Secretary General reiterated OIC’s full and unwavering solidarity with the people of
Jammu and Kashmir and its support to their legitimate struggle for their fundamental human rights, including the inalienable right to self-determination. Ihsanoglu again called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict and urged the OIC Member States and the international community to extend all forms of material and political assistance to the Kashmiri people, which he believes remains insufficient. He confirmed that OIC Offices in New York and Geneva and the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir will continue their efforts in support of Kashmiri people and that his Special Representative Ambassador Abdullah Alim will soon undertake an official visit to Islamabad and Azad Kashmir accompanied by representatives of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF) and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) to explore avenues of providing necessary assistance. He concluded by reaffirming that OIC welcomes any positive initiative that could bring an end to the dispute and commended the flexibility shown by Pakistan towards achieving a peaceful solution hoping that India would reciprocate.
Elections in Mali, Iraqi Kurdistan, Guinea, and Azerbaijan Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The OIC Secretary General, Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has expressed his satisfaction over the good democratic spirit which prevailed in Mali during the runoff of the Presidential election held on 11th August 2013. He commended Malians for their faith in democracy by holding peaceful, free and fair elections, affording them the possibility of choosing a democratically elected new President who would serve the mandate of restoring durable peace through a process of national reconciliation and promote sustainable socio-economic development. At the invitation of the Independent High Electoral Commission in Iraq, a high-level delegation of observers from the General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation took part in monitoring the parliamentary elections held in the Kurdistan region of Iraq on Saturday, 21
September 2013. The members of the delegation monitored all stages of voting in the provinces of Kurdistan, and recorded large turnout of voters at polling stations, exceeding 73% of total registered voters. The OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, commended Guinean People and their leadership for the peaceful and fair parliamentary elections which took place on 28th September 2013 after several years of postponement. The OIC Secretary General also congratulates the people of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the successful completion of the Presidential Election held on 9 October 2013. He congratulated President Ilham Aliyev for his re-election as President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. A delegation from the OIC General Secretariat monitored the Presidential elections in a large number of polling stations in Baku and its suburbs. 31
OIC Contact Group on Myanmar makes landmark visit Joint Communiqué stresses on reconciliation, humanitarian aid and human rights
Maha Akeel Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar – Upon the invitation of the Government of Myanmar a delegation consisting of the OIC Secretary General, Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Djibouti and Turkey, and high-level representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia paid a visit to Myanmar from 14- 16 November 2013. The visit provided a unique opportunity to the OIC Delegation to be appraised of and observe firsthand the political, economic and administrative changes that Myanmar is going through under the leadership of President U Thein Sein towards ensuring peace, stability, rule of law and socio-economic progress, consistent with the aspirations of the people of Myanmar. The Delegation expressed support to the Government’s efforts to further promote inter-communal reconciliation, tolerance and peaceful-co-existence in all sectors of society by, inter alia, encouraging interfaith and inter-communal dialogue and understanding and by supporting community leaders in this direction. Meeting with Vice President and Vice Speaker of Parliament: The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and his accompanying delegation met on November 14, 2013 in the capital of Myanmar, Nay Pyi Taw, the Vice President of Myanmar and the Chairman of Central Committee on Implementation of Peace and Stability and Development in Rakhine State, Dr. Sai Mauk Kham, and the Vice Speaker of People’s Parliament, Nanda Kyawswar. The meetings were constructive reflecting both sides willingness to cooperate with the other. In both meetings, the Secretary General expressed 32
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appreciation of the recent steps taken by Myanmar towards democracy, inter-communal reconciliation, reform and ending violence to ensure full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including in Rakhine State. Ihsanoglu expressed his wish to open channels of communication and dialogue with Myanmar and that OIC, as the official representative of the Muslim world, is in a position to cooperate and contribute to socio-economic development programs in Myanmar. The OIC delegation members stressed at the meeting, which was attended by seven Members of Parliament including two Muslims, on readiness to contribute to ongoing humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance to all affected people and communities, including Rakhine State, without any discrimination. They also stressed on the need to clarify the misperceptions and misunderstandings on both sides and to build mutual trust and interfaith community harmony. The OIC delegation then had a meeting with the Interfaith Friendship Group, which had two representatives of four religious groups in Myanmar – Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian. They exchanged views on the root causes of the conflict in Rakhine and how to work together to build trust, harmony and balance in the community. Visiting IDP camps in Rakhine State: The next day, a Friday, the OIC Secretary General and the delegation visited the camps of internally displaced peoples (IDPs) in restive Rakhine State, Myanmar. The OIC delegation listened to Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims giving them a message of assurance that the OIC seeks to help both communities in order for them to live together in peace and harmony. Myanmar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Union Minister of Border Affairs, both of whom and other officials
had briefed the OIC delegation before the visit of the of the Leaders of Five Faith. Government’s efforts of resettlement, accompanied the The Delegation underlined its appreciation for the delegation’s full-day tour of three camps in the state’s capital invitation addressed by the Government of Myanmar to the of Sittwe and the town of Maungdaw. Chief Minister of Delegation and the Government’s readiness to engage with Rakhine State, who welcomed the delegation upon arrival, the OIC and its member states in line with its cooperation also joined them in the tour. with the international community. The Delegation appreciated Throngs of Rakhine Muslims, mainly from the Rohingya the ongoing efforts of the Government aimed at reviewing community, lined the dusty roads greeting the OIC delegation legislation, including the Constitution, in a compatible manner and welcoming it. There was also a small group of Buddhists with the international standards and democratic principles. protesting the visit. The Delegation called upon the Government to continue legal In his dialogue with members of the Rakhine Buddhists, reforms, including repealing laws restricting fundamental Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu stressed over and freedoms. The Delegation took note of the explanations of over again that OIC is not a religious organization and was the Myanmar authorities on their determination and efforts to not in Myanmar to spread Islam or to help Muslims only, but address the challenges relating to human rights, citizenship, to help all community members affected by violence without economic opportunities and development affecting ethnic and any discrimination. religious minorities, including the situation in the Rakhine He also emphasized on the need to build confidence and State. trust in the community and that OIC is willing to contribute The Delegation expressed the readiness of the OIC towards achieving that. member states to be able to further contribute to the ongoing Ihsanoglu and the ministerial delegation prayed at humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance provision from Thabuchaung Mosque where thousands of worshipers the OIC member states and institutions, including from surrounded them in warm welcome and tearful joy at seeing the civil society organizations in full coordination with the them. Ihsanoglu spend time listening to their grievances and Government, and to support Government’s efforts to address expressing support and sympathy. the humanitarian, rehabilitation and developmental needs of Meeting the President and a Joint Communiqué: the communities in the country including in the Rakhine State. The OIC Secretary General and the delegation of the Contact The OIC Delegation assured the Government of the principled Group had a long meeting with the President of Myanmar U position of the OIC, OIC institutions and its member states not Thein Sein on the 16th of November at the Presidential Palace to discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity and religion in the in Nay Pyi Taw. They expressed their views on the issues of provision of humanitarian assistance. Based on this principled concern and reached an understanding at the conclusion of position both parties agreed to ensure that humanitarian which agreed to issue a joint communiqué. assistance will be provided on a non-discriminatory basis In the communiqué the Delegation welcomed various through the Government of the Republic of the Union of statements and assurances of the Government of Myanmar Myanmar. to put an end to all acts of violence and protect the civilian The Government of Myanmar acknowledged the population from violence and to ensure full respect for human Delegation and OIC member states for their interest to help rights and fundamental freedoms, including in the Rakhine Myanmar promote national reconciliation and continue its State. The Delegation particularly took note of and found progress towards full democracy and welfare in peace and exceptionally important the statements of President U Thein stability. Sein, including his statement of 28 March 2013, in which he guaranteed all perpetrators of violence would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and noted the establishment of the Central Committee for Implementation of Stability and Development in the Rakhine State, as well as his message of 1 October 2013 to Ihsanoglu speaking to the crowd in the mosque and to his sides the Foreign Ministers of Djibouti and Turkey the Conference 33
OIC signs agreement with Bosnia Herzegovina’s Federal Ministry of Displaced Persons and Refugees Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) signed on 26 September 2013, a cooperation agreement with the Bosnian Federal Ministry of Displaced Persons and Refugees. Signed on behalf of the OIC by Engineer Nur Suwar Dhahab, Director of the Refugees and Displaced Persons Return Fund in Bosnia and Minister Adel Osmanovic for the Bosnian side, the agreement seeks to assist returning refugees to earn a living. The signing ceremony was witnessed by representatives of all OIC diplomatic missions namely, embassies of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Malaysia, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Libya, Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Palestine.
The agreement provides for assisting refugees with means of earning a living such as agricultural implement, cows, sheep, and greenhouses. These assistances will be applied in sixteen municipalities in Bosnia Herzegovina. The contract is valued at 1 million Bosnian Mark (500,000 Euros), with 40% to be contributed by the Fund, 30% by the Ministry of Refugees, and 30% by the beneficiary. It should be mentioned that this agreement is one of the most important and successful projects for the Ministry of Refugees and its beneficiaries, thus underscoring the seriousness of the beneficiaries in its implementation.
OIC honors Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal for constructive partnership with his Foundation Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation staged a ceremony in honor of HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation, as an expression of its appreciation for his eminent efforts and achievements in the philanthropic and humanitarian fields in favor of the OIC Member States and their humanitarian organizations. The ceremony was attended by HRH Prince Khaled Bin Badr Bin Abdulaziz, Governor of the Riyadh Province, as well as HRH Prince Turki Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Governor of the province. The OIC Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said at the ceremony, which was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh, on 8 October 2013, that the event was meant to spotlight one of the radiant models of social responsibility on the part of the private sector establishments in the Islamic world, in the service of humanity and the development of human capacities at a time when the world is plying under the heavy weight an overwhelming onslaught of disasters and tragedies. The Secretary General added that Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation is indeed a paradigm of value–driven foundations, motivated by the desire to serve human fellows wherever they may be. Indeed it is not restricted in its action to any particular field or ethnicity. Rather, it seeks to contribute to every field that would elevate humans, and is limited neither by geography nor by ethnicity or religious belief. Ihsanoglu further commended HRH for his contributions in favor of advancing the OIC’s humanitarian action, as the two parties have always cooperated in multiple areas, including Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation’s assistance for Somalia, with its generous action extended to include the pivotal programs that were initiated by the OIC since the onset of the last famine that hit the country, and that have been kept up to this day, offering help for educational programs for the displaced, providing drinking water in refugee camps, setting up the pioneering first-aid integrated program in this distressed country. The programs have therefore benefited over 85,000 people among the displaced 34
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women, children and elderly people, all across Somalia. As for the Institution’s action in the Gaza Strip, the Secretary General said that the magnanimous generosity of HRH was reflected in a constructive partnership with the OIC in the areas of health, water supply and housing, to mention but a few. For his part, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz stated that the OIC has for 44 years endeavored to achieve the objectives for which it was established with a view to advancing the development of the member states. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal said: ‘At this very moment, I realize that in seeking to achieve my objectives, I share many objectives set for the OIC, and that we have a lot of things in common. I extend to this organization and its officials my utmost gratitude and appreciation for the efforts exerted and for the sincere hands which plan perfectly and produce innovatively. I also thank the OIC represented by brother Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu for their confidence and their appreciation of the efforts of our three philanthropic and humanitarian foundations, particularly Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation-Global whose charitable and humanitarian objectives converge with those of the OIC.
OIC-MSF’s 3- year partnership in Yemen “Consequently, both the government, the OIC, the IDP’s and host communities were greatly touched and satisfied with the level of medical services rendered by the MSF, and one could genuinely say that Al Mazrak Hospital is one of the most successful projects implemented under the leadership of OIC Secretary General, Prof. Ihsanoglü”.
A changed context: many of the IDP’s went back to Sa’ada
Waiting room at MSF's Al Mazraq hospital
n August 2009, fighting started again between the al-Houthi movement and the Government of Yemen in the northern province of Sa’ada. This forced the displacement of thousands of civilians to northern Sa’ada and the neighbouring governorates of Hajjah, Amran and Al Jawf. During an official visit in Yemen, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, OIC General Secretary, was requested by the Yemeni authorities to provide some assistance to the country. Decision was taken to establish a 24-bed field hospital in Al Mazraq, Haradh district, Hajjah governorate to cater for the over 60,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), as well as for the host community. At that time, the international medical organisation Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) decided to open a hospital in the area. An agreement was signed between the two institutions, sealing a collaboration that would last for more then 3 years.
