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Statement of H.E. Iyad Ameen Madani Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at the 41st Session of the Islamic Conference of...
[June 18, 2014]

Statement of H.E. Iyad Ameen Madani Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at the 41st Session of the Islamic Conference of...

(Targeted News Service Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Statement of H.E. Iyad Ameen Madani Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at the 41st Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers Session of Exploring Areas of Islamic Cooperation JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, June 18 -- The Organization of the Islamic Cooperation issued the following statement by H.E. Iyad Ameen Madani Secretary General: In the Name of Allah, The All-Merciful, The All-Compassionate And Peace and Blessings of Allah be on the Seal of Prophets and Messengers and on All Prophets Your Royal Highness Prince Saud Al Faisal Foreign Minister of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chair of the Conference Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Heads of Delegations; Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies; Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen; Assalamu Alaykum warahmatulahi wabarakatuh, It is an honor and privilege for me to address the opening session of the Forty-First Session of the Islamic Council of Foreign Ministers. At the outset, I would like to express the thanks and gratitude of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for hosting this meeting, for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to all participating delegations, and for the possibilities and facilities allocated for holding this meeting. Our deep thanks and gratitude also go to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdulah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, for his continuous and comprehensive patronage to the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation and its objectives and march. While we congratulate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for assuming the chairmanship of the Islamic Council of Foreign Ministers for the coming year, we should note the sincere and dedicated efforts exerted by the Republic of Guinea throughout its chairmanship of the bygone session of the Islamic Council of Foreign Ministers and the support and participation witnessed by the General Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation from H.E. Mr. Lounceny Fall, the Guinean foreign minister.

Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, In spite of the short span between the last session of the Islamic Council of Foreign Ministers held in Conakry last December, and the commencement to prepare for the present session, and its previous preparatory meetings, the General Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation has stepped up towards the embodiment of the joint visions of Member States and the goals adopted by the Summit meetings and the sessions of your august body. The Organization of the Islamic Cooperation has not also stood idle in front of the developments that have taken place in the domains of its work and responsibilities.

During the period since the Islamic Council of Foreign Ministers in Conakry, the Secretary General visited more than twenty Member States in order to exchange views, listen to assessment, and have a first-hand experience of the realities on the ground. These included visits to some conflict zones, such as Mali, the West Bank, Bangladesh and Nigeria.

At the political plane, the Executive Ministerial Committee formed of the chair, deputy chair and rapporteur of both the Summit and the Islamic Council of Foreign Ministers, was invited for an open-ended meeting to approve the mechanism for addressing the entrenched crisis in the Central African Republic. Following its meeting, Dr. Sheikh Tijani Gadio, a prominent politician and former Senegalese foreign minister, was instated as the Special Representative of the Secretary General to the Central African Republic. Moreover, a ministerial delegation conducted a field visit that included the Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, and Chad. This was followed by a visit of a delegation from the alliance of humanitarian organizations to the region under the umbrella of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to discuss the mechanism required for the continuation of humanitarian aid initiated by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation inside and outside that stricken country. The General Secretariat has been exerting efforts to convince all political leaders there to execute an instrument that denounces violence to be the prelude for a political dialogue that leads to the formation of a national unity government under which security can prevail and the displaced can return to their homes before the elections can be held. This is because holding the elections in the midst of forced displacement, fighting and human rights violations is rather meaningless.

The Secretary General has also appointed H.E. Mr. Hamid Albar, former Malaysian foreign minister, as his Special Representative in the case of the Muslim minority in Myanmar. We hope that his inherent knowledge of Myanmar, his awareness of the sensitivities that surround addressing that crisis by the countries of that region, including some of Member States, and his personal knowledge of the leaders of Myanmar would enable the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to have a more feasible and impactful movement that contributes to the achievement of social peace for all the components of society in Myanmar. We also hope that our efforts include holding dialogue platforms between Muslim scholars and thinkers and their Buddhist counterparts to emphasize the historical commonalities and similar values.

