JEDDAH: HABIB SHAIKH
Published — Thursday 5 September 2013
Last update 7 September 2013 9:05 pm
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), has warned against the rise of Islamophobia, which seeks to defame Islam and Muslims.
In a statement to the fifth International Conference on Islamic Civilization in Zanzibar, Tanzania, on Tuesday, he said, “I firmly believe that with a proper understanding of Islam and its values and the dissemination of a true image of Islam, the agenda of intolerance to cultural diversity and religious beliefs can be countered peacefully to safeguard our common values which we share with the whole of humanity.”
The conference is aimed at highlighting various aspects of Islamic civilization in Eastern Africa and promoting the exchange of views and findings of research on the impact of Islamic civilization in the region. The conference, which concludes on Friday, is organized by the Istanbul-based Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), a subsidiary of the OIC, jointly with the National Records and Archives Authority of Oman and in cooperation with Zanzibar University. Ali Mohamed Shein, president of the Republic of Zanzibar, inaugurated the conference in the presence of Abdul Monem bin Mansour Alhassani, minister of Information in Oman.
Ihsanoglu said that Tanzania not only stands as a good example of Islamic civilization but it is also considered a beacon of intercultural harmony and coexistence, which reflects the essence of Islamic culture and tradition.
Islam entered into East Africa during the first migration of Muslims from Makkah to Abyssinia, followed by Muslim traders and preachers. However, it remained confined to the coast for some time and then continued to spread in wider regions. By the 14th century, there were Muslim sultanates in West and East Africa that became seats for Islamic learning.