Medical care for the displaced and local population
During this period, MSF provided primary and specialised secondary care to the displaced and local populations inside the OIC hospital. The maternity unit has been one of the mainstays of Al Mazraq hospital. It provided a full healthcare package, including antenatal and postnatal care, deliveries and family planning. In just under three years of work, over 10,000 pregnant women have received comprehensive antenatal care and about 2,600 have delivered at the hospital run by 16 expatriates and 125 national staff. In addition to the maternity ward, the hospital had an outpatient department (30,000 consultations), an operating theatre, an emergency unit, a laboratory, an inpatient ward and a mental health unit. 5400 children were treated for malnutrition. In total, 35 % of patients were IDPs and 65% from the local population of Razeh and Haradh districts. “As far as the medical impact of the hospital is concerned, it is apparent that the IDPs and host communities were hugely satisfied with the qualitative services” says Fuad Al Maznaee, Senior Advisor at the OIC Humanitarian Affairs Department.
In 2013, when the most acute phase of the emergency was over and the situation had stabilised, MSF ended its work in Al Mazraq and handed back the hospital to OIC. However, some of those displaced have decided not to go back because of fear or because they have nothing to return to. This is the case for Ali Yahya, 30, who fled Sa’ada in 2009. He now lives with his whole family in Camp 1, one of the two camps that are still open on the outskirts of the small town of Al-Mazraq. “We ran away from our villages because it was very difficult to stay. They destroyed our houses and there was no place to go. It is difficult to go back to that area. Where exactly should we go? Everything is destroyed. That’s it,” he laments.
A fruitful first partnership
It was the first time that the OIC and MSF collaborated on a humanitarian project. For both sides, this innovative approach has brought very fruitful results. In fact, each side could offer to the other what it was looking for according to their relative capacities and experience. This partnership had a very positive effect on an already long-standing relation. The move towards an effective collaboration helped the two organisations know each other better and move towards more in-depth, concrete and operationally oriented discussions that would extend far beyond Yemen, to Somalia, Myanmar and Sudan among other examples. “With Al Mazrak hospital, the OIC proactively partnered with a Western humanitarian organization for the first time ever. This is important, particularly after the negative perceptions created in the minds of some Western NGOs after 9/ 11. The OIC-MSF cooperation served to dilute such negative perceptions, clearly demonstrating that we can work together, without any prejudice, in service of humanity, as we share the same humanitarian values” says Fuad al Maznaee. “In light of this positive experience, the OIC would not hesitate to repeat the collaboration with MSF in other humanitarian situations.” As the purpose of field hospitals is to be used during emergencies, it is at time difficult to maintain them over the long run and integrate them into the existing health system. As Tarek Daher, MSF general coordinator in Yemen, points out, “Some health structures have been built in Al Mazraq during the hand over period, which are not needed. I hope that the concerned authorities will show some planning and vision capabilities and will take the appropriate decisions in order to ensure the continued existence of Al Mazraq hospital”.. 35
OIC NEWS OIC Chief awarded Life-Long Success Award by East-West Institute in Washington DC
: Ihsanoglu with retired General James L Jones, Ross Perot Jr and Dr John Edwin Mrotz
Washington DC, USA – The Secretary General of Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu was awarded the “Life-long Success Award” by the East-West Institute in Washington DC on 10 October 2013. Ihsanoglu has been an unfailing advocate of tolerance and the peaceful resolution of international conflicts. Receiving his award, Prof. Ihsanoglu said, “In my vision for
future I believe it is important to reflect upon the challenges facing the Muslim world today. These remain the scourge of radicalism and extremism which still pervades many societies. If we do not succeed in meeting these challenges the whole world faces conflict and turmoil.” Prof. Ihsanoglu also stated that the international community had to understand the value of political stability, social cohesion and how to transform societies through good governance and democracy. He added that he had worked to make the OIC an agent of moderation and modernization in the Muslim world dedicated to identifying the root causes which in most of the cases relate to socio-economic grievances, perceptions of injustice and international double standards. The Secretary General defined his future vision to include the empowerment of women, youth and civil society in the Muslim world. To this end, he said: “I believe the friendship of the peoples of the USA and of the Muslim World is more vital than ever. We need to better inform our peoples about each other. We should not allow hate mongers, either individuals or groups to tarnish our mutual perceptions at a time when we need to work harder to further improve understanding and cooperation between our peoples.”
CAIR hosts farewell reception for OIC Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu Washington DC, USA - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) hosted a farewell reception at its Capitol Hill headquarters for Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), whose term as secretary general will conclude at the end of 2013. At the reception, CAIR presented an award to Prof. Ihsanoglu in recognition of his “lifetime commitment to interfaith and intercultural dialogue and of his pioneering work to increase understanding of Islam and Muslims.” When accepting the award, Prof. Ihsanoglu said: “I think we need more support for CAIR, and I have been always trying to do this on my own and through people who also believe in CAIR’s mission. I thank you. I wanted to pay you a farewell visit in my capacity as secretary general.” CAIR National Executive Director Dr. Nihad Awad said in this occasion: “We appreciate Secretary General Ihsanoglu’s vision, leadership and hard work to increase the effectiveness and profile of OIC’s efforts internationally, and we appreciate his support of our work at CAIR.” CAIR staff also shared the findings of their recently
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Nihad Awad, Executive Director of CAIR, presenting Ihsanoglu with a plaque
released report on Islamophobia in the United States with the secretary general and his associates and discussed how the two institutions can work together to challenge Islamophobia. The OIC's Islamophobia Observatory issued its fifth worldwide report on Islamophobia in November 2012.
OIC Secretary General visits Mozambique Highlights OIC’s economic projects in Africa
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique, Oldemiro Baloi, greeting OIC Secretary General
Maputo, Mozambique – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu concluded a two-day official visit to the Republic of Mozambique on 5 September 2013. He is the first OIC Secretary General to visit the southern African OIC Member State within the last twenty years since the country got its OIC membership in 1994. Secretary General Ihsanoglu was received by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique, Oldemiro Baloi, at his office to exchange views on various issues of national and international importance. The two interlocutors took this opportunity to review and find ways and means to strengthen cooperation between Mozambique and the OIC. They also reviewed the situation in the southern African region, the Middle East and the economic and social projects that OCI has initiated in Mozambique. The Secretary General highlighted the role, challenges and opportunities for the OIC in Africa in a lecture he gave there on 6 September 2013. He enumerated the projects of the OIC in the African countries members in the OIC. He noted that the 5-year Special Program for the Development of Africa
(SPDA) had a capital outlay of US$12 billion and has, since its take-off in 2008, provided meaningful interventions in various African countries. Ihsanoglu pointed out that the focus areas of these projects are (i) agriculture for food security; (ii) water and sanitation; (iii) power generation and distribution; (iv) transport infrastructure; (v) education; and (vi) eliminating major communicable diseases and pandemics. At the end of the implementation of all the projects under SPDA, major outcomes have been realized including, among others, upgrading and construction of a total of over 2500 km of roads in 13 OIC member states; construction of 2 new airports in Senegal and Sudan; generation of 900 MW of electricity in 6 OIC member states; building and equipping of 325 new primary and secondary schools including 1000 classrooms; as well as upgrading and construction of 11 hospitals and 123 clinics, health centers and primary health care units. In the same vein, the OIC Cotton Plan of Action has become one of the promising plans for enhancing development in the OIC African member countries. The OIC Secretary General confirmed that the cotton sector in Africa had a huge potential for wealth creation, rural development, youth and women employment and industrialization in Africa. Ihsanoglu said that in implementing the Dakar-Port Sudan Railway Project, an alliance has been created with the African Union, which has a similar project: Dakar-Djibouti Transport Corridor. He added that this alliance has facilitated the completion of the pre-feasibility studies and member states are now preparing their national corridors for the mobilization of necessary funding prior to implementation. During the visit to Mozambique, Ihsanoglu also had a meeting with the leaders of the local Muslim community, who briefed him on how the community is integrated in the Mozambican society, although facing financial challenges to implement initiatives that would benefit the society in general and Muslims in particular.
5th International Conference on Islamic Civilization in East Africa Zanzibar, Tanzania – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu participated in the 5th International Conference on Islamic Civilization held in Zanzibar, Tanzania from 3 to 6 September, 2013. The Conference was organized by the Istanbul-based Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), a subsidiary organ of OIC, jointly with the National Records and Archives Authority of the Sultanate of Oman and in cooperation with Zanzibar University. It was inaugurated by H.E. Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein, President of the Republic of Zanzibar, and attended by Mr. Abdul Monem bin Mansour Alhassani, Minister of Information of the Sultanate of Oman. In his statement to the Conference, the Secretary General said Tanzania not only stands as a good example for the Islamic civilization but also for the interfaith and intercultural harmony and coexistence which reflect the essence of the Islamic culture
and tradition. He said that the global civilization created by Muslims stretched from one end of the globe to the other. However, Ihsanoglu warned of the rise of Islamophobia which seeks to defame Islam and Muslims. “I firmly believe that with proper understanding of Islam and its values and dissemination of true image of Islam, the agenda of intolerance of cultural diversity and religious beliefs can be countered peacefully to safeguard our common values shared by the whole humanity,” he said. He urged for dialogue and developing understanding among cultures and religions. The Conference aimed at highlighting various aspects of Islamic civilization in Eastern Africa and promoting the exchange of views and findings of research on the impact of Islamic civilization in the region. The Conference was first held 20 years ago when Ihsanoglu was Director General of IRCICA. 37
Interview with Elmar Mammadyarov, Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan The Security Council meeting underlines importance of strengthening cooperation with the OIC
• During its two-year non-permanent membership in 20122013- at the UN Security Council Azerbaijan assumed the presidency functions twice. What are the main objectives and achievements of Azerbaijan at the UNSC? While being elected to the UN SC non-permanent seat with the support of 155 member states in 2011, Azerbaijan declared that promotion of ideals of justice and supremacy of international law enshrined in the UN Chapter, would be its priorities at the UNSC. Guided by this vision and commitment, Azerbaijan has assumed its second presidency of the United Nations Security Council on October 2013. The central theme of Azerbaijan's first presidency in May 2012 was “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts: Strengthening international cooperation in the implementation of counterterrorism obligations”. This topic was discussed at the high-level thematic meeting of the Security Council, held on 4 May 2012 under the chairmanship of H.E Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. During its second presidency in the Security Council, at the initiative of Azerbaijan on 28 October, a high-level meeting of the Security Council convened on the theme of “Strengthening partnership synergy between the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)” - the first ever meeting of the Council on this subject. The purpose of the meeting was to review the current state of cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC, as the second largest intergovernmental organization, in the maintenance of international peace and security, and to explore ideas, measures and joint actions for strengthening the partnership synergy between the two organizations. Chaired by Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister, the meeting was attended by Secretaries General of the two organizations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon and Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, as well as by the high-level representatives of States members of the Security Council. Mr. Iyad Madani, upcoming Secretary General of OIC also attended the meeting. The high-level meeting adopted the Statement by the President of the Security Council as an outcome document, which, inter alia, recognized and further encouraged the active contribution of the OIC in the work of the United Nations; called for enhanced cooperation to promote better understanding across countries, cultures and civilizations; noted that the two organizations share common objectives in fostering solutions to conflicts in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council; and underlined the importance of strengthening cooperation with the OIC in the maintenance of international peace and security. Azerbaijan presidency was also featured with the intensive discussion of African issues and visit of UN SC official mission to Africa from 3 to 9 October, and adoption a number 38
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of resolutions and presidential statements. During this four-leg mission, the members of the Council visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia with the aim of taking stock of and discussing the current political, security and humanitarian situation in Africa's Great Lakes region, as well as showcasing their support to the UN-led and regional peace efforts and holding meetings with relevant authorities, as well as annual joint discussions with Peace and Security Council of African Union. Another important undertaking during Azerbaijan presidency was the 7th annual joint consultative meeting between the African Union Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council held in Addis-Ababa. The meeting, co-chaired by Equatorial Guinea and Azerbaijan in their respective capacities as presidents of both bodies, had discussions and exchange of views on the situation in the Great Lakes region, Somalia, the Central African Republic and the Sahel region, the relations between the Sudan and South Sudan, and on the enhancement of partnership between the African Union and the United Nations. The meeting was concluded with the adoption of a Joint Communiqué. • Azerbaijan has shown increased interest in the activities of the OIC during the past few years by hosting several of its events and conferences, including the donor’s conference for Al-Quds, and upcoming ones. Why this interest? And how do you see future cooperation between Azerbaijan and OIC? Azerbaijan historically was an inalienable part of Islamic civilization and is proud of sharing its progressive heritage. It is therefore quite natural that since regaining its independence, further development of cooperation with the OIC and Member States, has been priority objective of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy. Against this background, Azerbaijan explores every avenue to further enhance its ties with the OIC and demonstrates steadfast support its Ten-Year Program of Action and accordingly all the measures that have
