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September - December 2014

Issue No. 28

Confronting extremism at the forefront of UN and OIC meetings

Joint OIC-IDB efforts to fight Ebola in member states

OIC Secretary General visits Al Quds, Urges Muslims to Pray at Al Aqsa Mosque


About OIC The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents. The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world. It endeavors to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various peoples of the world. Originally named The Organization of the Islamic Conference, it was established pursuant a decision adopted by the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, on 12th Rajab 1389 AH/ 25 September 1969 AD, following the criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. In 1970 the first ever meeting of Islamic Conference of Foreign Minister (ICFM) was held in Jeddah which decided to establish a permanent secretariat in Jeddah headed by the organization’s secretary general. Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani is the 10th Secretary General who assumed the office in January 2014. The first OIC Charter was adopted by the 3rd ICFM Session held in 1972. The Charter was amended to keep pace with the developments that have unraveled recently across the world. The 11th Islamic Summit held in Dakar in March 2008 endorsed the new Charter, which has become the pillar of the OIC future Islamic action in line with the requirements of the 21st century.  The new Charter provides for the dissemination and safeguard of Islamic teachings and values based on moderation and tolerance, as well as the need to strive for the projection and defense of the true image of Islam. The new Charter also called for encouraging inter-civilizational and interfaith dialogue. Over the last 40 years, the OIC membership has grown from its founding members of 30 to 57 states. In 2011 in Astana, Khazakhstan, the 38th Council of Foreign Ministers endorsed changing the emblem and name to Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The Organization has the singular honor of galvanizing the Ummah into a unified voice and representing Muslims by espousing all causes close to the hearts of over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. The Organization has consultative and cooperative relations with the UN and other inter-governmental organizations to protect the vital interests of the Muslims and to work for the settlement of conflicts and disputes involving Member States. In safeguarding the true values of Islam and Muslims, the organization has taken various steps to remove misperceptions and have strongly advocated elimination of discrimination against Muslims in all forms and manifestations. It has also engaged in fighting Islamophobia by setting up a dedicated observatory to track and monitor the phenomenon and its disturbing manifestations . The Member States of the OIC face many challenges in the 21st century. To address these challenges, the 3rd Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Summit held in Makkah in December 2005, laid down a blue print called the Ten-Year Program of Action (TYPOA) which envisages joint action by the Member States, promotion of tolerance and moderation, modernization, extensive reforms in all spheres of activities including science and technology, education, and development of trade. It also emphasizes good governance and the promotion of human rights in the Muslim world, especially with regard to the children’s and women’s rights as well as family values enshrined in Islamic Shariah [law]. One of the outstanding achievements since the adoption of the Ten-Year Programme of Action (TYPOA) has been the recent reinvigoration and restructuring of the various OIC bodies. Among the OIC›s key bodies the Islamic Summit, the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), the General Secretariat, in addition to the Al-Quds Committee chaired by the king of the Kingdom of Morocco, as Al-Quds remains the paramount issue on the OIC’s agenda, and three permanent committees, one of which is concerned with science and technology (COMSTECH) that is chaired by the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the second committee is concerned with economy and trade (COMCEC) which is chaired by the President of the Republic of Turkey, while the third one is concerned with information and culture (COMIAC) which is chaired by the President of Senegal.  The OIC has subsidiary organs, notably Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for the Islamic Countries (SESRIC), the Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) and the Islamic Center for the development of Trade (ICDT). Other specialized organs operating under the OIC include the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO). There are also affiliated organs such as the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and the Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS). The OIC subsidiary, affiliated and specialized organs play a vital role in boosting cooperation in various fields among the OIC Member States.

For more details, visit the OIC website at www.oic-oci.org OIC - OCI


OUR MESSAGE A vision for joint Islamic humanitarian action

T Iyad Madani OIC Secretary General

Disaster risk management and collective effort to face humanitarian crises should be considered as one of the top priority areas of cooperation among OIC member states

he OIC member states are facing ever-increasing challenges in dealing with natural hazards and conflicts. Many years of developmental effort are exposed to greater risks of devastation with the onset of disasters or as a result of ongoing conflicts. This demands the strengthening of our joint effort in conflict resolution and in humanitarian action.

Over the last four decades, the world has witnessed a considerable increase in the frequency of natural disasters. The number of natural disasters has increased from less than 100 disasters annually in the 1970s to 450 disasters by the first decade of the new millennium. During the same period, the OIC member states experienced a relatively steeper upward trend as the number of natural disasters increased from 20 disasters per year in the 1970s to almost 120 disasters in the 2000s. While many parts of the world have developed early warning systems as well as efficient response and recovery policies and mechanisms to face natural disasters, most of the OIC member states lagged behind, often due to chronic conflicts or the lack of resources and expertise. The financial cost of natural disasters in the OIC member states during the period 1970-2011 is estimated at $140 billion. The economic repercussions of natural disasters in OIC member states, as a percentage of GDP, increased on average from 0.11% in the 1970s to 1.25% in the 2000s. During 1990- 2012 more than 430 million people were affected in OIC member states from disasters. Given this state of affairs, disaster risk management and collective effort to face humanitarian crises should be considered as one of the top priority areas of cooperation among OIC member states. A humanitarian crisis in one of our member state should be a call for all to step-in and help in every possible way, as our noble religion obliges us to do and our humanity and sense of duty urges us to act. Furthermore, epidemics, such as Ebola, polio, malaria, meningitis, yellow fever, cholera, etc. are not confined by borders and spread easily. This means that the need for intensifying cooperation to contain, treat and prevent the spread of these epidemics in the future is becoming more urgent. Meanwhile, wars and conflicts have also added to the burden of humanitarian work in the OIC member states. Indeed, there are millions of refugees and displaced people from Palestine, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso and other states. Although the OIC member states constitute around 23% of the world’s population, they account for over twothirds of the total refugees and displaced persons worldwide. The increasing burden of natural disasters and conflicts in many OIC member states necessitates strengthening joint humanitarian action, enhancing resilience against disasters and developing adequate disaster response and recovery mechanisms. This is what the OIC International Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs Department (ICHAD) is working hard to achieve. Indeed, it has been involved since its establishment in 2008, despite its limited resources, in providing relief and humanitarian assistance as well as development projects in various communities from Gaza to Banda Acheh and from Somalia and Yemen to Bosnia Herzegovina and Afghanistan. ICHAD is seeking to achieve this objective through partnerships with international organizations such as OCHA, UNHCR, the World Bank, WFP, USAID, EU, Ausaid, etc., with humanitarian NGOs, and with the support of our members. This is taking place at a time when a number of our member states are playing a much more significant role in the field of humanitarian assistance. This is an opportunity to express our gratitude to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE in particular who have generously contributed to humanitarian efforts in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, and beyond, and to call on other members to step up their efforts in this commendable endeavor. The vision for joint Islamic humanitarian action aims at enhancing the preparedness of OIC member states to effectively face disasters and strengthen their post disaster capabilities and respond to growing humanitarian needs associated with conflicts in a more effective and efficient manner through strengthened collaboration and partnership. The essential prerequisites for translating this vision into reality requires (i) leadership and political will (ii) mobilizing the necessary resources (iii) elaboration of a clear road map and (iv) ensuring an effective implementation mechanism in cooperation with our partners. For the sake of the people in need, we hope that the next meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers that will take place in Kuwait in May 2015 would provide an opportunity to take a significant step in this direction, particularly as the UN has named HRH the Emir of Kuwait as one of the world’s Humanitarian Leaders. The time has come for us to work together and pool our resources to strengthen our joint humanitarian action.


OIC Journal Issued by The Organization of Islamic Cooperation Chief Editor & General Supervisor Maha Mostafa Akeel Editors Dr. Abdelhamid Salhi Fadia Maghrabi Layout & Design Mohammed Abdelqader Qalaba Advisory Board Ali Abolhassani Shahreza Jakhongir Khasanov Address: Madinah Road, P.O. Box 178, Jeddah-21411 Saudi Arabia Tel: 6515222 Fax: 6512288 Telx.: 601366 Islami SJ. Website: www.oic-oci.org For comments, enquiries

E-mail: journal@oic-oci.org OIC Permanent Observer to the UN New York Office 320 East - 51st Street New York 10022 New York - U.S.A. www.oicun.org oic@un.int OIC Permanent Observer to the UN Geneva Office ICC-20 Route Pre-Bois- Case Postal 1818 CH 1215 Geneve - SUISSE www.oic-un.org oic@oic - un.org The views expressed by the writers/ authors of the articles published in OIC Journal do not necessarily represent the views of the OIC, but are the personal views of the authors themselves. However, OIC reserves the right/ discretion to amend, revise, edit, delete or scrutinize any part or portion of the text as and wherever deemed necessary.

OIC Related Links 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 (ICDT) www.icdt-oic.org The Islamic University of Technology (UIT) www.iutoic-dhaka.edu

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 Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) www.ias-worldwide.org

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

OIC Calendar: January – April 2015 19-20 January: Inaugural Meeting for the Maternal Newborn and Child Health Project – Ankara, Turkey 29-31 January: International Ulama Conference on Child Health and Immunisation in Somalia is Scheduled to be Organised Jointly by OIC-IDBWHO – Khartoum, Sudan 29-31 January: Third OIC / COMCEC Private Sector Tourism Forum – Istanbul, Turkey 23 February: Islamic Advisory Group Meeting on Polio Eradication – Cairo, Egypt 24-26 March: 38th Islamic Commission for Economic, Culture and Social Affairs – OIC Headquarters, Jeddah, KSA April: Inaugural Session of The General Assembly of The Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) and 7th OIC Ministerial Conference on Food Security and Agriculture Development – Astana, Kazakhstan 7-9 April: OIC Summit on Science and Technology – Islamabad, Paksiatn End of April: First OIC Stakeholders Forum on Unified OIC Halal Food Standards – OIC Headquarters, Jeddah, KSA End of April: 10th Session of the Standing Committee on Information and Cultural Affairs (COMIAC) – Dakar, Senegal


CONTENTS IN Focus 4.

Ministerial Contact Group on Palestine launches Plan of Action

Palestine File 6 . 9 .

Donors’ Conference: $5.4 billion for Gaza The Road to Statehood

World Affairs 18. 22 . 27 .

Saudi Arabia contributes $10 million to fight terrorism in Africa

against terrorism

OIC makes historic step towards peace in Southern Philippines Madani visits Pakistan to convey condolences and express solidarity

Human Rights 42.

OIC Human Rights Commission tackles extremism and intolerance

Islamophobia 44.

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A significant visit to Al Quds

36

OIC humanitarian delegation visits Gaza

Increase of Islamophobia incidents due to ISIS practices

Culture 46.

Bishkek: Capital if Islamic Culture

Women Affairs 47.

5th Ministerial Conference on Women focuses on their role in sustainable

development

48

Financial assistance and health workers to aid member states affected by Ebola

54

Key frameworks for joint Islamic media action

58

COMCEC: Al Quds, Islamic Tourism Capital

Education 52.

A call for member states to increase investment in research

and development

Economy 56.

First Investment Forum in Central Asia

Opinion Articles 11. 28. 35. 45.

A zionist’s willed myopia

and anti-Western sentiments

Analyzing political decision-making behaviors A new interpretation of regional developments Virtual exchanges connect continents to fight Islamophobia


IN FOCUS

From L-R: OIC Secretary General Iyad Madani, Foreign Minister of Morocco Salaheddine Mezouar and Foreign Minister of Jordan Nasser Judeh at the press conference following the meeting

The OIC Ministerial Contact Group convenes its first meeting in Rabat

Launch of a Plan of Action and practical measures to pressure Israel on protecting Al-Quds Ash-Sharif

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Rabat, Morocco – Major steps were launched by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in the capital of Morocco, Rabat, aimed at putting a set of practical measures into action to confront the Israeli escalations in the City of Al-Quds. The measures are also in response to the latest unprecedented acts against the blessed AlAqsa Mosque which included closing the Mosque and denying worshippers’ access to pray in it, as well as the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by the occupation forces and settlers. The OIC Ministerial Contact Group on Defending the Cause of Palestine and Protecting the City of Al-Quds held its first meeting on 12 November 2014, in Rabat, chaired by the Kingdom of Morocco, and the membership of State of Palestine, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Arab Republic of Egypt, Republic of Guinea, Malaysia, Republic of Turkey, Republic of Azerbaijan and the OIC Secretary General. The Ministers emphasized the centrality of the cause of Palestine and Al-Quds AshSharif for the Islamic Ummah; that it is the cause for which the OIC was established; and that the Al Aqsa Mosque is one of the holiest places for worship in the Islamic creed. Aggression against the Mosque, through incursion of its compound by settlers and attempts to divide it, are a grave humiliation to the Islamic Ummah and an unprecedented provocation against the

OIC Journal September - December 2014

sensibilities of hundreds of millions of Muslims and believers around the world. This represents a serious threat to international peace and security, undermines peace and stability efforts in the region, and could lead to a religious conflict with dire consequences. The Ministerial Contact Group considered and approved a plan of action to convey the message and demands of the Islamic Ummah to the international community regarding the cause of Palestine and Al-Quds Ash-Sharif, in an effective manner that would accomplish the desired objectives. The Ministers also considered a set of practical measures that the OIC Member States would take to support Palestine, strengthen resilience of Jerusalem people in their city, put pressure on Israel to end its occupation of the State of Palestine, and force it not to repeat its desecration of Islamic and Christian holy sites. The Ministers called the international community to carry its responsibilities to compel Israel to abide by international law and implement international legitimacy resolutions calling for the ending of the occupation, that has continued for more than 47 years, 23 years of which spent on peace negotiations aborted by Israel, and 12 years have passed since the offer of the Arab peace initiative to which the OIC Member States hoped would achieve peace, security and stability in the region. However, Israel only

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IN FOCUS and security agenda in which Israel is implementing in order to consolidate the Jewish presence and isolate Al-Aqsa Mosque and the occupied Al Quds from its Palestinian milieu. He noted that Israel’s attempts never cease to impose control over Al Aqsa Mosque and put it under a full Israeli sovereignty, control the entry of Muslim worshipers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in a humiliating way, further excavate underneath and around Al-Aqsa, confiscate property, and the construct and expand settlements in and around the occupied city of Al-Quds. Madani added that the OIC is committed to its firm positions of providing absolute support to the Palestinian legitimate rights and support, within the framework of the international legitimacy, the efforts for finding a fair solution, considering that the current situation in Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Quds Ash-Sharif is only part of the tragedy of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land, and destruction and terrorism policies practiced by the Israeli government. The Secretary General said that the major question for which the meeting was held to determine an answer to is the messages that the ministerial group should carry and deliver, in effective manners, to all parties that can confront this Israeli terrorism, particularly the permanent members of the Security Council and the social and political entities of the American society. The Contact Group stressed its support Madani concluded his speech by saying that for the move by the State of Palestine to the messages of the ministerial group gain cause the adoption of a binding resolu- their values and impact from OIC countries’ tion on Israel to end its occupation within united positions, integral roles, and their a specified time frame, and to support the ability to combat a battle for peace with its accession of the State of Palestine to all all legal and regulatory dimensions. He said international treaties and organizations, we, the Muslim world, cannot wait without including the International Criminal Court doing anything to face these unprecedentand the International Court of Justice. ed Israeli aggressions and assaults against our Ummah. The members of the Contact Group extend- Mr. Salaheddine Mezouar, the Minister ed deep appreciation and gratitude to His of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the majesty King Mohamed VI, Chairman of the Kingdom of Morocco, reiterated that the Al-Quds Committee, and to the Govern- Moroccan chairmanship of the meeting ment and people of the Kingdom of Mo- constitutes a renewed expression of the imrocco for hosting and chairing the Group as portance that the Palestinian cause and the an important step in the ongoing support city of Al-Quds hold in Moroccans’ hearts, for the cause of Palestine and protection of under the leadership of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI, Chairman of the ComAl-Quds Ash-Sharif.  In his speech during the meeting, the Secre- mittee of Al-Quds. tary General of the OIC, Iyad Ameen Mada- In addition, the Minister indicated that the ni, said that Palestine is going through an Committee of Al-Quds made major efforts unprecedented situation this year, under a to defend Palestinians’ rights and to suptimetable and a political, religious, media, port their resistance through influential dipresponded to it with further aggression, settlements, racial segregation and violation of the rights of the Palestinian people.  The Ministers also reiterated that East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967 and is the capital of the State of Palestine, under international law and international legitimacy resolutions. Therefore, all the actions by the occupation forces in Al-Quds, including illegal annexation, settlements, judaization of the city, alteration of its demographic composition and distortion of Arab and Islamic character, are null and void and contrary to international law. The Ministers stressed that the Israeli occupation of Arab lands in general, its oppression of the Palestinian people, stealing of their land and desecration of holy sites, in particular, fuel extremism and terrorism in the region. In order to continue and succeed in combating terrorism in the region and around the world, occupation must be ended, as a basic precondition.  The Ministers also called on states that have yet to recognize the State of Palestine to emulate the just and peace-encouraging decision taken by the Kingdom of Sweden through its recognition of the State of Palestine, and called on the Security Council to grant the State of Palestine full membership in the United Nations. 

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lomatic mobilization, and concrete actions implemented in the Holy City by the Agency of Bayt Mal Al-Quds Ash-Sharif. In this regard, the Minister explained that this meeting takes place during a dangerous crisis and an unprecedented escalation of violence by Israeli aggressive policies on the Palestinian cause and Al-Quds Ash-Sharif. He recalled that the Palestinian situation is marked by the continuation of the Israeli settlement policy with the announcement of the construction of 2610 units in East Jerusalem, the closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque by the occupying forces, and banning of access for Palestinians to the site, banning the call for prayer Azan, the storming of the Mosque by hundreds of extremists, besides the demolition of houses and arbitrary arrests of Jerusalem people. Mezouar indicated that those practices are essentially aiming to denaturalize the Arabian and Islamic identity of the Holy City, and to change its demographic composition as a first step for the division plan of the AlAqsa Mosque, temporally and spatially, in order to enable Jews to pray inside. Mezouar also emphasized that the aim of the meeting of the Ministerial Contact Group was not to negotiate on behalf of our Palestinian brothers, but to transmit a righteous message to the international community, represented in putting an end to the unjust practices toward Palestinians, who are the last people in the world still under occupation, and to enable them to establish a Palestinian State with Al-Quds Ash-Sharif as its capital. He added that the policy of fait accompli adopted by the occupying Israeli forces would lead to a greater tension and violence in the region, emphasizing that Israel exploits ceasefire and peacetime to implement its colonial projects in Al-Quds and in the rest of the Palestinian territory. The Moroccan Minister expressed the hope that the framework document that was adopted during this meeting, based on a political, humanitarian and human rights approach, will guide the action of the Ministerial Contact Group. It contains clear and specific messages which the OIC would deliver to the influential powers in the world, towards putting real pressure on Israel, especially in view of the ongoing aggressions against the Palestinian people and its rejection of the international legitimacy resolutions.

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PALESTINE FILE

$ 5.4 Billion for the Strip

Donors’ Conference on Reconstruction of Gaza Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C), Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende (R), Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) attend the International donors conference (epa)

OIC forms working group with the IBD and ISFD to help Gazans Cairo, Egypt – Donors at the International Donors’ Conferenceon Reconstruction of Gaza, held in Cairo, 12 October 2014, have pledged aids worth nearly $5.4 billion for the Palestinians, announced the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Boerge Brende, at the closure of the International Conference. The Egyptian president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, opened the Conference, which was jointly organized by Egypt and Norway. In the presence of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, delegates from about 50 countries including foreign ministers of 30 countries, and representatives of several relief organizations, international and political organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, the OIC and the Arab League. The OIC was represented in the conference by the Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Amb. Hesham Yousef, who delivered a speech in which he stressed that the international community does not accept the principle of holding a conference for rebuilding the Gaza Strip every few years, in an endless cycle of destruction and reconstruction, which could not happen if it was not for the continued Israeli acts of destruction and committing war crimes over the years of occupation. The ambassador noted that the organization had sent a delegation to Gaza to assess the situation there, after the cease-fire agreement last September, with the participation of representatives from the Islamic Development Bank(IDB) and Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), pointing out that the organization has requested the Egyptian Government, which oversees the Conference, to con-

sider the report of the OIC on the situation in Gaza Strip as part of the documents of the Donors’ Conference. Yousef reiterated that the recent war in Gaza is considered, and according to civic and international organizations,to be the most violent among the three wars targeting the Strip over thepast six years. He also affirmed that the reconstruction process wouldnot be feasible as long as Israel continuesits blockade of the Gaza Strip meanwhile,he called on the Israeli Authorities to lift the blockade immediately. The Ambassador also noted that the Palestinian Unity remains an essential component for the development process in the Strip, highlighting the Egyptian role in the Palestinian reconciliation process. Meanwhile, he underlined that the Palestinian reconciliation remains as a Palestinian responsibility in the first place. The ambassador also expressed the support of the OIC for the Palestinian National Reconciliation, expressing its willingness to make every possible effort to pave the way to asuccessful reconciliation. The ambassador cautioned against the existing calm witnessed in Gaza remains fragile and vulnerable to an outbreak of a new war, according to testimonies, calling for the necessity of finding the ways and means to a just and comprehensive peace that would end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He noted that the huge number of the participants in the Donors’ Conference in Cairo sends a positive message to the Palestinian people, especially those who are suffering from the repercussions of the crisis.

The ambassador affirmed that since the Donors’ Conference in 2009, the OIC has consistently informed the Member States of the assistance programs for the Palestinian people, which have reached a total amount of $150 million, pointing out that the OIC General Secretariat also providAmb. Hesham Yousef ed $4 million during the Israeli war on Gaza • the organization had sent a delegation to Gaza to assess the sitStrip last summer. uation there, after the cease-fire agreement last September, with The Assistant Secretary General for Humanithe participation of representatives from the Islamic Development tarian Affairs gave an overview of what the Bank(IDB) and Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) OIC is planning to do over the coming weeks, • the recent war in Gaza is considered, and according to civic through the formation of a working group and international organizations,to be the most violent among the that consists of IDB, ISFD and other organizathree wars targeting the Strip over the past six years. tions affiliated to OIC, in order to develop an • since the Donors’ Conference in 2009, the OIC has consistently assistance program and follow-up on plans informed the Member States of the assistance programs for the and tasks that have been launched last SepPalestinian people, which have reached a total amount of $150 tember for the benefit Gaza Strip people. million

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OIC Journal September - December 2014

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PALESTINE FILE Fears in Gaza of a long-years delay in reconstruction due to security restrictions

Gaza (dpa) Palestinians whose homes were damaged during the last Israeli attack on Gaza waited for 15 days to receive insignificant quantities of cement imported specifically to restore their houses. On 14 October 2014, Israel authorized importing 640 tons of cement to the Gaza Strip as part of an experimental mechanism of the UN plan aimed at organizing the reconstruction of the Strip and controlling the importation and distribution of construction materials. This quantity was kept for more than two weeks in UN warehouses before they were distributed to more than 70 families after undergoing intensive checks of their identities and the state of their damaged houses. Mounir Halas told German Press Agency (dpa) that he obtained 3 tons of cement though he needs more than 100 tons to repair the damage caused to his four-story building. Apart from the small quantity of cement he received, Halas expressed his anger at the “complications” accompanying his registration for the purchase of cement and the long time he had to wait to receive it. Anger is even bigger among those whose houses were destroyed entirely and who face displacement in the absence of any definite time horizon for the possibility of rebuilding their homes, together with the complications and waiting time involved. Israel has not yet fixed any official schedules for starting to supply Gaza with construction materials in a regular fashion. The last Israeli attack caused the destruction of thousands of houses and considerable damage to infrastructures in the overpopulated coastal strip which counts over 1.75 million people. The experimental mechanism for the partial distribution of small quantities of cement to affected people doubled criticism in the Gaza Strip of the UN Reconstruction Plan due to the evident complications and the long time frame. The Minister of Public Works and Housing at the Palestinian Reconciliation Government, Mofeed M. Al-Hasayna, told the German Press Agency dpa that the delay in the distribution of cement under the experimental mechanism is due to the restrictions imposed by the UN Plan which also requires coordination among the parties concerned.

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Al-Hasayna said that the names of beneficiaries who are eligible to receive quantities of cement are verified by the UNRWA which submits them to the Civil Affairs Authority of the Palestinian Authority and then to Israeli authorities. He added that four to five-day consultations are held with the Israeli authorities on the names of affected people days before finalizing the approved list of people who shall receive cement, under the supervision and control of international observers. The ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt between Palestinian factions and Israel provides for immediate authorization to rebuild the Gaza Strip, including entry of the needed construction materials. In mid-September, the UN declared that a tripartite PalestinianIsraeli agreement was reached to enable the Palestinian Authority to start reconstruction the Gaza Strip. The UN then said that Israel will authorize the importation of the construction materials needed for reconstruction provided that strict security guarantees are made through an international control mechanism that supervises entry and use of all materials needed for the reconstruction of Gaza to make sure that they are not diverted from their purely civil purposes. The objective is to prevent the use of construction materials by Palestinian factions in Gaza to build tunnels to Israel. Palestinian sources said that the UN reconstruction Plan provides for strict control of the entry of construction materials through international and local observers who will supervise the building process from beginning to end. In view of the above, specialists and businessmen in Gaza fear that the UN Plan would impose severe restrictions on the reconstruction for unjustifiable security reasons, and would prolong its duration. These fears are exacerbated with the advent of winter and the difficulties it brings to people whose houses are damaged and to the displaced. The Director of Palestinian NGOs Network in Gaza, Amgad Shawa, calls on the UN to withdraw from the mechanism for the entry of construction materials into Gaza and work hard for the entire lifting of the Israeli blockade hindering the movement of individuals and commodities, including construction materials. Shawa told dpa that the UN control mechanism for the entry of construction materials “consolidate, legitimizes and helps prolong the blockade imposed on Gaza in grave violation of international humanitarian law which establishes that the blockade constitutes a collective punishment of the inhabitants of the Strip”. Shawa believes that the UN mechanism will “extend the duration of reconstruction for long, which jeopardizes the rights of displaced and affected families and reduces opportunities for the provision of proper housing that would guarantee them decent living”. According to specialized institutions in Gaza, the Strip needs 20,000 tons of construction materials daily to ensure the completion of reconstruction within two years time, stressing the need to lift the Israeli embargo fully in order to achieve that objective. Palestinian officials estimated the cost of the physical reconstruction of Gaza at US$ 4 billion, yet donors allocated only US$ 2.7 to this purpose and the other half of their pledges is for the budget of the Palestinian Authority, which suffers financial difficulties.

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PALESTINE FILE Violations of Al Aqsa and new settlements The Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani, condemned the Israeli authorities’ decision in October ratifying the construction of 1000 settlement units in the occupied Al-Quds. He stressed that the continuation of the settlement expansion policy constituted flagrant violation of international law and international legitimacy resolutions. The Secretary General also condemned in the strongest terms the ongoing attacks by the Israeli occupation forces and settler groups on the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and the worshippers in the Mosque’s courtyard. He condemned the attempts to make futile laws to divide the Mosque temporally and spatially, and cautioned against the consequences of the occupation’s settlement and racist practices on the security and stability of the entire region. Madani appealed to the Security Council to discharge the functions for which it was established. He called upon the United States, the mediator, to mediate effectively and on the quartet to take action. He also called upon the international community and civil society institutions not to be silent witnesses to the Israeli violations but to take action to stop Israel’s ongoing violation against what remains of Palestinian territories, against Palestinian legitimate rights and humanity and respect freedom of worship and sanctity of places of worship. Later on, the Secretary General condemned the closure by the Israeli occupation authorities of Al-Aqsa Mosque on October 30, and considered this move a serious precedent and blunt provocation of the sentiments of the Islamic Ummah as well as an encroachment on its religious rights in the blessed Aqsa Mosque. He added that this is a breach of all international covenants, the Geneva conventions and the principles of international law. It was the first time that the Al Aqsa Mosque was closed off to worshipers in 47 years. The Israeli police reopened it later that same day. The OIC Secretary General has held Israel fully responsible for the repercussions of such rejected and condemned acts and he cautioned that the escalation of such racist practices would ignite the situation in the region. He also strongly condemned the incursion perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces in the holy mosque of Al-Aqsa on November 5 and their aggressions against the worshipers present in its courtyards, which resulted in scores of injuries, an exaction which he described as brutal and criminal, a blatant violation of the Geneva Accord and international law.

OIC condemns Israel’s ratification of the “State Judaization” Bill The Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani, condemned the audacity of the Israeli occupation government to approve the “State Judaization” bill on November 25, describing it as consolidation and legitimization of an apartheid system based on hostility, occupation and extremism being actually perpetrated by Israel. The Secretary General added that this dangerous step demonstrates the intransigence of the Israeli authority in denying the Palestinian natural human rights, and an attempt to sidestep the United Nations General Assembly resolution 194 on resolving the question of Palestinian refugees. He warned that ratification of such laws confirms the tendency of the Israeli occupation government towards greater extremism, which would lead to more conflict and undermine the chances of achieving peace.

