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OIC Calls for a Collective Initiative to Combat Islamophobia and Terror

4 October 2010 Uncategorized No Comment Email This Post Email This Post

by: H.E. Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu

As the entire international community is fighting the scourge of radicalization and terrorism, the OIC firmly believes that the effort to combat terrorism must be part of an overall endeavor aiming at building a better world based on cultural diversity, a world in which human dignity, human rights and fundamental freedom are properly respected. It should be clear to all that terrorism has no religion because it aims to spread enmity and destruction throughout civilized societies.

Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)

Since I was elected to the post of secretary general of the OIC, the world’s largest inter-governmental body after the United Nations, I have been working hard to make clear to all Muslims and our friends in the West, especially in the United States, that the OIC is a unique institution with a very modern, up-to-date Charter and a Ten Year Program of Action. This Program is propelled by a vision of moderation and modernization that emphasizes socio-economic development, multi-lateralism, human rights and cultural dialogue as key items on its agenda.

The OIC voices the consensual views and attitudes of the Muslim world, coordinates the joint actions of its Member States in all domains of activity, and reflects the true and real image of Islam, based on tolerance, peace, pluralism and acknowledgement of diversity. The OIC advocates dialogue with other faiths and civilizations and above all seeks to achieve a historic reconciliation between the Muslim world and West.

Contrary to the popular understanding, the OIC is not a religious organization. However, Islam is the common denominator which brings extremely diverse 57 members and five observers, and is an integral part of the whole history of religion and it belongs to the Abrahamic tradition of faith. Islam, according to OIC, is compatible with the finest manners of human nature. It seeks to promote and enhance the best values of humans; it embraces the sublime virtues of peace, equality, justice, compassion, human rights. This is why the OIC is a staunch supporter of peace and stability in all conflict areas including the Middle East, Afghanistan and Somalia. This is why it supports the Arab Peace Initiative which calls for a viable Palestinian State living side by side with the State of Israel.

The Rise in Islamophobia

The phenomenon of Islamophobia has marked the beginning of the twenty first century, and has shown how vulnerable basic misunderstanding and deeply-rooted bigotry against minority groups can resurface to pit one part of humanity against the other, thus creating cultural fault-lines on a global scale. The surge of such phenomena has compelled Muslims and their leaders to reflect on their position on the world’s scene, in an attempt to salvage some of their rightful dues, safeguard their rights, defend their just causes and pave the way for a better and prosperous future.

In this context, the OIC has been interacting with many Muslim Organizations around the world in a bid to discuss their concerns and preoccupations, while establishing channels of communication with their host countries. The OIC and its specialized and affiliated bodies have been calling and seeking to initiate a new relationship and interconnection with Muslim Organizations in the United States in order to facilitate their full integration into US society and act as a cultural bridge between America and the Muslim World.

The increasing manifestations of Islamophobia in the West bring to our attention a mutual realization of inadequate knowledge about nations and cultures. It also shows the dire need for forging a new relationship and understanding through respect for cultural diversity. Past experiences and history have taught us that the way we address the issues of “the other” determines the dynamic of relations between nations and can lead either to stability or confrontation, depending on the way we choose to tread.  Not long ago, fault lines between nations used to be drawn on military pacts, political ideologies or geographical entities. Today, confrontation lines are mainly drawn on cultural considerations. This fact makes confrontations deeper and more intricate because cultures are profoundly embedded in the psyche of individuals.

Towards Eradicating Hate

The suggestion that Islam is the problem as it is claimed in the hateful discourse of Islamophobia is to negate Islam’s sublime values of peace, compassion, and tolerance, and all the noble virtues that Islam has stood for throughout fourteen centuries of tolerant, brilliant and radiant civilization. Suffice it to say that these baseless accusations try to ascribe bad and vicious deeds committed by a handful of misguided and crime-prone individuals to the entire populations of the Muslim world. This line of thinking reflects and embodies irrational and vicious prejudices. The danger in this sort of labeling is that it renders Muslims who are one fourth of the world’s population suspects and outcasts, and tries to lump all Muslims into one category.

The OIC is convinced and determined to work hard and continue to maintain its strong belief that diverse cultures should complement and enhance one another. Tolerance, stability and prosperity are nurtured only when nations and cultures communicate and respect each other. When the OIC calls for joint actions against Islamophobia, it does not negate existence of hatred against other religions and it extends its hand of cooperation to counter anti-Semitism, Christianophobia and misperceptions about western culture.

As the entire international community is fighting the scourge of radicalization and terrorism, the OIC firmly believes that the effort to combat terrorism must be part of an overall endeavor aiming at building a better world based on cultural diversity, a world in which human dignity, human rights and fundamental freedom are properly respected. It should be clear to all that terrorism has no religion because it aims to spread enmity and destruction throughout civilized societies.

The OIC position vis-à-vis September 11, 2001 was and still is clear, it was evil, criminal and a crime against humanity. It was much a crime in Islamic law as it was in the American constitution or international law and covenants. This is why all Muslim governments, Islamic movements and scholars condemned it with vigor and without any reservation.

It is, therefore, imperative that the OIC, the leaderships of Muslim Americans and Americans of all faiths to work together towards a better understanding and knowledge of each other, and Muslim Americans should help in building up meaningful and effective relations between the OIC and the USA.

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