been accepted based on it. In this framework, Azerbaijan by supporting the programs and initiatives of the OIC, last year voluntarily contributed three millions US Dollars to the OIC General Secretariat. As you mentioned, in June, Azerbaijan hosted a conference of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the OIC on the establishment of an Islamic financial safety net in support of Palestine, as well as a donors conference in support of the city of Al-Quds. States members of the OIC, and other international organizations attending the conferences pledged to contribute to improving Palestine's economy, health care and education, as well as to infrastructure projects. Azerbaijan’s own contribution to this initiative was five million USD. As part of its sustained engagement, Azerbaijan was pleased to host the International Conference on “Strengthening International Cooperation in Preventing Terrorism”, jointly organized by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and ISESCO on 18- 19 March 2013 in Baku under the patronage of H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Also, responding to the call for the convening of an OIC Labour Ministers Conference, the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan was very pleased to host this Conference in Baku on 23 -26 April 2013. While paying special attention to the issue of protection of women’s rights, Azerbaijan is delighted to host the 5th Session of the Ministerial Conference on Women’s Role in the Development of OIC Member States in the year of 2014. These few examples are yet another testimony of Azerbaijan’s unwavering determination to raise its relations with the OIC to qualitatively new level and contribute to widening the scope of multifaceted practical cooperation within OIC. I can reassure that, based on shared strong willingness these relations will only continue to grow and in this context, we are looking forward to working very closely with the upcoming OIC Secretary General Mr. Iyad Madani as well. • What is the perspective of Azerbaijan on the peaceful coexistence and interfaith and intercivilizational dialogue? Adhering to its principles promoting peace and tolerance in the world, Islamic civilization made great contributions to the development of mankind, leading to the harmony and prosperity among nations. Nevertheless, it is a matter of concern to observe the existing trends of Islamophobia against the Islamic Ummah. We strongly support OIC's efforts aimed at exploring the possibilities of formulating a binding international framework for preventing defamation of all religions. We believe that these measures should be actively coordinated through appropriate OIC structures which will hopefully achieve positive results. Peaceful co-existence and tolerance is historical and traditional way of life in Azerbaijan. It is not a coincidence that Azerbaijan is playing a crucial role in promoting in intercultural and interfaith dialogue and Azerbaijan has become a destination of numerous international fora aimed at promoting such noble goals. It is equally important for us that Baku Process, which was launched at the Conference of Ministers of Culture of Europe and its neighbouring regions in December 2008, envisages
the promotion and strengthening of intercultural dialogue between Europe and regions surrounding it. Azerbaijan is active member of the Group of Friends of the Alliance of Civilisations and has contributed much to its activities. We are in the view that shared commitment for global dialogue, and promotion of tolerance and peace and enhanced cooperation to that end is indispensable for development of better understanding across countries, cultures and civilizations. • How do you evaluate the role of OIC in ArmeniaAzerbaijan conflict and supporting just cause of Azerbaijan? Azerbaijan highly appreciates long standing position of OIC Member states and OIC Secretariat in condemning the Armenian occupation of 20% of its territories with notorious ethnic, cultural and religious cleansing on the seized lands. We also highly value OIC Member States principled call for immediate, unconditional and complete withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from all our occupied territories, as it demanded by the relevant resolutions and decisions of UN Security Council, OIC and other international organizations. This position of OIC Member States has found yet another manifestation at recent Cairo Final Document of OIC Heads of State and Government Summit meeting. OIC Heads of State and Government Cairo Final Document has also recognized Khojaly as an act of genocide and crime against humanity, called for its wider recognition by Member States at the national and international levels. Azerbaijan, in its turn, fully supports the efforts undertaken by the Governments of OIC Member States to restore peace and security in all conflict situations happening in the Islamic Ummah. We will continue to take further steps to contribute to these efforts and improve them in our full capacity, including in providing an appropriate humanitarian and financial assistance to those who suffered and in need. • Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is coming to the end of his term as secretary general of the OIC at the end of this year. How do you evaluate his term and what do you consider are his greatest achievements in the OIC? I would like to thank Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu for his outstanding contributions and hard work and able leadership to further institutionalize, streamline its working methods and adapt it to the realities of our modern world. Among other things, the internal reform of OIC, establishment of its permanent structures and widening scope of practical cooperation initiated by Professor Ihsanoglu, have tremendously raised efficiency of OIC in addressing the challenges and concerns of Member States and have substantially contributed to OIC’s international prestige and role. Today, as an important international institution, OIC’s valuable contributions are widely sought in maintenance of international peace and security. All these have been achieved under the dedicated leadership of Professor Ihsanoglu, as Secretary General of OIC. I wish him every success in his future endeavors. 39
HUMAN RIGHTS The Human Rights Commission establishes 4 Working Groups: Palestine, Women, Islamophobia and Development
IPHRC members taking the oath
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) decided to establish four Working Groups on its priority areas. It also decided to undertake a visit to Palestine and send a fact-finding mission to Myanmar. This was decided in the Third Session of the IPHRC held in Jeddah on 26 -31 October 2013. The Session was presided over by its new chairperson, Ambassador Mohammad Kawu Ibrahim from Nigeria, taking over from Ms. Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin, the interim Chair of the IPHRC. In his opening address to the session, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu underscored the importance of bringing about the relevance of Islamic values in addressing present day problems as a framework for the OIC Human Rights Commission. Ihsanoglu stressed that this advisory mechanism of the IPHRC was needed not only for introspection and helping Member States in crafting, devising and implementing appropriate policies that are in line with fundamental human rights but also to dispel the growing misperception about the incompatibility between Islam and human rights. He urged Commission Members to prepare comprehensive research and/or studies on priority areas identified by the IPHRC and called on the Commissioners to review and update the OIC instruments on human rights. The Commission had in-depth discussions on some of the very important contemporary issues such as Islamophobia and discrimination based on religion, human rights violations of Palestinian people and situation of Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar. In this regard, the Commission strongly condemned the continuing human rights violations perpetrated by the occupying power Israel in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories and the policy of settlements in terms of its implications towards the whole range of human rights of the Palestinian people. The Commission decided to undertake a visit to Palestine (Gaza Strip and the West Bank) to ascertain the human rights situation on the ground with a view to making appropriate recommendations to the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM). On the other hand, the Commission welcomed the recommendations made by the OIC Contact Group on Myanmar. The Commission decided to send a fact-finding 40
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mission to Myanmar to assess the situation of Rohingya Muslims. It also considered organizing a seminar or workshop on interfaith dialogue regrouping Buddhist and Muslim religious leaders. The Commission also deliberated on various aspects of the four priority areas identified in its first session. In order to pursue these issues in a more organized and focused manner, the Commission established four working groups namely the Working Group on Palestine; Working Group on the Human Rights of Women and of the Child; Working Group on Islamophobia and Muslims Minorities, and Working Group on the Right to Development. While Human Rights Education, being a cross cutting issue, will be pursued by all Working Groups, an ad hoc Working Group on contact and relationship with national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and civil society was also established. The Commission briefed the OIC Member States on its interaction with other international and regional organizations and organs working in the field of human rights, particularly women rights. The Commission decided to consider organizing a conference on women’s rights focusing on violence against women. As mandated by the Summit and the Council of Foreign Ministers, the Commission also finalized and presented three reports on the subjects of “Discrimination and Intolerance against Muslims”, the “Human Rights Situation of Rohingya Muslims” and the “Negative Impacts of Economic and Financial Sanctions on the Full Enjoyment of Human Rights”. The Commission reiterated its request to Member States to provide information on their legislation on the rights of women and children with a view to studying their compatibility with relevant Islamic teachings and international human rights obligations and to come up with a compendium of best practices and model legislation on these subjects. The Commission also called for close collaboration with organizations and institutions in the field of interfaith and inter-civilizational dialogue, including the ‘King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue’ (KAICIID). The 18 member Commission is expected to formally meet for the Fourth Session by early February 2014 in Jeddah.
International Conference on Islamophobia: Law & Media
Istanbul, Turkey – The beautiful city of Istanbul hosted an International Conference on Islamophobia: Law and Media at the Grand Tarabya Hotel on 12 -13 September 2013 in order to address the fundamental question of Islamophobia and tackle its multidimensional aspects. This event was jointly organized by the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey and the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) under the auspices of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Turkey, Bülent Arinc who officiated the opening session of the conference with the OIC Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. With the spreading of its effects around the world, Islamophobia has become one of the most significant problems of modern-days. It has been a posing threat not only for Muslim communities, but also for believers of other religions in the context of intolerance. The developments in audiovisual and social media have made the spreading of Islamophobia easier. Anti-Islamic propaganda through dissemination of distorted images and hateful language used by media also contribute to creating social repercussions of Islamophobia. On the one hand, this phenomenon is an issue of human rights, and on the other hand it could be seen as a problem of norm and values, which makes it difficult to overcome. Lack of awareness on Islamophobia further escalates the issue. The International Conference on Islamophobia: Law and Media brought together distinguished scholars, diplomats, media experts and NGOs to further discuss the relevance of the definition of Islamophobia to the question of Islamophobia as legal matter as well as the question of whether the existing international and national laws are sufficient to combat this phenomenon, media ethics, political language, discourse, culture and mechanisms. The conference also aimed to raise awareness about the inefficiency of the existing international and national laws to combat Islamophobia and its adverse manifestations. The conference was preceded by three workshops, the first entitled ‘Islamophobia and the role of the media’; the second entitled ‘Islamophobia and Law’ and the third entitled ‘Islamophobia and politics’. The conferences concluded that the term “Islamophobia” is often connected to “values and norms”, and it is seriously affecting the social and economic life of Muslims, especially in Western countries. Muslim communities need to position Islamophobia and discrimination against Muslim communities
in a different perspective, where the laws and regulations of a society effectively protect Muslims, as is the case with Jewish communities and those groups who are subjected to xenophobia. In addition, the participants noted that societies must differentiate between the perceptual concepts of Islam as a religion and Muslims as followers. For instance, the term anti-Semitism is not the same as anti-Judaism. The participating delegations strongly felt that it was necessary to determine the short and long term strategies for effectiveness on media tools. Also, there is a need for an umbrella organization or standing committee affiliated with the OIC. There is further need for including a minority perspective as well as creating a link to other discriminated groups, including other forms of racism by creating alliances with other faith-based groups, NGOs working on Islamophobia and local media. The conference emphasized that Islamophobia is now a solid threat to all civilizations. Consisting of discriminatory actions and attacks, this phenomenon should undoubtedly be a concern of law, particularly human rights law. The participants agreed that there is no single clear cut definition of Islamophobia but a plurality of them, due to the different contexts in the USA, Europe and even Muslim countries. However, since the term Islamophobia has already been in wide and extensive use with a certain conventional meaning, it is reasonable to continue with it. It was stressed that Islamophobia should be codified as a distinct and special sort of hate crime; and that ‘Soft Laws’, although not as binding and powerful as traditional law, can be useful in combating this phenomenon. The conference underlined that European politicians have played an important role in creating anti-Islam paranoia by linking genuine security issues with social challenges faced by Muslim communities. Both verbal and physical violence is a reality in the political set-up, where Islamophobic ideas are imposed on society by the institutionalization and normalization of anti-Islam rhetoric and specific terminology. There is a need to name and shame this type of political and cultural language, which is based on hatred and exclusion. Monitoring, documenting and reporting of acts committed by these actors are necessary action to take. The conference concluded that there is a need for Muslim communities to be proactive, take part in public debates and build alliances with other groups, which are dealing with human rights, to create a suitable environment for solidarity, harmony and social cohesion. In the Western countries, there are many political actors with Muslim background at the local, regional and national level. They should be partners in the common struggle of fighting Islamophobia and awarenessraising campaigns among all political actors. Today, all Muslims around the world call for recognition of Islamophobia as a hate crime and Islamophobic attitudes as human rights violations, highlighting the legal dimension of the issue. Therefore, existing relationship of Islamophobia with human rights and universal law appears to be an important subject requiring further scrutiny. 41