The General Secretariat has been following up the crisis in northern Mali. It has been a witness to the Ouagadougou Agreement that crystallized a road map that begins with presidential and parliamentary elections in Mali followed by a round of negotiations between the new government and opposition factions, a matter the General Secretariat has been working on, pursuing and following up to commence. It is to be noted that in doing this, the General Secretariat recognizes the diversity and disagreement that divide the opposition factions as well as the priorities of the new Malian government. The General Secretariat also acknowledges that the crisis in northern Mali is contextually an integral part of the events unfolding in the Sahel region and some countries in North Africa as well as the different perspectives of the influential countries in the region on how to end that conflict. However, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation believes that this dispute should be resolved politically and developmentally along with the security perspective. H.E. Mr. Djibril Bassole, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso, is the Special Representative of the Secretary General to northern Mali and the Sahel countries. We are pleased to have among us today H.E. Dhabai Ould Sidi Mohamed, Minister of National Reconciliation and former foreign minister of Mali, as head of the Malian delegation at this meeting.

In this regard, I would like to thank His Royal Highness for giving the opportunity for these three special envoys to brief this august meeting later.

The Secretary General visited the capital of Nigeria, and the city of Maiduguri, Bornu State in the north-east of the country to gauge the political, geographical and societal realities of Boko Haram Movement. The General Secretariat is convinced that combating this separatist movement that adopts violence, intimidation and murder, should start by denying its assumed Islamic identity as most of its victims are Muslims. It destroys mosques and killed one of the historical princes in northern Nigeria. It should also be deprived its support resources while spending more towards greater national development in those areas of Nigeria. The Member States should also support Nigeria in its security and economic confrontation of Boko Haram and the environment from which it emerged. It is to be noted that the technical, logistical and material potentialities that movement show urge us to mediate on its support resources and empowerment and the reason behind that.

The other crisis and conflict areas in Member States remain challenging. The people of Kashmir are still deprived of the right to self-determination. We hope that the political leadership that emerged from the recent parliamentary elections in India will not increase their hardship and the obstacles placed in front of their fundamental right to determine their fate.

The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian occupation for about a quarter of Azerbaijan is still at a standstill. The General Secretariat looks forward to have a contribution in relaunching the standstill situation when Azerbaijan considers that appropriate. We call on all Member States to support the inherent rights of Azerbaijan in this conflict.

The political and security repercussions in Libya, Iraq and Syria haunt us deeply. Perhaps, the deliberations of this meeting would crystallize a collective stand and an agreed political approach to make the Organization of Islamic Cooperation platform and a strong springboard to advocate that approach, especially that most countries related to these repercussions are Member States. The Muslim World and Member States in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation are the closest and most able to address the conflicts and confrontations inside their territory.

The Palestinian Cause, the reality of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif, the suffering of the Maqdisites, and the risks that face Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third of the three mosques for which it is prescribed to travel for the purpose of worship, remain at the heart of the meetings of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. I have nothing to add to what H.E. President Mahmoud Abbas mentioned in his statement except an assertion that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation works to its full potential and across all its organs and channels to serve this core issue. The General Secretariat believes that the current pivotal juncture of the Palestinian Cause requires us to add new means in addressing this conflict to the efforts exerted by Member States in the service of this Cause at the international, regional and national levels. These may include legal follow-up of Israel through a professional legal arm able to prepare well-documented files on Israeli aggressions, violations, and notorious record of its officials and leaders to be presented to the International Criminal Court and to complete the "apartheid state" profile so that the international community deals with it on that basis. The General Secretariat also calls for opening the door and encouraging Muslims to visit Al-Quds Ash-Sharif in thousands and ten thousands and pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque to prove its status in the hearts and conscience of the Ummah, document the right of Muslims in Al-Quds Ash-Sharif and the Al- Aqsa Mosque, confirm the status of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Islamic identity, and to support Al-Quds Ash-Sharif and the Maqdisites.

