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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2793

OIC Meet in Senegal: Focus on Islamophobia

By Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the second largest inter-governmental organization after the UN which has membership of 57 states spread over four continents, has slammed the trend of Islamophobia prevailing the world over at its 11th Session of the Islamic Summit held in the Senegalese capital Dakar on March 13-14. The Organization called on Europe and America to take stronger measures against 'Islamophobia' in a report prepared for a summit of the group's 57 members in Dakar and warned that an "alarming" rise in anti-Islamic insults and attacks in the West has become a threat to international security. This monitoring group expects that Europe and North America to do more, through laws and social action, to protect Muslims from threats and discrimination and prevent insults against Islam's religious symbols.

The report the OIC has prepared has added that Muslims in many parts of the world, in the West in particular, are being stereotyped, profiled and subjected to various forms of discriminatory treatment. It called on OIC member states to "step up their counter-measures by keeping the pressure on the international community at multilateral and bilateral forums." The OIC said the Muslim world must launch a campaign to show that it is a "moderate, peaceful and tolerant" religion, closely monitor and the raise the alert over anti-Islamic incidents and organize more inter-faith initiatives. Victims of Islamophobia must be encouraged and given necessary help to file complaints.

The message from Dakar is loud and clear: when the West behaves well, the rest of the world would follow suit. They acknowledge that many Muslim countries are themselves victims of terror and active partners of the international community in combating terror and extremism.

Chad Agreement

Also, OIC seeks to see a peaceful global atmosphere emerging to replace the existing zones of conflicts. The Secretary General of the Organization Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu also welcomed the signing of an agreement between President Omar Hassan Al Bashir and President Idriss Deby, President of the Republic of Chad, under the auspices of Maitre Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal, on the sidelines of the 11th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference, on 13 March 2008. Ihsanoglu praised the commendable efforts made by Maitre Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal, whose outcome was the realization of this Agreement, and expressed his hope that this Agreement would permanently end the differences between the two countries and establish peace and security in the region.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference

The OIC is the collective voice of the Muslim world and ensuring to safeguard and project the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world. The Organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco in September 1969 as a result of 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. Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is the 9th Secretary General who assumed the office in January 2005 after being elected by the 31st ICFM.

Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu was re-elected for a new term of office during the closing meeting of the 11th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference held at Dakar on March 14. The new Charter sets the new term of office for OIC Secretary General at five years instead of four years. The incumbent Secretary General has one year remaining in office thereby bringing the overall length of his term to six years.

Global Agenda

The OIC, however, once again failed to draw parallels between state-sponsored terrorist activities in the West and those in East, for example in Indian occupied Kashmir, where the Indian terrorist forces kill and torture Kashmiris and also branded them as “terrorists” because they violently have reacted to the systematic Indian terror attacks. I would be in the interests of Islam and Muslims globally, even for peaceful co-existence between different religions, if the Islamic nations take a common stand on an-Islamic terrorism across the globe and take corrective measures to make those who pursue anti-Islamic agenda as a primary domestic and foreign policy agenda. There is no point in beating about the bushes by taking only select problems being faced by Muslims in part of the world. Kashmir was an independent country before Indian tactfully annexed it in 1947, immediately after Indian got its independence from UK.

Islam, unlike many other religions, strictly adheres to prayers being offered in a totally peaceful atmosphere and in complete silence signifying voluntary surrender to Almighty and it cannot be a religion that would promote violence and terrorism, as propagated by the West. Rather Islam preaches and follows a peaceful propagation of the tents of the religion and peaceful co-existence right from the days of the Prophet Mohammad (SAS). However, there have been a lot of ill-influences from other streams of ways of life on Muslims world over and they behave some what irrationally.

Muslims have not fully gauged the undercurrents in the Islamophobia, however. The world powers pursuing an invert anti-Islamic agenda have conspired to provoke Muslims to violently react to state-sponsored- terrorist actions of the powers that be. Islam had faced constant attacks since it the religion came into existence. The summit noted: "but in recent years the phenomenon has assumed alarming proportions and has become a major cause of concern for the Muslim world." The anti-Islamic forces, cutting across their religious contours and variations join together to use the occasion to denounce Islam and insult Muslims and try to finish off Islam by engineering conversions to other religions, have been at work for ages.

But the Sept 11 event in the USA has been used by all the anti-Islamic forces to slam Islam and torture and kill Muslims, all over the world. The Muslim nations have been watching the show, unaware of what is exactly happening to them. The civilized world, the West, has been in the forefront in this evil practice of fictional threat projecting Islam as a terror and evil, known as Islamophobia, encouraging anti-Islamic nations like India also to do their part of evil in a sustained manner.

In a recent State report, the US has slammed India for human rights record, saying it faces evasion of basic human rights, numerous serious problems including extra-judicial killings, disappearances, and torture and rape by security forces in Kashmir though it has deliberately not mentioned the Muslims. The report said in India 'serious internal conflicts affected the state of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as several states in the north and east. There were several instances in which some elements of the security forces acted independently of government authority, it said. Attacks against religious minorities and the promulgation of anti-religious conversion laws were concerns. OIC should consider the morale of the report quite seriously.

There has been a growing trend not only in the non/anti-Islamic nations, but even in Muslim nations to use the Islamophobia plank to terrorize the Muslims. OIC should also alert the member-states about such nefarious activities against Muslims.

Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal, Research Scholar, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

- Asian Tribune -

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