OIC and AU organize joint event on women empowerment and participation in public life Geneva, Switzerland – The Permanent delegations of engagement of women activist from OIC and AU members, the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and which has after 20 year has not declined, but rather has gain in the African Union (AU) to the United Nations in Geneva maturity and force. She, however, highlighted the remaining organized, for the first time, a joint event on the role of women low participation and representation of women in political in public life on the sideline of the 24th session of the Human arenas, due to social and cultural norms and structural Rights Council. This important and timely event was held on stigmas. While noting positive advancement in some places, 19 September 2013 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. she underlined the significant role and leadership of States The objective of the meeting was to raise awareness on in putting in place effective measures for eliminating gender the institutional frameworks established by the OIC and AU discrimination in political and public life. for the empowerment of women, the fights against women Mrs Pillay applauded the new engagement of the OIC’s violence and discrimination and the defense of their legitimate ‘Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights’ human rights. (IPHRC) in addressing women rights, which constitutes one The event has gathered many participants from African of its main priorities. She hoped that this body, along with and OIC Member States, and European and other countries the adoption of the OPAAW and the guidance of the OIC from divers regions, some international organizations and Secretariat will lead to a real advancement and empowerment significant number from the civil Society. of women in OIC member States. In the same vein, she also Ambassador Jean Marie Ehouzou, Permanent Observer praised the work done by professional NGOs from Islamic of the AU and Ambassador Slimane Chikh, from the OIC Countries in defending women rights. welcomed the High Commissioner, Mrs Navi Pillay for her The interim Chairperson of the IPHRC Mrs Siti Ruhaini participation in the event, which shows the strong ties between Dzuhayatin provided the audience with some information on the two organizations. They highlighted the commitment of the establishment of the IPHRC. their respective organizations for the promotion and protection A passionate and fruitful intensive dialogue followed the of women rights in Africa and in OIC Member States. The presentations made by the panelists. Divers participants have African Maputo Protocol and the OIC Plan of Action for shared their experiences on the role of women in playing a the Advancement of Women (OPAAW) are institutional stronger political role in their countries. frameworks, which have resulted from this commitment. This The panelists concluded their discussion by reiterating their event was in their view a way to better know about the role commitment as representatives of human rights commissions that women should play in the decision making process. The of more than 70 countries, which the OIC and the AU have presence on the panel, of representatives from the OIC and the as members, and representatives at the grass root level. They AU Commissions on human rights constitutes in this regard a all reflected on the need to work on the obstacles that keep new approach in exploring ways and means to better integrate women in an insecure and low level in the society. They called women’s positive inputs and activities in the public spheres. for more access to education, health systems and economic It is also an event which aimed at strengthening the relation security for women with a particular focus on rural women with civil society, an area in which women are leaders in the that are facing particular challenges in acceding to public defense of the proper rights and which provide the grass root services. Social mobilization, religious and community based challenges and experience when it comes to the protection of leaders’ involvement, media involvement, implementation of women’s fundamental rights and freedoms. several existing international and regional instruments for the The High Commissioner thanked the OIC and the AU promotion of statute of women were among the issues raised. for organizing the event. She notably highlighted the earlier
More than 3000 athletes attend the Third Islamic Solidarity Games
The host country Indonesia wins the most gold medals
Palembang, Indonesia – The third Islamic Solidarity Games (ISG) ended on 2 October 2013 with a reminder about the need to strengthen ties and foster solidarity among Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries. “The medals are not the main goal, but rather unity in diversity and solidarity among Islamic nations,” South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin said during the closing ceremony at the Jakabaring Sports Center in Palembang. After the speech by the Governor and another by Youth and Sports Minister Roy Suryo, the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF) flag was lowered to mark the end of the 11-day event, which began on Sept. 22. ISSF president Prince Nawaf bin Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz handed the flag over 42
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to a representative from Azerbaijan, the games’ next host in 2017. Indonesia collected the most gold medals with 36 in the quadrennial multi-sport games attended by more than 3,000 athletes and officials from 44 OIC member countries, competing in 13 sports. The hosts added 35 silver medals and 34 bronze medals to their total hardware count. Iran leapfrogged to second place in the final standings by amassing 30 gold, 17 silver and 12 bronze medals. Egypt, which had followed Indonesia closely until the closing day, fell to third place in the medal count. Malaysia was fourth. The two teams each garnered 26 gold medals, but the Mideast country prevailed in the silver medal count, 27 to 19.
Ghazni: Capital of Islamic Culture in the Asian Region for the Year 2013
Restoration work funded by the German Aachen University at the citadel in Ghazni (epa)
The Afghan province of Ghazni is located at the southwest of the capital Kabul, on the Kabul-Kandahar road. It is bordered by the provinces of Bamian, Wardak and Lowgar to the north; Paktia to the east, and Zabul to the south. Ghazni city was the capital of the Ghaznivid Empire and one of the most important commercial and cultural hubs of the Islamic world. Today it stands as one of the major buoyant trade and industrial centers of Afghanistan. The population of Ghazni province is made of many tribes. These include the Ghaljo or Ghalzi of the Pashto ethnic group, the Hazara Mongols who mixed with Turks and Persians. While western region of Ghazni province is mountainous, the others consist in plains with little agriculture activity. The great majority of the population works in agriculture and fruit production. Overview of Ghazni’s Islamic history: Ghazni was a remote province of the Samanid Empire which reigned over Khurasan and Transoxiana via governors appointed there. When Alptigin entrenched his rule in the region of Ghazni in 351 AH / 962 AD, Ghazni and its surroundings were governed by Turkish rulers. In 367 AH, Sebuktegin took power in Ghazni, acknowledged Samanid sovereignty and supported them in their wars against their enemies. Sebuktegin laid the foundations of one of the most lasting empires on the borders between today’s India and Afghanistan. When Sebuktegin died in year 387 AH / 997 AD, his son Ismail succeeded him, but his brother Mahmud soon overthrew him before he managed to entrench his rule in 389 AH. Mahmud of Ghazni was among the most prominent rulers of this dynasty. The Ghaznivid Empire saw its heyday during his reign. After the collapse of the Samanid rule, Mahmud made a deal with the triumphant Karakhanids under which the Gihon River was made a borderline between Ghaznivid and Karakhanid territories. Mahmud showed loyalty to the Abbasids and approached the Abbasid caliph, Al Qadir Billah, who blessed him with the prestigious title of Yamin Al Dawla wa Amin Al Millah. Mahmud of Ghazni was famous for his numerous conquests of India, driven by the desire to spread
Islam among pagan Indians. When he died in 421 AH / 1030 AD, his empire was comprising Punjab and parts of Sindh, and many Indian states on the Ganges River Valley, which recognized his rule, in addition to Afghanistan (including Ghazni) Ghor, Sajistan, Khurasan, Persia, Media (mountains) and Tokharistan. The Ghaznavid Empire disintegrated during the reign Khusrau Shah, whose rule was limited to Ghazni, Zabulistan, Kabul and Punjab, while the Ghurids put their hand in, 552 H, on Zamindawar of Bast and Tiginabad. The reign of his son and successor, Khusrau Malik, would gradually diminish culminating in the ultimate evaporation of the Ghaznavids, whose capital, Ghazni, ended up in the hands of the Ghurids. The Ghurids managed, through one of their chiefs, Shihabuddin, to capture Multan in 571, and Peshawar 575 AH, forcing Khusrau Malik, to surrender in AH 583 following repeated blockades on Lahore, capital of Punjab. He was deposed and executed in captivity with his offspring late in 1190 AD/585 AH, which marked the end of Sebuktegin dynasty. Civilizational and cultural renaissance in Ghazni: Ghazni has a rich history, both in terms of the conquests led by Mahmud of Ghazni and in terms of his cultural efforts. As an admirer of Hadith science and its erudite scholars, Mahmud of Ghazni was also a theologian who produced several books on the subject. He brought many scholars, including Abu AlRehan Muhammad bin Ahmad Al-Biruni (d. 1049 AD /440 AH), a great mathematician and astronomer and one of the most illustrious figures of the Islamic civilization. Several Persian poets were part of his court. The Persian culture prospered during the Ghaznavid era. The greatest Persian poet Al-Firdawsi, who was a poet of the court, won Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni’s prize for his timeless epic “Shahnameh” (Epic of Kings), a masterpiece of world literature he composed in twenty-five years and in which he recorded the history of ancient Persians. Ghazni, became a beacon of science, a city of mosques, palaces and buildings that rivaled by their style the beauty and design of Indian architecture. The city of Ghazni is known for its diverse Islamic architecture. It treasures various historical monuments dating back to the time of the Ghaznavids, namely the so called “AnNasr Minarets”, built in the 12th century A.D (6th century A.H), the Mausoleum of Mahmud bin Sebuktegin of Ghazni, and the Mesud III Mosque with its famous old tower. Shrine of famous poet Hakim Sanaye Ghaznawi in Ghazni (epa)
Destruction of Islamic Cultural Heritage in Syria
he Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), a subsidiary organ of OIC, has prepared a report on the destruction of Islamic cultural heritage during Syriaâ€™s civil war The most severe rate of destruction of Islamic cultural heritage can be seen in the city of Aleppo, where the most destructive conflicts have occurred and the greatest number of Islamic architectural heritage is hosted, said IRCICA Director 44
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Dr. Halit Eren. Dr. Eren stated that they had prepared a report in order to record the destruction of Islamic architectural heritage and to contribute to the restoration of the monuments in question once the civil war ends and the proper conditions for restorations are met. The report includes observations on the damage which Islamic architectural, cultural and historic structures have
tanks, war planes and heavy artillery. The most renowned mosques targeted by these bombings are Al Amawi Mosque in Aleppo, Omar Ibn AlKhattab Mosque, Bilal bin Rabah Mosque in Daraa, Khalid bin al Walid Mosque in Homs in addition to other mosques and Islamic landmarks representing different eras of the Islamic civilization. ISESCO called on Member States and the international community to take immediate measures to put an end to this savage attack on people and buildings in Syria.
OICC holds its 11th International Scientific Symposium in Makkah:
King Abdullah announces $200 million aid for Palestinian Cities
The damaged interior of a mosque in the Khalidiya area of Homs, Syria (epa)
suffered. The report presents the contrast between pre-war and current pictures of structures such as the Aleppo Castle, Umayyad Congregational Mosque, Haji Mustafa Mosque, Adliye Mosque and Mihmandar Mosque. Meanwhile, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), a specialized organ of the OIC, had strongly denounced the systematic destruction of mosques and Islamic monuments in Syria by the forces of the Syrian regime and its sectarian militias. ISESCO stated that tens of mosques and Islamic landmarks have been partly or totally destroyed as a result of violent shelling by rockets,
Makkah, Saudi Arabia – The Organization of Islamic Capitals and Cities (OICC), an affiliate of OIC, organized in collaboration with the Municipality of the Holy City of Makkah, the 11th International Scientific Symposium, in parallel with its 13th General Conference, during the period of 1 -3 September 2013. The title of the symposium is “Environmental Protection Legislations: Towards Sustainable Development”. It is accompanied by an exhibition on “Environmental Protection and Achievements of Islamic Capitals and Cities Municipalities”. The Saudi Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs announced at the conference the approval of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz a US$200 million program for the resistance of Palestinian cities in safeguarding their Arab and Islamic character against Judaization. The program, named after King Abdullah, would be implemented by the OICC in cooperation with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the UN Habitat. The funds would be utilized to build infrastructure facilities and expansion of drinking water purification plants in Palestinian cities. 45
OIC Health Ministers adopt the ‘OIC Strategic Health Program of Action’ for the next ten years
Establishes mechanism for promoting self-reliance in producing medicine and vaccines
J a k a r t a , Indonesia – The 4th Islamic Conference of Health Ministers adopted the ‘OIC Strategic Health Program of Action 2014 -2023’ and its ‘Implementation Plan’, which will provide a framework for focused national actions and international collaboration for the next ten years to deal with the most pressing challenges and needs of the OIC Member States in the domain of health. The 4th Islamic Conference of Health Ministers was held in Jakarta from 22 -24 October 2013 under the Chairmanship of Indonesia. The Conference was attended by a large number of highlevel delegations, including Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Health of Member States, observer states and international organizations. In addition to adopting the OIC Strategic Health Program the other highlights of the 4th Islamic Conference of Health Ministers Conference included the decisions taken by the Member States for promoting collective self-reliance in the production and supply of pharmaceuticals. These include vaccines, strengthening intra-OIC cooperation and international partnerships for the prevention and control of diseases, improving maternal and child health, promoting cooperation in health education, training and capacitybuilding. With regard to promoting collective self-reliance in production and supply of medicines and vaccines, the Conference approved the establishment of ‘Technical 46
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Committee for the Development and Harmonization of Standards in the OIC Member States’ and a ‘Two-Year Action Plan’ for the Committee. It also approved the establishment of a mechanism for the vaccine manufacturers from the OIC countries to work together for the promotion of self-reliance in supply and production of vaccines in accordance with the Short, Medium and Long Term Plan of Action towards Self Reliance of Vaccines in the OIC Region adopted by the Conference. The Conference agreed on the importance of exploring various options for pooling of procurement of pharmaceuticals and vaccines including the option of Group Contracting and individual purchasing among interested OIC Member States. The Conference adopted several recommendations for strengthening programmes for maternal, newborn and child health and efforts for ending preventable maternal and child deaths through optimal prevention, treatment and care. Among other things, the Conference was briefed about progress towards the implementation of joint projects by the OIC General Secretariat, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the establishment of cancer radiotherapy centers in the OIC Member States from Africa. A meeting of the OIC General Secretariat, IDB and IAEA is planned in Vienna to finalize plans for the implementation of the projects. Member States took note of the increasing international interest in the OIC Educational Exchange Programme. They agreed to consider networking of medical universities, health education and medical research institutions, exchange of faculty members and joint training programmes and exchange of best practices in management of health institutions under the umbrella of the Programme. Some universities in the OIC Member States have already announced scholarships in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and allied health sciences under the OIC Educational Exchange Programme. Member States expressed their support for the efforts of the OIC to strengthen its collaboration with international partners including the WHO, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria , GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization), Stop TB (Tuberculosis) Partnership, Roll Back Malaria and other relevant partners in the pursuit of the OIC health agenda. During the Press Conference at the conclusion of the Conference, Ambassador Abdul Moiz Bokhari, OIC Assistant Secretary General, noted that pursuant to the OIC Ten Year Programme of Action, which articulated a new strategic vision for the OIC, the organization has considerably widened the scope of its activities, inter alia, in the field of health. Since 2005, the efforts of the OIC have resulted in many positive outcomes and the OIC is now acknowledged as an important partner in health related initiatives at the international level.
