Muslim nations urge for measures against Islamophobia

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during an emergency meeting of the OIC in Istanbul, on March 22, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 23 March 2019
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Muslim nations urge for measures against Islamophobia

  • The OIC said attacks against mosques and murders of Muslims showed the "brutal, inhumane and horrific outcomes" of hatred of Islam
  • Erdogan also said far-right neo-nazi groups should be treated as terrorists in the same way as Daesh

JEDDAH: Muslim nations on Friday called for tough international action to combat Islamophobia following the terror attack on two New Zealand mosques. The executive committee of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), meeting in Istanbul, expressed its outrage at last week’s Christchurch massacre, and deep concern over the resurgence of racist movements and terrorist activities around the world.
Foreign ministers attending the emergency session, issued a raft of demands aimed at tackling the scourge of hate-related violence toward Muslims and other minority groups. They said raids on mosques and the killing of Muslims highlighted the “brutal and inhumane consequences” of hatred of Islam.
Members called on all governments to review their legal frameworks regarding terrorism and urged the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights to establish an observatory to monitor extremist acts against Muslims.
The OIC committee also suggested that the UN and other regional and international organizations should declare March 15 (the day of the Christchurch attack) an international day of solidarity against Islamophobia.
It said the UN should convene a session of its General Assembly to debate the issue of racism and appoint a special representative on combating Islamophobia. The UN was also requested to expand the scope of its existing sanctions on terror groups to cover individuals and entities associated with extremist ethnic organizations.
Fifty worshippers died and many others were seriously injured during last Friday’s shootings at the Al-Noor and Linwood mosques in New Zealand’s South Island city.
The OIC reiterated that terrorism had no religion or justification and was a crime regardless of when, where or against who it was committed.
In its final communique, the OIC committee said a recent global rise in terrorist activities was hampering international efforts to promote peace and harmony between nations.
Adhering to international policies on safeguarding the rights, dignity, religious and cultural identity of Muslim communities and minorities in non-member states was key to tackling the issue, the ministers declared.
They noted resolutions of previous Islamic summit conferences and meetings which expressed concerns over attacks on mosques and other Muslim properties.
The OIC foreign ministers thanked the government of New Zealand for its unequivocal condemnation of the terrorist attacks and the firm stance of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and offered their full support to a comprehensive and transparent investigation into the outrage.
The committee also extended its sincere condolences to the families of the victims.
The meeting stressed the need for the OIC to maintain close contacts with UN and EU governments of countries with Muslim populations and minorities to identify ways of promoting cultural harmony, understanding, respect, and tolerance.
Communicating with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to remove and prohibit content inciting violence and hatred toward Muslims was also important, the OIC ministers stated.
Members requested the OIC Contact Group on Peace and Dialogue to prioritize efforts to combat religious discrimination, Islamophobia, intolerance, and hatred against Muslims and to hold regular interfaith meetings. They added that all the necessary human and financial resources should be given to the OIC’s work in communicating with centers around the world concerned with Islamophobia.
Meanwhile Ridwaan Jadwat, Australia’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said: “Australians share their deepest sympathies with those affected by the devastating terrorist attack by a right-wing extremist in Christchurch and share the grief of New Zealanders and Muslim communities the world over.
“The day after the attack, the prime minister and foreign minister reached out to the Muslim community to convey deep condolences and show solidarity, visiting a mosque and meeting Muslim leaders including the grand mufti and the Australian National Imams Council.
“We will always protect and defend our Muslim community in Australia and our people’s right to practice peacefully their religion without fear. Everyone has a right to feel safe in their places of worship.”
The envoy said his government was extending community safety grants to protect religious schools, places of worship and assembly.
“This is the time for unity and inclusion. We must all work together against extremism and take care to ensure our public debates about this horrific incident do not encourage the very divisions between faiths and cultures that extremists seek to create.”


King Abdullah of Jordan slams ‘hate-filled outlaws of Islam’

Updated 32 min 54 sec ago
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King Abdullah of Jordan slams ‘hate-filled outlaws of Islam’

  • Jordanian ruler sounds warning on rising religious and political extremism

AMMAN / SINGAPORE: Attacks on interfaith harmony, mutual respect and trust are the “world’s single most important threat,” King Abdullah of Jordan warned.

Speaking on Thursday at the International Conference on Cohesive Societies (ICCS) in Singapore, Jordan’s monarch condemned both “outlaws of Islam and extremist Islamophobes.”

“Perpetuators of hate-filled messages are distorting our religion’s great heritage and teachings,” he said.