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OIC Journal September - December 2014

OIC Secretary General Condemns Killing of Palestinian Minister Ziad Abu Ein The Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Iyad Ameen Madani, condemned the crime of killing Minister Ziad Abu Ein, head of the Palestinian Authority Committee against the Separation Wall, by the Israeli occupation forces on 10 December 2014 while participating in a peaceful protest against settlement and land confiscation. The Secretary General said that this heinous crime is yet a manifestation of the ongoing Israeli repression, aggression, and terrorism against the Palestinian people.

A draft resolution that calls for ending Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories fails at UNSC A United Nations Security Council draft resolution that set a deadline to establish a sovereign Palestinian state was defeated on December 30, 2014 after it failed to receive the nine votes that are needed for adoption in the 15-member body. Eight members voted for it while the United States and Australia voted against the measure. France, China and Russia were among the eight countries that voted for it. Britain and four other nations including Nigeria abstained. The draft resolution, which was introduced by Jordan on behalf of the Palestinians, set a one-year deadline for negotiations with Israel; established targets for Palestinian sovereignty, including a capital in East Jerusalem; and called for the “full and phased withdrawal of Israeli forces” from the West Bank by the end of 2017. The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Iyad Ameen Madani, expressed OIC’s deep disappointment at the failure to approve the draft resolution and at the position of the countries that rejected the resolution or abstained from voting for it. The Secretary General added that the OIC is astounded by the reasoning of the objecting countries to the draft resolution that it “does not serve the goals of peace, and could undermine the peace process”; and by their call for open-ended negotiating process without a timeframe. He added that these countries seem to overlook the fact that the Palestinians have sat at the negotiating table and have been involved in the peace process for more than twenty years. During this time, Israel persisted in building and expanding settlements that now cover most of the West Bank; and in systematically planting hundreds of thousands of settlers in the occupied territories; and in ceaselessly pushing for the Judaization of Jerusalem changing its Arab, Muslim and Christian demographic and religious characters; and in completing the construction of the apartheid wall which nibbles large areas of Palestinian land; and in destroying the Gaza Strip time and time again in brutal Israeli wars; and in throwing more and more Palestinians in Israeli jails. Madani said that those who call for peace negotiations without a specific framework and scheduled timeframe, and ignore Israel’s refusal to meet the requirements for the resumption of the peace process, are actually calling for more time for Israel to complete its colonial rule. These countries stands, Madani added, plunge the Palestinian cause in an endless circle, and underline the international community’s inability to provide binding alternatives to enable the Palestinians to establish their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

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PALESTINE FILE

PALESTINE: THE ROAD TO STATEHOOD A

Members of the European Parliament voting during the plenary session in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, 17 December 2014 (epa)

lready recognized as a state by most of the developing world, 2014 is the year when Western nations began to express their growing frustration with Israeli policies, and signaling their intention to officially recognize Palestine as a UN member state. Sweden made history as the first Western European and a EU member to acknowledge Palestinian statehood this year, becoming the world’s 135th nation state to do so. The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani, welcomed the decision of the Kingdom of Sweden to recognize the State of Palestine, considering it an important step towards enabling the Palestinian People to regain their legitimate and inalienable national rights, and a strong message of support from the Swedish government to the rights of the Palestinian People. He added that the decision is consistent with the International Law and the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy, notably the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on November 29th, 2012 recognizing the State of Palestine. The OIC Secretary General called upon the other countries, both in Europe and

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worldwide, to follow the example of the TIMELINE Kingdom of Sweden in fully recognizing The timeline of this year’s symbolic votes, which were duly the State of Palestine within the 1967 welcomed by the OIC, goes as follows: borders and with the City of Al-Quds Ash- Britain: Oct. 14, 2014: Britain’s House of Commons voted 274-12 Sharif as its capital. On 17 December, the European Parlia- in favor of a non-binding motion to recognize the state of ment adopted a non-binding resolution Palestine. Sweden: that stated: “[the European parliament] Oct. 30, 2014: The Swedish government officially recogsupports in principle recognition of Pal- nized the state of Palestine. It is the first European Union estinian statehood and a two-state solu- member in Western Europe to officially recognize Palestine. tion, and believes these should go hand The move angered Israel so much that it withdrew its ambasin hand with the development of peace sador from Stockholm. Spain: talks, which should be advanced.” European lawmakers had initially put Nov. 19, 2014: Spanish legislators vote 319 in favor, with forward a motion that urged the 28 EU two opposed and one abstention, on a proposal officially member states to recognize Palestine im- calling on the government to recognize Palestine as a state. France: mediately and without conditions. But the Dec. 2, 2014: France’s National Assembly votes 339 to 151 in European parliament’s vote is still hailed as favor of a symbolic motion to recognize the Palestinian state. “symbolic.” Ireland: Non-EU member Iceland is another West- Dec. 11, 2014: The Irish upper house, known as the Seanad, ern European country that officially recog- approves a non-binding resolution calling on the governnizes Palestine, in addition to EU members ment to officially recognize Palestine as a state. such as Malta, Cyprus and several Central Portugal: European nations that did so in the late Dec. 12, 2014: The Portuguese parliament adopted a recommendation calling on the government to recognize the Pal80s before joining the 28-member bloc. estinian state proposing “recognizing, in coordination with Europe’s symbolic votes come two years the European Union, the state of Palestine as independent after the UN General Assembly upgraded and sovereign.” the Palestinian Authority status from “Ob- Luxembourg: server” to “Non-member state,” in effect Dec. 17, 2014: Luxembourg’s parliament voted to urge the ratifying Palestinian statehood. government to recognize a Palestinian state.

OIC Journal September - December 2014

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PALESTINE FILE

I

Coming to the mosque is a right for me as well as every Muslim

n a significant visit to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Iyad Ameen Madani, urged Muslims to follow suit and come to the city in a bid to strengthen Palestinian rights to the holy site. The bold visit by Madani on January 5, 2015 came at a sensitive time following months of tensions and violence surrounding the holy site in Jerusalem’s Old City, and the failed vote at the UN Security Council for a draft resolution that called for ending Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and setting a deadline for establishing a sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Al-Aqsa is revered by Muslims; it is Islam’s third-holiest site after Makkah and Madinah. “Coming to the mosque is a right for me as well as every Muslim,” Madani said after praying at Al Aqsa Mosque. “It is our right to come here and to pray here. No occupation authority should take this right from us.” Israel usurped East Jerusalem, including the Old City, in 1967, in a move that has not been internationally recognized. Al-Aqsa lies at the heart of the dispute over Jerusalem. The Secretary General visited the City of Al-Quds on the second day of his official visit to the State of Palestine. Madani and his accompanying delegation toured Al-Quds’ Sacred Mosque. There he listened to the officials about the Israeli attacks and violations. On hand to receive the Secretary General at the Al-Aqsa Mosque were the Governor of the City of Al-Quds, Adnan Al-Husaini, the Mufti of Al-Quds, His Eminence Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, and Chairman of the Waqf Council, His Eminence Sheikh Abdul Azeem Salhab, as well as other dignitaries and eminent sheikhs of the AlAqsa Mosque. The Mufti of Al-Quds Sheikh Muhammad Hussein commended the Secretary General’s call for the facilitation of Muslims’ access to AlQuds for prayers and residence and as a tourist destination, having been declared as the Capital of Tourism in the Muslim World for 2015. He expressed the hope that all Muslims around the world would heed the call, which he described as courageous. For his part, Madani affirmed the steadfast support of the OIC for the Blessed Al-Aqsa, for the inhabitants of Al-Quds and for their resilience in the face of attempts by the occupation forces to Judaize the city and purge it of its Arab population.

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The officials presented a summary of the basic challenges facing Palestinians living in the city, particularly regarding health, education, housing, youth and others. The Secretary General’s visit to Palestine began in Ramallah with a meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas on January 4 at the latters office and then proceeding to inaugurate together the photo exhibition “Jerusalem in Memory”, organized by the OIC through its affiliate organ, the Research Center for History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), and in cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Culture. There, the Secretary General announced Jerusalem as the Capital of Islamic Tourism 2015, and reiterated that this goal cannot be achieved without Muslims visiting Jerusalem by the tens of thousands. Madani said he intends to invite the Ministers of Tourism of Palestine and Jordan to workout a plan linking tourism agencies in both countries, as a prelude to enhance tourist destinations to Jerusalem and the Islamic holy sites. He explained that this process can be completed by connecting the tourism agencies in Palestine, Jordan and the agencies that regulate Umrah tours to Makkah through practical mechanisms. President Abbas praised the invitation by the Secretary General for Muslims to visit Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa. On the other hand, Abbas revealed that the Palestinians are being subjected to tremendous pressure to prevent them from joining the United Nations’ institutions, stressing that nothing would prevent them. Abbas also revealed that Palestine is considering re-applying the draft resolution to end the occupation to the Security Council, and would continue resubmitting it until it receives a response. Worth noting that the exhibition “Jerusalem in Memory” displays a group of 470 rare historical pictures of Jerusalem, from the “Yildiz” album of the Sultan Abdul Hamid II, and archives of IRCICA. The Palestinian Minister of Culture, Ziad Abu Amr, said that the exhibition will be held in various Palestinian cities and in different countries. At the end of his visit to Ramallah and Al Quds, the Madani met the Foreign Minister of Jordan, Nasser Judeh, in the latters office in Amman on 6 January where he praised the efforts of the Hashemite Kingdom in preserving the Islamic holy sites in Al-Quds Al-Shareef, in particular the Blessed Al Aqsa Mosque.

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OPINION

A Zionist’s willed myopia

P By Shaher Awawdeh

Though the chapters of “My promised land” cover a wide range of topics related to the Zionist project in Palestine, I found the first chapter “At First Sight, 1897” pretty interesting

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eople may often tell their own narratives with ease; yet, it becomes rather interesting to find a good part of your own narrative reflected in a story told by the “Other”. A strange feeling may submerge you upon starting to read a book only to find that while the author intends to tell his own version of the story, the book chapters charge you with extraordinary emotions as you begin to develop deeper understanding of your own version of the same story. It is the feeling that overwhelms you when you try to comprehend your own tragedy by reading the story of the fortune of the “Other”. This was exactly the feeling that engulfed me as I started flipping the pages of Ari Shavit’s interesting book “My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel”. Each chapter of the book sheds light on a different episode of the tragedy of the Palestinians since the start of the Jewish immigration to Palestine in the nineteenth century.   Ari Shavit is a columnist at the Israeli daily Haaretz and a member of the Israeli ‘Peace Now’ movement. His 2013 book “My Promised Land” has received much attention by the Jewish community, mainly American liberal Jewish groups.    The writer sets off by describing his own muted fears that had inhabited his inner soul. “Our cities seemed to be built on shifting sand. Our houses never seemed quite stable,” he says. Even when he joined the elite paratrooper brigade in the West Bank, his fears multiplied as he was traumatized the most by “breaking into homes and taking young men from their warm beds to midnight interrogations”. He acknowledges that, “although I oppose occupation, I am responsible for occupation. I cannot deny the fact or escape the fact that my nation has become an occupying nation.”     Though the chapters of “My promised land” cover a wide range of topics related to the Zionist project in Palestine, I found the first chapter “At First Sight, 1897” pretty interesting as it looks into an era that, unfortunately, does not receive adequate attention by those interested in the Palestinian cause. It is the era of the early development of the Zionist project, and the plans put forward by Zionist leaders several decades prior to the eviction of the Palestinians from their cozy homes in 1948 and the establishment of Israel.      The first chapter starts by describing how in April 1897 the author’s great-grandfather, Herbert Bentwich, a well-to-do British national, sailed for Jaffa, leading a delegation of 21 Zionists to investigate whether Palestine would be suitable for a Jewish national home. Bentwich was carried away by Theodor Herzl’s manifesto “The Jewish State” which had been published a year earlier. Herzl hoped that Bentwich’s delegation would produce a comprehensive report of its mission for the First Zionist Congress, which was to be held in Basel in August that year.    Bentwich, as described by Shavit, was an arrogant Zionist who seems not to have noticed the large majority of Gentiles – the Arab stevedores who ferried the Oxus passengers ashore in rough wooden boats, the Arab peddlers in the Jaffa market, the Arab guides and servants in his Thomas Cook convoy. Looking out from the top of a white tower in the Palestinian city of Ramleh, Bentwich, “in his white suit and his white cork hat” didn’t see the large Arab population living in Palestine’s nearby towns and cities and hundreds of villages. Shavit says, “My great-grandfather does not see because he is motivated by the need not to see. He does not see because if he does see, he will have to turn back… my great-grandfather chooses not to see”. Bentwich only sees “the quiet, the emptiness, the promise”. Here is the stage upon which the drama would play out.   Bentwich’s blindness made him write in his mission’s report that “Palestine has never yet adopted another population”, and argued that Palestine is absolutely suitable for “the teeming millions who are in distress in the East of Europe for whom home might have to be found with minimum of difficulty and a maximum of hope”. The myopic report qualified Herbert Bentwich twenty years later to participate in the dramatic negotiations with the British Crown, which produced the famous seventy-word commitment, included in a letter, that will be sent by Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour to Lord Rothschild, promising to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.    Bentwich’s twelve days mission in Palestine was just the beginning of a mega project that changed the political landscape of the region. As Shavit puts it, Bentwich’s “understanding of the land is so very limited. But he does know that an era has come to a close and that an era is set to begin”. Something both grand and terrible occurred when the Oxus made its appearance at the Jaffa port and laid on its shore all that it carried on board.

OIC Journal September - December 2014

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SPECIAL REPORT Confronting Extremism at the Forefront of UNGA and OIC meetings in New York New York, USA – With the heightened sense of concern and apprehension of the expansion and degree of violence perpetrated by terrorists, the issue of confronting extremism was the beaming headline at the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which opened on 24 September 2014, and the Annual Coordination Meeting (ACM) of the Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which is held on the sidelines of the UNGA. The President of the United States of America, HE Barack Obama, said in his statement to the UNGA that we need to work together to confront the ideology of ISIL, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and other groups tarnishing the name of Islam. The Secretary General of the OIC, Iyad Ameen Madani, welcomed the statement of President Obama and stressed that this message should also be expanded to include all extremist groups promulgating hate speech and violence against religious minorities and communities around the world; and also to confront the apartheid-like state terrorism of the current Israeli government. The OIC Secretary General expressed his appreciation of President Obama’s reaffir-

US President Barack Obama addressing the UNGA

mation that the United States is not, and never will, be at war with Islam, or a subscriber to the notion of a clash of civilization, a view that was strongly peddled by some policy circles and self declared experts.

Madani also stressed the importance of President Obama’s emphasis that, “permanent religious war is the misguided refuge of extremists who cannot build or create anything, and therefore peddle only fanaticism and hate. And it is no exaggeration to say that humanity’s future depends on us uniting against those who would divide us along fault lines of tribe or sect; race or religion.” The OIC took the opportunity of the UN and UNSC present attention to the issue of extremism and terrorism, to stress that the practices of terrorist groups such as IS who falsely claim affiliation to the Islamic faith and seek to justify their criminal acts as being carried out for the cause of Islam, have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, equality, compassion, freedom of faith and coexistence.  The OIC has consistently condemned such movements and called for understanding and confronting the social and economic context and environment that breeds such extremism; and to be on alert to those who use the fight against terrorism or penetrate extreme movements to widen and serve their political agendas.

OIC, Arab League and GCC set the roadmap for cooperation first consultation meeting on 22 September 2014 on the periphery of the 69th UNGA Session. The meeting was attended by Dr. Nabil Elaraby, LAS Secretary General, Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani, OIC Secretary General, and Dr. Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani, GCC Secretary General. In view of prior engagement, Habib Ben Yahya, AMU Secretary General, was unable to attend the meeting. During the meeting, consultations and exchanges of views were conducted on several issues including the Palestinian cause, developments in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. The meeting also addressed combating terrorism and modalities of coordinating positions regarding issues of concern to the Arab and Islamic worlds included on the agenda of the 69th UNGA Session, as well as cooperation mechanisms in humanitarian affairs.

Within the framework of prompting means of cooperation and coordination with regard to major issues of common interest, and in implementation of the agreement between the Secretaries General of the OIC, the League of Arab States (LAS), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) to hold a regular consultation meeting, the OIC Mission in New York, hosted the

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At the conclusion of this first coordination meeting, the Secretaries General agreed to hold the second meeting on the periphery of the 26th Session of the LAS Council at the Summit level to be held in Egypt in March 2015. The aim of the meeting would be promoting means of cooperation and expanding consultation areas on various issues of concern to these Organizations, and exchanging views to face the challenges imposed by Arab, regional and international realities on the region.

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SPECIAL REPORT The Annual Coordination Meeting: Prince Saud: Israeli policies oblige the international community to interfere

Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia and current Chairman of the CFM HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal (C), at the OIC Annual Coordination Meeting

HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the current session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the OIC Member States, opened the Annual Coordination Meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers on Friday, 26 September 2014, in New York on the sidelines of the 69th Session of the UNGA. In his opening speech, Prince Saud Al-Faisal addressed the Palestinian issue where he said that Israel’s rejection of international peace efforts and insistence on confiscating Palestinian lands, establishing settlements in the West Bank and the City of Jerusalem, and changing its geography and demography, obligates the international community to strongly interfere to stop Israeli aggressions and pressure it to resume the peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority on the basis of international references and the Arab Peace Initiative. On the Syrian crisis, he stressed that the Syrian people have the right that we stand by them and defend their legitimate rights against the regime, which refused all international and regional efforts and called to opt for peace, save the Syrian people from bloodshed and protect their honor and dignity. Prince Saud also approached the situation in Iraq, Yemen and the threat of terrorism; he also touched on the subject of Islamophobia and Muslim communities in non-OIC member states. Following the Saudi Foreign Minister, the OIC Secretary General, Iyad Ameen Madani, delivered his speech in which he referred to the Organization’s efforts in convening a special session of the United Nations Council for Human Rights and the adoption of

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a resolution calling for the dispatch of an international commission to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity that may have been committed during the recent Israeli military aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip. Moreover, during the last period the OIC also sent a delegation to the Gaza Strip to consider what the OIC can do to support the Palestinians there. Madani said that the OIC seeks to combine the humanitarian efforts in the Strip with a real political process that includes, as main components, adherence to the national unity government, consolidation of the right of decision-making in its own hand, and resumption of a peace process that proceeds from the Palestinian and Arab steadfast tenets, under the sponsorship of a capable and impartial party, because it is inconceivable for a sponsor of negotiation to be one of its parties at the same time. The OIC also hopes that the reconstruction projects would bring hope in the future, and perhaps the reconstruction of the Gaza airport and conducting studies for the establishment of a seaport, will enhance confidence in peace and stability.  The Secretary General pointed out that this year’s UN General Assembly focused on combating terrorism and extremism. The OIC was a pioneer, among its counterparts of international organizations, in the adoption of a Code of Conduct in 1994 and the Convention to Combat International Terrorism in 1999. He said: “I believe the OIC should be at the forefront in combating terrorism, within the framework of this convention, as this would categorically re-

fute the allegations propagated by terrorist groups like Boko Haram or ISIS who justify their heinous terrorist activities perpetrated in the name of Islam. In this context, he acknowledged the support provided by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz to the UN CounterTerrorism Fund and to the African Union’s Peace and Security Council anti-terrorism programs in the African continent.” On the other hand, the Secretary General pointed out that the OIC Member States in West Africa- Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Sierra Leone- are facing the deadly Ebola epidemic, which has overburdened their health facilities and capabilities. He added that coordination has been set with Indonesia, as the chair of the Council of health Ministers of OIC, to convene an extraordinary meeting of Health Ministers of the Member States to elaborate a common plan towards confronting this epidemic. Furthermore, the OIC, the Islamic Development Bank and the Islamic Solidarity Fund are preparing a set of procedures and immediate support to those affected countries. He appealed to the Member States to stand together in support of the OIC to be able to provide immediate, direct and effective support for those Member States facing this epidemic. On a different note, the Secretary General said that we have to look at woman from another perspective. Women in the Member States of the OIC are among the most segments of society in need of recognition and to be given the opportunity to contribute to all the efforts of the OIC, especially in the areas of combating poverty and strengthening the cohesion of the social fabric. He said: “There is no time we spend or benefits gained from accepting any explanation that does not grant women their rightful place and role prescribed for them by Islam long time ago.”  Then, the OIC Special Envoys for Mali, Djibril Bassoli, for Myanmar, Sayed Hamid Albar, and for Central African Republic, Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, presented their reports on the latest developments on their issues and their efforts to find a solution.  The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry, as Egypt is the Chair of the current session of the Islamic Summit, also delivered a speech at the opening session where he emphasized Egypt’s support for the Palestinian cause and pointed out that Egypt will host a donors’ conference for the reconstruction of Gaza in October.

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SPECIAL REPORT Fruitful Contact Group Meetings Three Contact Group meetings at the ministerial level were held on the first day of the week-long visit to New York by the Secretary General of the Organization Islamic Cooperation and his accompanying delegation for the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Other Contact Group meetings were held the following days.

Contact Group Meeting on Sierra Leone tackles the Ebola epidemic

On Monday, 22 September 2014, the OIC Contact Group meeting on Sierra Leone urged all 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 Ebola epidemic, which is threatening Sierra Leone, its neighboring countries and the whole West African Region. The meeting also invited OIC Member States to urgently extend material, financial and scientific support to Sierra Leone in its desperate fight against the deadly Ebola epidemic and called for a more global orientated action so as to stop the spread of the disease and provide cure and medication to the affected people.

Contact Group on Somalia supports the Six-Pillar Plan

As for the OIC Contact Group meeting on Somalia, it expressed its full support to the Six Pillar Plan of the Federal Government of Somalia, which seeks to address the current challenges facing the country. The meeting also pledged its full support for the New Deal Compact, which set out the obligations of both the international community and Somalia in the reconstruction process.

Contact Group on Bosnia-Herzegovina welcomes recent developments

On Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Contact Group welcomed the recent developments in the country including the adoption of the technical amendments, which will enable the holding of the elec-

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tion in October. 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, which might threaten the viability of the state and compromise its progress towards European integration. Furthermore, the meeting called upon Bosnia to be a full member of OIC.

Contact Group Meeting on Mali stresses on implementing confidence measures The OIC Contact Group Meeting on Mali, held on 24 September, reiterated its strong condemnation of terrorism, extremism and all forms of violence including organized crimes and drug trafficking. The meeting called for a full respect of the cease-fire brokered by the President of Mauritania following the bloody confrontations on 17 and 21 May 2014 in Kidal and stressed the importance for the implementation of confidence measures. The meeting further expressed its appreciation to the efforts of Algeria and its President for their helpful role in facilitating the launch in Algiers on 16th July 2014 of initial phase of the peace negotiations between the six movements in northern Mali and the Government. The meeting requested the Member States and OIC financial institutions to provide the necessary assistance for the long-term development of Mali. It also called on them to actively engage in establishing economic development and reconstruction projects, and called on the Member States, OIC institutions and Islamic NGOs to continue to extend generously the necessary humanitarian assistance in order to alleviate the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees.

Contact Group Meetings on Jammu and Kashmir calls for resumption of dialogue

The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir, which was held on 25 September 2014, called for the resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir. It condemned all human rights violations committed against the innocent Kashmiris and called upon India to allow international human rights groups and humanitarian organizations to visit Jammu and Kashmir and conduct necessary investigations. It also called on all OIC Member States to extend humanitarian assistance to the affected population in Jammu and Kashmir.

Contact Group on Rohingya adopts a plan of action The OIC Contact Group on Rohingya, also held on 25 September, adopted the plan of action recommended by the OIC Special Envoy for Myanmar, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, which calls on the Myanmar government to take action against people promoting hate speech and instigating violence. The plan also calls for holding inter-community and interfaith dialogue, allow internally displaced people (IDPs) to return to their homes, invest in the socio-economic

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SPECIAL REPORT

development of the Rakhine region, and open up for international humanitarian assistance to reach the community that was affected by the ethnic violence that broke out in 2012. The meeting agreed to continue efforts to coordinate and dispatch humanitarian lifesaving aid especially medical and nutrition supply to the affected areas in Myanmar. It also noted that infrastructure development assistance and community engagements would be more strategic and effective move in bringing peace in the affected areas. The Meeting welcomed the Special Envoy’s efforts to work with the Director General of the Arakan Rohingya Union (ARU) to develop a strategy for the Rohingya community to participate in the registration process in Rakhine state. Furthermore, the Meeting urged the Government of Myanmar to abide by its obligations under international law and human rights covenants and take all necessary measures to stop the violence and discrimination against Rohingya Muslims and continued attempts to deny their culture and Islamic identity. The Meeting also called upon Government of Myanmar to restore the citizenship of the Rohingya Muslims which was revoked in the Citizenship Act of 1982 and to have an inclusive transparent policy towards ethnic and religious communities, including the Rohingya Muslims, as an integral part of this process and consider them as an ethnic minority in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 238/64.  

OIC reaffirms its commitment to defend Yemen’s unity and to support Somalia The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) reaffirmed its commitment to defend the unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Yemen. It also vowed to support efforts aimed at achieving political stability in order to face the challenges of peace, reconstruction and development, consistent with GCC

Secretary General Madani holds talks with the President of Somalia, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud

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initiative and its implementation mechanism. This statement was made by Ambassador Abdullah Alem, Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs at the OIC General Secretariat, at the meeting of the Friends of Yemen Group held on 24 September in New York under the chairmanship of His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ambassador Alem appealed to the international community to honor its comAmb. Abdullah Alim mitments towards Yemen, stating that the OIC and all its organs are entirely ready to help Yemen address its present challenges and achieve sustainable development. In his statement at the High-level Meeting on Somalia held the same day at the UN headquarters in New York under the chairmanship of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and H.E. Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, with the participation of the President of the Republic of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Ambassador Tarik Ali Bakhiet, DiAmb. Tariq Bakhiet rector of International Organizations at the OIC General Secretariat, reaffirmed OIC’s commitment to support Somalia, in line with the resolutions of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) on solidarity with Somalia, particularly the resolution adopted by the CFM in its last session held in June 2014 in Jeddah, which decided to transform the OIC humanitarian assistance office in Mogadishu into a development office. Ambassador Bakhiet appealed to the international community to honor its commitments to support Somalia as expressed in the conferences of Istanbul, Brussels and London, reaffirming OIC’s disposition to participate in the high-level international partnership forum on Somalia due to be held in November in Copenhagen, capital city of Denmark. Ambassador Bakhiet welcomed the Government of Somalia’s vision for 2012, confirming the commitment of the OIC, its Member States and all its organs to support Somalia in implementing this vision.

The Committee on Palestine demands the UNSC to assume its responsibility The OIC Six-Member Committee on Palestine, held on 24 September, warned against the dangerous excavation works carried out by Israel underneath the blessed Al Aqsa Mosque. It demanded the international community, particularly the UN Security Council, to assume their responsibilities in compelling Israel to respect international law and to cease its illegal and illegitimate practices in occupied East Jerusalem. The meeting also strongly condemned Israel’s illegal settlement policy and practices inside the Palestinian territory and the construction of the Aparthied Wall that has caused the confiscation of Palestinians’ lands and properties and the isolation of scores of Palestinian villages, towns and cities. The meeting condemned in the strongest terms Israel, the occupying Power, for the brutal military onslaught it has been against the Gaza Strip, and holds it legally and politically accountable for the full consequences of the war crimes that are not subject to statutory limitations.

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SPECIAL REPORT A full schedule of bilateral meetings for the Secretary General The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani, had a busy schedule of meeting high officials in New York during his attendance of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The Secretary General held several bilateral meetings on his first day. In the meeting with the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Javad Zarif, the two sides focused on enhancing bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on the situation in the region. The meeting with the Foreign Minister of Guyana, Ms. Carolyn Rodriquez-Birkett, also focused on involving Guyana more in the activities of the OIC. As for the meeting with the Foreign Minister of Iraq, Ibrahim Jaferi, the two sides discussed the ways and means for support-

President of Iraq, H.E. Mohamed Fouad Masum meets the Secretary General

ing Iraq in its fight against terrorism and extremism. The Secretary General expressed the wish of the OIC to send a delegation to Baghdad and to expand the role of its office in Baghdad; Foreign Minister Jaferi welcomed both initiatives. Secretary General Madani also met with the President of Iraq, HE Dr. Mohamed Fuad Masum, and discussed the danger of terrorist groups and the need to confront their ideologies and the environment in which it grows.   Then, the Secretary General met with the President of Kosovo, HE Ms. Atifete Jahjaga, and stressed OIC’s commitment to gain more recognition from the Member States for Kosovo. In the following days the Secretary General was also tide up in many bilateral meetings.