Islamic scholars pledge to support polio eradication in Pakistan
rominent Islamic Scholars (the Ulama) from Pakistan, other Muslim countries and the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) have pledged to support the Polio Eradication Program in Pakistan. The scholars disclosed this during a two day session organized by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) at its headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 2 -3 September 2013, where they discussed the challenges hindering the implementation of the Polio Eradication Program (PEP) in Pakistan. The Ulama also commended IDB for its contribution to the Polio Eradication Program. Pakistan’s Polio Eradication Program, supported by an IDB financing of US$ 227 million, in collaboration with the ‘Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’, aims to vaccinate 34 million children under the age of five against Polio with the goal of eradicating the disease by 2016 from Pakistan. Polio is an infectious viral disease which leads to paralysis, difficulty in breathing and even death at any age especially in children under the age of 5. Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only remaining polio endemic countries in the world, requiring concerted efforts to eradicate the disease. It is worth mentioning that the first disbursement (US$ 32 million) from IDB financing was made in early August 2013 to the World Health Organization. Currently, the Polio Eradication Program in Pakistan is facing serious challenges due to misconceptions from some parts of the population, resulting in assaults against polio eradication workers, some of whom were injured or even killed in some parts of the country. At the end of the two day deliberations, the Ulama issued a joint statement in which they “acknowledged that the challenges facing the PEP in Pakistan are complex and have different social, cultural, religious and political dimensions”. “We appreciate the Islamic Development Bank’s endeavors in supporting Polio Eradication Program in Pakistan and pledge
our complete commitment to ensure its success”, the statement reads. Furthermore, the Ulama “strongly denounced the killing of polio eradication workers and stressed that their killing had no justification from Islamic, moral and humanity aspects”. Similarly, they also “denounced the use of polio campaign and other public health programs related activities for any political, intelligence or any other purpose”. They also put their full weight behind the recommendations of the Cairo (6- 7 March 2013) and Islamabad (5 June 2013) Meetings on Polio Eradication Program. The statement of the meeting also called for “enhancing the leadership role of health authorities at the district levels” in all aspects of the vaccination campaign as well as “emphasizing the importance of the Ulama’s involvement in the relevant program implementation activities” through regular consultation. It then urged the need for candid dialogue amongst the various stake-holders. The statement further recommended that arrangements be made for Eminent Ulama from other member countries to visit Pakistan and give sermons and lectures on the topic to enhance awareness on the importance of polio eradication as a prelude to the health of the Muslim world. It was also recommended that the Imams in the regions concerned in Pakistan discuss in their Friday sermons, the importance of polio vaccination. In this regard, an appropriate use of the media by the Ulama, the Government Authorities, the UN Agencies and polio eradication workers was suggested to ensure clarification of political, religious, medical, social and other issues related to polio vaccination. The statement further highlighted the envisaged role of the IDB and the IIFA in organizing an international awareness conference to be attended by the Ulama from Pakistan, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Somalia as well as other member countries of the Bank. 47
The Islamic University in Uganda to establish Faculty of Health Sciences
he Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) is on course to establish a Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) in January 2014. It is envisaged that the FHS will start with two degree programmes – i.e. Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, and Bachelor of Pharmacy. The University is to use Kibuli Muslim Hospital (KMH) in Kampala as the primary teaching hospital for the IUIU Faculty of Health Sciences. The arrangements for the commencement of the Faculty of Health Sciences in January 2014 are being finalized by the IUIU in collaboration with the University of Lahore, Pakistan. The University of Lahore (UoL), which has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the IUIU, has offered to donate all the equipment and books needed for the first two
years and to design the curriculum for the two programmes. The University of Lahore has also offered to identify and provide the critical academic staff needed to teach in the FHS. The UoL is playing a pivotal role in mobilising resources and coordinating with some development partners for the IUIU medical programmes. The UoL has also offered full scholarships to qualified IUIU staff to do masters and PhD degrees in medical and engineering fields as a strategy for capacity building of IUIU human resources in these fields. In August 2014, the IUIU plans to start programmes in engineering. The University of Lahore has also promised some technical and material support for the engineering programmes.
Number of scholarships offered under the OIC ‘Educational Exchange Programme’ approaches 300
he International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) has offered a range of under-graduate, post-graduate and PhD scholarships for students from the OIC Member States under the ‘Educational Exchange Program’. In addition the IIUM has offered the placement of students in its Post-Doctoral Program where interested students can engage in research and related activities. The IIUM is also ready for short-term and long-term arrangements for faculty exchange whereby higher education institutions both in the public and private sectors in the OIC Member States are encouraged to make offers for faculty exchange with IIUM on reciprocal or unilateral basis in accordance with their needs and priorities. The OIC General Secretariat will maintain a roster of offers and needs by IIUM for lecturers and researchers, and will circulate this information to all Member States. The IIUM offer also includes arrangements for exchange of consultants and researchers for on-going projects of interest or the initiation of new joint projects. During the exchange period, researchers can work on their research projects, organize seminars and workshops in selected topics along with researchers of the same subjects, and attend courses in relevant subjects being taught at the IIUM. The University will identify viable and marketable projects (commercialization of Research and Development) by linking such projects with interested industries in Member States. OIC Member States are also encouraged to send lecturers and researchers to IIUM for training courses/specialized projects to cater to the specific needs of the requesting Member States. Such specialized requests can be dealt with on a caseby-case basis.
The number of graduate, post-graduate, PhD and postdoctoral scholarships offered by various universities under the OIC Educational Exchange Programme have approached the figure of three hundred (300). This expansion reflects the keen interest of the Member States and public and private sector universities in the Educational Exchange Programme. The most recent additions in scholarships available under the OIC Educational Exchange Programme include ten scholarships by the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), Islamabad, Pakistan, in their Masters degree programme, total of ten under-graduate, post-graduate and PhD scholarships in various disciplines by the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), eleven scholarships in various disciplines by the University of Lahore, Pakistan, and PhD assistantships and post-doctorate position at the University Technology PETRONAS (UTP), Malaysia. Details about the newly announced scholarships, application procedures and deadlines can be accessed at the OIC website (www.oic-oci.org). While the application process for the recently announced scholarships has commenced, a significant number of students is already pursuing their higher education in various universities across the OIC Member States under this Programme. The new offers are significant as in addition to scholarships in disciplines like engineering, natural sciences, computer sciences business studies, for the first time scholarships have been offered in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, allied health sciences, medical imaging, health informatics, brain signal, rehabilitation and biomechanics, image processing, remote sensing and pervasive computing under the OIC Educational Exchange Programme.
International Islamic University Malaysia announces several scholarships
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4th Islamic Conference of Ministers in charge of Childhood Pledges to improve equal access to decent living conditions for urban children in the Islamic world
Baku, Azerbaijan – The fourth session of the Islamic Conference of Ministers in charge of Childhood opened its proceedings, on November 11, 2013, in Baku, capital city of the Republic of Azerbaijan, on the theme ‘Children and the Challenges of Urbanization in the Islamic World’, under the patronage of H.E. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The opening session ended with a documentary on childhood in Azerbaijan and an artistic show performed by Azerbaijani children. The Conference adopted the ‘Baku Declaration toward a Better Future for Children in Urban Settings in the Islamic World’ as well as the main document titled, ‘Children and the Challenges of Urbanization in the Islamic World’, a document on ‘Pre-school Education in the Islamic World: Some successful experiences’ and the outcome of the First Session of ISESCO Forum for Children of the Islamic World (Arab Region). The Baku Declaration stresses the need for ensuring legal and social protection for marginalized children in urban areas, and coordinating the response of governmental and non-governmental service providers in this regard. It also calls for building awareness among parents and religious, educational, youth and women leaders of the different risks associated with neglect, abuse, violence and exploitation suffered by children in unplanned settlements in urban areas, and organizing national campaigns against the marriage of young girls in the Member States to raise awareness about its health, social and psychological risks and ensure the enforcement of international conventions, covenants and instruments on discrimination against girls. The Declaration reiterates commitment to the Tripoli Declaration on early childhood development (ECD), and calls for stronger partnerships / networks between local authorities, NGOs, the media, and organizations concerned with child issues to address the street children phenomenon in a holistic manner. It equally urges devising programs and plans tailored to the needs of street children to help them reconnect with their families, community-based services and society, in general. In terms of legal measures, the Declaration calls for the enforcement of national laws and legislation to punish
perpetrators of violence against children, while tightening sanctions against exploiters of vulnerable children in crimes, and aligning such legislation with international laws to decriminalize such survival behaviors of street children as begging, loitering, vagrancy and running away. Among other recommendations, the document calls for adhering to the ‘Roadmap for Achieving The Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor by 2016’, adopted at the Hague Global Child Labor Conference (2010). Moreover, the Declaration underlines the need to take the necessary measures to protect young domestic workers against abusive working and employment conditions and to promote decent work for all workers, while taking firm measures against exploitative child labor and forced begging in urban areas. It also calls for taking into account the interests and wellbeing of children in the implementation of policies and programs designed for slum areas and informal settlements, developing urban planning and management policies, upgrading national policies on rural-to-urban migration reduction, and improving environmental habitability in slums and promote economically productive activities through the provision of basic infrastructure. To this end, it particularly recommends collaboration between local authorities, civil society organizations and voluntary groups to actively participate in setting measures to provide good housing and adequate services for the families and children in urban informal settlements. The said document has also welcomed the ‘Child-Friendly Cities Initiative’ (CFCI). The Declaration calls on the Member States to strengthen and keep targeted their efforts in terms of implementing the OIC Ten-Year Program of Action concerning children in the Member States and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, as regards childhood development in the Member States, in general.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY Country report on Jordan launched under the Atlas of Islamic World Science and Innovation project Amman, Jordan – In a special event held under the patronage of HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, President of the Royal Scientific Society, country report on Jordan was launched in Amman on 19 August 2013. The Atlas project was endorsed by the 11th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference in Dakar, Senegal in 2008. The project is being pursued by the OIC General Secretariat in partnership with the Royal Society (UK), the Qatar Foundation, the British Council, the International Development Research Centre of Canada (IDRC), Nature (Journal) and OIC institutions SESRIC, COMSTECH, IDB, and ISESCO. Under the Atlas project, key trends and trajectories in science and technology-based innovation have been mapped in selected OIC Member States. The country studies seek to offer an independent and objective assessment of how the
innovation capabilities of the OIC Member States are changing, and the opportunities and challenges to further progress. Ambassador Abdul Moiz Bokhari, Assistant Secretary General, speaking on the occasion complimented the Jordanian Government which has a history of strong patronage for science, technology and innovation (STI) including research and develeopment (R&D) programmes, and hoped that the analyses and recommendations of the Atlas report will be put into practice, leading to the strengthening of the STI regime in the country. He also acknowledged the contribution of HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan and the various institutions working under her guidance for promoting greater recognition and awareness about the value of knowledge, research and innovation to enhance the socio-economic well being of its people.