Another conflict area is southern Philippines where the Bangsamoro Muslim people are still struggling to prove their identity and confirm their history and rights. In the light of the agreement signed recently between Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine government under the auspices of Malaysia in the presence and witness of some Member States, and opposed by all factions of Moro National Liberation Front, and the fact that the declared texts of the new agreement do not mention or build explicitly on Tripoli and Jakarta Agreements of 1976 and 1997 respectively - being the two conventions which establish the position of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation towards that conflict - the General Secretariat has spared no effort to bring the two fronts together. They actually met a few days ago and reached a memorandum of understanding which we hope will be the basis for bridging the gap between them and establishing a united national front that follows up the implementation of the new agreement and links it to the previous agreements overlooked by the Philippine government. In this context, the support of the rapprochement of both fronts and legal follow up of the implementation of the new agreement and the compliance of the Philippine government to its text and soul is unavoidable if we want Bangsamoro Muslim people in the Philippines to obtain their most basic rights.

On the other hand, the General Secretariat monitors and follows up the recent developments in the Crimea and hopes that they do not affect the rights of the Tatar Muslims there whether politically, culturally or religiously. It calls Russia to reassure them about their future and full rights as citizens and that the experience of intimidation and forced displacement under the Soviet Russia will not be repeated under Federal Russia. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation also hopes that the Russian position in supporting the right of the Russians in the Crimea to decide their political future would make Russia reconsider its position towards the independence of Kosovo and not to be an obstacle before the right of the people of Kosovo to self-determination and declaration of their independence and state in the same vein, principle and moral values. I call on all Member States to recognize the Republic of Kosovo which has been recognized already by more than one hundred countries in the world and whose legitimacy has been acknowledged by many international organizations, especially since the Russian position in the Crimea removes any embarrassment as regards supporting the independence of Kosovo, which we hope to be a full-fledged member at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation soon.

The efforts of the General Secretariat in implementing and following up the resolutions of the Summit and the Islamic Council of Foreign Ministers go on in full swing in all the other files: Yemen, Sudan, Guinea, Niger, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Comoros, and the Muslim peoples in Cyprus and Bosnia.

Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies; Ladies and Gentlemen; One of the primary concerns of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is to address the phenomenon of terrorism, religious and sectarian extremism, the rights of Muslim minorities outside the Muslim World, and concepts of human rights, and rights of women and children and religious practice as all of these concepts have been codified in major international conventions and declarations on whose basis countries are judged, condemned, classified and sanctioned.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation condemns terrorism wherever it is and confirms, as in all international agreements and resolutions in this regard, that terrorism has no religion, nationality, doctrine, color, or race. It is rather a phenomenon that should be combated and addressed wherever it is and whatever its source may be. Accordingly, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation rejects and condemns any attempt to render terrorism equivalent to Islam, a religion espoused by more than two billion people throughout the world. The General Secretariat notes with deep surprise and condemnation the emerging trend of abusing Islam and Muslims on part of some European leaders and calls upon them to reflect internally before accusing Islam of racism, Nazism and committing massacres against others. If some of these leaders have chosen to fall into the arms of the apartheid regime represented by the current Israeli government, it is their business, choice and decision provided that they do not shove Islam and Muslims into their passion of Israeli Zionist extremism. The General Secretariat has demanded the President of the Czech Republic to apologize for his statements in which he described the region from northern Africa to Indonesia where Muslims mainly live as a haven for hatred, enmity and malice for the march of development and humanity and dubbed Muslims as Nazis and racist.