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Roundtable meeting with the President of Kosovo, H.E. Atifete Jahjaga

Madani met with the Secretary of State of the USA, John Kerry, during which Kerry thanked him for the important OIC statements condemning ISIL and its crimes as well as the statement welcoming the new Iraqi government. Kerry stressed that the fight against ISIL is not an American fight because ISIL is a threat to all. He also called on OIC to help in ending the sectarianism in Iraq. The OIC Secretary General on his part said that there should be less of the Sunni-Shiite narrative because sect and religion is being used to expand interests. Madani also emphasized that military action alone is not enough against ISIL; there is a need to disassociate it from Islam and address the environment in which it grows. He also pointed out the need to address the conflict in Syria and the Palestinian-Israeli issue.   In his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, Erlan Idrissov, the Secretary General discussed the establishment of the OIC Food Security Office in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, the strong role of Kazakhstan in the region and the Muslim world, and his expected visit to Kazakhstan.   On the other hand, the Secretary General discussed separately with the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,

US Secretary of State John Kerry greeting the Secretary General

September - December 2014

HE Dervis Eroglu, and the Foreign Minister of Cyprus, Loannis Kasoulides, the developments on the issue of Northern Cyprus. With the President of Somalia, HE Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud, the Secretary General stressed on reaching out to the youth who are vulnerable to recruitment by terrorists and criminals. The Secretary General pointed out that OIC has consistently condemned Al Shabab as criminal and their actions as being against the values of Islam, and referred to OIC’s efforts to combat international terrorism citing among others, the recent contribution by Saudi Arabia of $10 million to the African Union through the OIC for its counter terrorism endeavors. The Secretary General also recalled the decision of the 38th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) to establish the OIC Trust Fund for Somalia and explained his ef-

UN and OIC Secretaries General

forts to activate it, as well as his efforts to transform the OIC Humanitarian Affairs Office in Mogadishu into a Development Office in line with the resolution taken by the 41st CFM held in Jeddah back in June. The Secretary General also met the President of the Central African Republic (CAR), HE Ms. Catherine Samba-Panza, accompanied by the OIC Special Envoy to CAR, Dr. Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, and reviewed the latest developments of the crisis in CAR and the efforts of OIC to reach a solution with the cooperation of the government, especially on security, humanitarian assistance and repatriation and reconstruction.   In his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Myanmar, U Wunna Maung Lwin, accompanied by the OIC Special Envoy for Myanmar, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, Madani raised concerns over the citizenship verification process underway of the Rohingya in

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SPECIAL REPORT Myanmar, and the willingness of the OIC to provide humanitarian assistance and development to the Rakhine community and to foster interfaith dialogue. The Foreign Minister stressed that the government wants the two communities in Rakhine to live in harmony and enjoy development, and that it is working to build confidence and provide jobs to both communities. The two sides agreed to cooperate more for better understanding between the two communities in Rakhine and to allow access of humanitarian assistance. As for the meeting with the Foreign Minister of Mozambique, the two sides agreed

The Secretary General with the Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan

to further enhance bilateral cooperation in various fields including culture and tourism. The meeting with the Secretary General of the OSCE, Lamberto Zannier, also focused on bilateral cooperation in the fields of mediation, electoral assistance, and interfaith dialogue.   As for the meeting with the Director General of FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN), Jose Graziano da Silva, the two sides agreed to work more closely on the issue of food security.   The OIC Secretary General also had a fruitful meeting with the President of Sri Lanka, HE Mahinda Rajapaksa, who assured the Secretary General that the attacks on Muslims in Sri Lanka are isolated incidents and that the government is taking action against the perpetrators. The President extended an invitation to the Secretary General to visit Sri Lanka.   As for the meeting with the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Wang Yi. The Secretary General stressed the keenness of the OIC and its Member States to

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enhance bilateral relations with China in all fields of joint cooperation considering China’s position in world arena. From his

Interactive meeting with human rights organizations

side, Wang Yi pointed to the important role of the OIC in the regional and international affairs, stressing on its important role in bolstering friendship and cooperation between China and the Muslim world. The Foreign Minister also emphasized the importance of increasing bilateral meetings between the two sides to discuss bilateral cooperation and current international issues. The Secretary General also met the Foreign Minister of Sudan, Ali Ahmed Karti, and discussed regional issues of mutual concern. On the last leg of his whirlwind stay in New York the Secretary General of the OIC met with the Secretary General of the United

lateral relations where they stressed on bolstering it in all fields of common interest. The two sides also emphasized that the next round of political consultation between OIC and Russia, which will be held at the OIC Headquarters in Jeddah in mid October, forms an opportunity to exchange views on a number of regional and international issues and discussing various fields of joint cooperation- political, economic and cultural. On the other hand, the two sides also discussed the issues on the agenda of the current UNGA, at the top of which the Palestinian issue, combating terrorism and extremism and conflict issues around the world.

Side events

On the other hand, during his stay in New York the Secretary General held interactive informal meetings at the OIC Office with representatives of human rights organizations in the US and Muslim societies and organizations to listen to their views on issues concerning Muslims. The Meeting with the human rights organizations, which included UN Women, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, Islamic Relief Worldwide as well as the Director of US Commission on International Religious Freedom, was attended by the Director and the Vice Chair of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission. The discussion revolved around issues concerning women and children’s rights, Palestine, freedom of speech and religious minorities. The meeting with various Islamic societies and organizations was very engaging and it focused on discrimination, Islamophobia, the role of the media and the need for interfaith dialogue.

The Secretary General with the Foreign Minister of China

Nations, Ban Ki-moon, on September 27, 2014 at the UN Headquarters on the sidelines of the current session of the United Nations General Assembly. The two sides exchanged views on the Palestinian issue, fighting terrorism, the crisis in Syria, the situation in Yemen and the issue of the Rohingya. The OIC Secretary General also met the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov. The two sides discussed bi-

Interactive meeting with Muslim organizations in the US

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WORLD AFFAIRS Saudi Arabia contributes $10 million through OIC for Africa to fight terrorism

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani, announced that at the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia will contribute the amount of US$10 million in support of Africa’s fight against terrorism. The Secretary General made this announce-

ment on 2 Sep- and welcomed the generous contribution. tember 2014 The announcement was welcomed by the in his address participants in the Summit, which was to the African attended by heads of states of African Union Peace and Union member countries and high repreSecurity Council sentatives of international organizations Summit on Ter- including the United Nations, the League rorism in Africa, of Arab States, and the European Union.  held in Nairobi, The Foreign Minister of Niger, Mohamed Kenya. Secretary Bazoum, said to OIC Journal that he is hapGeneral Madani py with this announcement, which is not said that, upon surprising for Saudi Arabia to make such the instructions a contribution especially at this time, and of the Custo- the amount will help Africa in its struggle dian of the Two against terrorism. Holy Mosques, The Director of the UN Center for Combatthis US$10 mil- ing Terrorism, Dr. Jehangir A. Khan, said this lion is to be very generous contribution by the Customade immedi- dian of the Two Holy Mosques comes on ately available top of the US$100 million to the UN Center through the OIC.  demonstrates the strong commitment and The contribution will also strengthen OIC- leadership of Saudi Arabia in the global AU partnership in the field of fighting ter- fight against terrorism. The emphasis on all rorism. international organizations also shows the The Chairperson of the AU Peace and Se- strong support to collective action among curity Council, President Idriss Deby of the member states, especially in capacity Chad, expressed his appreciation to King building, which is needed in Africa, added Abdullah and the gratitude of the Council Dr. Khan.

The Secretary General addresses the Abuja ministerial meeting on security in Nigeria

The pioneering efforts of the OIC in countering international terrorism were underscored in the Statement of His Excellency, Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani, the OIC Secretary General to the Abuja Ministerial Meeting on Security held in Abuja, Nigeria on 3rd September 2014. The meeting was attended by Ministers of Cameroon, France, United Kingdom and Nigeria as well as representatives of Benin, Chad, Niger, USA, Canada, China, the United Nations, the European Union, the Economic of West African States (ECOWAS) and the OIC. The Secretary-General’s Statement was delivered on his behalf by Ambassador Hameed A. Opeloyeru, Assistant Secretary

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General (Economic Affairs). The OIC has been an early pioneer in countering terrorism through adopting, 20 years ago, a Code of Conduct for Combating International Terrorism and the Convention on Combating International Terrorism; and is committed to fighting it. Stressing on OIC adoption of an effective mechanism for depriving terrorists of their sources of finances, the Secretary-General assured the meeting that the various poverty alleviation measures of the Organisation and its institutions would continue to be intensified towards addressing the root cause of international terrorism and other related challenges of socio-economic development in the affected OIC Member States.  In this regard, the meeting took note of the disbursement of the approved funds for the OIC Special Programme for the Development of Africa for the rehabilitation of social and physical infrastructures in Nigeria as well as other African OIC Member States, including promotion of girl-child education and the integration of the Madrassas into the main stream modern education curriculum. In its ensuing outcome document, the meeting called on regional governments and multilateral development institutions to intensify socio-economic cooperation, aimed at poverty alleviation, economic uplift and inclusive development. 

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WORLD AFFAIRS Afghanistan forms a national unity government

Afghan Presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani (R) and Abdullah Abdullah form a unity government in Kabul (epa)

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen

Madani, welcomed the agreement to form a government of national unity in Afghanistan. He congratulated Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, for their efforts, flexibility, understanding and courageous stand to prevent a political deadlock and division at this crucial time of Afghan history. The Secretary General, while expressing the hope that the new page would help bring more stability, security and economic prosperity to Afghanistan, reiterated the OIC’s continued solidarity with and support for the Afghan people and the new government. On 22 October 2013, 16 of the candidates of the elections were disqualified by the Afghanistan’s Independent Election Com-

mission out of 27 candidates that were confirmed early on the same month, leaving Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani front-runners. Although Ghani was behind Abdullah in the first round results, on September 20, 2014, and following runoff elections, the Independent Election Commission assigned Ashraf Ghani as President. After more than three months of audits and negotiation, Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah signed a power-sharing deal, with Ghani being named president and Abdullah taking on Chief Executive, an important position in the government, heading the formation of the unity government.

Libya forms a national reconciliation government

Mozambique elects a new president

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Iyad Ameen Madani, welcomed on 29 September 2014 the formation of the national reconciliation government in Libya. He expressed the hope that this development will constitute a Libya Prime Minister Abdullah Al Thani point of departure toward a new era in which the unity of the Libyan nation will be enhanced and their reconciliation will be promoted to lead the country to the realization of security, stability and welfare for the Libyan people. The Secretary General invited the international community, particularly the neighboring countries, to back and support and new Libyan government to enable it to fulfill its commitments, and to work with it to ensure regional peace and security and to fight extremism and terrorism. He also stressed that the OIC stands ready for fruitful cooperation with the Libyan government in all fields for the benefit of the Libyan people.

As a result of resuming a dialogue and seeking a negotiated settlement of their differences, general elections were held in Mozambique on 15 October 2014 and Filipe Nyusi was elected as its President who will take office in January 2015. The Secretary General Mozambique new president Nyusi (epa) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani has commended the government and people of the Republic of Mozambique for holding peaceful presidential, legislative and provincial polls.   Madani noted that the high turn-out of voters recorded in the election was a clear demonstration of the determination of the electorate to further deepen democracy in their country. He expressed satisfaction that the voting process was generally held under a calm, free, fair and transparent conditions and paid tribute to all the stakeholders for their contributions in this regard.

OIC participates in the 1st Ministerial High Level Partnership Forum on Somalia OIC Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani reiterated, once again, OIC’s firm commitment to support Somalia and the six pillars policy of the Somali Federal Government in its difficult journey to transpire as a viable state securing stability, peace and progress for the country itself and beyond. This has been restated in a statement delivered on behalf of the Secretary General at the 1st Ministerial High Level Partnership

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Forum (HLPF Copenhagen) on Somalia held in Copenhagen on 19-20 November 2014. Amb. Tarig Bakheet, Director at Political Affairs Department read out the statement outlining the contributions and engagements of the OIC in Somalia including its humanitarian operations in stabilizing the country, a founding member state of the Organization. Upon the joint invitation from the Gov-

ernment of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Somalia and the United Nations, a delegation from the OIC General Secretariat participated at the Conference which focused mainly on the achievements made after the endorsement of the New Deal Somali Compact by the Brussels Conference in September 2013 and steps required to achieve the Somali Compact goals by 2016.

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WORLD AFFAIRS OIC welcomes the election of a new interim leader in Burkina Faso

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Michel Kafando walks to review a guard of honour after being sworn in as the transitional president of Burkina Faso (epa)

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he Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani has welcomed the election on 17 November 2014, of Michel Kafando as the new head of the National Council of Transition in Burkina Faso. Madani while congratulating the new interim Head of State for the confidence reposed in him by all the stakeholders through this election, expressed the hope that he would bring his rich experience in public life to steer the country towards a credible and acceptable transition. He also commended the stakeholders and the military for their spirit of compromise and act of maturity they have demonstrated in the

two weeks leading to the adoption of the political charter to guide the transitional process. The OIC has followed the events in Burkina Faso, where unrest has gripped the nation since protests against the 27-year rule of President Blaise Compaore’s government turned violent at the end of October leading to his resignation and the taking over of the military chief. The Secretary General reiterated the solidarity of the OIC with the people of Burkina Faso and assured them of its commitment to support the transitional authorities in their difficult task to restore democracy to the country.

OIC makes historic step towards peace in Southern Philippines

he Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has in his continued efforts to narrow the gap between the positions of the leaderships of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as requested by the OIC CFM, sent his Special Envoy for Peace in Southern Philippines, Ambassador SayedKassem ElMasry. The main objectives of the Mission was to follow up the results of an earlier meeting that was held in Jeddah between the two parties in June 16, 2014 where they decided to activate and operationalize the Bangsamoro Coordinating Forum (BCF). The Manila meeting was held under the Chairmanship of the Special Envoy for Peace in Southern Philippines with the participation of Mahmoud Mostafa, Ambassador of Arab Republic of Egypt to Philippines, the current chairman of the Peace Committee for Southern Philippines (PCSP) and the Charge d’ Affaires of Saudi Arabia as Vice Chair. The delegation of MNLF, according to the Jeddah formula, was headed by Attorney Randolph Percarsio while the delegation of MILF was headed by Mohaghir Igbal.  The meeting formally declared the activation and operationalization of the BCF, which will be composed of 20 members, 10 from each side (MNLF and MILF); according to the Jeddah formula it will meet regularly every 3 months under the chairmanship of the Secretary General or his representative or the chair of the PCSP. It can meet in a special session upon the request of one of

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the parties or the OIC Secretary General. One of the main achievements of the meeting was the agreement of two fronts to utilize the BCF as a venue for coordination and discussion of the concerns confronting the Bangsamoro people including finding common grounds between the 3 peace agreements signed with the Government of Philippines namely: the 1976 Tripoli Agreement, 1996 Jakarta Final Peace Agreement and the Comprehensive Agreement of Bangsamoro (CAB). They agreed also to harmonize the two peace tracks in order to preserve the gains contained in these agreements, which they declared that they mutually recognized and respect. The Forum will have a joined Secretariat composed from members of the two fronts, and the meeting adopted a detailed terms of reference to govern the work of the Forum. The Government of Philippines (GPH) welcomed this breakthrough and thanked the OIC Secretary General for his initiative. The OIC expects the GPH to see to it that it will present to the Congress any common position the two fronts could arrive at that is compatible with the constitution and that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) would reflect this common position.  The OIC on its part informed the parties concerned that its objective is to help the Bangsamoro people achieve their aspirations for a just solution to their problems through peaceful means. One of the principles governing the OIC position in this regard is strict respect for territorial integ-

September - December 2014

Amb. El-Masry

rity of the countries where the Muslim Minorities belonged. The OIC delegation made it clear to the parties concerned that it will never accept or tolerate any separatist movement or any calls that may touch upon the territorial integrity of the Republic of Philippines. During his visit to Manila, Ambassador ElMasry, the OIC Special Envoy for Peace in Southern Philippines handed a letter addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Philippines from the Secretary General concerning the situation of Dr. Nur Misuari, the MNLF Chairman. In his letter, the Secretary General asked the President of Philippines to consider dropping the charges against Dr. Misuari since there are no legal impediments in this regard. The BCF will hold a special meeting shortly to try to draft a paper outlining the position of the two fronts, vis-à-vis the BBL. This paper will be delivered to the Government of Philippines.

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WORLD AFFAIRS

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Essebsi elected new President of Tunisia

unisia’s new President Beji Caid Essebsi was sworn in as president on 31 December 2014 pledging to work towards national reconciliation after winning the country’s first free elections. The 88-year-old secured victory the week before over incumbent Moncef Marzouki when 55.6% voted for him and 44.3% for Marzouki. The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani, sent a message to President Essebsi congratulating him. In his message, the Secretary General expressed his wishes of success to Essebsi in his duties to meet the challenges facing Tunisia. Madani said he was confident that the extensive expertise and rich experience of the President-elect would lead the Republic of Tunisia to further progress and prosperity

for the Tunisian people, in the framework of state institutions, good governance and sustainable development, and the participation of all political factions. The Secretary General also expressed his hope for Tunisia to continue to support joint Islamic action for the good and pride of all the peoples of the Islamic Ummah, stressing that the OIC will always stand ready to be of help and support to Tunisia which has set a good example for the development of political and institutional work. The Secretary General had also expressed sincere congratulations to the Tunisian people over the success of the legislative elections held on 26 October 2014 in safety, with the participation of the full spectrum of the Tunisian political class and an atmosphere of peaceful change of power. Madani commended these elections that were held under conditions of political plu-

Newly elected Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi (epa)

ralism and transparency and in line with international standards of transparency and democratic elections. Parliamentary elections were held in Tunisia on 26 October 2014. Campaigning started on 4 October 2014.They were the first of its kind, where the new constitution was adopted in January 2014.

Nigeria continues to suffer from terrorist attacks on educational institutions and public places

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he Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Ameen Madani has strongly condemned the suicide bomb attack on 10 November 2014 at the Government Technical Science College in Potiskum, Yobe State of Nigeria, which caused the death of 47 innocent students and injured over 79 others. Madani who expressed outrage at the continued targeting of educational institutions in the insurgency affected northeastern part of Nigeria murdering children who constitute the future of the coun-

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try, described the attacks as savage and cowardly. He called for an end to these acts of brutality which run counter to our humanity. While commiserating with the families of the victims, the Secretary General conveyed to them, the government and people of Nigeria his deepest sympathy over this tragedy. He urged the authorities to ensure that the perpetrators of this incident were brought to justice. The Secretary General also strongly condemned the twin suicide bomb attack on 25 November 2014 at a popular market in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital in northeastern Nigeria in which 78 people were killed and score of others injured. Madani who expressed profound sadness and horror at the continuing acts of mass murder by the Boko Haram terror group targeting innocent people, conveyed his sincere condolences to the families of the victims, the Borno state government and the people of Nigeria. He urged the authorities to intensify their efforts to bring to an end this brutal insurgency. The Secretary General restated the firm position of the OIC against any form and manifestation of terrorism and violent extremism and reaffirmed the solidarity of the Organization with the government in Nigeria in its endeavors to combat the menace of terrorism. A few days later, the Secretary General condemned the gruesome killing of hundreds of worshipers who gathered to pray on Friday, 28 November 2014, as a result of multiple gun-shots and twin bomb blasts detonated by people suspected to be members of the extremist insurgents at the Central Mosque Kano, Northern Nigeria.

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WORLD AFFAIRS Yemen children give up childhood to join the fight Sana’a, Yemen (DPA) In Yemen, the recruitment of child soldiers has become rampant especially with the rise in armed confrontations in the country. The scene of children under the age of eighteen carrying weapons and participating in the war has become commonplace. However, it had not been the case to see armed children walking around with their weapons in the streets of the capital Sana’a, where the phenomenon has recently exacerbated, particularly after Ansarullah group (Houthis) took control of Sana’a on 21 September 2014. Kh.R. aged 17, stands on a Sana’a vantage, everyday, carrying a gun, almost as tall as him, with childhood signs still visible on his face as indicated by the first crop of moustache beginning to grow. He stands beside his armed friends of Ansarullah (al-Houthi) protecting the security zone under their guard, a “checkpoint” on the Ring Road of Sana’a. Every morning, Kh.R. comes to the checkpoint and leave behind his family of 10 brothers and parents, in order to inspect commuters, maintain security and control the traffic. Ceding his childhood and dropping out of school, he joined alHouthi group when he was 15. “We seek Jihad and defending our country with our blood and soul”, he said to the German Press Agency (DPA). Kh.R. is one of thousands of Yemeni children who were made to join the fighting, either with armed and extremist groups or in the ranks of the army. They have come to play with, instead of toys, Kalashnikov and bullets which they take pride in. Images of those who fell dead during clashes are no secret; the pictures often feature blood-stained children who were killed fighting in the ranks of this or that group. The mother of A.J. tries to dry away her tears that quickly flow down her cheeks whenever she remembers her son who fell in one of the clashes in Sa’da province. The mother, a housewife from Sana’a, tells how her tragedy unfolded when she lost her eldest son A.J., 18, who was fighting alongside the Salafis in Sa’da, north of Yemen, against the “Shiite” Houthis, more than a year ago. “My son joined one of the Sunni theology schools in Sa’da when he was 16, and once the fight broke out between the Salafis and Houthis, I learnt that he joined the ranks of Sunni fighters,” says the mother! While the mother of A.J. strongly objected the idea at that time, his father encouraged him strongly saying: “my son will die a martyr”. “I wish my son had lived his childhood like other children in other countries of the world. I wish he could have been a doctor or an engineer; had he not joined the war, he would have now been a university student, but these are fates,” said the mother! Many psychologists are of the view that children are more likely to be attracted by armed and extremist groups because their beliefs have not yet matured.

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Dr. Salahuddin al-Jama’i, a psychotherapist, thinks that disintegration of families and poverty are reasons that lead to the widespread involvement of children in armed conflicts in Yemen. “Another reason is that some families, who have lost a member in war, push other sons into war, as a kind of retribution,” he says. Al-Jama’i indicates that extremist groups attract children, in particular adolescents, and tell them they would find al-Hoor al-Ein (the fair ones with wide lovely eyes) in paradise. “Armed and extremist groups delude children into believing that they would become of high status in their communities and then control their actions. Children are like clay in that their beliefs and minds can be shaped up by these groups,” he added. Rehabilitation, valorization of the development of families and education are among the solutions that may help mitigate this phenomenon which al-Jama’i considered as one of the “crimes” prevailing in Yemen. The conscription of children in Yemen is one of the gross violations against this age group and poses a challenge to the government as to its commitment to the Convention on Protection of Children which it signed. The Yemeni government signed in May 2014 an action plan with the United Nations to end the phenomenon of child recruitment by the Yemeni armed forces, which the UNICEF then described as “historic”. The former Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basendwah said that the plan must be adhered to ensure the absence of children from armed forces. According to the UN News Center, the action plan includes concrete

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WORLD AFFAIRS steps to demobilize all children associated with the government security forces, reintegrate them into their communities, and to prevent re-recruitment. Actions include the issuance and publication of military orders prohibiting the recruitment and use of children under the age of eighteen, investigation into the claims of recruitment and use of children by the Yemeni government forces, and to hold accountable those responsible for these cases. The head of Siyaj Child Protection Organization, Ahmed Al-Qurashi, said that despite this positive step by the government to mitigate the phenomenon of recruitment of child soldiers in Yemen, the State has only done so at the theoretical level. Al-Qurashi told DPA that the situation prevailing in Yemen at the moment has contributed to the rise in recruitment of child soldiers. “Expansion of conflicts, weak security institutions and the domination of the armed militias of the country and the capital Sana’a exacerbated the recruitment of child soldiers, particularly among those groups,” he added. Al-Qurashi said that this phenomenon requires practical steps through continuous education campaigns, finding alternatives such as vocational institutes for young people who have dropped

out of school, and revealing the horror of conscription of children and the consequent violations of their rights, including sexual abuse. He added that all child soldier recruiters must be punished, which is not the case, unfortunately, in the old Yemeni law: “There is nothing in the Yemeni law that criminalizes the recruitment of child soldiers,” he said, explaining that his organisation is seeking to introduce new articles to the Yemeni law to criminalize recruitment of child soldiers. Al-Qurashi also referred to the lack of reliable statistics on the conscription of children or the number of victims, given the fact that security authorities refrain from giving any information on this issue, in addition to the extreme secrecy exercised by armed militias and tribes. However, he pointed out that child soldiers have exceeded tens of thousands, the real ages of many of whom are tampered with. Siyaj Child Protection Organisation has been campaigning against this phenomenon since 2009 in collaboration with UNICEF and the German Embassy in Sana’a. It has stepped up its campaigns during 2011 and 2012 due to the expansion of armed clashes in Yemen.

A New Government in Yemen

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Iyad Ameen Madani, welcomed the formation of a new government of national competencies in the Republic of Yemen. He indicated that the primary task of the new cabinet would be to establish security and stability, and overcome the serious challenges encountered by this OIC Member State. Madani expressed hope that all Yemeni stakeholders combine efforts to support the new government in order to achieve national reconciliation, preserve the unity of Yemeni soil and people, and confront all attempts to destabilize the security and stability of the

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country. The OIC Secretary General reiterated the OIC support for the Peace and National Partnership Agreement, calling on all Yemeni parties to implement its provisions duly. The president of Yemen, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, has appointed Khaled Bahah on 13 October 2014 as the new Prime Minister. The appointment came under a power-sharing deal signed by the Houthis and other major political parties; aiming to bring the different parties into a more inclusive government.

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WORLD AFFAIRS Commends Saudi King’s initiative for Egypt-Qatar reconciliation Madani: Riyadh Supplementary Agreement is in Islamic Ummah’s interest

The Secretary General of the dian of The Two Holy Mosque Organisation of Islamic Cowas a very clear call on everyoperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen one to help bring about rapMadani, praised the Riyadh prochement, reconciliation and supplementary agreement united action, including leaders reached by Their Majesties and of thought and the media. Highnesses in the Kingdom Later, Madani also hailed the of Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of initiative of the Custodian of Bahrain, State of Kuwait, the Two Holy Mosques for reconUnited Arab Emirates, and the ciliation between the Arab ReState of Qatar on 16 Novempublic of Egypt and the State ber 2014. The agreement was of Qatar, and praised the keen reached as part of the commitinterest of King Abdullah to ment of the leaders of the Gulf promote Arab and Islamic soliCooperation Council to mend darity and clear the air between fences among the GCC states Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani President of Egypt Abdel Fattah El-Sisi all Arab and Islamic countries. and thereby bring back dynaMadani also welcomed the sinmism and vitality to the fabric of Ummah and boosts their solidarity and joint cerity and positive response demonstrated the Arab nation to enable it stand united action represented by the Organisation of by the leaders of the two countries towards to confront the numerous challenges fac- Islamic Cooperation. ing the region. Chief of these challenges The Secretary General also expressed his the initiative of the Custodian of the Two is countering Israel’s escalation and viola- confidence that the call of the Custodian Holy Mosques, and their readiness to open tion of Palestinian’s rights in the occupied of The Two Holy Mosques for ending dif- a new chapter of relations that turns the territories and desecration of the Al-Aqsa ferences and turning a new page of joint page on the past and sets the stage for a Mosque, the first of the two qiblas and Is- action would be a rallying point and beacon promising era of cooperation and solidarity lam’s third holiest sanctuary. not only for the GCC states and the Arab between Egypt and Qatar for the benefit of their peoples and the nations of the Arab Madani stressed that this agreement serves world but for the entire Islamic Ummah. the interest of the peoples of the Islamic He stated that the message of the Custo- and Islamic Ummah.

Terrorists attack passenger bus in Kenya killing 28 lim passengers after singling them out.

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Ameen Madani condemned the execution on 22 November 2014, of twenty-eight non-Mus-

According to police officials, the attackers are members of Somalia’s al-Shabab armed group. The gunmen hijacked a bus in northeastern Kenya, 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the town of Mandera near Kenya’s border with Somalia, Madani who expressed horror at the terrorist attack in which innocent travelers who included women were ambushed and exe-

cuted, stated that nothing could justify such brutal act. He conveyed his deep sympathy to the families of the victims and to the government and people of Kenya for this tragedy. He also urged the authorities to identify and bring the perpetrators to justice. The Secretary General who restated the principled position of the OIC against all forms and manifestations of terrorism, called for the strengthening of international cooperation to combat its menace.

Bahrain holds municipal elections The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Iyad Ameen Madani, welcomed the successful parliamentary and municipal elections organized in the Kingdom of Bahrain on 22 November 2014 in a climate of security, stability and broad popular participation. Bahrain concluded its first full legislative

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election in a second round held on 29 November, where the government announced the voter turnout as 52.6%. The results were as follows: independents won 37 of the 40 seats, with Sunni Islamists losing two of their five seats. The number of Shiite Member of Parliaments reduced to 14 due to the opposition boycott.

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Madani expressed his confidence that these elections would contribute to enhancing the democratic process in Bahrain in the framework of the comprehensive reforms program pursued by H. M. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, and will promote the socio-economic development, prosperity and welfare of the people of Bahrain.