OIC Secretary General awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Islamic World Academy of Sciences Jeddah, Saudi Arabia- The Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) has awarded its membership as an Honorary Fellow to the OIC Secretary General, Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, in recognition to his outstanding contribution to the fields of Science and Technology for the development and welfare of the Islamic World and all humanity. The Certificate of Honorary Fellowship was presented by Dr. Abdel Salam Majali, President of the Executive Council of the Islamic World Academy of Sciences (ex-Prime Minister of Jordan), at a ceremony held at the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah on 3 September 2013. Dr. Majali was accompanied by the IAS Director General Dr. Moneef Zou’bi. Dr. Majali underscored the crucial role of science and technology for the socio-economic development of the OIC Member States and addressing the contemporary challenges of development, poverty eradication, environment, climate change, human health, and energy and water resources. He expressed his appreciation for the OIC Secretary General’s
efforts for providing impetus to the OIC activities and programs in the fields of science, technology and higher education, which have manifested themselves in terms of tangible results and encouraging progress in the OIC countries in these fields. Amb. Abdul Moiz Bokhari praised the constructive role of the Islamic World Academy of Sciences, an affiliated institution of the OIC, for the promotion of science and technology in the Islamic world and also expressed appreciation for the steps taken by Jordan for the promotion of Science, Technology and Innovation and the development of the national education system at all levels. More active participation of IAS and the educational institutions of Jordan in the OIC Educational Exchange Program also came under discussion. Dr. Majali lauded the role of the OIC Educational Exchange Program for promoting higher education cooperation among the OIC Member States.
Spanish scholar receives Ihsanoglu Gold Medal for History of Sciences in Islamic Civilization Manchester, UK – This year the ‘Ihsanoglu Gold Medal’ Astronomy. He said that the Medal would remain as the most was awarded to Dr. Mark Oliveras Busquets for his original important source of motivation to further his academic career contribution to History of Sciences in Islamic Civilization in and he would continue to pursue his studies on History of the field of Astronomy during the 24th International Congress Sciences in Islamic Civilization. of History of Science, Technology and Medicine (ICHSTM) The Ihsanoglu Medal is the only award named after a 2013 held at Manchester University in Manchester, UK. He Muslim Historian of Sciences given for the best PhD in the field is the second recipient of this prestigious Medal. The first of History of Sciences in Islamic Civilization. Decided in 2007, Ihsanoglu Medal was awarded in 2009 at the 23rd ICHSTM. the Medal, which is awarded every four years, has been named Speaking at the award giving ceremony attended by 1500 after Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the former President participants of the Congress, Oliveras said that this Medal (2001 -2005) of the ICHSTM and currently the Secretary came as recognition to his authentic work in the field of General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
the OIC Journal www.oic-oci.org September - December 2013
Launch of new OIC website
OIC Chief draws attention to companies acquiring TLD (Islam) and (Halal)
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu launched the new OIC website during the meetings of the thirty-sixth session of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs taking place at the OIC Headquarters in Jeddah on 30 June to 2 July, 2013. The new OIC website is supposed to be more dynamic, interactive and user-friendly. “In our continued efforts to present the OIC and promote it in the best way, during the past few years we have given
special attention to developing the OIC website, considering it the “window” to the OIC,” said Ihsanoglu at the launching ceremony. The Secretary General also indicated that in today’s world where the Internet is perhaps the most important source of information, particularly for the youth who make a large percentage of the Muslim population and as witnessed in recent years used the Internet through social-media to bring change in the region, it is essential to be connected to and involved with the world through cyberspace. During his speech at the opening of the 36 Session of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs, the Secretary General drew attention to a new problem facing the Muslim world in the domain of the internet that needs to be addressed. This has to do with the use of the so-called Top-Level Domains (TLD) by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is responsible for internet domains such as .com and .org. Currently this has been expanded to carry domains such as .islam and .halal. Subsequently, the dilemma that confronts the Member States in this regard – and as perceived within the OIC – shall be the lack of support to counter the use of new TLD under the names of (Islam) and (halal). The Secretary General raised this issue in order to exert joint efforts to block the way before any private company and prevent its acquisition or registration of a TLD (Islam) and (halal), thus avoiding any complications that might be the cause of disputes or misuse of such domains. He urged the Member States of the OIC to examine all aspects of this issue and to adopt a resolution in this respect as they deem appropriate.
OIC joins international body ICANN to protect Islamic domain names on the internet
he Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has won a seat as permanent observer in the United Nations Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). In a letter to the OIC Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the head of the International Advisory Committee of ICANN, Ms. Heather Dryden, welcomed the OIC’s accession to ICANN. The OIC will participate in the regular meetings of the International Advisory Committee of ICANN, foremost of which is the meeting to be held in the Argentinean capital, Buenos Aires on 16 November 2013. Wajdi Ibn Humaid Al Quliti, Director of Information Technology at the OIC General Secretariat, who was appointed as the permanent representative of the OIC to ICANN, explained that the body was responsible for management and coordination of Domain Names System (DNS) to ensure the uniqueness of each address and that internet users can access all correct addresses, by supervising the distribution of
internet protocol addresses and domain names. It also ensures that each domain name reaches the correct protocol address. Al Quliti explained that ICANN was also responsible for accrediting domain names registrars to ensure that minimum standards are in place to perform registration functions, identify persons or entities that fulfill those standards. It also enters into accreditation agreement which determines the rules and procedures applicable to registration services providers. Al Quiliti added that, in joining ICANN, the OIC aims to unite efforts to block any company seeking to monopolize domains such as islam, halal and thereby deny others from using them, and register the two domains to forestall any complications, conflicts or abuse of these domains. The IT director stressed that it was important to overcome this problem facing the OIC in the internet domain, saying that the matter originally had to do with issue of using the socalled new domains of ICANN such as “.com” and “.org”, and which has now expanded to include “.halal” or “.islam.” 51
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
After Seoul Cyberspace 2013 Are We Going To See Cybercop Wajdi Alqulaiti
The Seoul Conference on Cyberspace 2013 took place on October 17 -18, 2013 in Seoul, South Korea, where more than 1000 delegates from more than 90 countries participated, including representatives from governments, international and regional organizations, such as UN, OIC, ITU, OECD, and NGOs, as well as academia and global enterprises to discuss cyberspace issues, share their professional knowledge and practical experience with international fora. This annual conference is the third of its kind, which followed two previous meetings that were held in London, UK in 2011 and in Budapest, Hungary in 2012. This year’s event not only had the largest number of participants, it was also the first time that developing nations were invited to be part of the discussion and actively put their concerns. The President of Republic of Korea opened the Cyberspace 2013 conference under the theme, ‘Global Prosperity through an Open and Secure Cyberspace - Opportunities, Threats and Cooperation’. The Conference focused on six areas: (1) Economic Growth and Development, (2) Social and Cultural Benefits, (3) Cybersecurity, (4) International Security, (5) Cybercrime, and (6) Capacity Building. Cyberspace2013 Conference was very important and a turning point in the discussion over the other previous conferences. For the first time, a framework was established called “Seoul Framework” that will serve as a guideline for dealing with issues ranging from cybercrime and cyber terrorism to the internet economy. The Seoul Framework is significant because it is the first document that outlines the discussions within the international community and that will determine the direction of future global discussions. It will be distributed to the UN and OECD to be used as reference documents. Participants in the Conference agreed that any country that attempts a cyber attack must be held accountable. The Seoul Conference also served as an opportunity for participants to share their greater understanding on the importance of preserving the online community as an open space by protecting the freedom of expression. Sessions’ Outcome and Remarks During the two days of the conference, in-depth discussions on cyber issues as a whole, from economy,
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cybercrime to international security took place. The critical importance of capacity building, which was incorporated as a stand-alone agenda in the Seoul Conference this year, featured prominently in all discussions. Participants recognized the importance of a holistic approach, drawing together technology, policy and skills development, and that capacity building in cyber security should be an integral part of wider approaches to (ICT) for development. While many good capacity building programs are underway, more is needed to be done to communicate the different sources of assistance available and how they support each other. The Conference revealed outstanding examples of how cyberspace has facilitated impressive economic growth, and the ways in which innovation and entrepreneurship are creating new businesses and opening new markets. Investment in the technology and education has played an essential role and was the hot topic. Participants discussed how to expand the debate from access to infrastructure to include access to content, including locally generated content which promotes and respects cultural diversity and encourages greater participation. Increasing involvement of all stakeholders with an interest in (ICTs) can help manage the risks of storing personal data on social media and other databases. An important part of this session was to encourage all users to understand their rights and responsibilities. The Conference addressed a range of cyber threats and systems breaches. A constant theme was the importance of embedding security within the context of wider economic and social benefits to enhance the freedom over the Cyberspace with secure environment. Participants also noted that there are essential, but low cost measures that can eliminate cyber threats. The development of coherent domestic legislative frameworks underpins our ability to tackle threats collectively. Participants welcomed partnerships between law enforcement agencies and the private sector and the establishment of international organizations to tackle cybercrime effectively. The majority of participants stressed that the multistakeholder approach should underpin everything that is being done. It is essential to build on the Seoul Framework to ensure that the views of all stakeholders, including the industry and civil society, are taken into account. For the first time, the international society agreed on a framework to work as one body in the Cyberspace, and this is really a big achievement credited to this conference. The large number of high level representation to this conference reveals the importance of this issue. The 44 ministers and their deputies, university presidents, large enterprise companies and very well-known speakers reflect the interest in the short run over the Cyberspace. Don’t be surprised in the future if someone stops you while you are browsing the internet and asks for your permit to the Cyberspace and tells you they are a Cybercop.