King Abdullah called on the global community to tackle this challenge by “resisting hatred and exclusion,” supporting economic growth and protecting the environment.

In a keynote speech, the Jordanian ruler urged 700 delegates from 40 countries to apply the golden rule. “Loving one’s neighbor is not just an ideal. It is the golden rule that enables all of us to live side by side, to look beyond ourselves, and to achieve what we can only achieve in common.”

The conference was organized by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) with the support of Singapore’s Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

Ong Keng Yong, executive deputy chairman of RSIS, described the Singapore conference as a platform for constructive dialogue to strengthen mutual trust and understanding across communities.

“Singapore is a multiracial, multi-religious society, and we work hard to keep our country peaceful and secure. At the same time, we are part of the global community, which faces challenges posed by increased connectivity, intensifying identity politics, and infinite technological development,” he said.

King Abdullah listed Jordanian efforts including the Amman Message, the Common Word Initiative, and UN World Interfaith week.

However, when it comes to hate speech on the internet, solutions are not exclusively the responsibility of governments and big companies, he said.

“In a very real way, the internet belongs to its users. Moderate, positive voices need to reclaim this space and redirect the dialogue away from misinformation, insults and fear, and toward understanding and respect. Young men and women have a vital role in speaking up on social media and social networking sites, and using their talent for innovation to promote mutual understanding and hope.”

The Jordanian monarch also called for a “holistic approach to address security and the issues that extremists exploit.”

Perpetuators of hate-filled messages are distorting our religion’s great heritage and teachings.

King Abdullah

“We must also help to resolve conflicts, especially the core crisis of my region, the long denial of Palestinian statehood. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has fueled global discord and radicalism. We all need a lasting peace, meeting the needs of both sides, with a viable, independent, sovereign Palestinian state, on 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, but living side by side with Israel, in peace and security.

“We must safeguard Jerusalem, a holy city to billions of people around the world. As Hashemite Custodian of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites, I am bound by a special duty. But for all of us, Jerusalem must be a unifying city of peace.”

“King Abdullah is in a very difficult spot,” said Dr. James M. Dorsey, a Middle East expert and senior fellow at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.

Speaking to Arab News, Dr. Dorsey said the king’s speech reflects the geographical situation his country is facing.

“Every single border of his country is conflict-risk and impacts the country’s stability. If there is one country that desperately needs to get away from polarization and conflict and move toward conflict resolution, it is Jordan.”

Other speakers are the conference include Dr. Ali Al-Nuaimi, chairman of the World Muslim Communities Council; Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue; Dr. Nazirudin Mohd Nasir, deputy mufti and senior director at Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura; and John Alderdice, former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Over the weekend, Singaporeans can experience key elements of the conference through a series of “Heartland Dialogues and Experiences” at locations across the city. These include “learning journeys” and opportunities to speak with conference speakers.

In parallel with the conference, the “Many Beliefs, One Future” exhibition explores human connections across different beliefs through a collection of artworks and artifacts. 

The exhibition is open until June 13 at the Raffles City Shopping Center.

“We must also help to resolve conflicts, especially the core crisis of my region, the long denial of Palestinian statehood. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has fueled global discord and radicalism. We all need a lasting peace, meeting the needs of both sides, with a viable, independent, sovereign Palestinian state, on 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, but living side by side with Israel, in peace and security.

“We must safeguard Jerusalem, a holy city to billions of people around the world. As Hashemite Custodian of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites, I am bound by a special duty. But for all of us, Jerusalem must be a unifying city of peace.”

“King Abdullah is in a very difficult spot,” said Dr. James M. Dorsey, a Middle East expert and a senior fellow at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.

Speaking with Arab News Dr. Dorsey said the king’s speech reflects the geographical situation his country is facing.

“Every single border of his country is conflict-risk and has an impact on the stability of Jordan. If there is one country that desperately needs to get away from the polarization and conflict and toward conflict resolution, it is Jordan.”

Other speakers are the conference include Dr. Ali Al-Nuaimi, chairman of the World Muslim Communities Council; Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue; Dr. Nazirudin Mohd Nasir, deputy mufti and senior director at Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura; and John Alderdice, former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Over the weekend, Singapore people can experience key elements of the conference through a series of “Heartland Dialogues and Experiences” at locations across the city. These include “learning journeys” and opportunities to speak with conference speakers.

In parallel with the conference, the “Many Beliefs, One Future” exhibition explores human connections across different beliefs through a collection of artworks and artefacts. The exhibition is open until June 13 at the Raffles City Shopping Center.