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WORLD AFFAIRS OIC welcomes outcome of Brussels ministerial meet on countering ISIL The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani, welcomed the joint statement put out by the first ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) held in Brussels, Belgium, on 3rd December 2014. The OIC took part in the meeting, being one of the early organizations to openly condemn the self-styled ISIL as the archenemy of Islam. Madani reaffirmed the OIC’s belief that defeating ISIL entails the articulation of a holistic strategy that should not be confined solely to a military approach. Besides the

need to debunk the ideological narrative of the terrorist group, he pointed out, any counter-ISIL strategy should reflect on the root causes that gave rise to this radical extremist group. He highlighted the wide defragmentation that wreaked havoc on the political, administrative, civil, and social institutions of Iraq following the US intervention in 2003. Pinpointing the sectarian polarization that marked the occupation years and the shortsighted policies of previous Iraqi governments, Madani commended the positive policy shift undertaken by the current government in Baghdad.

The Secretary General emphasized that a sound approach to countering ISIL needs to be discriminate enough to support Syrian moderate opposition groups striving to combat ISIL and seeking to realize the Syrian people’s aspirations to freedom and justice. In this sense, Madani welcomed the endeavors deployed by the UN Special Envoy for Syria, hoping that they would contribute to the implementation of a political settlement of the Syrian conflict based on the key stipulations of the 2012 Geneva I Communiqué.

OIC Participates in 1st Nouakchott Process Summit

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has partaken in the first summit of the countries participating in the Nouakchott Process, held in Mauritania on 18 December 2014, and attended by the Heads of State of Mauritania, Senegal, Chad, Mali and Burkina Faso, the representatives of the Presidents of Algeria, Nigeria, Libya, Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea, as well as international regional and semi-regional organisations. The OIC delegation, which had previously participated in the 4th Ministerial meeting of countries participating in the Nouak-

chott Process, held on 17 December 2014, was headed by Minister Djibril Bassolé, OIC Secretary General’s special envoy to Mali and Sahel. In the name of the OIC Secretary General, Bassolé expressed satisfaction with the convening of this meeting in consideration of the multiple security challenges threatening the Sub-Saharan Sahel region and its peoples. The participants in the 1st Summit and 4th Ministerial Meeting of the countries participating in the Nouakchott Process agreed to mount efforts to combat terrorism and transnational organised crime through operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture, a corner stone for any collective, coordinated and concerted approach aimed at combating terrorism in the Sahelo-Saharan region to restore peace and security.

Besides, the Summit discussed the threats posed by the Ebola virus epidemic and paid tribute to the efforts made by the affected countries and international community to address this gruesome scourge afflicting West African countries. The Summit also welcomed the efforts made by the member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to neutralize the Boko Haram terrorist group. It should be noted that the Nouakchott Process was established on 17 March 2013 in the capital city of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to holistically address security challenges in the Sahelo-Saharan region by means of evolving a framework for consultation, dialogue and initiatives in the face of the growing threat and ramifications of terrorism. The Process, whose next summit will be held in N’Djamena, capital of the Republic of Chad, comprises 11 member states.

OIC congratulates the people of Uzbekistan for participating in parliamentary elections The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani, congratulated the people of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the success of the parliamentary and Regional Councils’ elections held on 21 December 2014. An elections monitoring delegation from the OIC has observed the elections in Uzbekistan. The members of the delegation undertook extensive field visits to over 100 polling stations and monitored all stages of the

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vote. They took note of the massive turnout of voters who cast their votes in a calm,

free, transparent and disciplined environment, showing their interest in contributing to the reinforcement of democratic institutions in their country. The Secretary General also expressed his appreciation to the Uzbek authorities for their remarkable and responsible approach to conducting the elections as well as for providing all necessary support to the OIC monitoring delegation to carry out its mission properly.

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WORLD AFFAIRS Madani Welcomes the Agreement between Djiboutian Government and Opposition The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani, welcomed, on 31 December 2014, the agreement signed by the Government of the Republic of Djibouti, and the opposition bloc ending a political crisis that followed the Djiboutian legislative elections held last year. Madani expressed his blessing to this paradigm shift, which stressed the keenness of all stakeholders to give priority to dia-

logue and public interest. He also asserted that the cohesion of the Djiboutian people and its gathering around its leadership would pave the way towards further progress and prosperity of Djibouti and its people. The OIC Secretary General stressed that the agreement confirms the sincere and serious intentions of the Government of Djibouti, and H.E. President Ismail Omar Guelleh, who played a key role in the dialogue. At the same time, Madani praised all the parties that participated in the success of the deal, which would enhance stability in the country, and open the door for a new phase of partnership and collaboration among all Djiboutian stakeholders.

Global Terrorism Index 2014

Over 80% of all terrorism occurs in 5 countries Terrorism has become a global phenomenon with a 61% increase in the number of people killed in terrorist attacks over the last year, according to the 2014 Global Terrorism Index. Some of the key findings of the report, which covers incidents in 2013, are: • 17,958 people were killed in terrorist attacks last year, that’s 61% more than the previous year. • 82% of all deaths from terrorist attack occur in just 5 countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. • Last year terrorism was dominated by four groups: the Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIL, and al Qa’ida. • 40 times more people are killed by homicides than terrorist attacks. The report shows that Iraq is the country most impacted by terrorism; last year there were 2,492 terrorist attacks in Iraq that killed 6,362 people. Overall in 2013, 24 countries experienced terrorist attacks that killed more than 50 people, while 75 countries did not experience a terrorist attack. Furthermore, 66% of all fatalities from claimed terrorist attacks were caused by four terrorist groups: the Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIL and al-Qa’ida. The primary targets of terrorist attacks are citizens and private property. The report points out that there are three main factors associated with terrorism: state sponsored violence such as extra-judicial killings, group grievances, and high levels of criminality. Poverty rates,

levels of schools attendance and most economic factors have no association with terrorism, concludes the report. Most terrorist’ attacks use explosives; since 2000 only 5% were suicide attacks. Interesting to note is that since the 1960s, 83% of terrorist organizations that ended ceased to operate due to policing or politicization. Only 7% ended due to military intervention. However, it is also interesting to note that although terrorism is on the increase and a major concern compared to other forms of violence, it is relatively small when compared to the 437,000 people killed by homicide in 2013. In the US an individual is 64 times more likely to be victim of a homicide than terrorism. The definition of terrorism used by the Global Terrorism Index is: “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a nonstate actor to attain a political, economic, religious or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation”. The Global Terrorism Index, produced by Institute for Economics & Peace, ranks countries according the impact of terrorist activities as well as analyzing the economic and social dimensions associated with terrorism. The index scores 162 countries, covering 99.6% of the world’s population, and examines trends from 2000 to 2013. The indicators used include the number of terrorist incidents, fatalities, injuries and property damage.

Widodo sworn in as Indonesia’s new president H.E. Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has been inaugurated on 20 October 2014 as Indonesia’s new president. Widodo, the first Indonesian president not to come from the ranks of the country’s established political, business and military elite, took the oath of office in a ceremony at the parliament in the capital, Jakarta. A former furniture salesman, the 53-year-old Widodo rose from humble beginnings to become Jakarta’s governor before winning July’s election with 53 percent of the vote. “This is the time for us to unite our hearts and hands, this is the time for us ... to reach and realise an Indonesia that has political sovereignty, economic independence and cultural character,” he said in his inaugural speech.

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New President of Indonesia Joko Widodo

On 27 October 2014, the New Indonesian President unveiled his Cabinet, which included the country’s first female foreign minister, after a lengthy delay caused by anti-corruption authorities’ concerns about several candidates. It included eight women, a higher number than in the previous Cabinet. The 34-member Cabinet is broadly split between professionals and party politicians, as Widodo seeks to balance a pledge to pick the best people in their fields. The team of ministers will be key in helping Widodo push through much-needed reforms to boost Southeast Asia’s top economy and help the country’s poorest, as he faces stiff opposition in Parliament from a coalition that backed his election rival.

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WORLD AFFAIRS OIC Condemns assault on school in Pakistan

Madani visits Pakistan to convey condolences and express solidarity against terrorism Islamabad, Pakistan – In a gesture of compassion and solidarity, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani, arrived in Islamabad, Pakistan on 19 December 2014 to express his heartfelt condolences to the Government and people of Pakistan, especially the families of the victims of the horrific massacre that occurred at the school in Peshawar on 16 December. The Secretary General met with H.E. the President of Pakistan, Mr. Mamnoon Hussain, and conveyed the wholehearted support of OIC with Pakistan, stressing that there could be no justification for such a barbaric act and that the perpetrators have betrayed their country, their religion, and their humanity. Madani said that extremism and terrorism are a cancer that we must extract. President Hussain expressed his appreciation for sharing the grief. He called for a collective voice of the Muslim Ulama against

terrorism and extremism. The Secretary General also met with the Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, and reiterated OIC’s support, emphasizing the need to go beyond declarations and statements and that Muslim leaders should look into the religious discourse, the motives, the socio-economic factors and the entities working behind the scene providing funding and other means of support to terrorist groups acting in the name of Islam. Mr. Aziz agreed that there is a need for a counter narrative to what groups such as ISIL, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Taleban are preaching and there should be a collective campaign. The Secretary General and his accompanying delegation the following day went to Peshawar and visited some of the injured students and teachers who had survived the brutal attack that left 132 children, aged between 6 and 15, and 10 teachers

dead. He spoke to them as they lay in their hospital beds getting treatment for their wounds ranging from broken arms and fractured heads to shattered faces and bullet wounds. In feeble but determined voices they described their shock and horror of what they saw happening in front of them and to them but also their wish to go back to school. The Secretary General then met the Governor of Peshawar and the Chief Minister and conveyed to them the willingness of OIC to help in any way. Following the attack, the Secretary General issued a statement vigorously condemning the bloody assault. He reiterated the OIC’s principled position denouncing all acts of terrorism no matter what the justifications are. He pointed out that groups or individuals brandishing the name of Islam in conducting acts of terror have nothing to do with Islam, nor do they represent it.

Pakistan announces anti-terrorism action plan after Peshawar school attack Islamabad (IINA) – Pakistan government announced on 25 December 2014 it will set up military courts for terror-related cases, as part of an ambitious anti-terrorism plan after a deadly Taliban school attack that killed more than 150 people, mostly children, news agencies reported. In an address to the nation after almost 11 hours of marathon talks with leaders of political parties, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said strong action was needed to root out extremism and warned no mercy would be shown to those behind attacks. The meeting which took place at the prime

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minister’s house in Islamabad also passed a unanimous resolution condemning the attack which was the deadliest in the country’s history. The meeting was convened to chart out a plan to combat terrorism after the attack on the military-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar. Only terrorists would be tried in these courts and these would not be used for political objectives. The aim of setting up military courts is to ensure the speedy trial of terrorists. Sharif said special courts headed by the of-

ficers of armed forces will be established for the speedy trial of terrorists and they will operate for two years. “The plan also includes cutting financial aid to terrorists and preventing banned organizations from operating with new names. The Peshawar atrocity has changed Pakistan and we need to eradicate the mindset of terrorism to defeat extremism and sectarianism,” said Sharif in the televised speech. He also announced the formation of special anti-terrorism force and regularization of religious seminaries known as madrassas.

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OPINION Analyzing Political Decision-Makers Behaviors

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ecent studies showed interest in analyzing political regimes using the decision-making approach, as the common denominator between the various political activities. Weather modern or traditional, simple or complex; the decision-making process is involved in all kinds of political regimes. One of the pillars of the decision-making theory is based on analyzing the individual’s psychological behavior (the decision-maker), weather they were leaders, electors, party members, opinion leaders, etc. Bearing in mind that politics is a human conduct; thus, discussing politics without referring to the human being is considered one of the major issues in political thinking. Hence, psychology became one of the key interests to political science and international relations students, after World War II, as an approach to analyze political behaviors.

By: Talal A. Daous Advisor to the Secretary General

This field has opened new horizons in political science studies, which is now applied on countries and various political regimes, and studied by policy and decision-makers, who are considered one of its parties. This approach changed the traditional school in studying the nation state, and took research from its abstract dimension, represented in the state or particular institutions, to the people making policies. The focus in the behavior analysis process of the decision-maker is put into the psychological factor, the extent of awareness about the environmental influences, and the mean to respond to them. There are factors that cannot be overlooked, that affect the decision-maker, the condition or situation that he or she is in, and the psychological preparation for this situation. These factors can be categorized into three types: Human factor: related to the decision-maker and his or her assistants and advisors. Organizational factor: related to the elements within the nature of the political and administrative institutions system, and the level of competition between them. Environmental factors: related to the nature of the political, economic, and social system inside and outside the state (the international law).

This approach changed the traditional school in studying the nation state, and took research from its abstract dimension, represented in the state or particular institutions, to the people making policies.

Then again, it is important to differentiate between the two main types of motives: The first are the conscious motives, which are made based on the decision-maker’s vision to achieve a certain goal, such as signing an agreement to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. The second are the subconscious or semi-conscious motives, which are based on the personal experiences of the decision-maker, and these are usually used in times of crises, examples of such cases include the American President John Kennedy during the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban missile crisis, and Saddam Hussein’s decision to invade Kuwait. Nowadays, many of the political science books and lectures include biographies of figures of leaders, who had an impact on the domestic and foreign events of their country; these include books by Hitler, Mao Zedong, and others. Modern studies were taken further, by some scholars and specialists, in an attempt to categorize political leaderships based on the psychological and behavioral characteristics of leaders. One of the most prominent studies is done by David Barber, published as a book in 1977, under the title The Presidential Character, in which he categorized the personality traits for the last 13 Presidents of the United States. The study was based on the hypothesis that the presidential behavior is not an outcome of rational calculations, but rather a result of interactions of profound needs in each of these presidents, which developed throughout their childhood and teenage years. He based his theory on two dimensions: the first is whether the president is active or passive, the second is whether the president is positive or negative. His proposed theory offers dividing characters into four different group patterns, which are: 1- positive-active, 2- negative-active, 3- positive-passive, 4-negtive-passive, and to each pattern its set of characteristics. Another categorization was proposed by Harold Lasswell, who is considered a pioneer in political behaviors analysis of politicians, during their presidential periods. He defined three major political characters in his book Psychopathology and Politics, published in 1930, which are 1- the charismatic character, 2- the administrative character, and 3- the theory maker. He also added that it is possible to combine two or three of these characters. There are also other studies that categorize political leadership, according to the political leader’s role in the political process. Despite the obstacles in conducting an analysis of a character in an abstract manner, considering the different conditions that the character has been under, which may have required acting in a manner opposite to the nature of that character, and the infeasibility to conduct examinations, similar to those run in psychoanalytic clinical laboratories, to analyze the different human behaviors of the political leader or the decision maker, this approach opened new horizons in political sciences studies. It adopted for itself a track that distinguishes it from the traditional schools in analyzing political regimes, and had an impact on knowledge in political science.

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OIC NEWS OIC and EU agree to settle a common ground for partnership in different areas The first OIC-EU High Level Consultation meeting took place in Brussels on September 8 and 9, 2014 at the EU premises. The two sides agreed to settle a common ground for partnership in different areas that are of interest to both organizations. The agenda of the meeting included: establishing a dialogue between the Muslim world and the EU, protecting Muslim minorities, counter-terrorism and security, the media, radicalism, Islamophobia, immigration, and other challenges that both organizations might face in the future.

The OIC delegation, which was comprised of representatives of various departments as well as the Head of the Permanent Mission of the OIC to the EU, Amb. Arif Mammadov, met with top EU officials from the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) departments. It was underlined that the OIC-EU relations shouldn’t be limited to mere political and economic cooperation, but should also include inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue. They agreed

Madani meets with German Foreign Minister The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani, received on 13 October 2014, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany and his accompanying delegation who were on an official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Both sides discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest and concern including the situation in the Middle East and in particular the situation in Palestine and Gaza, Muslim minorities in non-OIC member states, countering terrorism and extremism and the issue of Islamophobia. They also exchanged views on ways and means to strengthen bilateral relations.

that partnership is needed between the 28 EU and 57 OIC member states to manage crisis and post-crisis dilemmas. The OIC delegation stressed that the EU’s voice should be heard more strongly in crisis location areas, as in the Gaza Strip. It was underlined that the radical and aggressive policy of Israel threatens the security of the entire region. The two sides decided to schedule regular meetings, whereupon the next would be held in Jeddah before the end of the year.

The Danish Foreign Minister visits the OIC The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani, received on 10 September 2014 at the General Secretariat Martin Lideggard, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark, and his accompanying delegation. The discussions during the meeting focused on the bilateral relations between the OIC and Denmark in all areas of mutual concern and the need to strengthen joint cooperation in order to enhance socio-economic development in Muslim countries.  The meeting discussed regional and international developments, including the situation in the Middle East, countering terrorism and extremism, and intercultural and inter-religious dialogue. 

OIC participates in the ICANN meeting in Los Angeles The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) participated in the 51 International Public Meeting of The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Los Angeles, USA on 12-16 October 2014. The Director of the IT Department at OIC, Wajdi Al Qulaiti, received an invitation letter to attend the meetings to represent the OIC, which is an observer member in the ICANN

General Assembly Committee. It is worth noting that the 41st Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, held in Jeddah in June 2014, urged the member states that have not yet joined ICANN to do so, in the preparation for transition to an international organization. The 41 CFM also reconfirmed OIC’s position that the two domains .Islam and.Halal or any other domains that concern

the entire Islamic Ummah should not be sold without a coordinated consent of all the OIC member states. The ICANN conference covered areas like Domain Name System, ways to respond to illegal or abusive use of the Internet’s naming systems, internal restructuring, and new initiatives for increasing competition on the Internet.

OIC-LAS Joint High-level Committee convenes The Fourth Session of the Joint High-Level Committee of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the League of Arab States (LAS) in charge of following up the implementation of the cooperation agreement between the OIC and Las was held at the Headquarters of OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah on 7-9 December 2014. Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, His Excellency Abdullah Abderrahman Alem, and Ambassador Fadel Jawad, Assistant Secretary General for the Political Sector, led OIC and LAS delegations respectively.

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The meetings focused on the importance of coordination and consultation between the two parties on issues of common interest and the need to follow-up the implementation of the terms of the emended agreement of cooperation between the two organizations. The two parties addressed a set of issue of interest to both organizations, particularly terrorism in the Arab and Islamic regions and possible means to contribute to resolving the crises in some countries of the region.

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OIC NEWS The Secretary General commends Saudi King’s $35 Million grant for Ebola fight quarters in Jeddah on November 5, 2014 to prompt Member States to lend urgent financial and technical assistance to upgrade health systems and infrastructure in the affected countries. Consequently, a number of countries, organisations, agencies and individuals, participating in the conference, expressed their willingness to provide assistance.

The Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani, praised the donation by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, of $35 million to help West African countries fighting Ebola. The donation is part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s support for the international fight against the epidemic currently afflicting West African countries.

In a statement on this occasion, Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Ali, IDB President said that the Ebola fighting programme, initiated by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and implemented by the IDB, comprises, inter alia, providing schools with thermal sensors and medical examination equipment designed to diagnose the disease, thereby facilitating its prompt treatment and preventing its spread.

The Secretary General expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Saudi Government for their significant and sustained support for all Islamic issues. The OIC and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), an OIC specialised institution, held a joint conference at the OIC head-

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz

Madani receives the Canadian Foreign Minister The Secretary General of the OIC, Iyad Ameen Madani, received on 16 October 2014, the Honourable John Baird, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada. The Secretary General and his guest had useful and extensive exchange of views on various international and regional issues of common interest including the Middle East Peace Process, combating intolerance, radicalization, extremism and others. Both sides agreed to remain engaged on mutual issues and strengthen bilateral cooperation through regular consultations at various levels.  The Secretary General welcomed the interest of Canada in the programmes and activities of the OIC and reaffirmed OIC’s readiness to cooperate with Canada on issues of shared interest.

OIC concludes bilateral consultations with Finland Finland-OIC bilateral consultation was held at the OIC Headquarters on 1st December 2014. During the consultation, both sides discussed and examined various regional and international issues of mutual concern. Amb. Jarno Syrjala, Director General, Department for Africa and the Middle East, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and Amb. Abdullah A. Alim, Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Department of the OIC led their respective delegation during the consultation. OIC and Finland reiterated their commitments to remain engaged on shared issues and to continue cooperation for common benefits in the coming days.

The Secretary General pays official visit to Kuwait

Deputy Amir & Crown Prince, Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad

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The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani, paid an official visit to Kuwait on 30 November 2014, during which he met with His Highness the deputy Amir and Crown Prince, Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad. His Highness Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad lauded the efforts exerted by the OIC in strengthening the joint Islamic action, stressing the role of the OIC in highlighting the Islamic approach based on tolerance, moderation and rejection of extremism and terrorism. For his part, Madani commended the pivotal role of the state of Kuwait in promoting the Islamic solidarity, and praised the ongoing support that Kuwait provides to the OIC in all fields. The Secretary General also discussed with His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al Mubarak, the recent challenges con-

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fronting the Islamic world, and the role of the OIC and its member states in addressing them. The two sides emphasized the need to exert more efforts to counter extremism and attempts to associate terrorism with Islam. In another respect, the Secretary General discussed with the First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, the bilateral relations between the OIC and the state of Kuwait, and ways of enhancing them in all fields of mutual cooperation. They also discussed the current situations in the Islamic world, especially the situation in Palestine, in addition to the preparations related to the next session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) to be hosted by Kuwait next year.

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OIC NEWS The OIC participates in the OIC-CERT Conference in Brunei Darussalam The Organization of Islamic Cooperation Computer Emergency Response Team (OICCERT) convened its Annual Conference and its 6th Annual General Assembly from 20 to 22 October 2014 in Brunei Darussalam under the theme of “Emerging Risks vs. Opportunities”. Hosted by Brunei Computer Emergency Response Team and co-organized by Cyber Security Malaysia and the Permanent Secre-

tariat of the OIC-CERT, this annual event aims to foster global cyber security through international cooperation among members in mitigating the ever-increasing cyber threats. The Conference provided unique sessions, which focused on cyber security current and proposed policies, strategies and initiatives. The Director of Information Technology Department, Wajdi H. Alquliti, represented the

OIC General Secretariat in this Conference. An OIC affiliated institution with 20 members and headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the OIC-CERT is responsible to provide a platform for the member countries to explore and develop collaborative initiatives and possible partnerships in matters pertaining to cyber security that shall strengthen their self-reliance in cyberspace.

OIC Participates in the International Conference on Female Genital Mutilation Copenhagen, Denmark – Upon the invitation of the Danish government and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFA) regional Nordic bureau, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) participated in a high level meeting on ending female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), which was convened under the high patronage of Her Royal Highness Crown Princess of Denmark, on 11 of November 2014 at the Danish parliament. The OIC was represented by Mrs. Aissata Kane, Deputy Permanent Observer of the Geneva Delegation to the UN, who delivered a statement on behalf of the OIC Secretary General, H.E. Iyad Ameen Madani. The OIC was the only intergovernmental organization invited to this important and high level conference convened with the aim of coordinating joint actions for ending the harmful practice of FGM/C in all around the world. Statements were made by HRH Crown Princess of Denmark, the Danish Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation, the Norwegian Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UK Ambassador to Denmark and the OIC Deputy Permanent Observer. Around 250 representatives participated in the conference from various spheres including members of Danish parliament, civil society, media and community workers from main Nordic countries. The statements delivered during this first session of the conference

focused on the necessity to further foster cooperation for a global push for the abandonment of FGM/C and strengthen international commitments and national strategies and policies for combating the continuous practice of FGM in 29 African countries and others in the Middle East and Asia, which are still practicing this human right abuse and threat to girls’ and women’s health and well-being. The successive speakers underlined the need to have stronger action towards mobilizing political, religious and community leaders as well as local populations and practicing communities for ending this harmful practice on women and girls, which has no justification in any religion, and instead represents a serious breach towards the full enjoyment of women’s rights and constitutes an irremediable violation of the physical and moral integrity of many girls and women. Following the political segment of the conference, a second technical session was organized to provide the conference with the progress made by the joint UNFPA and UNICEF program, Tostan and Orchid projects, funded mainly by the Nordic countries in fighting the FMG/C in West Africa. Successful programs and communities’ projects for combating this violation of women’s and girls’ rights have been presented with the view to showing the realizations but also challenges met during the implementation of FGM/C ending programs.

At Islamic Broadcasting Union (IBU) Meeting Council Madani stresses the importance of developing the Union The Headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah hosted the second meeting of the Executive Council of the Islamic Broadcasting Union (IBU) on 25 November 2014, and the third meeting of the IBU General Assembly on 26 November 2014. The Meeting was inaugurated by the Minister of Hajj and Acting Minister of Information and Culture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Dr. Bandar Bin Muhammad Hajaar. He highlighted the huge role entrusted to the IBU under the Islamic joint media action in light of the challenges facing the Muslim world.

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The Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Iyad Ameen Madani, in his address said that it had become undisputable in the contemporary world that the media has the upper hand in all facets of life. He drew attention to the importance of joint media action which has become a requirement for countering the intensive misrepresentation campaigns against Islam and Muslims, a situation that calls for dynamic action to scale up the work of the IBU. For his part, the Director General of the Islamic Broadcasting Union, Dr. Mohammed Salem Ould Bouk, presented a report of the IBU’s work in the preceding two years and the ef-

forts being made to upgrade its work. He reported that the IBU had succeeded in signing agreements with several member states in addition to partnerships established with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and others. The Meeting discussed the report on the activities of the IBU and its financial report. At the end of its meeting, the Executive Council issued a number of recommendations that were discussed by the 3rd meeting of the IBU General Assembly the following day and adopted.

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OIC NEWS Madani discusses regional issues with the President of Uganda The President of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Musevini, received the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani, and his accompanying delegation at the Presidential Palace on 3 September 2014. The Secretary General thanked President Musevini for the meeting and congratulated him on Uganda’s win of the presidency of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, which opens on 16 September 2014. Madani briefed President Musevini on OIC’s recent activities and issues of concern including fighting Ebola disease, which is found in three of OIC’s African Member States, eradicating poverty and confronting extremism manifested in such criminal groups as Boko Haram and ISIS. Furthermore, Mr. Madani detailed to the President the actions taken by the OIC regarding the crisis in Central African Republic, namely a ministerial meeting followed by a high level delegation visiting CAR and appointing a Special Envoy, Dr. Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, as well as providing humanitarian assistance to the affected communities.  Finally, the Secretary General expressed appreciation to the President for his support of the Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU), which has become a well-recognized beacon of education in Uganda and the region, and will soon expand its facilities with the support of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).  For his part, President Musevini said that he would like OIC to focus on increasing investments among the Member States, improving infrastructure and education, and fighting extremist and sectarian ideologies that tear communities apart.  The Secretary General then had a meeting with the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Kiwanuka Maria, and discussed OIC’s objectives of promoting micro-financing, eradicating poverty and developing a strategy for enhancing the production and marketing of products common in the Member States such as cotton. 

OIC Secretary General Madani meets President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Musevini

The Secretary General’s program also included a tour of the IUIU campus where he interacted with the female and male students and faculty. Later in the evening he had a roundtable discussion with the Minister of State for Gender, Culture, Labor and Social Development, Hon. Nakadama Sophia, and a number of women MPs and from civil society on women empowerment and what OIC can do on this issue. The Secretary General concluded his twoday official visit to Uganda with meeting the Minister of State for Education and Sports, Hon. Bataninjaya Camanda, and discussed with him how to further support IUIU and develop cultural programs among the Member States, especially through the ISESCO. The Secretary General also had a meeting with the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Okello Oryem, and exchanged views on developments in Somalia, the Central African Republic and the fight against terrorism, where he informed the Minister of the contribution of $10 million to be made by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques through OIC to Africa’s efforts to fight terrorism, which the Minister expressed great appreciation for.

OIC Secretary General and Foreign Minister of Somalia discuss bilateral cooperation The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Ameen Madani, on 10 November 2014, hosted at the General Secretariat the visiting Foreign Minister of Somalia, Abdirahman Beileh. The two sides discussed wide-ranging areas of cooperation and explored ways and means to further strengthen bilateral relations between Somalia and the OIC as well as joint Islamic action.

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The Minister briefed the Secretary General on the latest political, security and humanitarian situation in Somalia and the efforts of his government to advance the State and peace building process. He also elaborated on the implementation of the Vision 2016 political agenda. Madani on his part reviewed the various contributions of the OIC for the stabilization of Somalia and appealed to the country to step up its engagement with the Organization. He pledged the determination of the OIC to continue to support the return of sustainable peace, stability and development in Somalia.