Islamic Development Bank and Earth Institute partner to meet Millennium Development Goals in Rural Africa Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Islamic Development Bank of the Millennium Villages project. The fact that they are now (IDB) and the Earth Institute (of Columbia University) formed taking loans to bring lessons learned to scale across nations is a partnership in 2011 to work with African nations to support tremendous testament to their ownership of the development their efforts to end extreme poverty. The IDB and the Earth program. We are very proud to work with these nations and Institute and its partner, Millennium Promise, announced on the Islamic Development Bank to scale-up and help realize 13 August 2013 that the IDB and its poverty reduction arm, their vision and dedication to the MDGs.” the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), have The Islamic Development Bank’s Sustainable Villages extended more than $100 million in financing to help eight Project builds on the experience gained over the past seven African nations combat extreme poverty, improve public years in the Millennium Village Project (MVP, at www. health and achieve more sustainable development. millenniumvillages.org), as well as the bank’s long-standing In each of these projects, host governments will partner and extensive work throughout Africa in fighting poverty. with the IDB, the Earth Institute and Millennium Promise, to Both the MVP and SVP include an integrated package of carry out the projects. The Earth Institute, led by its MDG science-based services and technologies to help rural African Centers in East and West Africa, and Millennium Promise, communities to improve public health, agriculture, education, will provide technical, operational and scientific guidance to and standard of living. the nations involved in the new initiative. For the SVP, the Millennium Villages Project team will “The Islamic Development Bank is showing great and provide technical and operational advice to the governments innovative leadership in addressing poverty in its member of Sudan, Chad and Mozambique in Africa, and Kyrgyz Rep. states,” noted Jeffrey Sachs, in Central Asia, where the director of the Earth Institute. Sustainable Villages Project “In these new programs, the will be carried out. The aim "Alleviating poverty is part of the bank is applying cutting-edge is to accelerate deployment methods to the fight against IsDB’s Mission and it will be better and implementation of poverty, hunger and disease. It innovative technologies, and is a privilege and honor to be achieved if we cooperate with parties to ensure that lessons learned working along with the IDB on that have successful experience in the in the Millennium Villages this bold undertaking.” inform the design of the field," IDB President. The combined $104 million new programs, and that the will finance three major systems in health, education programs: and agriculture are up to • The ISFDs new flagship Sustainable Villages Program national and international standards. (SVP) in Chad, Mozambique, and Sudan ($ 40 million) In support of the request of the bank’s member countries, • Scale-ups of the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) in the IDB is also providing financing to Mali, Senegal and Mali, Senegal and Uganda ($ 29 million) Uganda to scale-up the existing Millennium Village work • Implementation of the Drylands Initiative (DI) in Djibouti, with the help of the Millennium Villages Project. Somalia and Uganda ($ 35 million) In addition, the Islamic Development Bank will be Spearheading the financing initiative is IDB’s president, financing dryland nations including Djibouti, Somalia and Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, who explained “Alleviating poverty Uganda, all facing tremendous sustainable development is part of the IDB’s Mission and it will be better achieved if we challenges, to implement interventions aimed at achieving the cooperate with parties that have successful experience in the Millennium Development Goals and increasing resilience to field. This is why IDB, many member countries of which are droughts and other climate shocks. The Millennium Villages among the least developed in the world, is partnering with the project will provide both advice and technical development Earth Institute which brings rich practical expertise that will expertise to the nations. help us ensure that our financing is effective”. “Millennium Village interventions can be adapted to The $104 million will be provided in the form of Islamic improve lives in even the most challenging contexts,” said finance to the recipient countries (long-term repayments at Belay Begashaw, director of the Millennium Development zero interest rates, except in the case of a grant provided to Goal Centre for East Africa. “Our long-term solution to Somalia). All of these countries are members of the bank. boosting resilience of communities to weather shocks and “This new partnership between Islamic Development Bank, diminishing the reliance on emergency relief is now serving the Earth Institute, the Millennium Promise, the MDG Centers as an important model for many parts of Africa beyond the the eight Africa nations is a true measure of the steadfast current MVP host countries. Best practices and cutting-edge commitment of all to achieve the Millennium Development technologies of the MVP will now support the regional effort Goals,” said Amadou Niang, director of the MDG Centre for to escape the scourges of extreme poverty and famine. We are West Africa. “The countries have seen first-hand the impacts proud to work with IDB on this exciting effort.” 53
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Income inequality increases the risk of social dissolution instruments that protect the interests of all actors in the financial world. “This financial structure should reflect the weight of developing countries in the global economy. To this end, the G-20 comes to the fore. The G-20 must aim for a strong, wellfunctioning global financial system that relies on cooperation and common sense,” Gül added. President Gül stated that the eventual goal of economic activity must be to increase the prosperity of societies and people’s happiness. “In the lead up to the global economic crisis in 2008, this principle was unfortunately forgotten,” Gül said, adding that current financial tools are not being used to create employment and prosperity for the societies but to satisfy the greed of the leading actors in the financial world. The two-day Forum offered the participants an interactive platform for tabling several critical IDB President Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Ali speaking at the conference issues such as: the critical perspectives and new visions for creating a more equitable, stable and Istanbul, Turkey – Under the patronage of the President of Turkey, H.E. Abdullah Gül, the 9th International Conference sustainable financial system; the global financial architecture on Islamic Economics and Finance (9ICIEF) was held in in the post-crisis era and the prospects and challenges for Istanbul, Turkey on 9- 11 September 2013, under the theme alternative financial systems; the modalities for promoting a ‘Growth, Equity and Stability: An Islamic Perspective’. The more risk and reward participatory financial system; capital Conference was organized by the Statistical, Economic and market developments and the development of alternative Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries business models for financial institutions; the role of financial (SESRIC), a subsidiary organ of the Organization of Islamic systems in stability and inclusive sustainable development; Cooperation (OIC), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) as well as the potential ways for fostering entrepreneurship, Group through its Islamic Research and Training Institute private equity and venture capital in a more participation(IRTI), the International Association for Islamic Economics based financial system. The final communiqué of the conference stated, “The (IAIE), and the Qatar Foundation’s Hamad Bin Khalifa participants believe that while significant progress has been University through its Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS), made over the last four decades, the focus of research has with the support of other stakeholders. President Abdullah Gül highlighted in his opening remarks moved primarily to Islamic banking and finance, and there that income inequality increases the risk of social dissolution is a need to work more on economic theory and its applied as well as that youth unemployment is rising in the world. and practical applications from an Islamic perspective. On Gül noted that about 1 billion people in the world face the risk the other hand, the participants are aware of the fact that of starvation. He added that less than 1 percent of the world there is currently a growing demand for significant reforms population controls over 40 percent of the wealth, while some in the global economic and financial system, particularly in 70 percent of the population possesses only 3 percent of it. the aftermath of latest financial crisis. In this connection, they “Unemployment is rising, especially among the youth. There believe that a financial system based on Islamic principles has been a remarkable decrease in people’s disposable income could avoid the fundamental problems and shortcomings and indebtedness is on the rise. As a consequence, life has of the conventional financial system that led the world into been harder for ordinary people. Under these circumstances, crisis.” In total, over 30 parallel sessions took place at the social unrest has reached great heights. Unless structural problems in the international [financial] system are addressed, conference with 132 papers presented. Thematic areas that the effects of the economic crisis threaten to tear up the social were covered included Islamic economics in theory and practice, socio-economic justice and human development, fabric,” Gül said. Gül further noted that all income brackets are suffering empowerment through Zakat and Waqf, Islamic business losses but that the low income group is being most affected by ethics, Islamic microfinance, Islamic capital markets, and corporate social responsibility. the financial crisis. The participants welcomed the offer of the Qatar Faculty To solve these problems, the president urged for the shortcomings in early warnings, observation and the of Islamic Studies of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and the International Association for Islamic Economics to organize supervision systems of financial markets to be addressed. Gül said that financial markets need new regulatory and host the 10th ICIEF in Doha in December 2014. 54
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British Foreign Secretary and IDB President seek support for Arab countries in transition London, UK – The British Foreign Secretary William Hague and the President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali called for investors and development partners to support the Arab countries in transition through the economic and political challenges they are facing. They made the call at the G8 Deauville Partnership Investment Conference organized in London by UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office in partnership with the IDB and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). In his speech read by Alistair Burt, Under Secretary in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the British Foreign Secretary told the participants that some countries in the Middle East and North Africa are going through difficult times, and the people are looking forward to better living conditions. “Our role is to support governments in transition, at least 40
million jobs need to be created in the region”, he stated and went on to call on investors to “look beyond headlines” and utilize the conference as an opportunity to exchange ideas. In his keynote speech, the IDB President, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali stated that “Since 2011, international financing institutions (IFIs) have collectively committed in excess of $23 billion of assistance to the Arab countries in transition, including $5.8 billion from the IDB Group, in addition to billions of dollars of bilateral assistance from Gulf countries, Turkey and the G8. However, “we need more than official aid to transform the economies of these countries in transition, particularly the involvement of the private sector which is the real engine of growth”. The President described the conference as an opportunity for constructive dialogue among participants.
IDB President calls for financial inclusion of poor people Washington, DC, USA – The President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has called for financial inclusion and improvement in the welfare of the poor people during his inaugural address at a conference on Islamic finance jointly organized by IDB, the World Bank and the World Federation of Development Financing Institutions (WFDFI) on the occasion of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings in Washington DC on 14 October 2013. “Improving the welfare of the people and uplifting of the society through development financing is a shared vision and mission of all the development institutions represented in this important conference today”, said Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali. He then went on to call on the participants to explore solutions to strengthen the Islamic finance industry by increasing financial inclusion “leveraging upon the inherent resilience of the
Islamic finance sector and thereby advancing global stability”. President Ahmad Mohamed Ali stated that the Islamic finance industry is growing rapidly citing the case of the global Sukuk (Islamic bonds) issuances which reached US $137 billion. This, according to Dr. Ali, is a source for funding long term projects in areas like energy, communication, healthcare and education. The IDB Group Chairman also explained that “Islamic finance is not confined to the commercial, for-profit domain. An essential component of it is the non-profit domain: Zakat and Awqaf and other benevolent activities”. Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali finally thanked the World Bank for supporting the conference and expressed the readiness of the Islamic Development Bank to avail its expertise on Islamic finance to concerned authorities.
The world cannot be at peace when a third of it is poor London, UK – The President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali has said the world cannot be at peace when a third of its population is poor. He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the World Islamic Economic Forum in London on 29 October 2013, the first to be held outside a Muslim majority country. “The world, certainly cannot be at peace with itself, when about one-third of us are poor, without proper food and shelter, with high unemployment particularly among the youth and women, or at war”, Dr. Ali told the delegates at the conference. He called for the reform of the global economy in order to rescue the world from the current and future economic turmoil. According to Dr. Ali, for the world to make progress economically, three key factors must be considered, namely, reducing the economic gap, building trust, and promoting the role of the private sector for development. The IDB President
suggested that, as a framework for reforming the global financial system and ensuring stability, Islamic finance would be an alternative. The largest project announced at the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum in London aimed to transform 57 OIC countries to a new digital era projecting $1.2 trillion global trade increase. The Forum announced the landmark MOU between the Global Coalition for Efficient Logistics (GCEL) and the Islamic Center for Development of Trade (ICDT), a subsidiary of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, speaks at WIEF in London (epa)
IDB to cooperate with Dubai on its Islamic Economy Initiative
Dubai, UAE – The IDB Group and Dubai signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation within the framework of “Dubai, the Capital of Islamic Economy” initiated by the Ruler of Dubai in early 2013. The initiative aims to turn Dubai into a global hub for Islamic economy and set up a comprehensive platform of relevant products and services inclusive of Islamic financial instruments, insurance, contracts’ arbitration, as well as standards pertaining to food industry, trade and quality management. The MoU was signed by Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Qarqawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs who also heads the country’s High Committee for Development of
Islamic Economic Sector, and the IDB Group President. The MoU envisages support for bilateral efforts for development of Islamic economic sector and the Islamic finance industry in the UAE, studying grounds for issuance of Sukuk, exchanging expertise on Islamic economy and Islamic financial indicators, developing the Awqaf sector as well as establishing the legal and regulatory environment. The IDB Group will also study introducing educational programs in Islamic economy as well as manufacturing Halal (Shari’ah-compliant) industrial products and setting up Halal standards. A number of senior banking and financial officials from the UAE Government also attended the meeting.
IDB and OOF sign MoU to promote human security in Africa London, UK – The President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali and the Chairman of the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation (OOF), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Foundation Headquarters in London to promote human security inAfrica. The two institutions will work towards the creation of Centers of Excellence mainly focusing on knowledge transfer and promotion of expertise in agriculture, youth empowerment, girl-child education. According to the MoU, the scope of collaboration between the two institutions will mainly comprise the following areas:
(1) Promotion of projects in the areas of infrastructure and agriculture aimed at increasing youth employment; (2) Creation of ‘Centers of Excellence’ to promote knowledge transfer and enhancing human expertise especially in the areas of food security; youth employment and empowerment; girl child education; health for noncommunicable and water born diseases; leadership; (3) Collaboration on IDB led projects in eligible Countries that supports OOF initiatives and strategic goals of IDB; and organizing events and programs on Africa-related matters.
Ningxia-Hui, China – The Islamic Center for the Development of Trade (ICDT), a subsidiary organ of OIC, and the Government of the Autonomous Region of Ningxia-Hui, China organized the First OIC-China Expo and Economic and Trade Forum from 15 to 19 September 2013 at the Yinchuan International Exhibition Centre under the theme: “Friendship, Cooperation and Development”. The Forum was jointly Organized by ICDT and The Expo Bureau of Ningxia Government and Co-organized by The Ministry of Commerce of China and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) in partnership with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Islamic Chamber
of Commerce and Industry and Agriculture (ICCIA) and the Emirates Airlines Company. The significance of the Forum is that first of all, it added mutual trust on politics for both sides. Secondly, Islamic countries especially the Middle East and the North African countries have abundant natural resources. They also have a huge market of infrastructure, electric power, tourism, financial bond which link closely with the world economic growth. For the time being, that area has become an important place for the enterprises of China and the Islamic countries to conduct trading in resources exchanges. In addition, it helped promote cultural exchanges.
First OIC China Expo and Economic and Trade Forum 2013
Islamic Development Bank approves a 10 percent operations increase in 2014
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Board of Executive Directors of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), has approved US$ 5061 million for the Bank’s operations plan for the year 1435H (Nov. 2013 – Nov. 2014), the largest IDB operations plan ever which is exceeding the year 1434H (Nov. 2012 - Nov. 2013) plan by 10 percent. This new operations plan coming in the context of IDB’s Medium Term Business Strategy of the Bank for 1434H1436H is in addition to the funding offered by other IDB Group entities. The Bank is targeting US$ 15.23 billion in three years to foster accelerated socio-economic development of the member countries. The decision also reflects the increase in ordinary financing triggered by the mobilization of resources 56
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from the financial markets through the issuance of Sukuk (Islamic bonds), based on the AAA credit rating the Bank has been receiving during the past 10 years from the three internationally recognized rating institutions namely: Standard and Poor’s (S & P), Moody’s, and Fitch. The Board also approved administrative budgets presented by the Bank’s management for the year 1435H including those for the Waqf Fund, the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), the 2nd Infrastructure Fund as well as the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD). As part of the agenda of the 293rd meeting, the Board approved US$ 368.3 million for funding a number of new development projects in IDB member countries as well as Muslim communities in non-member countries.