The General Secretariat calls for a unified stand by Member States to confront the sectarian division which has emerged in more than one place causing bloodshed, confrontation and violence between the brothers in Islam who forget that Islam came in one book revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), and established one civilization that was the nucleus of the human civilization we live today. Sectarian disagreement, dispute and fighting is not only a betrayal of the message, major principles and noble purposes of Islam being the message sent for all human beings and the final religion that is valid for every time and place, but also a surrender to all these forces that were launched and encouraged to classify Muslims doctrinally. Those who encourage and exploit doctrines for consolidation of political influence not only serve the plans set to discredit, weaken and disintegrate Islam from within, but also work in an arena where all lose and none wins.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation also follows up the affairs of Muslim minorities around the world, whether those formed from immigrants throughout Europe, those who converted to Islam within their homelands, or those that have found themselves a part of major political configurations with followers of other beliefs and races. As we all know, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as per the Islamic perception down the history, invites all to open up, coexist and engage in the reconstruction of the universe. Islam does not call for religion to be a substitute for citizenship as it does not find a contradiction or dissonance between both of them. However, at the same time, Muslims, wherever they are, have religious, cultural, linguistic and social rights which we should all refuse to be subject to abuse, marginalization, exclusion, obliteration or violation.

Combating terrorism, facing sectarian fighting, responding to attacks that abuse Islam, and defending the rights of Muslim minorities, make it imperative on the Muslim world, the Ummah and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to have our contemporary objective concepts, and conscious and thoughtful profound discourse of the essence of man and his human rights and the attributes of good governance.

The conferences of the Islamic Summit and the Islamic Council of Foreign Ministers have established a number of means and mechanisms, such as the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, Islamophobia Observatory, the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission, and the Unit for Mediation, Peace and Security and issued various declarations on human rights and rights of women and children in Islam among others to enable the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to realize its role in these fields. The last Extraordinary Summit held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah in 1433 AH (2012 AD) unanimously adopted the proposal of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, on the establishment of a "center for dialogue among Islamic schools of thought" to reach a common understanding. All these instruments and methods need to be further asserted, well positioned and provided with independence to realize the purposes for which they were established.

Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies; Ladies and Gentlemen; The tasks and responsibilities of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as enshrined by its Charter, formed by the resolutions of the Summit and the Islamic Council of Foreign Ministers, and as defined in its Ten-Year Program of Action, do not address the political affair as is, but in terms of its components, effects, determinants and economic, scientific, social and cultural backgrounds; hence the directions and goals of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in all these dimensions.

On the economic level, the Islamic Bank for Development continues to discharge its leading role in supporting economic development and infrastructure projects and in supporting the social facilities required to achieve sustainable development in Member States. The General Secretariat has been working closely with the Bank leadership, namely H.E Dr. Ahmed Mohamad Ali, to whom all vow respect, consideration and admiration, in order to achieve wider microfinance coverage. This endeavor, conducted in coordination with countries with extensive experience, aims at developing a practical, transparent and flexible model for microfinance transactions. These operations include not only extending loans but also providing assistance in small projects development, the assessment of the nature of their markets and the provision of necessary training and capacity building. These loans will circulate as blood in the veins of society, dynamize it and create hope, optimism, stability and serenity amongst people, thus making them more attached to social peace. These small loans are also an efficient means to reduce unemployment, poverty and women exclusion. Furthermore, we work with the Bank on developing a joint strategy among Member States, producing similar products, such as cotton, in order to achieve a form of complemtarity, exchange expertise and increase the impact and results.

Besides, the General Secretariat is pushing forward the idea of creating joint investment and production companies among Member States on the model of multinational companies, that hopefully will be able to compete in investing natural and human resources and protecting the resources of some countries from the pure foreign monopoly that constitutes in some instances another facet of former direct colonial influence. The General Secretariat seeks to develop a clearer framework in the field of halal foodstuffs standards that will allow the adoption and issuance of certificates in accordance with OIC standards and rules for halal foodstuffs, and help provide this important and profitable field with a regulatory environment.

On another hand, the economic activity requires that we adopt the agreed upon tools, means and channels and start using them, in order to encourage intraregional trade exchange, increase public-private partnership, with a view to reducing poverty, encouraging the use of resources and building capacities.