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OIC NEWS Discussions in Dushanbe and Astana to Promote Developmental and Scientific Cooperation Summit of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad, in 2015. He stressed the importance of the summit, considering it the first of its kind, at the level of the leaders who will discuss scientific issues that will improve these areas in the Member States. In his turn, the Tajik minister confirmed the importance of The Secretary General with the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon the Scientific Summit Dushanbe- Astana- The OIC Secretary Genin increasing the possibility of providing the eral, Iyad Ameen Madani, made his first oftechnologies needed in the Muslim World, ficial visit to the Member States in Central which is considered the most prominent Asia, by going to the Republics of Tajikistan challenge in the near future, especially with and Kazakhstan in October 2014. Among the development and excel of many counthe main objectives of the visit is promoting tries in this field. relationships between the Organization of In his meeting with the Minister of Finance, Islamic Cooperation and the region’s counAbdusalom Qurbonov, they agreed on the tries. need for more collaboration on small projThe Secretary General began his tour with ects. The meeting emphasized the imporan official visit to Dushanbe, the capital city tance of holding the first investment forum of Tajikistan. related to the OIC Plan of Action for EnHe met with the President of Tajikistan, hancing Cooperation between Central Asia H.E. Emomali Rahmon, and briefed him on Countries. activities of the OIC to foster the inter-OIC In the meeting with Ahtam Abdullozoda, cooperation, in particular with Centralthe Chairman of The Committee of Youth Asian countries. He asserted the need for Affairs, Sports and Tourism in Tajikistan, further coordination to promote the projMadani and the Minister stressed the neects and to establish new fields of coopcessity for promoting tourism in the couneration with other OIC Member States. try. The Secretary General briefed the Tajik Madani expressed OIC’s readiness to play a side on the current preparations for the Isrole in boosting development in Tajikistan. lamic Solidarity Games to be held in Baku, The president reiterated the support of TaAzerbaijan, in 2016, and the importance jikistan to increasing the role of the OIC, of Tajikistan’s participation in them. They which makes continuous efforts to solve also discussed several issues concerning the challenges facing the Islamic world. They youth in the Muslim World, and the ways also touched on the various aspects of the of collaboration to strengthen this aspect first Investment Forum on the OIC Plan of within youth centers, scouts, and other Action with the Central Asia, which was centers and activities related to promoting convened on 27 October 2014 in Dushanbe.  the role of the youth in the Muslim World. During the meeting with the Foreign MinThe OIC Secretary General concluded his ister, Mr. Sirodjidin Aslov, both sides distour in Central Asia with an official visit to cussed issues related to mutually beneficial the Republic of Kazakhstan. The visit incooperation between Tajikistan and the OIC cluded both the historic city of Almaty, and in the various fields. Mr. Aslov highlighted the Kazakh capital Astana, in the period of the economic potentials which Tajikistan enjoys and expressed readiness to enhance relations with the OIC.  Madani also met with the Tajik Minister of Education, Nuriddin Saidov, on October 25 and reviewed ways of cooperation between the two sides. The Secretary General presented the preparations for the upcoming

Madani Visits Central Asia to Enhance the Relationship between OIC and the Region

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28 – 31 of October. It included a number of meetings with officials, starting with the Prime Minister, Karim Massimov, with whom he discussed the challenges facing the Muslim World, such as fighting terrorism and extremism, along with other issues in the Middle East. The Secretary General stressed on the importantrole of Kazakhstan, as an OIC member state, in taking an activepartin serving the causes of the Islamic Ummah. Madani also met with the ministers of foreign affairs, investment and development, culture and sport, and agriculture. The meetings included an exchange of views and intense consultations on issues of mutual interest. The Secretary General and the Ministers touched on Kazakhstan’s contributionsto the Organization’s activities, in addition to OIC’s supportto the political, economic, social, and cultural aspects in Kazakhstan. On the economic side, both sides agreed on bilateral cooperation and coordination, prior to the first meeting of the general assembly for the Food Security Organization, an OICaffiliate, in Astana, in the first half of 2015. The Minister of Foreign affairs, Erlan A. Idrisov, stressed the importance of the OIC support for this major event and coordination over it. The Secretary General also discussed plans and programs related to the announcement of Almaty as the Capital of Islamic Culture for the year 2015. He called on the Kazakh side to put more effort to engage the youth in this occasion, and spread awareness of the moderate Islamic culture, emphasizing on Kazakhstan unique location and its nature in exercising this role; for it is renowned by its famous Muslim Scholar Alfarabi, whose efforts contributed significantly to the Islamic civilization. On the other hand, the Secretary General agreed with the Minister Idrisov on the significance of the OIC role in the fifth conference for interfaith dialogue to be held in Astana. Idrisov invited the Secretary General to attend this event, adding that his presence would contribute to promoting the conference. At the beginning of his visit to Almaty, Madani delivered a lecture at the Al Farabi National University, highlighting the OIC role in the different fields, as well as the challenges it confronts. At the end of the lecture, the University honored the Secretary General, Iyad Ameen Madani, by presenting him an Honorary Doctorate, for his role and contributions intheMuslim World

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OIC NEWS

Sudan President and OIC Secretary General

Discuss Ways to Strengthen Joint Islamic Action

H

is Excellency Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, President of the Republic of the Sudan, received in the Hospitality Palace in the capital Khartoum, on 28 December 2014, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), His Excellency Iyad Ameen Madani. President Omar Al-Bashir underscored OIC’s importance at the regional and international arenas, commending the efforts of the Secretary General in promoting Islamic solidarity for the service of the peoples of the Ummah, which is going through a very sensitive stage in the light of present conflicts most of which are raging in the Muslim world. For his part, the Secretary General highlighted the importance for all Member States to exert consolidated efforts in order to strengthen joint Islamic action and address the major challenges facing the Muslim world in all political, economic, social and cultural fields.  In another vein, Madani held a session of official talks with the Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ali Ahmed Karti, at the headquarters of

Minister Soumaya Abu Kochoua

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Minister Karti

the Ministry. The two parties reviewed areas of bilateral cooperation between the OIC and the Sudan, and exchanged views on the situation regionally and internationally. It is worth noting that the Secretary General met Professor Soumaya Abu Kochoua, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and discussed areas of cooperation between the OIC and the Sudan in the domain of education, the importance of making efforts in order to advance higher education in Member States, the exchange of scholarships, and the implementation of the resolutions adopted by the meetings the ministers of higher education of OIC Member States. The Secretary General also held a meeting with the Minister of Finance and National Economy, Dr. Badr- Eddine Mahmoud, in presence of State Minister for Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank of the Sudan. The meeting considered the role of Islamic financing institutions in achieving economic development in OIC Member States, as well as means to develop mechanisms of financing small businesses with a view to eradicating poverty and unemployment in Islamic countries. At his meeting with the Chairperson of Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) in Khartoum on 29 December 2014, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani, reviewed all arrangements relating to the establishment of the Darfur Development Bank (DDB). Both parties touched upon this issue in light of the outcome of Darfur Donors’ Conference held in 2010 in Cairo with a focus on the need for expeditious launching of DDB to contribute to the construction and reconstruction efforts and realization of development in Darfur. 

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The two sides agreed to hold a conference of the parties contributing to DDB at the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah in the forthcoming period following the completion of the required documents. In addition, the OIC Secretary General visited Munazzamat al-Da’wa al-Islamiia (Islamic Da’wa Organization) where he met with Field Marshal Abdur-Rahman Suwar Al-Dahab, former President of the Republic of Sudan, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He also listened to a presentation on the activities and programs of Islamic Da’wa Organization in Sudan and Africa.  At the conclusion of his three-day official visit to the Republic of Sudan, Madani visited the International University of Africa (IUA) in Khartoum. He met its Chancellor, Dr. Kamal Obeid and faculty staff. Obeid explained to Madani the role the IUA plays in providing scholarships for students from the African and Asian countries.  The university president briefly introduced the scientific and theoretical colleges and scientific research center in the university, and that there are subsidiary colleges in Africa and Asia. He also mentioned that 13000 (males and females) are currently enrolled in the university, 75% of which study outside Sudan. He also announced that the university offers 10 academic scholarships, placed at the disposal of the OIC General Secretariat. The Secretary General talked about the OIC relation with a number of universities and scholarship programs, and the importance of promoting academic and research exchange between the Member States, beside the need for allocate departments for area studies.

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OPINION A New Interpretation of Regional Developments

W Dr. Ahmed Salem AlSaad

Department of Information OIC

Readings and visions change shape according to the ebb and flow of events. A particular reading may prevail at one moment, but events soon take a contrary course, giving way to a new or radically different reading.

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riters and opinion-makers have gone far and wide in their interpretations and analyses of recent major developments in certain Arab countries. It may be quite obvious that these readings and visions change shape according to the ebb and flow of events. A particular reading may prevail at one moment, but events soon take a contrary course, giving way to a new or radically different reading. Over the first two years, since the onset of the events, the prevalent reading was that it is a popular uprising that will gradually transmute into a sweeping revolution resulting from the people’s awakening and aspiration to dignity. This reading argued that incidents of killing and security upsets were a necessary ransom for freedom. They were also seen as the doing of anti-revolutionary forces intent upon stifling people’s hopes and aspirations, and temporary setbacks. The advocates of this reading leant on the lessons of history, recalling that the house of Bourbons did return to France’s throne two and a half decades after the French revolution; and that “The European Spring” too was at times complex and chaotic. These advocates tried to prove their point through an analytical reading of the contemporary world’s reality, claiming that, despite what may seem to be “a stagnant democracy”, the number of States that upheld the democratic practice in 1974 was no more than 40, whereas today it stands at 120. The advocates of this view conclude that the campaigns against the Arab Spring are led by those whose interests are tied to the status quo that prevailed after they had stealthily appropriated their States’ resources, and that these campaigns misread the developments and declared war on history. The advocates of the other reading hold the view that what happened was a conspiracy aimed at causing instability, serving the enemies, foremost of which Israel, which exploited the events to further consecrate its occupation of Palestine, to step up its efforts to judaize Al-Quds/Jerusalem and alter its demographic character, and to commit the most despicable crimes in Gaza. This view enumerates the events that ensued, portraying them as a deterioration of the current state from geographic fragmentation to sectarian fragmentation. The development of events, so goes this interpretation, only served to spark sectarian antagonisms and fueled doctrinal discord, so much so that the Ummah found itself in a whirlwind of conflicts of unpredictable consequences. These advocates establish a link between the events witnessed in Iraq after the American occupation in 2003 and the later developments that played an important role in fuelling internecine fights and social upheavals. The conclusion they offer is that the ongoing tension and chaos form a devastating factor aimed at turning states into tiny provinces and their regular armies into militias and to ignite ethnic, sectarian, doctrinal, tribal and regional animosities, and that this project is being implemented with utmost force, planning and funding. An analytical view of both camps reveals that they offer justifications in support of their readings through the ideas they sustain, some focusing on certain facts and developments and exaggerating them while minimizing other facts that may be of no less importance, just to back up the theories they are trying to establish. It is, however, my view that some actual determinants have been overseen, key among which the common denominator shared by the five states concerned (Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria) which have been the scene of momentous events. Indeed, aside from the economic and social difficulties endured by most people in those countries, there was also a manifest attempt, one way or another, to turn the system into a hereditary rule in a blatant violation of a republican regime. So, was it all just a coincidence? And should both readings not be faulted with failing to highlight the geopolitical and economic factors and the issue of terrorism. In the face of these two readings, it might seem logical to conclude that some have rushed to premature judgments on what one may call “a state of play” in which we are living and whose outlines have not yet taken shape, seeming rather, still far from its final extent. It might be difficult, given that not all elements are within our conception, for us to reach an objective assessment. Given the ambiguity surrounding the ultimate conclusion of these events, we might have to wait and suspend our opinion until we get all the elements of the puzzle. Only the future could hold the beam of light needed to distinguish a white thread from a black one. Yet, we must not omit to note here that the OIC had taken the initiative to invite its Member States to adopt a number of reforms and to actualize the principle of good governance and called on all to embrace dialogue as the only way to settle differences away from any violence or clashes.

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HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS OIC Delegation to Gaza Stresses the Importance of Increasing Attention on Affected Sectors

Gaza, Palestine – AnOIC delegation, headed by the Ambassador Hesham Yousef, the Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, and with the participation of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), The Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), made an assessment mission to Gaza Strip during the period 1-4 September 2014. Muhanad Alaklouk, Palestine Permanent Representative to the OIC, also joined it. The visit followed the decision of the Executive Committee of the of the OIC Member States’ Council of Foreign Ministers, held in the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah, on July 10, 2014, which also invited the Member States, the OIC institutions, and the Arab and Islamic funds to offer urgent support to the Palestinian people in the Strip, in particular providing medical aid to cope with the sever shortage of medicines and medical equipment. The purpose of the mission was to view the situation in Gaza Strip, to look into the ways and means of alleviating the suffering of the Palestinian people, and to participate in organizing the conference on the reconstruction of Gaza, which was held in Cairo, October 2014. At the outset of his visit, the Ambassador Hesham Yousef, the head of the delegation, paid tribute to the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in clinging to their inalienable national rights, and their determination to gain their freedom and establishing the Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Shareef as its capital. The delegation made field trips, in which they visited Gaza International Airport and the devastated areas in Khan Younis (includ-

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ing Al-qarara, Khuza›a, new Absan, Abasan al-Kabira, Abasan al jadida, and Al-Fakhri), where the Israeli forces committed horrific massacres against the residents of these areas and claimed the lives of hundreds. The delegation also visited the Shuja›iyya district, which witnessed horrible massacres by the occupation against civilians, bombing of residential houses while people were inside, and air force and artillery heaved more than 160 one-ton bombs. More than a hundred citizens were killed in one of these massacres, in addition to more than 500 injured. The delegation also made a visit to Beit Hanoun in the northeast edge of Gaza, which suffered massive destructions and fierce aggressions leaving behind hundreds of martyrs and wounded, where Israel targeted the infrastructure of the schools of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). The delegation then visited hospitals, including Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah that was targeted by the occupation artillery at a time when it was packed with patients and the wounded and their families, resulting in 5 martyrs and dozens wounded. The delegation evaluated the visit from many points, outlined in a report submitted to the General Secretariat, as it pointed to the unprecedented consensus among all concerned, and all different orientations, that the situation in Gaza are disastrous and worse than it has ever been in the last two wars. Nevertheless, the report also noted that the Palestinian people still possesses

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steadfastness, despite the weight of grief and pain over the martyrs and the destruction, and the struggles and challenges. The report said that many of those, whom the delegation has met with, did not hide their fear of another explosion of the situation, including the risk of renewed military confrontations. Despite the relief tinged with caution regarding the Palestinian reconciliation, concomitant with serious concern that the reconciliation effort will not result in any progress in confronting the challenges in Gaza, which may result in risking a return to the Palestinian division and internal conflicts. The report emphasized that ending the Israeli occupation on Gaza Strip is going to be one of the main factors affecting the development of the situations. At the same time, without true effective pressure on Israel to end the occupation, the situation will explode at a faster pace than ever, specially that Kerem Shalom crossing at its full capacity will not be enough to handle the reconstruction requirements. The report also clarified that the issue of holding Israeli officials accountable for the crimes committed against the Palestinians is of great importance; many see this as an effective way to prevent the recurrence of aggressions on the people of Palestine. The repot also noted that the Palestinian people are frustrated about the negligence, from both the Arab and Islamic neighbors, of the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip. It also stressed that it is of importance to support and capacity-build the Palestinian civil society organizations, which feel that they are being crowded out by international civil society organizations; competing with them instead of collaborating to achieve the Palestinian people›s ambitions. On another note, the report stated that there is some cooperation between the civil society organizations inside the OIC Member States and those that are active in the Strip, summarizing the requirements of the Palestinians in Gaza in the necessity to provide medicine, providing the proper machinery to lift the rubble, and removal of unexploded ordnance. Meanwhile, the conditions of women and children are a major priority; women as well as children have suffered hugely due to war. It has also emphasized that the OIC Member States have duties toward the Palestinian people, although the arrival of generous support is already present in times of great need.

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HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS Joint OIC-OCHA mission to Iraq: $2.2 billion required to cover the humanitarian and protection needs of 5.2 million people Geneva, Switzerland – The OIC Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ambassador Hesham Youssef, and the Director of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva, Rashid Khalikov, held a joint press conference in Geneva on 27 October 2014, following their mission to Iraq on 20-23 October 2014. The joint OIC-OCHA mission visited Erbil, Baghdad and Dohuk governorates where they saw the magnitude of the crisis and the immense humanitarian emergency: 5.2 million Iraqis in need of assistance; 1.8 million people have been displaced since January 2014, half of them children; hundreds of thousands forced to shelter in unfinished buildings, public spaces and informal settlements unfit to host people. They also visited the Turkish/Iraqi border where refugees were coming from Ain al-Arab/Ko-

bane on a daily basis by the hundreds. Nevertheless, ASG Youssef said, “We are extremely impressed by the generosity of the host communities.” He also commended the efforts of the local authorities and humanitarian workers and the government of Iraq. As for priorities, both Amb. Youssef and Mr. Khalikov stressed on winterization, as a harsh winter is approaching. Core relief items, blankets, kerosene, heating stoves, mats and insulation to make tents warmer and more resistant to the winter are needed as well as resources to ensure a wider coverage. Amb. Youssef pointed out that shelter is also a priority. There are 400 schools in

Kurdistan Region in Iraq that are hosting IDPs, which led to the postponement of the school year. He also spoke about the difficulties facing minorities, some of them are fearful to go back even if they feel the situation is calming down. Mr. Khalikov said that OCHA has launched the Strategic Response Plan in mid October, which requests $2.2 billion to cover the humanitarian and protection needs of 5.2 million people by the end of December 2015. Until then, more than $600 million has been contributed. In this regard, both Mr. Khalikov and Amb. Youssef thanked the government of Saudi Arabia for its major contribution.

A joint OIC-AU-OCHA high-level partnership humanitarian mission to Chad A joint high-level partnership humanitarian mission to Chad led by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the African Union and OCHA was concluded in Ndjamena on 21st November 2014. The high-level mission, which began on 17 November 2014, was comprised in addition to participants of the above named organizations, the Arab League, representatives from Azerbaijan, Germany, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, South Arica, Turkey, Qatar and the USA and partners from NGOs and philanthropic organizations of different Gulf States. The main aim of the mission was to express

solidarity to Chad following the influx of a large number of refugees and returnees from the Central African Republic and also have a first-hand account of vulnerable and needy people living mostly in the rural areas of Chad. To this end, the mission visited the city of Mao in the region of Kanem and a returnees’ camp in Maigama in the region of Moyen Chari Leaders of the mission and the accompanying delegations noticed the acuteness of the problems facing Chad in the field of access to water, health and nutrition despite the country being overwhelmed by refugees and returnees coming from neighbor-

ing countries in the South, East and NorthWest. They all came to the conclusion that only a strong partnership with the international community could assist Chad to meet these challenges and called for strong support since the country is faced with chronic and forgotten emergencies coupled with underfunded humanitarian and development activities.

The OIC Initiates Food Security Promotion Projects in Somalia Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – In early December 2014, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has accomplished the first stage of irrigation canals rehabilitation in Somalia, funded by Abdullah Hashim Company, Saudi Arabia, and under the supervision of the OIC. The current project is considered one of the important ones, providing solutions for Somali farmers, in their pursuit water supply for agricultural purposes. The OIC office has been following up with the steps of operating the projects, which include rehabilitating

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11 water canals, out of 23 others, with a view to repair more than 1500 acre in Lower Shabelle region, meanwhile another 5 canals will be rehabilitated soon. The project aims to allow the Somali Farmers to return to their normal life. Enabling the people of Somalia to achieve food security is part of the OIC designed strategy, which was initiated in 2011, following the sever famine crisis that the OIC has contributed in addressing, and received international recognition for.

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HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS Displaced persons and refugees in Algeria, a headache for the Government gees (from about 23 countries), including 1523 refugees who were confirmed to have entered Algeria legally. According to the same figures, the immigrants coming from Mali, Niger, Syria, and to a lesser extent from Cameroon, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Chad, form the largest group. Though Arabs do not pose a problem, a large number of Africans find it very difficult to communicate with Algerians because they master only their local language. Moussa left his wife and children in Niger and crossed the borders to reach Algiers in a quest for a job that would guarantee him a sum of money which would allow him to implement a project in his homeland.

Algiers (dpa): The scenes of large numbers of African and to a lesser extent- Syrian refugees and displaced persons in markets, in front of mosques, on the streets, and in train and bus stations are a source of major concern to the Algerian people and government alike. The visitor to Algerian cities can easily notice them in huge numbers; some of them take begging as a profession, others are compelled to beg, sometimes using little children and other methods that diminish human dignity. It is feared that such a phenomenon would affect the security and composition of the Algerian society, which might pay the price for the prevalent belief that Algeria is the only safe country in North Africa, in addition to its relatively stable economy.

Algeria: from a stronghold of rebels and the free to the refuge of Africans

A report of the pro-Algerian Government Consultative Committee on the Protection of Human Rights reveals that Algeria was since 1975 a country that receives the displaced from Sahel countries and provides them with food assistance and health care. Refugees represent 23.11% of foreigners in Algeria, whereas people granted the status of ‘refugee’ or ‘applicant for refugee status’ represent 35.6% of all foreigners residing in Algeria, 43% of whom move to Europe, mainly Italy and Spain, and 57% prefer to stay in Algeria.

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The report indicated that human trafficking is not limited to the trafficking of displaced persons across the borders; it also includes their exploitation in begging networks as was seen in Algiers and in other northern cities. Ill-treatment and exploitation of the displaced and refugees put the Government and local community organizations in a very embarrassing situation, subjecting them to the criticism of international organizations. Farouk Ksentini, Chairman of the Advisory Commission for the Protection and Human Rights, told the German Press Agency (dpa) that Algeria is bound by the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol on Refugees. He indicated that the law expressly provides for the expulsion of refugees who entered the country in an illegal way, but he stressed that files are studied case by case and that human dignity is preserved. Ksentini acknowledged that the presence of 250 thousand refugees in Algeria exceeds the Government’s capacity, which must provide adequate shelter, health care, food and even employment at times. Ksentini said that what is happening in Libya has become an additional dilemma to Algeria, calling for urgent solutions to the problem of displaced people, some of whom project bad images in the streets and squares of Algerian cities. Unofficial figures reveal the existence of thousands of displaced persons and refu-

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Moussa has lived in Algeria for nearly one year. He misses his children a lot. He admits that he sends the small amount of money he makes to his village through traditional channels enabling those coming from the African Sahel to send money to their families. In the beginning, migration to Algeria was to southern cities like Ouargla, Ghardaia, Laghouat, but with the increase in Summer temperatures and the absence of jobs, the majority was compelled to continue their journey to the north; yet their conditions did not improve despite the efforts of the Government and civil society organization and the aids of the inhabitants.

1000 applications for asylum are submitted annually to the UN agency

The UNHCR considers Algeria as a transit country and a refuge for mixed migration movements. It states that 1000 applications for asylum are submitted annually to the UNHCR office in the country. The UNHCR criticized the absence of a national law on asylum in Algeria or a national institution to decide on the applications transferred to its office. The UN agency counted 96640 refugees and asylum applicants in Algeria who are taken care of by the agency. Most of these are in the western part of the country. Also, 4040 Palestinian refugees live on Algerian soil and the UNHCR takes care only of 40 of them. 1500 Syrians, 400 Malians, and 100 from Cameroon submitted asylum applications and are all taken care of by

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HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS the UN agency and its partners, providing them with assistance especially in the areas of education, health, nutrition energy and transportation. ‬ Due to growing costs and needs, the budget of the UNHCR in Algeria increased from US$18.7 million in 2010 to US$28.2 million in 2013, and to US$ 32.7 million in 2014. The UNHCR says that this increase will enable it to respond to the growing needs due to poor bilateral assistance programmes. For its part, the Algerian Government increased its grants to the UNHCR to US$ 100.000 annually since 2009, compared to US$50.000 to US$60.000 in 2000.

Development Projects for the Displaced

Ms. Saida Benhabyles, President of the Algerian Red Crescent and a former minister, told the German News Agency (DPA) that Algeria has reached out to those who fled the tragic situation in their respective brotherly and friendly countries. She added that the policy adopted by the Algerian Government differs significantly from the ratherharsh immigrant related policies of the Western countries.

Benhabyles pointed out that in translation of Algeria’s respects of human dignity President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s order was not to expel any refugee. Therefore, Algeria provided shelters for the displaced and refugees. She also pointed out that the Algerian Red Crescent providedvarious assistance to them.A new initiativeis underway with the help of the government to alleviate their suffering, especially withthe advent of winter and severe cold. Benhabyles stressed the need to respect human dignity in dealing withthe refugees and displaced. She confirmed that the agents of the Algerian Red Crescent frequent trainstations, hospitals, and various public places and squares to serve them and provide basic needs as well as to maintain their health. She indicated that some of displaced preferred to return voluntarily to their home countries, such as the Syrian refugeeswho decided to return to Damascus with the help of the Algerian Red Crescent, which paid for their air fare. Benhabyles called upon the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and all UN partners and organs, such as the International Red Crescent and International Red Cross, to contribute to the development projects at some border countries

with Algeria, such as Mali and Niger. These projects can urge the displaced and the refugees to return to their villages and towns. She asserted that the Government of Niger expressed its readiness to cooperate for the materialization of these projects.

In the Face of a Real Danger

The Algerian Government, which fears a drop in oil and gas sales revenues, faces real security and health risk.The Ministry of Interior ordered security and gendarmerie units in all states to exercise extreme caution in dealing with illegal immigrants coming from West Africa, and subject them, in coordination with the Ministry of Health, to medical examination once caught to curb the spread of the Ebola virus. The Algerian Army Staff declared explicitly that the displacement towards the Algerian borders “may help the infiltration of terrorist groups into the country, posing a threat to security and stability in the region.” Accordingly, the security authorities, in coordination with the administrative departments of border provinces, decided to prevent the foreigners of all nationalities from staying in the southern states near the borders.

OIC and UNHCR agree on action plan of cooperation year action plan of cooperation on matters of mutual interest. The joint Committee was headed by Ambassador Fuad Al-Maznaee, Advisor to the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Humanitarian Affairs, and Mr. Amin Awad, Director, Middle East and North Africa Bureau of the United Nations Refugee Agency. The discussions centered on ways and means of enhancing areas of cooperation, particularly the implementation of the Ashgabat Declaration, adopted by the OIC Ministerial Conference on Refugees in the Muslim World held in 2012.

Geneva, Switzerland – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held a two-day meeting in Geneva to discuss areas of joint collaboration between the two organizations. The meeting came as a result of the decision of the High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Antonio Guterres, and the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani, when they last met in Jeddah in September 2014, to establish a joint committee with a mandate to advance mutual cooperation between the two institutions. Hence, the committee conducted its first series of meetings in Geneva between 19 and 20 November 2014 and discussed cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Asia and Africa regions. The two parties also discussed the formulation of a two-

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During the opening remarks, the two heads of delegations emphasized the importance of strengthening their partnership in areas of common interest, noting that refugees in OIC constitute 57% of the total refugees worldwide. Both sides reiterated the strong commitment of the two organizations to address the protracted refugee issue in the Muslim World. The main objective of the joint Committee’s discussion is to identify main areas of cooperation and to work out a Plan of Action to implement the Ashgabat Declaration under the framework of the OIC-UNHCR Cooperation Agreement signed between the two organisations in 1988. UNHCR and OIC have a long lasting cooperation at different levels. The OIC in coordination with the UNHCR and the Government of Turkmenistan held the first International Ministerial Conference exclusively focused on the refugee situation in the Muslim world in 2012. The Conference adopted the Ashgabat Declaration on Refugees in the Muslim World.

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HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS Lebanon struggling to cope with influx of Syrian refugees Syrian refugees, once they arrive in Lebanon, stay in illegal gatherings, as a result of the authorities’ refusal to establish official refugee camps for them, perhaps fearing that they end up staying permanently in the country. Last September, eventually, the Lebanese government decided to set up two camps for Syrian refugees on the border, one in the Bekaa Valley (east) and the other in the north of the country, hoping to legalise the status of such a large number of refugees and curb it. However, Mona Munther points out, political factors intervened and blocked the implementation of the decision. This was attributed to divergent views between the ministries concerned.

Madrid/Beirut (DPA): The Lebanese government has introduced 180-degree changes to its refugee policy. It has decided to prevent the entry of Syrian refugees except for extreme humanitarian cases. It has also imposed significant difficulties to those returning to their country, torn by civil war for more than three years. The Lebanese authorities said they had no intention to close the border entirely but rather control the flow of huge numbers of refugees fatiguing and perplexing the country. Commenting to the German Press Agency (DPA) on the new rules, Mona Munther, from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC), said that “there has been a noticeable decline in the number of refugees registered since the start of implementation of the new measures”. Local media, meanwhile, say that as of now, entering Lebanon by refugees will be limited to exceptional humanitarian cases, and the decision will rest with the ministries of interior and social affairs. As for those returning to Syria again, their asylum document would be withdrawn. It has also become familiar to impose restrictions on Syrian workers in Lebanon who travel back to visit their families in Syria. M. Munther explained that “the Lebanese authorities have not informed the UNHCR of the new measures”. However, she acknowledged that the border has not been completely closed, and that the Lebanese government did not force any of the Syrian refugees to return home.