The International Forum on Financial Systems Istanbul, Turkey – The SESRIC, in collaboration with the Participation Banks Association of Turkey (TKBB), Borsa İstanbul, Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB), and the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (MÜSİAD), organized the “International Forum on Financial Systems (IFFS)”, which was held on 1112 September 2013. The Forum brought together world-renowned intellectuals including eminent economists, statesmen and policy-makers, heads of international organizations, as well as industry practitioners to explore the potential avenues for building a more just, inclusive and stable financial system for generations to come. The Forum was inaugurated by H.E. Abdullah Gül, President of the Republic of Turkey. Mehmet Şimşek, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Turkey, also delivered a keynote address during the Forum. “In recent years, the global economy has been going through turbulence. The root of the crises, which are felt more heavily in especially the developed market economies, lies in the problems in the financial system,” said H.E. Abdullah
Gül in his inaugural remarks to the meeting. He went on to say: “Therefore, it would be beneficial to discuss the policies and alternative financial methods from all dimensions and all points of views that can help the world come out of the global economic crisis.” “In this vein, I have found the idea to organize an International Financial Systems Forum valuable and have taken the Forum under my patronage as President,” he added. In his welcoming remarks, Prof. Savaş Alpay, Director General of SESRIC, said: “We live in a world where 70 per cent of the population owns only 3 per cent of the global wealth and we have to find a solution to this problem.” The two-day Forum offered the participants an interactive platform for tabling several critical issues such as: the critical perspectives and new visions for creating a more equitable, stable and sustainable financial system; the global financial architecture in the post-crisis era and the prospects and challenges for alternative financial systems; the modalities for promoting a more risk and reward participatory financial system; capital market developments and the development of alternative business models for financial institutions; the role of financial systems in stability and inclusive sustainable development; as well as the potential ways for fostering entrepreneurship, private equity and venture capital in a more participation-based financial system.
389 projects supported by the Islamic Solidarity Fund despite the acute shortage of resources
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, opened at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah on June 29, 2013, the fifty-seventh session of the Permanent Council of the Islamic Solidarity Fund. The Secretary General pointed out in his statement that since 2005 to date, seven sessions of the Permanent Council have been held and all of which were successful, with 389 projects supported at a cost of 29 million U.S. dollars. Ihsanoglu said that despite its success and the improvement of its performance, the fund still suffers from a severe shortage of resources. Therefore, the fund should work on
finding appropriate solutions to expand its sources of income. In this regard, he said that he addressed the Kings and Heads of Member States of the OIC urging them to contribute to the Fund, and suggested they allocate part of their endowments for the benefit of the Fund in response to many of the decisions of previous Islamic conferences, the latest of which was the thirty-third session of the Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Baku in 2006. On the Palestinian issue, the OIC Secretary General explained that the Fund recorded appreciable achievements supporting the projects of the state of Palestine in general and those of the City of Al-Quds in particular, and the latest of these contributions is the $300,000 support for City’s infrastructure announced at the Donors Conference in Baku, 2013. Ihsanoglu offered thanks and gratitude to the Governments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Republic of Turkey, for their generous donations to support the resources of the Islamic Solidarity Fund and its Waqf during this year. The OIC Secretary General stressed, in conclusion, that the bright slogans of solidarity if do not materialize in a concrete way felt by the average citizen, will have little value, and the Organization and its Organs should be aware that the Islamic world expect more from them, especially that the Organization is no longer in the shadows but has become within the spotlight of attention.
Luxor, the 100-Gates City under Stress of Tourism Regression Luxor, Egypt (dpa) – Queen Hatshepsut is experiencing the pains of seclusion as the temple of her majesty, the companion of the god “Ahmose”, according to legend, is deserted by tourists… With the noted absence of its visitors, both local and foreigner… the scene today being reminiscent of the emptiness visited upon the famed temple in the region of the historical Deir el-Bahri, West of Luxor, in the wake of the horrific 1997 Luxor massacre which claimed the lives of scores of tourist visitors. The legendary Pharaonic King Tut Ankh Amun was engaged in a strenuous and painful effort to seduce back his lost visitors who used to fill his tomb in droves every day. The tourism experts and head of the Chamber of Tourism and Travel Agencies and Enterprises in Luxor, Tharwat Ajmi, estimates the losses incurred by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities due to the tourist’s desertion of Luxor, at around ten million Egyptian pounds every single day. This absence of visitors to Queen Hatshepsut’s temple and King Tut Ankh Amun’s tomb and other historical venues, the tourists’ desertion of the streets of Luxor, its landmark venues, its hotels and its Nile steamers, is attributable to world events. The sit-ins and the demonstrations witnessed by Egypt have led to the historical venues east and west of the City appearing as ghost districts with the flow of tourists coming to a halt. Indeed tourism activities have witnessed an unprecedented decline in the city with hotel occupation rates standing at less than 3% against 40% in the pre-revolution era. The deteriorated tourist scene in Luxor was further accentuated after many European states issued warnings to their citizens in Luxor against remaining in Egypt and urged their nationals at home to refrain from traveling there. One of these states was Belgium. Belgians, on average, accounted for 200 thousands tourists in 2010, but this number dropped by 20%, and stood at 160 58
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thousands only, in 2011. Linda Van den Driessche, a Belgian citizen, said that she had indeed received a warning from her country’s government and she appreciated the gesture on the part of the Belgian authorities in their keenness to ensure the safety of their countrymen. Nevertheless, she intends to visit Egypt just as scheduled; herself and other Belgian tourists are confident of the Egyptians’ keenness to look after their tourist guests’ safety, in addition to their legendary hospitality, magnanimity and trustworthiness; although some did actually heed their government’s warnings and postponed their trips to Egypt. Luxor has long suffered from the tourist activity regression and the decline in the numbers of visitors from Europe and America since the onset of the January revolution and the attendant insecurity. The concerns of the inhabitants of Luxor grew even worse after Islamist movements gained power. Tourist syndicates and active bodies in Luxor call for urgent action to save Egyptian tourism and ensure the return of the tourist flow to its normal standard. Mohamed Othman, deputy chairman of the Chamber of Travel and Tourism Agencies and Enterprises in Luxor said that the Chambers of Tourism in Luxor were in the process of elaborating a plan to reestablish, in full, the European flow of tourists, in the same numbers of past years, with the start of the new season in early October. The plan, they indicated, includes organizing tourist caravans for European states and exercising pressure on the government to support the Egyptian chambers of tourism in their drive to help the tourist destinations of Egypt regain their appeal through intensive campaigns, along with the need for the resumption of the Egyptian Airline’s flights to the European capitals and cities that were suspended in the wake of the revolution. Mohamed Othman further added that there were contacts underway with the European tour operators to reassure them of the effective return of stability and security in Luxor, Aswan and other Red Sea towns.
Guinea Full Name: Republic of Guinea Capital: Conakry Population: 10,057,975 (July 2009 estimate) Area: 245,857 square km. Official Languages: French Monetary Unit: Guinean franc (GNF) Geography: Guinea is located in West Africa. Its territory has a curved shape, with its base at the Atlantic Ocean, inland to the east, and turning south. The base borders Guinea-Bissau and Senegal to the north, and Mali to the north and northeast; the inland part borders Côte d’Ivoire to the south-east, Liberia to the south, and Sierra Leone to the west of the southern tip. Its water sources include the Niger, Senegal, and Gambia rivers. Guinea is sometimes called GuineaConakry (Conakry being its capital) to differentiate it from the neighboring Guinea-Bissau (whose capital is Bissau). Guinea has 320 km of coastline and a total land border of 3,400 km. Situated on the Atlantic coast of Africa, Conakry is the nation’s economic, financial and cultural centre, home to an estimated population of about 2 million people, almost a quarter of the nation’s total population. The country is divided into four main regions: the BasseCote’, populated mainly by the Susu ethnic group; the cooler, mountainous Fouta Djallon that run roughly northsouth through the middle of the country, populated by Fulas, the Sahelian Haute-Guinea to the northeast, populated by Malinke’, and the forested jungle regions in the southeast, with several ethnic groups. Guinea’s mountains are the source for the Niger, the Gambia, and Senegal Rivers, as well as the numerous rivers flowing to the sea on the west side of the range in Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire. The highest point in Guinea is Mount Nimba at 1,752 m. Although the Guinean and Ivorian sides of the Nimba Massif are a UNESCO Strict Nature Reserve, the portion of the socalled Guinean Backbone continues into Liberia.
country has great potential for hydroelectric power. Bauxite and alumina are currently the only major exports. Other industries include processing plants for beer, juices, soft drinks and tobacco. Agriculture employs 80 percent of the nation’s labor force. Guinea possesses over 25 billion tonnes of bauxite – and perhaps up to one-half of the world’s reserves. In addition, Guinea’s mineral wealth includes more than 4-billion tonnes of high-grade iron ore, significant diamond and gold deposits, and undetermined quantities of uranium. Guinea has considerable potential for growth in agricultural and fishing sectors. Soil, water, and climatic conditions provide opportunities for large-scale irrigated farming and agro industry. Possibilities for investment and commercial activities exist in all these areas. Joint venture bauxite mining and alumina operations in northwest Guinea historically provide about 80% of Guinea’s foreign exchange. Bauxite is refined into alumina, which is later smelted into aluminum.
Natural Resources: Guinea has abundant natural resources including 25 percent or more of the world’s known bauxite reserves. Guinea also has diamonds, gold, and other metals. The 59
C O U N T R Y P R O F I L E
What’s behind the Nairobi and Peshawar attacks? by Akbar Ahmed Washington, DC – The outrageous killings at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya and the All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan last month once again prompted legitimate questions about what can be done to stop terrorist violence. While many commentators instinctively pointed to an Islamic motif in the attacks, the perpetrators themselves gave very little evidence that Islam was the basis. By mistakenly focusing on religion as a cause, we risk missing the opportunity to focus on real root causes that could help us to reduce such acts of terrorism in the future. In the case of the Pakistan attacks, a splinter group of the Taliban in Pakistan gave a statement saying that their actions were in retaliation to American drone strikes. And Al-Shabab, a militant group which emerged in southern Somalia in the aftermath of the deadly Somalia civil war, put out a statement saying that their attack in Nairobi was in response to the Kenyan invasion of Somalia. Such violence, especially against innocent victims, is never justified. But understanding the motivations is important in order to work to stop future attacks. Only by understanding the reasons behind the violence and the nature of the society from which the violence emerges can the world work to bring these conflicts to an end. By misunderstanding root causes, governments could instead make matters worse. In my latest book The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam, I examined forty case studies of tribal societies across the Muslim world, from Morocco to the southern Philippines. I found that violence is most often stoked by the structural breakdown between the decision-making centers in each country and the often marginalized periphery, and traditions of tribal revenge. While religious rhetoric has been abused to mobilize support, Islam has little or nothing to do with it. After the departure of the European colonial powers in
the OIC Journal www.oic-oci.org September - December 2013
Pakistan, Kenya and other former colonies in Africa and Asia in the mid-20th century, many tribal communities found themselves marginalized and even brutalized in the newly created modern states. They struggled for decades to preserve their identity, culture and independence. Tribal society in Pakistan and elsewhere operates to preserve law and order by relying on traditional pillars of authority determined by tribal lineage and religious leadership. The historical conflict between the centre and the periphery spiralled out of control when largely autonomous Waziristan became a theatre of war after the invasion of the Pakistani military and the introduction of US drones both in 2004. Traditional pillars of society were challenged and sometimes even destroyed by a combination of military attacks, drone strikes, suicide bombings and tribal rivalries. By their attacks on innocent people in malls and churches, these groups have violated a basic tenet of Islam found both in the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. The killing of innocent people – especially women and children – is categorically forbidden in Islam. Drone attacks almost exclusively affect Muslim tribes with strong codes of honor and revenge —tribes living on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, in Yemen, Somalia and southern Philippines. For these tribes, this kind of warfare is dishonorable, particularly when women and children are killed in the strikes. With the inability to strike back against the drone, we are seeing more and more strikes on markets, churches and mosques claiming to be in retaliation. The anger is directed not only at America, but also at local governments who they see as allowing these attacks to happen, and who are largely unaffected by them. Violence begets violence. If tribal revenge, rather than Islam, is at the root of the actions of these groups, then we are missing an opportunity to address root causes as part of the solution. In order to work toward lasting peace in these troubled areas, we must have a true understanding of the motives behind the violence which produces such tragic outcomes. And, no less than knowledge, we must have compassion for those that suffer in these conflicts in all communities involved. _______________________________________________ * Ambassador Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, DC This article was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews) Copyright permission is granted for publication.