On the humanitarian level, we are working to strengthen our humanitarian activities in the Islamic World, and to mobilize capabilities to increase relief aid aimed at deprived countries and areas. This stems from the spirit of Islamic solidarity and aims to benefit all Muslims in Member and non-Member States. In order to fulfill our part in this area, we await the special funds within the OIC that work in humanitarian and development areas to do their part. However, these special funds are weighed down permanently by insufficient budgets; hence their impact on the ground in crises areas is negligible. And with the constantly growing challenges faced by the Member States on the humanitarian and development fronts, we should reconsider the role of these funds. This shall be possible by authorizing us to reorganize the mechanisms applied by the OIC in the humanitarian and development area, and to submit our vision in this regard to the next meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers.

Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters, Many of the political challenges faced by the Member States are at heart associated with requirements for knowledge, culture and innovation. Discussions over energy, environment, defense, water, desertification, agriculture, and industry cannot be fathomed without a solid scientific and technological basis, and in the absence of the ability to be innovative and use up-to-date technology, otherwise we will be forced to follow others. The General Secretariat works to revive cooperation between Member States, in accordance with resolutions adopted by the Summit and the Council of Foreign Ministers, and to open new horizons for this cooperation. We look forward with great interest to the Islamic Summit on Science and Technology, to be held in Pakistan in the near future. And we hope that the General Secretariat will have the opportunity to engage in coordination efforts for this summit with the relevant parties.

It is not possible to talk about technology, science, and knowledge without referring to modern and proficient educational institutions. The resolutions adopted by the Summit to establish universities in Uganda, Niger, and Bangladesh were groundbreaking and farsighted. Today, these universities have become science lighthouses and prominent, effective models of the association between Islam and science and knowledge, given the honorable task they are entrusted with in the area of academic and scientific training, and providing guidance to the youth who are the future and hope of all our countries.

These three universities need urgent support until the the completion of the Waqf project to support their academic and administrative activities, such as to catch up with other world universities and meet today's requirements. We would like to express our thanks and appreciation to all those who provided support and assistance to these universities. This contributed to major achievements, including the increase of the number of students, the introduction of new academic programmes and the diversification of academic disciplines, knowing that these universities provide services to all neighbouring countries. We are confident that such support from all countries and institutions, not exceeding US$20 million, will continue for the next five years.

When we talk today's world, dominated as it is by science, technology and innovation, we should mention the field of cyberspace, which we need to protect from anyone who is bent on using it to their own advantage through top level domain names with an Islamic identity such as '.islam' and '.halal' as well as any other new names that may crop up in the future. The use of such names, which may prove to be sensitive from the religious point of view, are being discussed at the level of the internet governing body, ICANN. We are currently in the process of forming an expert team from member countries to follow up this important issue.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to conclude my speech by talking about culture. Societies express their humanity and identity, mankind, society and life through a cultural, literary, artistic, innovative and traditional expressions. Each society has its own face, voice and story and we are all ultimately the result of some culture. Our traits are shaped by our own cultural output, and our knowledge of the other is determined by our mutual cultural exchange. This is exactly the reason why the General Secretariat is constantly seeking through all means possible to promote innovation, facilitate cultural exchange and support all forms of cultural products which draws on and protects identity. We are collaborating with the Islamic Development Bank to set up a fund for cultural activities of innovative youth. We are also deepening and expanding the fields of cultural exchange among member countries and strengthen our common Islamic culture and civilization. Such common heritage grows stronger thanks to its diversity, richness and innovation that know no boundary.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, The result of common action within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is a low hanging fruit, ready for the picking. The way to pick that fruit comes through your confidence in this organisation, your belief in its objectives and your actions to inject warmth and vitality in its veins.

May Allah guide us to that which pleases him.

Peace be upon the Prophet Mohamed and all prophets and messengers.

Assalamu Alaikom Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh.

TNS 18EstebanLiz-140619-30FurigayJane-4771042 30FurigayJane (c) 2014 Targeted News Service

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