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But Lebanon has had enough and is bursting at the seams with Syrian refugees who exceed its ability to cope. There is also the unstable situation in Lebanon itself owing to the non-election of a president up till now and thus having to renew the legislative mandate of the current Parliament to 2017 to avoid a political power vacuum. Under these conditions, the increasing number of refugees is an additional pressure on the State resources and infrastructure and also poses a threat to some extent on the national security of the country. Lebanon, since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, has received over 1.2 million refugees, a figure that far exceeds the number received by any of Syria’s Arab neighbors. Consequently, the Lebanese capital, Beirut, has become one of the cities of highest population density in the world because of this phenomenon. According to the UN Refugee Agency, one out of every four residents in Lebanon is a refugee, which means that Lebanon has received more than a third of Syrian refugees whose total number has officially reached 3.3 million, in addition to more than 6 million people displaced by the conflict. Lebanon has born this heavy burden at a time it is not at its best as put by Mona Munther: “Lebanon is suffering, due to the continuation of the Syrian crisis, a sharp decline in business activities and inadequate foreign investment, add to this the heavy toll on domestic consumption, which caused significant damage to the Lebanese economy as a whole”.

September - December 2014

Hence, Syrian refugees in Lebanon are still living in casual gatherings, or at best, mingling with local population in the poorest areas of the country, with decaying infrastructure, basic services and utilities, even before the outbreak of the Syrian crisis. For his part, Lebanese Prime Minister, Tammam Salam, warned in a seminar on Syrian refugees, held in the German capital Berlin, against the consequences of this situation on the national security and stability of Lebanon, saying that “in addition to the problems posed by the large number of refugees and the deterioration of infrastructure in terms of health and education services, there is a general mood that the Syrian refugee is grabbing work from the hands of the Lebanese citizen. This feeling generates more hatred and malice”. Syrian refugees are also linked to other problems facing Lebanese community, including the unprecedented rise in housing rents, and the higher demand for real estate, especially in the Muslim populated areas, such as the Al-Hamra in Beirut, where the hotel and furnished apartment occupancy rate has almost reached 100%, let alone aggravation of fuel, water and electricity problems. For energy, it is not a secret that Lebanon is an importer, and citizens are provided with energy in complex processes, involving the public and private sectors. Increased loads on the network as a result of the current situation have led to frequent long-hour power cuts. A Human Rights Watch report cautions that these conditions may have led to increased uncertainty in society. It also warns that many Syrians have also become a scapegoat.

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HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS Second International Humanitarian Action Forum Calls on Conflict Parties to Abide by Rules of International Humanitarian Law and Protect Humanitarian Workers

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The 2nd International Humanitarian Action Forum titled: “Humanitarian Work in a Turbulent World” held under the umbrella of the OIC and organized by a group of relief organizations in the Muslim world concluded its 2-day work in Jeddah on 27 November 2014. The relief organizations are: International Islamic Relief Organisation, International Islamic Charitable Organisation, Kuwait, IHH Organization, Turkey, Qatar Charitable Organization, World Assembly of Muslim Youth, International Research and Studies Centre, MEDAD and International Committee of the Red Cross, together with 48 humanitarian organizations. 129 persons attended the meeting, including experts and researchers in the field.

humanitarian field to exchange experiences and expertise. The Meeting also called on international organizations to provide training courses for humanitarian workers and for the use of social communication networks.

The participants agreed to hold the next session of the Meeting in Qatar, to be hosted by the Qatar Charitable Organization in May 2015. The Meeting discussed 23 working papers in 7 sessions and 7 workshops aimed at coming up with practical recommendations geared towards advancing the field work of various relief agencies. The Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ambassador Hesham Yousef, delivered a speech at the opening session in which he explained that more than half The Meeting adopted a number of of the world’s refugees are Muslims, and recommendations in its final com- that more than half of the OIC Member muniqué. It called on local and inter- States face crises, whether in the form of national conflict parties, whether govern- natural disasters or man-made crises, and mental or non-governmental to abide by highlighted the new challenge posed by the the rules of International Humanitarian Ebola epidemic. Law and protect humanitarian workers.  Ambassador Yousef called on the Meeting to discuss the extent of adherence to the InIt also called on humanitarian organizations ternational Humanitarian Law, emphasizing to communicate and cooperate with educa- that they are not mere drafts. He stressed tional bodies in target societies to guaran- the need to ensure that its provisions are tee means and ways of protecting civilians actually implemented and developed to and humanitarian workers during conflicts achieve security for the peoples of the Musand disasters in educational curriculums.  lim world.  It also called for the establishment of a The Secretary General of International Ismechanism to ensure continuity of the lamic Relief Organisation, Ihsan Ibn Saleh meeting and its activities and the holding of Tayeb, delivered a speech in which he reregular scholarly meetings among interna- ferred to a set of challenges facing relief tional organizations and institutions in the work. Ronald Ofteringer, Director of In-

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ternational Affairs and Relations with the Muslim World at the International Committee of the Red Cross discussed the issue of partnership between the Red Cross and the Muslim world, pointing out that the ICRC was proud of its cooperation with the OIC, given its weight in the Muslim world. The first day sessions focused on the challenges that face relief agencies in conflicts and war zones, so that to give a chance to discuss and coordinate between the organizations working in this field, among worksheets that focused on the obstacles standing in front of implementing the international humanitarian law in areas affected by conflicts. In addition to means and mechanisms to implement the international humanitarian law, from the perspective of the Arab non-governmental organizations. The forum is of importance for that it was held at a time when conflicts are arising in the Member States, which requires preparation to cover the humanitarian needs in the affected areas, with more coordination and implementation of the international humanitarian law, to guarantee dual security for those affected, as well as for the workers in humanitarian fields. The forum also represents an important occasion to strengthen the partnership between the organizations working in the field of relief under the supervision of the OIC, and from another point to promote the cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), within the context of the Organization building a global working network, with more capacity to contain crises in the areas affected.

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HUMAN RIGHTS OIC Human Rights Commission Tackles Extremism and Intolerance

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) held its 6th Session in Jeddah from 1 to 6 November 2014 under the theme “Combating Extremism and Intolerance”. During the six-day session, the Commission had in-depth discussions on all items on its agenda as well as specific mandates given to it by the CFM such as Islamophobia, negative impact of unilateral economic sanctions on Member States, situation of Rohingya Muslim minority, human rights situation in Central African Republic. The Commission held an open discussion on the theme of the Session “Combating Extremism and Intolerance”, which drew strong interest from OIC Member and Observer states as an apt topic in the backdrop of ongoing developments in the region. At the end of the discussion, the Commission issued a strong press statement on the subject, which strongly condemns the growing trend of extremism and religious intolerance in the world and calls for joint action to collectively address this menace. It reiterated that Islam was a religion of peace, moderation and tolerance that decries all forms of hatred, intolerance and extremist ideologies. In his inaugural speech, Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani, Secretary General of the OIC, appreciated the activities of IPHRC and reminded the Commission to expedite work on one of its core mandates i.e. crafting a yardstick on various issues of human rights concern from an Islamic perspective that each individual Member State can look at to measure the distance between the Islamic human rights model and its own laws and practices. Welcoming the thematic focus of the Session, the Secretary General

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stated that there was no role or place for extremism and intolerance in Islam, which is a religion of peace, reason and enlightenment. Ambassador Mohamed Ahmed Tayeb, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the OIC, in his address welcomed the decision taken by the 41st CFM to make Jeddah as the Headquarters of IPHRC, which in his views reflected the importance Saudi Arabia attaches to the promotion of human rights ideals that are in line with the noble values and teachings of Islam. He reiterated Saudi Arabia’s assurances to providing full support to the Commission in the performance of its mandated tasks in its capacity as the host country. In his concluding remarks, Ambassador Mohammad Kawu Ibrahim, Chairperson of IPHRC, reflected on deliberations of IPHRC on a number of issues critical to the achievement of its mandate including various reports submitted to the 41st CFM on important issues such as “situation of human rights in Central African Republic” and “Negative impact of unilateral sanctions on human rights of the peoples of targeted countries”. On behalf of the Commission, IPHRC Chair expressed sympathy to the people of Gaza for the most inhuman aggression meted to them during the last JulyAugust siege by Israel; and with the people of West African countries being ravaged by the Ebola epidemic. The Commission as a whole reiterated its strong condemnation of the Israeli aggression against Palestinian population in Gaza during last July-August and expressed its sympathy with the tens of thousands of Palestinians who remain without homes in the aftermath of this inhuman Israeli incursion,

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with severe consequences for the health and education sectors. The Commission expressed strong concern on the continuing illegitimate Israeli practice of detaining Palestinian citizens without due process, which was illegal under international law. IPHRC reiterated its strong objection to the continuing illegitimate settlement activities in and around East Jerusalem, and in the West Bank and in that context welcomed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement worldwide to bring to fore this important issue of concern. The Commission encouraged Member States to consider elaborating a common strategy on combating the growing phenomenon of Islamophobia. It also welcomed the upcoming meeting of Istanbul Process scheduled to take place in Jeddah in 2015 and urged all stakeholders to focus on the ways to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Action Plan contained in Res 16/18. In the area of human rights of women and children, the Commission delved in detail on issues related to gender equality, violence against women and children. IPHRC reiterated that men and women enjoy equal human dignity and fundamental human rights but have different roles and responsibilities within the family and society, and that Islam nowhere implies superiority or inferiority to either of the sexes. The Commission condemned all forms of harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and other kinds of physical, psychologically or sexual violence against women and girls including forced or child marriages, trafficking in person, sexual violence against women in armed conflict or in areas under foreign occupation. It was decided that the Working Group on human rights of women and children will conduct studies on these topics and that the theme for the next session will be “Protection of Family Values”. The Commission also finalized its decision on how to interact with National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and decided to invite them in its future activities in accordance with the modalities set out in that decision. Discussions were also held on the framework to interact with NGOs and broader civil society as well as on the draft working methods of the Commission, which would be finalized in due course.

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HUMAN RIGHTS IPHRC calls on UN, UNHCR, AU and OIC to rescue Peuhl (Fulani) Muslims in the Central African Republic

Displaced Muslim Peuhls sit in a Muslim displaced camp in Bambari, Central African Republic (epa)

T

he OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) is gravely disturbed by the recent escalation in sectarian killings in the Central African Republic (CAR), with the minority Muslim population, once more, the target of attacks by the Christian antiBalaka group. Although there was a short lull in the attacks against Muslims in Bangui the capital, sadly the Muslim herdsmen Peuhl tribe,

scattered in many parts of CAR have been systematically hunted and massacred by the anti-Balaka since the peak of the sectarian crisis early 2014, without so much attracting the attention of the international community. However, recently the Office of the UNHCR, Human Rights Watch and several media outfits have voiced their serious concern over the plight of the Peuhl, trapped since April 2014 in Yaloke, around 200 Km from Bangui, and who have been “living

in abysmal conditions and under constant duress”. Human Right Watch went on to say, “the Peuhl trapped in some of these enclaves face a grim choice: leave and face possible attack from anti-Balaka fighters, or stay and die from hunger”. Even more appalling, is the allegation that both the CAR Interim Government and the UN peacekeepers are blocking the Peuhl from leaving the enclaves for safety in Cameroun or Chad, which is in violation of international law. The UNHCR has reported several cases of death among the Peuhl as a result of starvation, chronic malaria and tuberculosis. There is a fear that if nothing is done urgently the trapped Peuhl will soon perish under their current condition. Disturbed by this unfortunate development IPHRC called on the Secretary General of the United Nations, UNHCR, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, as well as the Interim Government of CAR to take all necessary measures to rescue the trapped Peuhl population and to evacuate them to the nearest refugee camps in Cameroun or Chad, which are their preferred destinations. Finally, IPHRC appealed to the OIC Secretary General to revisit the Commission’s recommendations in its report on the CAR, adopted by the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers at its 41st Session, and to set in place the necessary mechanisms for their implementation.

IPHRC calls for commitment to defending human rights of peoples affected by economic sanctions At the conclusion of its two days international seminar on the “Negative impact of economic and financial sanction on the full enjoyment of human rights by the peoples of the targeted countries”, the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) stated that any economic, financial and commercial measures or sanctions, in particular the unilateral coercive measures and sanctions, which contravene the obligations committed to by the Member States in Articles 55 and 56 of the UN Charter (referring to human rights), must be considered as unlawful and be rejected. The Outcome Document of the IPHRC Seminar, which was held in Tehran from 15-16 December 2014, contained a number of references from international and human rights law in support of its above made pronouncement. In addition to IPHRC Commissioners, the Seminar was attended and addressed by a number of

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international human rights experts in the field as well as OIC Member and Observer States. Besides reflecting on the substance of the matter, most participants commended the increased attention being paid to the negative impact of sanctions on human rights of peoples in particular vulnerable groups, within the United Nations. IPHRC stressed that while the impact of sanctions, which is increasingly becoming complex, varies from one case to another, it always have severe consequences on the whole set of economic, social and cultural rights of the affected populations as well as those in Third World countries. From that perspective, IPHRC welcomed the apt recommendation of the United Nations Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights contained in its general comment No.8 of 1997, which emphasizes that the international community must ensure a

three pronged strategy while designing any sanctions regime i.e. a) respect for the human rights of the affected people; b) regular and effective system of monitoring and evaluation of the human rights impact of enforced sanctions; and c) both the imposing country/organization or the international community must take steps to offset any disproportionate sufferings of peoples in particular vulnerable groups.In line with this general comment the Commission recommended to the CFM to consider establishing a monitoring mechanism within the General Secretariat to assess the negative impact of economic sanction. The Outcome Document of the Seminar took note of the ongoing serious discussions on this topic within the UN Human Rights Council and expressed its full support to the recent establishment of the mandate of a Special Rapporteur on the subject.

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ISLAMOPHOBIA OIC Islamophobia Observatory Report

Increase of

ISLAMOPHOBIA incidents due to ISIS practices

I

A supporter of the movement ‹Pegida› during a demonstration in Dresden (epa)

slamophobic incidents have multiplied almost everywhere around the world, and the main factor contributing to this trend was the Islamic State (ISIS) phenomenon. Despite the clear stance of Muslim countries against ISIS as well as its radical ideology, misleading interpretation remained dominant in certain parts of the world, where ISIS ideology was blatantly associated with Islamic values and jurisprudence. The OIC Islamophobia Observatory underlined the negative trend of Western media linking ISIS activities to Muslims, so as to raise suspicion over religious activities conducted in mosques in such a way that some in the US called on the government to spy on mosques to stop ISIS recruitment, and spreading the view that the militant organization was actively operating in mosques across the country. In Europe, the overall conditions were also less plausible. Crimean Muslims suffer from further Russian pressures. After being forced to destroy Islamic books and materials included in the Russian blacklist, Russian authorities moved further by raiding homes of Crimean Muslims in search of Islamic literatures, according to news reports. In the UK, a discourse to ban some portions of the Holy Koran being considered to call for violence has emerged. In Sweden, UK and Canada, attacking mosques was becoming a trend

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Demonstration against right-wing extremism, xenophobia and the Pegida movement in Munich (epa)

amongst assailants. In Germany, in addition to the attack on mosques there were weekly protests by the Pegida movement, the “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamification of the West” around Germany in December. However, thousands of people have joined counter demonstrations, and Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke against the Pegida movement. In France, where supposedly there is clear distinction between beliefs and public sphere, a Muslim lady who happens to be a minister became a target of public slurs without constraint. Overall, in the last quarter of 2014, hate-crimes based on Muslim sentiments were rising nearly elsewhere across Europe. In Australia, Islamophobia and sentiments of anti-Islam have spread across the country in an unprecedented level. A significant number of parliamentary members, politicians, academic figures, and ordinary citizens together showed their fears of Islam while launching a campaign against the descendants of Muslims in the country. The terms Islam, Mosques, Sharia, and ISIS were interchangeably used publicly without proper distinction. Construction of mosques were protested, anti-Muslim pamphlets were distributed, hate-crimes against Muslims increased, mosques were vandalized, and Muslim women were abused or threatened. Despite this negative trend, however, the

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Australian government has shown a firm stance against efforts to isolate Muslims in Australia. In many occasions, Prime Minister Tony Abbot’s administration urged Australians to stay united with Muslim communities. On the positive level, the Observatory scored some indicators in the field of confronting campaigns targeting the image of Islam based on interfaith and inter-civilizations dialogues and built up better understanding amongst religions and civilizations. In the US, for example, Catholic and Protestant churches have shown sympathetic solidarity actions and remain committed to dialogue with Muslims. Also, leaders of Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Baha’i gathered in Nevada in September to build a stronger foundation of multi-cultural society. In Albania, the Catholic highest authority made dialogue with Muslim and other religious leaders emphasizing that religious intolerance was an insidious enemy to the inter-religions harmonious life. The Observatory also indicated that Geertz Wilders keeps disseminating Islamophobic campaigns against Islam. However, his campaigns are facing resistance from within his country the Netherlands, and he will be standing in trial for his statements about “less Moroccans” during an election meeting in March.

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OPINION Virtual exchanges connect continents to fight Islamophobia and anti-Western sentiment

C

airo - From the Boston Marathon bombing, to the Boko Haram kidnappings of schoolgirls, and now the “Islamic State” organization (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL]), horrible crimes are being committed by people claiming to act in the name of Islam. With frequent headlines focused on these events, it is not surprising to witness a rise of Islamophobia in the West. This sentiment has spread as well on social media between youth from the so-called West and youth from Muslim majority countries, whose conversations often end up calling the other a fascist.

by Rafael Tyszblat

senior officer for Program Design and facilitator at Soliya.

However, there are some individuals who are trying something different, harnessing the potential of our increased interconnectedness to promote an alternative to the confrontations taking place online. This alternative, which is based on direct, constructive dialogue among diverse youth on hot topics, is essential if we want to empower young people to talk about issues that concern them without systematically clashing. One initiative worth highlighting is Soliya, a nonprofit organization that uses online exchanges to improve inter-cultural understanding between youth in Western countries and predominantly Muslim countries. Soliya’s Connect Program encourages tolerance and respect between societies in order to fight anti-Western sentiment as well as Islamophobia. Every semester, 500 students engage online to learn about one another.

In a conversation on media literacy later in the program, they both understood how the mainstream media tends to show only a part of reality.

Sophie, an online participant from France, was convinced that women who wear the veil are oppressed and intolerant. Maryam from Tunisia was happy to take the opportunity to tell her story about how wearing the veil was her own choice to respect the value of humility, even against her family’s wishes, and that she respects the traditions and beliefs of others’ religions. After the discussion, Sophie felt that she knew more about Maryam and better understood her religion. Both women are still in touch, discussing a variety of topics to better clarify each other’s religion and traditions so they can help prevent inflammatory comments on social media and so the new generation won’t connect Islam to terrorism. Aya is another young participant from Egypt in the Connect Program. She is a devout Muslim, proud of her identity, and not afraid to criticize what she called “Western arrogance.” These were all things that Jason, an American participant, found quite frustrating. In his mind, there was nothing to be proud of in Islam, a religion that, according to him, advocates for violence against non-Muslims. It took weeks of facilitated dialogue for them to explore why they held those views about each other’s values. Jason explained the focus of mainstream media he watches: terrorism, anti-Christian acts in the Middle East, and anti-West discourse from some Muslim leaders. In a conversation on media literacy later in the program, they both understood how the mainstream media tends to show only a part of reality. Yes, terrorism and intolerance exist in some parts of the Muslim world, as in many other societies in the Western world. However, these extreme ideologies are certainly not representative of a religion of 1.5 billion souls. Jason’s preconceived ideas were completely shattered when Aya told the group how she was part of a movement that struggled to prevent intimidation against the Coptic minority in Egypt. Their dialogue also allowed Jason to talk about his country, removing Aya’s focus on US foreign policy and calling her attention to the long history of the American peace movement. Exploring the origins of perception and telling a personal story enabled these two individuals to realize that they were not so different after all. Young people have a lot to say, and yet few people do listen and engage them respectfully. It is easy to believe that it is impossible to talk constructively and respectfully about sensitive topics, such as the consequences of immigration on Western societies or the impact of Islamophobic statements on Muslims. Yet offering a space for constructive online dialogue is a must. Promoting and providing youth with non-violent means of engaging with people with whom they disagree is not just a feel-good project. It is critical if we want the next generation to stop amplifying conflicts and start acting for peace. ............................................................... ................................................................................

This article was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews). Copyright permission is granted for publication

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OIC Journal September - December 2014

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CULTURE HEALTH

B

ishkek, formerly Pishpek, is the capital city of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. It has several historical buildings and museums, and boasts vast expansions of natural heritage. It is considered one of the most famous economic, cultural and tourist centers in the country, and one of Central Asia’s best cities to live in, due to its ability to create balance between its old traditional heritage and modern aspirations.

Bishk e k Capital of Islamic Culture Asia Region 2014

Location:

Bishkek is located on the Chu River in northern Kyrgyzstan, towards the northern fringe of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too range. The Soviet style is still present in the city, which contains several green spaces, gardens and parks. Kyrgyzstan is a Central Asian “mountain paradise” and a country nestled between Fergana valley of Uzbekistan, steppe lands of Kazakhstan, severe highlands of Tajikistan and scarcely populated and arid plains of West China (Xin Jiang). World’s two most great mountain systems stretch out across the whole territory of Kyrgyzstan: TianShan and Pamir, – with world-high class peaks like Peak Pobeda (7439 m), Peak Lenin (7134 m) and, just next to the Peak Pobeda, most beautiful pyramidal Peak Khan-Tengri (6995 m).

Origin of Name:

Bishkek was founded in 1878 on the ruins of the Russian Pishpek Fortress built in 1855. Hence, the name “Bishkek” was given to both the fortress and the neighboring city. In 1926, the city was given the name of Frunze, after the Bolshevik military leader

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Mikhail Frunze. The city regained its name in 1991, when the Republic of Kyrgyzstan achieved its independence.

Culture, Language and Religion

The Kyrgyz culture has been greatly influenced by the nomadic heritage. It is reflected in the way a household was run, in customs, and rites. The State language of the country is Kyrgyz language that is a language of Turkic family of languages. Russian language has a status of the country’s official language. The majority of the Kyrgyz citizens are Muslim. Other religions are represented by Christians (basically Russian Orthodox).

Main Landmarks in Bishkek:

Bishkek contains a number of historical buildings dating back to the Soviet and preSoviet eras. It also comprises a number of cultural buildings and squares that were built in honor of the heroes who contributed to the independence of the country. Among these we find Ala-Too Square, Erkindik (Freedom) Boulevard in the centre

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of Bishkek, along with other squares and fountains spread across the city. Bishkek also comprises the State Historical Museum, the Central Mosque, and the Islamic Waqf Building, along with other cultural institutions. The city contains a number of theaters, contemporary art museums, culture palaces, state opera theatres, libraries, museums, cinematography centers, higher institutes, art and music schools, sports centers, as well as the state’s main universities. Also, Bishkek includes the State Museum of Applied Arts, which dates back to 1934, along with some factories that date back to the Soviet era, when the city was home to a large number of factories, many of which were closed or downsized.

Ala-Too Square:

Ala-Too Square is located in the centre of Bishkek. At the heart of the square, a bronze statue of a lady symbolizing the freedom of the Kyrgyzstani people is erected. Around the square, you can find several new buildings, such as theatres and contemporary art museums, as well as plants, trees, and several ornamenting elements.

State Historical Museum:

This museum sits between Ala-Too Square and the Parliament building. On the south side is an enormous statue of Lenin that was moved from the north side of the building after the Soviet Era. The bottom story of this three floor museum displays seasonal exhibits, while the second highlights Sovietera achievements during the Communist Era. The top floor showcases the history and culture of the Kyrgyz people.

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Family AFFAIRS Fifth Ministerial Conference on Women Focuses on their Role in Sustainable Development

Baku, Azerbaijan – The Fifth Ministerial Conference on Women’s Role in Development of OIC Member States was held under the high patronage of First Lady of Azerbaijan, Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva, under the title “The Role of Women in Sustainable Development” in Baku, Azerbaijan on 20-21 October 2014. A welcoming message was delivered on behalf of the President of Azerbaijan H.E. Ilham Aliyev at the opening session on 20 October 2014 stressing on the strong relations and cooperation between Azerbaijan and the OIC in various fields. Then, Prof. Hijran Huseynova, Chairperson of the State Committee for family, Women and Children Affairs delivered the opening statement to the Conference in which she said that the main objective of the Conference is to strengthen the cooperation between the Member States of the OIC and to increase the active participation of women in the development of the society. She spoke of Azerbaijan’s achievements at promoting gender equality in employment, health, education, economic and social policy, as well as at addressing violence against women. In his statement to the Conference, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani, stressed that despite the fact that throughout history Muslim women have been making significant contributions in various fields of professional and social activities such as business, civil service, policy making, social and family welfare, their role is frequently less-acknowledged and, at times, even neglected. There is a need to take steps for addressing this situation.  “Due acknowledgement of women’s role in the society and their empowerment is key to progress and development. On the other hand, when women are constrained

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and civil society organization to exert greater influence in policy decisions; and increase investment in gender equality and women’s empowerment. She added that UN Women looks forward to strengthened collaboration with the Member States and the OIC to advance rights and opportunities for all. Mr. Heimo Lakkoneen Regional Director for UNFPA’s Eastern European and Central Asia focused in his statement on OIC-UNFPA cooperation on women’s health. He praised the decade of cooperation between OIC and UNFPA in addressing maternal mortality, women empowerment and youth proby socio-cultural factors and their role is motion; and stressed on the need to work not duly acknowledged, it reflects nega- together on shared priorities for seeking tively in every field of human endeavor,” women’s safe access to health, education, said the Secretary General in his state- public life and socio-economic opportuniment, which was read on his behalf by As- ties. sistant Secretary General for Science and The Baku Declaration adopted at the end of Technology, Ambassador Naeem Khan.  the conference decided to focus on women The Conference comes at a time when the empowerment, entrepreneurship and emOIC is in the process of formulating a suc- ployment as an effective means to combatcessor program to its Ten Year Program of ting poverty, abuse, and economic injustice. Action (TYPOA), which ends next year. Mr. It also urged the OIC Member States to enMadani urged the Conference to contrib- sure and support women’s access to opporute significantly towards the articulation tunities by means of enacting and consoliof a well-defined and realistic strategy for dating laws that empower them for greater the advancement of women and greater roles in various fields of development. recognition of their role in the develop- The Declaration recommended the study of ment and progress of the society. “Let us the implementation of Women Think-Tank dedicate our efforts to defining a futur- (Intellectual Muslim Women) as proposed in istic vision, mission and plan of action for OIC Women Ministerial Conference held in ensuring that women in Muslim countries Tehran, Iran. It also called to initiate a ‘Famare fully enabled to play a proactive role ily Consultative Body’ (FCB) to review the in addressing multidimensional challeng- various legal and institutional frameworks es of our ever changing world,” he said.  and legislations pertaining to family wellMr. Madani also underlined the need being and development in OIC Member to review the implementation of the States. OIC Plan of Action for Advancement of The Declaration urged OIC Member States Women (OPAAW), adopted in 2008, and to implement the provisions of the OIC Plan bringing it in conformity with the cur- of Action for the Advancement of Women rent discourse under United Nations in coordination with the General Secretariat Post-2015 Agenda, mainly on issues re- through adopted Mechanisms and through lated to sustainable development goals.  indicators of assessment of related progMrs. Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary ress. Furthermore, it underscored the urgent General and Deputy Executive Director need to create opportunities for women to UN Women also made a statement at the encourage their full participation in the proopening of the Conference. She urged the cess of decision making in the field of politigovernments of the Member States to dem- cal, social and cultural development. onstrate strong leadership and commitment The UNDP-Turkey office made a presentato advance women’s rights and counter ex- tion on a proposed project on “Women tremist agendas that are inimical to wom- Empowerment in OIC Member States”, en’s rights; reach the most marginalized which received positive response from the women and girls by tackling inequalities participants and was endorsed in the Baku and discrimination; strengthening women’s Declaration.

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HEALTH Joint OIC-IDB Conference: Financial Assistance and Health Workers to Aid Member States Affected by Ebola Virus

President of IDB, Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Ali ( R ), and Amb. Mohamed Shareef of Guine shake hands after signing agreement in the presence of OIC Secretary General ( c).

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The joint conference organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) on 5 November 2014, at the OIC Headquarters in Jeddah, announced an urgent financial assistance to the African Member States affected by the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). In addition to the financial pledges, the assistance also includes material resources, equipment and supplies, as well as trained health workers and associated work force. The financial assistance announced by the IDB for Guinea amounts to US$45 million. It consists of two agreements, US$10 million to fight poverty, and US$34 million to support health programs, including US$6 million to fight Ebola. The two agreements were signed on the sidelines of the Conference by Dr. Amhed Mohamed Ali, President of the IDB, and Ambassador Mohamed Shareef, Ambassador of Guinea to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The IDB also announced at the Conference an assistance package that includes a grant amounting to US$10 million as seed money for mobilization of additional resources

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from NGOs and philanthropists to support the efforts to fight EVD. In addition, the Saudi Fund for Development contributed US$30 million for Donka Hospital in Guinea. Many of the organizations, institutions and individuals who attended the Conference expressed their readiness to provide financial and technical assistance to advance the health systems and structures in the affected countries. The Conference reiterated the need for effective, coordinated and speedy response to the EVD epidemic. It also noted the necessity of community mobilization, creating public awareness and educating people in dealing with situations resulting from this epidemic. The conference, which was chaired by the Deputy Health Minister of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Mansour Nasser Alhowasi, was attended by a large number of charity organizations, individuals, and NGOs and representatives of World Health Organization (WHO) and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). In addition to high-level delegations from the two EVD-affected states, Sierra Leone

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and Guinea, the minister of health of Turkey and Uganda, the Deputy Minister of Health of Malaysia, advisors to the health ministers of Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Egypt, and high-level delegations from OIC member states also participated in the Conference. Representatives of the Office of the US President’s Special Envoy to the OIC and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) were also in attendance. In their welcoming remarks at the opening session of the Conference, the Secretary General of the OIC, Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani and the President of IDB, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, conveyed their sympathy with and support for the peoples and governments of the affected countries and recounted the efforts exerted by the OIC and the IDB since the start of the EVD outbreak earlier this year. The Secretary General noted that there is close collaboration between the OIC and IDB and countries affected with Ebola, in regards to providing financial resources, medical expertise and specialized workers, along with technical assistance and mentoring of cases.

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HEALTH Madani urged the Member States, charitable organizations, and individuals to provide financial pledges to the countries affected by the Ebola epidemic; reiterating that the OIC and its Member States will not take a back seat in confronting this disaster, but has to stand at the front. The IDB Chairman said that the Bank is working on the immediate rescue mission for the people infected, ensuring the safety of those at risk, based upon the WHO guidelines. He also noted that the field of humanitarian aid is fertile for philanthropists, and is an opportunity for voluntary organizations activities. Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Ali called on the OIC Member States, volunteer bodies, and philanthropists to take the initiative of sending highly skillful staff to rescue the people in the sub-Sahara, stressing that the Bank will work with countries with relative efficiency in this area to set up permanently readyteams to contain any other epidemics that may break out in the region. He added that the IDB has signed a funding agreement for a pilot project to expand the public Donka Hospital in Conakry. The hospital includes a specialized section for dealing with Ebola and similar epidemics, to reduce the risks, save lives, and alleviate the suffering of the Guinean society. He added that the Bank, with the Arab-Islamic Development Institutions Coordination Group, will seek to secure within funding programs the inclusion of investments in facilities and

programs of effective health care systems in sub-Saharan. As a part of OIC’s efforts to mobilize support for Ebola-affected countries, a meeting of OIC member states was held in Geneva on 29 September 2014. The meeting was chaired by the honorable Minister of Health of Indonesia, and attended by the WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan. The Resource Mobilization Conference in Jeddah was held as a follow-up to the Geneva meeting. The assistance package announced during the Jeddah Conference is in line with the priorities and objectives outlined in the WHO Ebola response roadmap, and takes into account the latest assessment of the situation provided during the meeting by representatives of the affected countries, WHO, MSF and other organizations and NGOs, which have been actively involved on the ground in the fight against EVD.

The participants in the Conference appreciated the OIC and IDB for their timely initiative and expressed the hope that the assistance package put together would meaningfully and effectively contribute to the international effort to control Ebola Virus Disease. In a related context, the conference witnessed the submission of the road map of the WHO response to Ebola, in order to guide and coordinate the international response to the outbreak of the virus disease Ebola in West Africa. The objective is to stop the transmission of the Ebola virus in the affected countries within 6 to 9 months, and to prevent its spread internationally. The World Health Organization pointed out that up to October 2014, reports cited a total of 9216 cases confirmed, probable, or suspected to be infected with the Ebola virus in seven affected states case (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, the United States of America), with 4555 deaths. The WHO map indicated the need to strengthening human resources, response capabilities in areas where there is intense transmission of the disease on a large scale. Also, to ensure that emergency and immediate response, in countries where there are primary cases or cases characterized by the transmission of the disease locally, in addition to enhancing the preparedness of all countries to accelerate the disclosure of Ebola exposure and response to it.

Decrease in Infants and Maternal Mortality Rates in the Islamic World Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (IINA) – Over the last two decades, many OIC Member States has witnessed a remarkable improvement in the healthcare sector services. Maternal mortality rates have decreased by 45.8%, from 574 deaths for every 100,000 live births in 1990, to 311 cases in 2011. According to an OIC report, infant mortality rate has decreased from 83 deaths for every 1000 live births in 1990, to 51 cases in 2011, with 38.7% decrease based on statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), reported the International Islamic News Agency (IINA). The OIC clarified that the progress made in achieving full health coverage remained highly uneven in the OIC Member States. The healthcare systems suffer in many of the States due to serious problems and challenges related to providing adequate financial resources, infrastructure, workforce, and international health regulations.

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The most recent estimations indicate that the total amount spent by the Member States on healthcare in 2011 did not exceed 4.7 % of its gross domestic product (GDP) (compared to 6.1% in the other developing countries and 7.6 globally). During the period from 2000 to 2011, the ratio of employees in the health sector (including doctors, female and male nurses, and midwives) was 26 employees for every 10,000 inhabitants. However, on the level of each state in the OIC, only 28 have reached a critical level in healthcare sector, with an identified number of employees to be 23 for every 10,000 inhabitants, which is considered necessary to provide basic health services. On the other hand, in 2011, 24% of the OIC Member States did not achieve improved water resources, while 40 %did not have sanitation facilities.

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HEALTH Ebola: a terrible disease, a huge humanitarian challenge - the Médecins Sans Frontières’ perspective

E

bola is the name of the disease first identified along the Ebola River in Zaire (currently Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC) in 1976. For the past nine months, and likely continuing into the near future, this disease has struck in a deadly and shocking fashion in West Africa. Transmitted by contact with the bodily fluids or the dead body of an infected person, Ebola usually begins with fever, body aches and lethargy; then causes gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting; and in some cases leads to the hiccups, internal and external bleeding. In about 50% of cases the outcome is death. Since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was officially declared on 22 March 2014 in Guinea, it has claimed more than 7000 lives in the region. The outbreak is the largest ever, and is currently affecting mainly three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. A small number of cases have been registered in Mali as well. Outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal have been declared over. A separate outbreak in DR Congo has also ended. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been responding to the epidemic since the initial declaration of the outbreak, in collaboration with the local Ministries of Health. MSF has called for states and for humanitarian and health actors to urgently dispatch human and material resources to West Africa, and all three of the worst-hit countries have now received some assistance from the international community. Despite the improvements in response across the region, facilities for isolating and diagnosing patients are not yet available or operational in all the areas they are needed. Other elements that are essential to an Ebola response – such as awareness-raising and community acceptance, safe burials, contact tracing, alert and surveillance, access to health care for non-Ebola patients – are still partially lacking in parts of West Africa. The lack of human resources remains a key issue. Sometimes, unexpected solution

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comes from the patients themselves, such as in the case of Aminata Sankoh. Living on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone, Aminata heard warnings about Ebola on the radio. But she didn’t hesitate to care for her mother as she grew progressively sicker with Ebola. After her mothers’ death, Aminata was hit with severe fever within a week. She decided to take her three children to the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Ebola Treatment Center (ETC). “Aminata was very ill when she arrived,” Dr. Gerardo Muñoz Motiel remembers. “Her second day here, she couldn’t get out of bed, with vomiting and diarrhea. We told Aminata, “you need to fight; you need to drink; you need to eat.’” Two of the children tested Ebola-negative and were discharged to a relative who cared for them. Her five-year old son, Ishmael also tested positive for Ebola. Gradually, Aminata’s condition improved. She was able to start feeding herself again and would walk, slowly and painfully. But Aminata’s five year old son, Ishmael, remained in critical condition. She stayed by his bedside, encouraging him to eat and

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drink. Slowly, Ishmael started improving, and Aminata expanded her focus to the other children in the ward. Another five year old boy lay in a nearby bed, without eating and drinking. Aminata saw that he needed support, just as her son had. Aminata took over his care, bathing the boy, and cajoling him to eat and drink. She reached out to the other children and even teenagers, encouraging them to eat, drink, and persevere. Using the MSF cell phone in the patient area, Aminata kept family members apprised of their loved one’s conditions, especially parents of the young children. As Aminata grew to know all of the patients in her Ebola-ward, she gave the medical team feedback as they conducted rounds, coming to the bedsides of children who weren’t able to speak for themselves. “She advocated for everyone in the wards; she saved children’s lives,” said Dr. Xandra Rarden. Although Aminata was not yet considered an Ebola-survivor, she had reached the convalescent stage of the illness, caring for others as she regained strength. Survivors play an important role in Ebola care. No Ebola-survivor has ever reported reinfection, giving these survivors the ability to provide care to Ebola patients without the constraints of full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Rather than being restricted to approximately one-hour shifts in stifling PPE, survivors can remain inside the patient areas for far longer, with only light protection. “The Ebola Treatment Center can be a lonely and frightening place for people, especially children,” said Dr. Gerardo Muñoz Montiel, “But having someone like Aminata in the wards can make a huge difference.” In Freetown, MSF has hired three survivors like Aminata to provide care for Ebola-confirmed children. An additional survivor supports the health promotion team, a living example of hope to families coming to visit their loved ones at the ETC.

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Science &technology Internet Usage in the Muslim States is the Least Worldwide Jeddah (IINA)- A report by the OIC showed that the investment in scientific and technological research in the Islamic world is still below world average. A report recorded the state of science and technology in the OIC Member States, covering the duration of the Ten-Year Program of Action 2005-2015, shows low spending on research and development; as it did not exceed 0.46 % of the total GDP (gross domestic product). This has prompted the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to announce that it will hold in early 2015 a scientific Islamic summit, the first of its kind, aiming to develop radical solutions to end the technological and scientific illiteracy in the Islamic world. The summit will be held in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad (the headquarter of the Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation- COMSTECH) on7 to 9 April 2015.

Patents numbers “below the desired” The share of the Islamic world countries of patents is still below the desired, which requires more investment in research, development, higher education, and a better infrastructure for technological progress. The report stated that out of 2.35 billion of the patent applications around the world, including regional patent offices, the OIC Member States share was 1.5 %, meaning 34933 applications, while in Korea and Germany they were 8.0 % and 2.6 % respectively.

Low ranks in number of researchers The report stated that the OIC Member States hold lower ranks than the world average in number of researchers, as there are 615 researchers to every one million person, as compared to 1604 as a global average. The Member States hire on average 546 researchers for every million inhabitants, a rate that is lower than tenth the rate in the developed countries (5803) and about one-third of the global average (1536).

One-third of the researchers are www.oic-oci.org

women Despite what is known about the negative aspects of women’s status in the OIC Member States, almost 35.2% of the total researchers in the OIC Member States are women, a higher rate than the global average, 30.2%, and the European Union average, 33.2%.

Spending is less than the developing countries In the field of spending on research and scientific and technological development, the report has stressed that the OIC Member States currently spend 0.46% of its GDP, while the rates globally and in the nonOIC Member States developing countries is 1.86% and 1.24%, respectively.

A considerable increase in scientific research The Organization report noted that the OIC Member States’ share of global scientific production in 2013 was 6.1% (109 thousand scientific articles), whereas in 2000 it was 2.2 % (20242 scientific article). The scientific publications for scientists and engineers in the 57 Member States recorded a five times increase, rising to 108821 publications in 2013 from 20224 publications in 2000. According to the report, 18 universities in the OIC Member States have ranked within the top 400 universities in the world, based on a 2012 classification.

Technology exports at 76 billion USD The OIC Member State exported 76 USD of advanced technology products, making up 3.8% of the total exports of advanced technology in the world; according to a report which did not mention the period of these exports.

Internet usage is the least globally The report stated that internet usage in the Islamic world is still below the global average, with only 22 people using it out of 100 in the OIC Member States in 2012; which is a lot less than the global rates (36 people out

of every 100), and the non-OIC members developing countries (31 people). The report encouraged more collaboration between the OIC Member States to provide information security, including integrity, privacy and security. “The OIC is running a campaign for the protection of top-level domains (TLD) with an Islamic identity in The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)” Stated the report.

Radical solutions to elevate S&T

In its second Ten-year plan for the period 2015-2025, the OIC is putting effort to address the current situation. Thus, finding radical solutions that include increasing the amount spent on scientific research and development by 2% of the OIC Member States GDP, doubling the proportion of usage of information and communication technology, and providing universal access to internet services for reasonable charges. It also has a vision to increase the percentage of advanced technology and services exported from the OIC Member States. In addition to increasing the private sector share of research funding by 50%, through public policy measurements which include tax and financial incentives, and capacity-building and awareness-related programs.

Increasing interconnection cooperation by 20% It reiterated the need to increase the interconnection cooperation for the OIC Member States in the field of Science and Technology to reach 20% of the total cooperation in the rest of the countries in the world, and increasing the number of staff working in the scientific research and development fields to every million by 100%, in addition to increasing the OIC Member States share in the global scientific production by 100%. Also, reviving development and benefiting from science and technology for sustainable developmental purposes, through the promotion of research and technological capability, innovation and developing local technology in all sectors, and by providing favorable regulatory environment.

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EDUCATION The Islamic Conference of Ministers of Higher Education:

A Call for the Member States to Increase Investment in Research and Innovation The ministers of higher education and scientific research of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), participating in the Seventh Islamic Conference of Ministers of Higher Education and Scientific Research, adopted the “Rabat Declaration on Developing the Higher Education and Scientific Research System in the Muslim World”, at the conclusion of the conference which took place 18-19 December 2014, in the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) headquarter. They reaffirmed their commitment, at all levels, to boosting the higher education sector and fostering scientific excellence as well as high quality research and taking appropriate measures to align them with the national socio-economic development plans to address pressing economic, social, environmental and other development challenges so as to ensure the wellbeing of their peoples. Participants in the Conference also endorsed the outcome of the roundtable held, as part of the Conference, on strengthening higher education key factors consisting in governance, innovation and employability, and called for leveraging these key elements to foster the higher education system. They further adopted the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the High-Level Quality and Accreditation Committee to follow up on the implementation of the document on “Key Performance Indicators in the OIC Member States”. The Declaration recommended increasing investment in research and development and involving the private sector in this process, building up institutional and scientific capacities, and optimizing such investments and ensuring effective sustainability of the various initiatives in this regard. It also called for setting up a “fund for scientific research in the OIC Member States” to be under the supervision of the ISESCO which will coordinate its activities. The Declaration urged the creation of joint institutions of scientific research in such pioneering and innovative disciplines in vital development-oriented areas as renewable energies, seawater desalination and nanotechnology. In addition, it stressed the need for a wider utilization of the document on “Key Performance Indicators” through exchange of visits and sharing of experiences in quality assurance.

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The Declaration further called for reinforcing cooperation among regional higher education quality assurance organizations and bodies in the OIC Member States, and recommended developing an educational web portal for knowledge dissemination and sharing of successful experiences. By the same token, the Declaration commended the successful implementation of the project of the “Atlas of Islamic World Science and Innovation”, under which various national reports were published which mapped key trends and trajectories in science, technology and innovation in the OIC Member States, and suggested forging ahead with the implementation of the project to prepare national reports of the Member States not covered in the project’s first phase. It also proposed the establishment of an “Islamic World Observatory of Science and Technology” to map Member States’ science, technology and innovation capabilities and provide decision and policy makers with the relevant national and global scientific and technological trends and statistical data, for more investment in fields of research, innovation, development, and excellence. Moreover, the Declaration recommended that the Member States benefit from the report on “Transforming Arab Economies: Travelling the Knowledge and Innovation Road”, and accelerate their progress towards knowledge-and innovation-based. Furthermore, the Declaration underscored the importance of boosting growth models based on knowledge and innovation and encouraging entrepreneurship by enhancing the role of science and technology parks and boosting their potential to create an innovative environment in a bid to stimulate productivity and launch new partnerships, and enhance competitiveness, while taking more interest in the relevant institutions of the private sector.  The ministers participating in the Conference adopted the project consisting in the “TAFAHUM” Programme on Exchange of Students, Faculty and Researchers among Universities in the Member States, and called for the immediate installation of a general framework for utilizing higher education opportunities by the Member States. They also adopted the proposal for the Es-

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ISESCO Director General Abdulaziz Al-Tuwaijri

tablishment of the OIC Collaborative Efforts in Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Education (OIC-CECE). The conference approved the proposal of the government of Malaysia regarding initiating a temporary secretariat under the supervision of the Ministry of Education in Malaysia, in order to begin executing this project. It also called for action to develop an executive plan to enhance investment, partnership, and achievement in the field of marketing scientific research results, and facilitating cooperation between universities and the industrial sector. It also reiterated the need to support the efforts to reduce the gaps, and address the critical issues related operation and good governance, quality in higher education, and encouraging science, technology, and innovation. The sessions of the Seventh Islamic Conference of Ministers of Higher Education and Scientific Research were held on 18 December 2014, at the organizer’s headquarters, the ISESCO, under the high patronage of the Moroccan Monarch King Mohamed VI, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in the Moroccan Kingdom, and coordinating with the OIC General Secretariat. In the opening session of the conference, titled “Higher Education: Governance, Innovation, and Employability”, spoke the ISESCO General Director Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri; the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Sudan, and Chairperson of the sixth session of the conference, Dr. Sumaya Abu Kashwa; the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Morocco, Lahcen Daoudi. Moreover, and Ambassador Muhammad Naeem Khan, the Assistant Secretary General (Science and Technology) at the OIC General Secretariat, who delivered a statement on behalf of the OIC Secretary General, Iyad Ameen Madani.

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EDUCATION Nearly 40% of Muslim world’s population unable read or write

Jeddah (IINA) – Illiteracy is stunningly rampant in the Muslim world. Nearly 40 percent, (with varying percentages in the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation) of the Muslim world›s population cannot read or write, which means that there are hundreds of millions of illiterates in the OIC countries, mostly female, according to a report prepared by OIC. The report showed that adult literacy rate in the OIC countries is roughly 73 percent, lower than the global adult literacy rate (82 percent), and the rate of other developing countries (85 percent), based on 2013 statistics. The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) stated that illiteracy rates in the Muslim world ranges between 40 percent among males and 65 percent among females, with rural areas lagging behind urban areas by over 10 percent. This poses a threat to the development and prosperity of the society and negatively impact on the ability to promote and build a strong growing economy and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In the same context, it was expected that the number of illiterate adults in the world to slightly drop from 774 million in 2011 to 743 million in 2015 (a large proportion of them in the Muslim world), according to a report released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The report showed that five of the OIC

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Member States were included in the 2011›s list of the 10 countries that together make 72 percent of the world›s total number of illiterate adults; 160 million of them are residents of these five countries. This is in addition to tens of millions of illiterate Muslims in OIC non-member countries, included in the list. According to the second OIC 10-year plan (2015-2025), the adult literacy rate is an indication of the educational system effectiveness, since it measures the quality of education, particularly the ability to read and write. The report noted that despite the efforts deployed at both the government and civil society levels, a small number of OIC countries were able to either wipe out illiteracy or reduce it to lower rates. According to UNESCO data, the number of illiterates in the Arab countries – all of them OIC members – dropped from 52 to 48 million people during the period from 2005 to 2011, recording the fastest growth rates in literacy among adults since 1990. South and West Asia ranked second in terms of high rates of adult literacy, having the number of illiterate adults remained unchanged just over 400 million people, while in the sub-Saharan Africa, the illiteracy rate among adults has increased by 37 percent since 1990, reaching 182 million people in 2011. In the area of gender parity, the report indicated that 30 countries, including OIC members, out of 61 countries for which data are available, are expected to achieve gender parity in terms of adult literacy by

2015, despite the lack of any progress towards reducing the proportion of illiterate women since 1990, which constitutes two-thirds of the total number of illiterate adults. Literacy indicators are still not encouraging, given the fact that there are still 57 million children (many of them in the Muslim world) out of school worldwide, a matter which will constitute a growing burden of illiteracy rates in the long run. ISESCO Director General Dr. Abdulaziz alTuwaijri said in previous statements that “Illiteracy still poses a real challenge to the Muslim communities and impedes Islamic world’s advancement in all aspects,” pointing out that “Illiteracy in most OIC Member States has reached serious levels, reflected negatively on the efforts of the governments to achieve sustainable development”. According to Islamic teachings, “literacy is a legitimate duty, moral obligation, message of civilization and social responsibility, which requires all segments of society, including governments, organizations, civil associations, international and professional organizations and trade unions, to contribute to the process of eradicating illiteracy,» said al-Tuwaijri, who stressed the need to «consider literacy as permanent priority and national commitment in the Islamic countries, to be achieved within specific time limits through the mobilization of all efforts and capabilities.

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Media Tehran Hosts the Tenth Session of the Islamic Conference of OIC Information Ministers

Identifying the key frameworks for joint Islamic media work to strengthen the Muslim Ummah unity

Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance of Iran and Chairman of the ICIM 10th Session, Ali Jannati

Tehran, Iran – The tenth session of the Islamic Conference for the Information Ministers (ICIM) in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation was held in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on 3 to 4 December 2014. Titled “Media Convergence for Peace and Calm in the Islamic World”, the conference identified the main frameworks for the joint media work in the Islamic world to strengthen unity and collaboration of the Muslim Ummah around the globe. The Tehran conference reiterated the role of the OIC and its active participation in international and regional affairs through enhancing its effectiveness and activating its areas of work and programs in the media to secure the rightful place to the Muslim societies. The Tehran Declaration, which was issued at the closing of the conference, underscored the outstanding role of media outlets in the OIC Member States in exposing the brutal Israeli aggression on the Palestinian people, and Israel’s pursuit to Judaize the city of AlQuds Al-Shareef. Also, it praised the OIC Member States media outlets in highlighting the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people to end the Israeli occupation, also applauded Al-Quds Committee efforts.

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The ministers stressed on the need of actual ownership of information and communication technology capabilities in the OIC Member States, through concerted efforts to bridge the information gap of digital media, by pursuing ownership of modern information technology and the necessary investment in the relevant infrastructure and human resources. They reiterated the importance of media convergence for peace and stability in the Islamic world, emphasizing the role of the media in confronting all kinds of violence, extremism, intolerance, racism, and hatred. The ministers expressed their deep concern about the horrific terrorist acts under the name of Islam, noting that it is about time that all true believers along with the OIC utilize the power and influence of media, to confront such acts, which do not relate to the teachings of Islam. They strongly condemned the despicable terroristic acts of ISIS, and their abuse of modern media outlets to serve their evil goals. The Tehran Declaration reiterated the support and contribution of the OIC media institutions to confront the extremist attempts targeting the Islamic sacred sites and symbols, spreading hatred, discrimi-

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nation against Muslims and aligning Islam with the phenomena of violence and terrorism. Ambassador Ismail Oligy, the Chairman of the Ninth ICIM session, and the Representative of the Republic of Gabon, delivered a speech in which he pointed to the efforts his country put to execute the resolutions of the previous ICIM session. He also highlighted the most prominent efforts made by Gabon to improve the information sector, and in providing an infrastructure for both information and communication for the benefit of the educational institutions. The Chairman of the 10th Session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers, and Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance of Iran, Ali Jannati, addressed the challenges facing the Islamic world generally, and the Middle East in particular, due to extremism, violence, terrorism, military aggression, violation of the national sovereignty of states, and occupation. In addition to that, the unprecedented acts of murder and destruction in Gaza Strip, constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed by the Zionist regime. The minister reiterated that extremism and violence have deepened the Ummah’s wounds, recalling the initiative launched by President Hassan Rouhani for “A world without extremism and violence”. He stressed that the Muslim states should enhance their media linkage in order to confront attempts to increase division. He considered collaborative work and cooperation as the sole solution to guarantee a bright future for the Islamic Ummah. The OIC Secretary General, Iyad Ameen Madani, stressed in his speech that the Islamic Ummah is facing numerous challenges threatening its stability, security, and development efforts, as well as its identity and lifestyle. He also pointed out that the conference is “addressing the challenge facing our media discourse and institutions, and the frameworks controlling our media action in various fields,” stressing the necessity to face this extremist discourse, deconstruct it, and comprehend its background and the climate in which it emerged, as well as the political, economical, social and reli-

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Media

gious contexts. He also raised the issue of reconsidering the adoption of a code of ethics for media behavior in media institutions and discourse, which was proposed in the seventh and ninth sessions of this conference, yet still didn’t see the light. Madani has demanded media outlets to confront extremism, and the apartheid policies practiced by Israel against the Palestinians, and violation to Al-Aqsa mosque, embodying hatred in its worst forms. In introducing the draft resolutions to the Conference, he expressed his hope that it will shape a clear vision, which includes accurate execution mechanisms, and continuous monitoring of implementation. The First Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Eshaq Jahangiri, gave a speech in which he said that the OIC, established initially to defend the Palestinian cause, had an effective historic role in this regard, expecting it to monitor with more effectiveness and vitality the interests of the Islamic nations in the international arena. He reiterated that his country, as considered “one of the active Member States of the OIC, will assist in achieving this high priority, in collaboration with the rest of the Member States.” The First Vice President stressed on the persistent attempts by some of western media outlets to spread Islamophobia, pointing to the deep gap in information to counter this narrative. The ministers’ and State representatives’ agreed, in their speeches, on the necessity to focus on the role of the media in the current stage, to continue showing the atrocities committed by the Zionist occupation authorities, in their brutal aggression on the Gaza Strip, and to mobilize both the Islamic and International public opinion to support the Palestinian cause. They also discussed the importance of coordination between the joint Islamic action institutions, along with the Information Department in the

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General Secretariat; they called on these institutions and other media institutions in the Member States, to contribute in exposing the truthful image of Islam, and to confront media attacks against the Islam, its figures and sanctities. The speakers stressed on the urgent need to benefit from the information and communication revolution the world is witnessing, in particular in social media networks. The conference emphasized on the importance of providing essential financial support to launch projects related to direct interaction with foreign media, including to consider the establishment of a fund in which the Member States, firms, and individuals contribute voluntarily. The meeting approved a draft resolution on media action internally and externally, in collaboration with the Member States and international media institutions. The conference discussed supporting the different media institutions within the OIC, including the Standing Committee for Information and Cultural Affairs (COMIAC), International Islamic News Agency (IINA), the Islamic Broadcasting Union (IBU), OIC Broadcasting Authorities Regulatory Forum (IBRAF), and the OIC Media Forum. It also recommended that there should be more coordination and collaboration between these various institutions and the Information Department of the OIC General Secretariat. The participants discussed implementing the special media programme highlighting Africa’s position and role in the Muslim world, and called on the Member States to either fund this project or provide financial support to the General Secretariat to execute it and then adopt it in other regions. The attendees praised the importance of such project, which contributes to introducing the African continent and highlighting its economical, cultural, tourism and natural capabilities, reflecting a bright image of the continent in both local and global media. The conference discussed the progress on launching the OIC television channel, the meetings that were held in this regard, and the obstacles facing the implementation of this huge project. The conference also discussed promoting the OIC visibility in the media, especially as a pioneer in cultural exchange, development and peace issues, and urged the Member States to provide media coverage for the OIC activities, and to participate in executing projects with the OIC General Secretariat in these fields.

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ECONOMY First Investment Forum in Central Asia

Opens an Investment Window Dushanbe, Tajikistan – The First Investment Forum on the Plan of Action of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for Cooperation with Central Asia was held in Dushanbe, Republic of Tajikistan on 27-28 October 2014. The forum was attended by 324 delegates and participants, ministers and senior officials from 21 OIC Member States as well as representatives of OIC institutions, national and international development agencies and the Public and Private Sector establishments. President Rahmon inaugurated the Forum. In his speech, the President underscored the capacity of OIC Member States to promote investment in less endowed countries, while emphasizing the priority sectors for intra-OIC investment in Central Asia such as renewable energy, agriculture and rural development. He also highlighted the support provided by OIC Member States for Central Asia and called for increasing the capital of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD). Madani, in his speech, called on all the participants in the Forum to take advantage of the great opportunities and potentials within the OIC for enhancing business relations within Central Asian countries, affirming the need to increase microfinance support for small and medium enterprises and revive the Islamic social finance windows such as Waqf and Zakat. The President of Islamic Development Bank Group, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, enumerated the support by the Coordination Group for financing development projects in Central Asia, calling for the convening of the OIC Investment Forum for Central Asia

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once every two years with the parallel arrangement of OIC trade fairs and business forums. The Forum held four working sessions on: Developing Transport Corridor and Energy Infrastructure in Central Asia; Intensifying Intra-OIC Trade and Investment in Central Asia; Capacity Building and Export Promotion in the Agro-Food Processing Sector; and Promoting SME’s Role in Tourism Sector. On the sidelines of the Forum, Emomali Rahmon, President of the Republic of Tajikistan greeted the Secretary General of OIC, Iyad Ameen Madani, after the conclusion of the Forum’s opening session. The Tajik President praised the OIC’s initiation for establishing the Investment Forum in Dushanbe. The Secretary General briefed the president on the activities of the OIC to foster the inter-OIC cooperation, particularly with Central Asian countries. He emphasized the need for further coordination to promote the projects and to establish new fields of cooperation with other OIC Member States. Madani expressed OIC’s readiness to play a role in boosting development in Tajikistan. The Forum stressed on the need to accord priority to energy and transportation projects in the Central Asian sub-region, due to its landlocked nature. Some participating multilateral development banks confirmed their interest in the mentioned projects. The Forum considered that the Logistics Centers can be executed through BOT modality and urged for appropriate partnerships in this regard. With regard to Trade and Investment, the participants in the Forum have listened

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to presentations on the following priority projects: Development and attraction of investment to the Free Economic Zones in Tajikistan in Sughd, Danghara, Pandj and Ishkoshim. In addition, the Forum received commitments to facilitate the harmony between OIC investors and Central Asian countries to investing in key priority economic sectors as well as offering vocational and technical training to increase youth employment and entrepreneurship. The Forum also received commitment to provide trade financing, export insurance and assistance for organizing specialized trade fairs in Central Asia. With regard to the development of the Agricultural and Food Sectors, the Forum identified the priority goals and on-going projects in Tajikistan such a screation of food industry with use of modern technology, increasing local production of importsubstitution agricultural and food products, increasing the share of domestic food production especially wheat, increasing export opportunities in Central Asia and access to OIC markets, and the production of (sponsored by enterprises) of natural oils from the seeds of oil plants, sponsored by Agricultural Production institution (Dehqan). The Forum also recognized the objective of establishing the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) in order to establish an OIC regional food reserve in Central Asia. It also acknowledged the various IDB’s projects aimed at enhancing agro-processing capacities in the framework of its overall strategy to increase support to OIC Central Asian Member States.

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ECONOMY Burj Khalifa Breaks New Guinness Records Attracting 60 Million Visitors Yearly

Dubai, UAE (DPA( - If you were passing through the center of Dubai, less than ten years ago, you would be only seeing a wide deserted area, surrounded by sandy hills and vast yellow lands. This area has been transformed into one of the top famous landmarks in the world, a destination for tourists from all continents, to spend hours or even days enjoying its facilities and unique scenes. Burj Khalifa, the highest Skyscraper in Dubai, is built in this area, surrounded by the most colossal fountain in the Middle East, and the largest shopping mall in world. This area is now called Downtown Dubai, welcoming more than 60 million visitors and tourists yearly, surpassing some of the world’s big tourism cities.

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“Burj Khalifa has done it again,» said Talal Omar, Country Manager for the Middle East and North Africa for Guinness World Record. The Guinness records Burj Khalifa has made includes the Tallest Building, Tallest Man-Made Structure on Land Ever, and Highest Restaurant From Ground Level. Its observation deck has also received the record for being the highest in the world. Burj Khalifa SKY, the deck which was launched midOctober this year, is located in the 148th floor of, at 555 meters height (1821 feet), enabling the viewers to watch the city of Dubai, the Gulf, and its islands from high altitudes, which feels just like being in a flight. What is unique about this deck is that it allows the visitors to watch airplanes flying beneath them. This makes Burj Khalifa the only place in the world where you can watch the top surface of airplanes, instead of looking up to see them. The deck also includes a fancy hallway with 5-star hospitality services, and an interactive screen for the visitors to discover Dubai›s most popular tourist sites in real size. There is also a shop for gifts and souvenirs. On the way to the 148th floor to reach the deck, visitors pass by floor no. 125, which celebrates the Arabic culture and arts, with its elegant designs and décor mimicking the architectural art called Mashrabiya. Visitors can also enjoy panoramic views at 360 degrees, using new binoculars to explore the smallest details of the city. The 125th floor also offers a virtual tour experience called Dubai — A Falcon›s Eye View, allowing the visitors to see the city in a different view as it takes them through the most famous landmarks of Dubai. Visitors complete their journey across an

exit lane, which has been updated recently on the ground floor, where miniature models of Burj Khalifa were built presenting phases of its construction process and the challenges that accompanied them. Burj Khalifa is the first destination for country leaders, public figures, and celebrities visiting Dubai. It is also one of the major attractions for Middle Eastern visitors. Emaar Properties, the owner of the tower, said that it received more than 1.87 million visitor, including celebrities. A large number of premium hotels surround the tower, as well as the tourist streets where many international restaurants and cafes are located, making it similar to the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris. A few steps away from the Burj is the famous Dubai Fountain in Downtown Dubai; the largest in the Middle East. The dancing fountains perform integrating water, music and optical effects. Its width extends to 900 feet (275 meters), and can pump water up to 500 feet height; equivalent to a 50-story building. The amount of water propelled in the air by the fountain while operating is about 22 thousand gallons, and they are equipped with hoses which can propel water 3 to 500 feet high. Dubai Fountain is also equipped with more than 6600 light sources that have 25 colors, forming charming spectrums of more than a thousand shapes, giving the visitors the opportunity to watch exciting shows. They are displayed on the tune of different songs; between classics, Arabic music, and international contemporary music. The tourism journey in Dubai does not end here; Dubai has the largest shopping mall in the world next to Burj Khalifa carrying the city’s name, Dubai Mall. “Dubai Mall is the largest shopping and entertainment destination attraction in the world,» says Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, the developer of Burj Khalifa,» with more than 65 million visitors in 2012, and welcomes more than 20 million visitors every three months.” The shopping mall has 1200 stores, 200 restaurants and cafes, and the largest aquarium in the Middle East. He mentioned that Dubai decided to expand the mall by a million square feet, to accommodate 100 million visitors a year, and to become the «biggest shopping and entertainment destination in the world».

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ECONOMY At the 30th Session of the COMCEC General Assembly in Istanbul

Choosing Al-Quds as OIC City of Tourism:

Training Programs, Workshops, and Supporting Education and Culture Istanbul- Turkey - The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation announced the choice of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif and Konya in Turkey as OIC Tourism Cities for 2015 and 2016 respectively. Immediately after the announcement, the General Secretariat began coordinating with the relevant institutions of the OIC to contribute in the prize, financial allocations, staff training, logo designing, workshops, and support for the educational and cultural institutions in the two selected cities. In his speech to General Assembly of the Standing Committee on Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC) - one of the OIC organs – held in Istanbul, 25- 28 November 2014, the Secretary General recalled the important resolutions of the coordination meeting presided over by the chair of the Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers, which took place in Jakarta, Indonesia, 2-3 June 2014, where the OIC tourism Cities for the next two years were chosen after considering the nominations submitted by Member States. Madani focused on the utmost importance of institutional reforms and improving synergy and coordination among various OIC institutions. He said that work was going on to develop a new OIC programme of action

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(2016-2025), in coordination with OIC institutions. He expressed the hope that allocation of sufficient resources, result-oriented focus and strong institutional capacities would boost the renewed efforts towards enhancing the OIC’s dynamism and capacity to confront contemporary developmental challenges. The President of the Republic of Turkey and chairman of COMCEC, Recep Tayyep Erdogan, inaugurated the 30th session of the COMCEC General Assembly on 27 November 2014 in Istanbul in the presence of the OIC Secretary General, relevant ministers of OIC Member States and heads of OIC affiliated institutions. In his speech, the Turkish President explained that the OIC Member States had in recent years taken major steps at the level of trade and development indicators with their share of global trade having increased by 50% in the last decade. He also mentioned that domestic trade had made progress in the same period, with intra-OIC trade growing by more than 50%. While the real average global growth rate was 7.2% between 2000 and 2012, the growth rate in the OIC Member States for the same period was 5.4%, the President said. He added that despite the good perfor-

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mance of the economy, trade development among OIC Member States still require further steps to be taken by concerned Member States to give effect to the Trade Preferential System, the legal procedures of which was completed in 2011. In his speech, the President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, stressed the need for the OIC institutions, including the IDB and COMCEC, to support the new OIC programme of action. The chairman of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (ICCIA), Saleh Abdullah Kamel, expressed his optimism that COMCEC would become a joint Islamic market, underlined the importance of “not holding an economic meeting for the Organization without the implementation of a project on the ground, and that COMCEC should develop into an effective organ, not secretariat.” The meeting also listened to speeches delivered by the representatives of the Member States of the three geographical groups. The General Assembly of COMCEC is held every year to review the economic and development activities of OIC Member States in the previous year. The current session of the General Assembly, which began on 25

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ECONOMY

November 2014, focused on the role of public and private sector companies in the development of the tourism sector in OIC Member States. The General Assembly also discussed developments in the global economy, with particular reference to the OIC Member States, the expansion of intra-trade in the OIC, promoting the role of the private sector in economic cooperation, developing means of transportation and communication, developing a sustainable and competitive tourism sector, increasing productivity in the agriculture sector, sustaining food security, eradicating poverty and supporting financial cooperation. On the other hand, the OIC General Secretariat presented its annual report to the COMCEC General Assembly, which emphasized the importance of executing the OIC various resolutions and multilateral agreements, especially the Ten-Year Programme of Action (2005-2015). The report pointed out the need to give priority to unify the work, and to coordinate between the OIC bodies and institutions. It also highlighted the efforts made by the OIC institutions to accelerate the implementation of the Organization’s decisions and approaches in the economical field, in accordance with the Programme of Action. The report highligted the developments in the areas of trade, transportation development, tourism sector development, agriculture, rural development, food security, poverty alleviation programs, the cooperation in both financial and statistical areas, cooperation with regional and international organizations, activities related to the provision of economic assistance to Member States in the OIC and Muslim communities in non-Member States, and enhancing the role of the private sector. While presenting report to the General Assembly of COMCEC, the Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs in the OIC, Ambassador Hameed Opeloyeru,

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mentioned, that the Organization’s efforts put into strengthening trade exchange between the Member States has resulted in the growth of intraOIC trade value within the Organization to US$ 778,75 billion in 2013, as compared to 751,68 in 2012; meaning with 3.60% increase. At the same time, intra-OIC trade rate has increased within the Organization out of the total Member States trade from 18.45% in 2012, to 18.70% in 2013. The major players of the Member States in intra-OIC trade in the year 2012 were: the United Arab Emirates attained 13.40% of the intra-OIC trade (US$ 91.3 billion), Turkey by 10.08% (US$ 68.7 billion), Saudi Arabia by 9.36% (US$ 63.8 billion), Iran by 8.32% (US$ 56.7 billion), Indonesia by 7.30% (US$ 49.7 billion), Malaysia by 6.99% (US$ 47.6 billion), Pakistan by 4.44% (US$ 30.2 billion), Iraq by 4.23% (US$ 28.8 billion), Egypt by 3.59% (US$ 24.5 billion), and Syria by 3.50% (US$ 23.9 billion). These countries accounted for 71.19% of intra-OIC trade volume during the year 2012, which amounted to US$ 751,686,00,00. He also pointed that, during the last year, the required focus continued on activating the OIC Trade Preferential System, and the implementation of the general agreement of the OIC on economic, technical, and trade cooperation, and the OIC agreement to promote, protect and ensure investment between the Member States. Ambassador Opeloyeru noted that in addition to the efforts to complete the necessary administrative arrangements to launch this system, the other non-tariff components to the Trade Preferential System have been studied as necessary throughout the year under review, which led to increasing intra-OIC trade. The report has also showed that the area of facilitating trade between the OIC Member States wit-

nessed many events, as the Islamic Center for the Development of Trade (ICDT), in cooperation with many relevant authorities in the Member States, Ambassador Opeloyeru organized specialized trade fairs, which included the first fair for handmade crafts in the OIC Member States (11-14 April 2013) in Casablanca; the OIC Member States sixth fair for agribusiness (13-16 May 2013) in Muscat; the first OIC trade and economic forum (13-16 May 2013) in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China; the fourteenth OIC Member States trade fair in Tehran (22-23 September 2013); and the second Halal food in the OIC Member States fair (16-18 December 2013). In the area of trade financing and export credit insurance, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) continued expanding the range of the procedures dedicated to improved the Islamic intra-OIC trade, as trade approvals of ITFC reached about US$ 4.938 million, as against US$ 4.466 million in 2012. Ambassador Opeloyeru also noted that during the year under review, the growth of OIC global trade continued, increasing from US$ 4,126,01 trillion in 2012 to US$ 4,184,08 trillion in 2013; an increase at 1.41%. Total OIC trade constituted 11.34% of the global trade in 2012, in comparison to 10.8% in 2011.

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ECONOMY EU and IDB Discuss Coordinating Relief Efforts in Palestine, Somalia and Syria

resources for implementation in the areas of co-financing AUC private sector projects and providing advisory services to a number of African governments, etc. The MoU was signed during the 7th Africa Private Sector Forum, the major annual gathering of African Private Sector institutions that play constructive roles in promoting inclusive growth and creating employment, thereby ensuring Africa’s sustainable development and economic transformation.

IRTI Signs MoU with CIMB Malaysia to Produce Islamic Finance Country Reports

Jeddah, KSA – During a visit by Markus Cornaro, Deputy Director General of European Commission’s Directorate General for Development and Cooperation, to the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group headquarters in Jeddah on 18 December 2014, Chairman of the IDB Group, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, stated that improving of living conditions in Gaza, Somalia as well as providing relief to the Syrian refugees top the priorities of cooperation between the IDB and the European Union. Dr. Ali welcomed cooperation between the two sides to provide further assistance to the IDB least developed member countries mainly suffering from instability. The two sides agreed on the need for joint action to provide assistance to nearly 2 million residents in the Gaza Strip enabling them to secure their basic rights for a decent life especially the chance to access water and electricity. Cornaro appreciated the support provided by IDB offering relief and shelter to Somali refugees as well as the displaced Syrians. He underlined that the purpose of the visit was to consult with IDB officials on the priorities of development cooperation with the EU taking into account the important role IDB has played in supporting development in its member countries.

AUC Signs MoU with IDB Group to Promote Development in Africa Nairobi, Kenya – The African Union Commission (AUC) signed on 3 December 2014 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group. It was signed by the CEO of ICD, Khaled Al Aboodi, and AUC Deputy Chairperson, Erastus Mwencha. Encouraging cooperation between ICD and AUC, the MoU sets the stage for developing a platform through which ties between the Islamic world and the African continent would be enhanced thus contributing to promotion of development in the member countries of both entities in Africa. The two institutions will also work towards private sector development and will prepare a consolidated Plan of Action to mobilize private sector partnerships and

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September - December 2014

Riyadh, KSA – In a joint effort to support the development of Islamic financial services industry, the Islamic Research & Training Institute (IRTI) of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, and CIMB Islamic Bank Berhad of Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding on 17 November 2014 towards developing Islamic Finance Country Reports (IFCR) on Malaysia and Indonesia. The IFCR is expected to provide in-depth information, and independent due diligence to facilitate the growth and development of the Islamic finance industry in IDB Group member countries and encourage investment by enhancing transparency. According to Dr. Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, CEO of CIMB Islamic Bank, “Stakeholders within the industry need to be adequately equipped with necessary knowledge and better understanding to steer the business towards new directions within the Islamic finance industry”. He added IFCRs will provide the industry with valuable knowledge resources towards enhancing the Islamic finance industry and cater to the growing number of customers in the real economy through well-structured, sustainable and innovative products and services. Prof. Dr. Mohd Azmi Omar, Director General of IRTI, said that the IFCR will analyze the success story of the Malaysian Islamic finance industry and provide the lessons learnt to other IDB member countries. Through this combined initiative, the two institutions aim to facilitate access to information that is currently not available to stakeholders and thereby contribute to the growth and development of the Islamic finance industry. Apart from helping to increase investor confidence, the reports will facilitate better understanding among regulators, market players, academicians, students and other stakeholders. The upcoming IFCR for 2014 is dedicated to Malaysia, which is a leading international and regional hub for Islamic finance in the Asian region. The Malaysian Islamic banking sector with 13% share of the total global Islamic banking assets, has continuously outperformed the conventional banking sector with average annual asset growth rate of 18.6% during 2008-2012 while the conventional banking grew at 9.3% for the same period. The Islamic banking assets in Malaysia are estimated at over US $132 billion. Regionally, Malaysian Islamic banking assets represent over 85% of the total Islamic banking industry in Southeast Asia. Globally, with diversified Islamic financial products and services, consistent development in regulatory framework and enhanced international linkages are pushing the industry’s fast growth. Shari’ah-compliant assets worldwide are estimated to be in excess of US$ 1.7 trillion and growing at 15-20% annually. Indonesia’s Islamic banking assets, meanwhile, grew by 24.2% to 242.3 trillion rupiah (US $21.4 billion) in 2013. With a predominantly Muslim population (240 million), Indonesia’s potential in this sector is yet to be fully exploited. However, Islamic finance activities are gradually making inroads, which could help it tap the country’s large consumer base.

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ECONOMY Initiative for Treating Over 20,000 Cases of Eye Disease Affecting Children and Adults in Sub-Saharan Africa Countries

peace, security and development in the region. He assured the countries in the Horn of Africa that IDB will utilize the Reverse Linkage Program it initiated to transfer technology and other expertise from some of its member countries to address some of the development challenges in the region.

Joint World Bank-IDB Group Education Initiative with Primary Focus on MENA Region Washington D.C., USA – The World Bank Group and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group announced on 12 October 2014 the Education for Competitiveness Initiative to coordinate efforts on education as one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality and for laying the foundation for sustained economic growth. The initiative is aimed at developing joint strategies for improving education and training systems in member countries of both organizations, with a primary focus on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Jeddah, KSA – His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Ahmad Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Chairman of the Prevention of Blindness Union and the President of the Islamic Development Bank, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, signed on 17 November 2014 at the IDB Headquarters an MoU on eye care and blindness prevention. The MoU is a part the IDB’s efforts to form a multilateral alliance against visual impairment in its member countries. This MoU is designed to provide over 20,000 children and adults with eye care over a three-year period in countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. Efforts will also be made to build the capacity of technicians, nurses and physicians concerned with eye care in IDB member countries. The Sub – Saharan African countries will also be provided with equipment and assistance for eye care centers.

IDB President Announces $1bn Package for the Horn of Africa Jeddah, KSA – The President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali has announced a US $1 billion package in the next three years for the development of IDB member countries in the Horn of Africa. He made the announcement at a tour of the region where he visited Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya in a joint trip with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and World Bank President Jim Kim. The purpose of the visit was to strengthen regional cooperation for peace, security and development. “The aim of Islamic Development Bank is to contribute to development activities in the Horn of Africa, which stabilize the present and secure the future. We cannot afford to sit while millions of people need our support,” said Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali. “From my visit to the region, I am optimistic that a better future is around the corner. I would like to call on all development agencies to strengthen their effort in making sure that the Horn of Africa becomes a success story”, he added. In a joint press conference in Mogadishu with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and World Bank President Jim Kim, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali reiterated the commitment of IDB towards

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“The Arab world has made impressive gains in ensuring access to education, but we know from the high levels of youth unemployment that urgent work is needed on the quality of learning,” said Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President. “Our goal is to draw on the complementary strengths of both organizations to develop strategies for the entire path from school to work, to make sure young people not only have the right skills for the labor market, but that they can become the engines of growth”. The Education for Competitiveness Initiative was signed by World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim and IDB Group Chairman Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani. The initiative will consolidate and build on collaborations already underway on research to boost the employability of Arab youth and in support of regional efforts to improve the quality of education. It will focus the full range of both organization’s resources and expertise on the entire educational spectrum from early childhood development through to higher education and jobs training. The initiative is motivated by the conviction that human development is essential for sustainable growth, and that it requires a sequenced combination of education, training, and labor market activities. Each organization has identified a dedicated team that will form part of a joint working group. The initiative will organize all activities around three main pillars. The first, Education for Lifelong Learning, will focus on the quality of learning in levels K through 12, with an emphasis on promoting critical thinking and problem solving. This pillar will include support for policy reform, better governance of institutions and teacher training. The second, Education for Employment, will build on ongoing work on the relevance of education to labor market demand, with support for skills development for young people and women, training to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, vocational education and job matching systems. The third pillar, Learning for a Competitive Economy, is aimed at building human capacity in areas where comparative advantages exist to strengthen the ability of national economies to adapt to changing global market conditions. The Education for Competiveness initiative is also expected to attract other international organizations and donors with similar goals, to increase the impact of development projects focused on training and education by broadening coordination, pooling resources, and avoiding the duplication of efforts.

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occasions Farewell:

The OIC bid farewell to some of its staff members and held a dinner on 30 December 2014 on the occasion where they were presented by the Secretary General with medals in appreciation for their valuable services. The Secretary General (c) with (from Left to Right): Dr. Isam Shanti, Amb. Mahdi Fathallah, Mr. Talal Daous, Amb. Ahmed Al-Haddad, Mr. Ahmed Lajimi, and Mr. Moussa Konote

Training: The Information Department arranged a training session on writing press releases with the Prince Ahmed bin Salman Applied Media Academy for OIC staff members on 26-29 October, 2014. The training was conducted by Mr. Khalid Al-Darrag. Group photo of the participants and the trainer

Kashmir:

The OIC hosted in coordination with the General Consulate of Pakistan (Jeddah) a seminar and photo exhibition on 6 November 2014 commemorating Black Day for Kashmir under the title “Human Rights Violations Committed in Indian Occupied Kashmir”. OIC Secretary General touring the exhibition with representatives of Jammu and Kashmir

EXPO-2017:

The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the OIC organized a media event at the OIC on 28 December 2014 dedicated to Kazakhstan’s initiative on hosting international exhibition EXPO-2017, which will be held in the capital Astana. Amb. Hameed Opeloyeru, ASG for Economic Affairs (c) with famous Kazakh traveler, businessman Iskakov Sapar Iskakovich to his right and Consul General of Kazakhstan (Jeddah) to his left

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COUNTRY PROFILE Mozambique

Geography & Climate

Mozambique is the world’s 35th-largest country. Mozambique is located on the southeast coast of Africa. It is bound by Swaziland to the south, South Africa to the southwest, Zimbabwe to the west, Zambia and Malawi to the northwest, Tanzania to the north and the Indian Ocean to the east. The country is divided into two topographical regions by the Zambezi River. To the north of the Zambezi River, the narrow coastline moves inland to hills and low plateaus, and further west to rugged highlands, which include the Niassa highlands, Namuli or Shire highlands, Angonia highlands, Tete highlands and the Makonde plateau, covered with miombo woodlands. To the south of the Zambezi River, the lowlands are broader with the Mashonaland plateau and Lebombo Mountainslocated in the Deep South. Mozambique has a tropical climate with two seasons, a wet season from October to March and a dry season from April to September. Climatic conditions, however, vary depending on altitude.

Arts & Culture

The Makonde are renowned for their wood carving and elaborate masks that are commonly used in traditional dances. There are two different kinds of wood carvings. Shetani (evil spirits) which are mostly carved in heavy ebony, tall, and elegantly curved with symbols and nonrepresentational faces. The Ujamaa are totem-type carvings which illustrate lifelike faces of people and various figures. These sculptures are usually referred to as “family trees” because they tell stories

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Official Name: The Republic of Mozambique Capital: Maputo Population: 25.83 million (2013) Area: 801,590 km² Official Language: Portuguese Currency: Mozambican metical (MZN)

of many generations. During the last years of the colonial period, Mozambican art reflected the oppression by the colonial power, and became symbol of the resistance. After independence in 1975, the modern art came into a new phase. A lot of the post-independence art during the 1980s and 1990s reflect the political struggle, civil war, suffering, starvation, and struggle. Dances are usually intricate, highly developed traditions throughout Mozambique. There are many different kinds of dances from tribe to tribe which are usually ritualistic in nature. The Chopi, for instance, act out battles dressed in animal skins. The men of Makuadress in colourful outfits and masks while dancing on stilts around the village for hours. Groups of women in the northern part of the country perform a traditional dance called tufo, to celebrate Islamic holidays

Cuisine

Present for nearly 500 years, the Portuguese greatly impacted the cuisine of Mozambique. Staples and crops such as cassava (a starchy root of Brazilian origin), cashewnuts (also of Brazilian origin, though Mozambique was once the largest producer of these nuts) and pãozinho, those are Portuguese-style French buns) were brought in by the Portuguese. The use of spices and seasonings such as onions, bay leaves, garlic, fresh coriander, paprika, chilli peppers, and red sweet peppers were introduced by the Portuguese, as were sugarcane, maize, millet, rice, sorghum (a type of grass) and

potatoes. Prego (steak roll), rissóis (battered shrimp), espetada (kebab), pudim (pudding), and the popular inteiro com piripiri (whole chicken inpiri-pirisauce) are all Portuguese dishes commonly eaten in present-day Mozambique.

Demographics

The north-central provinces of Zambezia and Nampula are the most populous, with about 45% of the population. The estimated four million Macuaare the dominant group in the northern part of the country; the Sena and Shona (mostly Ndau) are prominent in the Zambezi valley, and the Shangaan (Tsonga)dominate in southern Mozambique. Other groups include Makonde, Yao, Swahili, Tonga, Chopi and Nguni (including Zulu). Bantupeople comprise 97.8% of the population, with the rest including White Africans (largely of Portuguese ancestry), Euro-Africans (mestico people of mixed Bantu and Portuguese heritage), and Indians. Roughly 45,000 people of Indian descent reside in Mozambique.

Swahili, Arabs and Persians

Several Swahili trade ports dotted the coast of the country before the arrival of Arabs,who had been trading with Madagascar and the Far East. Coastal trade of Mozambique was at first dominated by Arabs and Persians, who had established settlements as far south as Mozambique Island. Swahili, Arab and Persian commercial settlements existed along the coast and outlying islands for several centuries.

OIC Journal September - December 2014

63


VIEWPOINT Extremism and intolerance… The acts and the rhetoric

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xtremism and intolerance have forced themselves as issues of top priority for the international community; and they are widely covered in this issue of the OIC Journal from various angles. Starting at the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September, the issue of confronting extremism, mainly of so-called “Islamic” groups, was the common topic in the speeches made by heads of states, reflecting a collective sense of concern and apprehension. However, the OIC in its Annual Coordination Meeting held on the sidelines of the UNGA, stressed that there are other extremist groups, including those who target Muslim minorities whether in Asia, Europe or Africa, and that the most extreme form of extremism and violence is the one practiced by Israel in its persistent apartheid-like state terrorism that seems to be sanctioned by the international community.

Maha M. Akeel Chief Editor

The OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission also addressed the issue of extremism and intolerance, choosing that as the theme of its 6th session held in November. At the end of an open discussion on the theme, the Commission issued a strong press statement on the subject, which strongly condemns the growing trend of extremism and religious intolerance in the world and calls for joint action to collectively address this menace.

We need to be more effective in crystalizing our messages, projecting our views and objectives, and reaching out to every individual using the right and most applicable means of communication.

The 10th Session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers held in December looked at the issue of extremism and intolerance from the media perspective. The conference, which was held under the theme “Media Convergence for Peace and Calm in the Islamic World”, emphasized the role of media in confronting all kinds of violence, extremism, intolerance, racism, and hatred. The OIC Secretary General stressed in his speech the necessity to face extremist discourse, deconstruct it, and comprehend its background and the climate in which it emerges, as well as the political, economical, social and religious contexts. He also raised attention to the necessity of looking again into establishing an ethical code for media behavior in media institutions and discourse. In my statement at the opening of the Senior Officials Meeting of the conference, I said that if it is used effectively, the media is our best tool in the battle of the hearts and minds; because at the core of the campaigns, whether by extremist and terrorist groups acting in the name of Islam and harnessing followers from across the globe, or the extremist and terrorist groups exploiting the ignorance of people to raise fear and incite violence against Islam and Muslims, it is the ideas, the fatwas, the theories, the fabricated information, the inaccurate and misleading quotes and verses that these groups use to manipulate the minds and twist the hearts of people to convince them to join their fight. We need to be more effective in crystalizing our messages, projecting our views and objectives, and reaching out to every individual using the right and most applicable means of communication. With today’s information technology revolution, the options for sending and receiving information are broad and uncontrollable and the speed by which this information travels is amazing, which makes our job easy yet difficult at the same time. We cannot continue with business as usual mentality, with the layers and layers of bureaucracy, and the disconnection with the man on the street; because while we are wondering how to respond to a crisis or how to act in a disaster, that man on the street has already received in the palm of his hand various information that might be inaccurate or counterproductive, and might persuade him to take an action that is harmful to himself and his community. Meanwhile around the world, other serious issues dominated the attention of the international community and naturally the OIC and its member states. Perhaps the most urgent is the Ebola Virus Disease, which shocked the world with its ferocity in overwhelming the countries it has spread in and bringing them to their knees. It brought the world to attention and necessitated a collective immediate response. The OIC and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) held a joint conference on 5 November 2014, at the OIC Headquarters in Jeddah, in which they announced an urgent financial assistance to the African Member States affected by the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). In addition to the financial pledges, the assistance also includes material resources, equipment and supplies, as well as trained health workers and associated work force. The Conference reiterated the need for effective, coordinated and speedy response to the EVD epidemic. It also noted the necessity of community mobilization, creating public awareness and educating people in dealing with situations resulting from this epidemic. It was a timely and important initiative and it is hoped that it would meaningfully and effectively contribute to the international effort to control Ebola Virus Disease.

64 OIC Journal

September - December 2014

www.oic-oci.org


Hosts the 42nd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM)

w u k f o e Stat

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Of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Kuwait 27-28 May 2015

OIC Journal - Issue 28  

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) (formerly Organization of the Islamic Conference) is the second largest inter-governmental org...