OIC chief praises pope’s efforts to revitalize interfaith dialogue

Updated 16 December 2013
0

OIC chief praises pope’s efforts to revitalize interfaith dialogue

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), has commended the efforts exerted by Pope Francis to revitalize interfaith dialogue between Christians and Muslims.
Ihsanoglu made the comment during his first meeting with the pope at the Vatican on Friday.
The secretary-general pointed out that today the presence of Muslims in historically Christian countries has expanded, while some OIC countries either have native Christian communities or have witnessed in recent years the arrival of Christians as guest workers.
The two expressed the need for greater efforts to foster respect for religious pluralism and cultural diversity and to counter the spread of bigotry and prejudices. They stressed that inter-religious dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in the world and is a duty for adherents of all faiths and traditions.
Ihsanoglu shared with the pope his vision regarding the need for a “historic reconciliation” between Islam and Christianity based on the common Abrahamic roots, in order to establish multiculturalism and harmonious societies. The pope commended the proposal and stressed the need to follow it up.
The two leaders expressed concern over the increase in inter-communal tension between Muslim and Christian communities and over the transformation of communal conflicts in some parts of the world into religiously motivated conflicts, even though the root causes are not religious in nature. Concern was also expressed about the exploitation of religion in conflict situations as a means to mobilize supporters.
They highlighted establishing a secondary, cultural tract to support interfaith dialogue initiatives.
During the meeting, views were exchanged on regional and international developments, especially the situation in Palestine. Both leaders expressed hope that the holy city of Jerusalem would be a haven in which Muslims, Jews and Christians may live and worship in peace and harmony.
Concern and dismay were also expressed about the continuation of violence in Syria, which they agreed requires a solution based on dialogue and negotiation.
The secretary-general concurred with the vision of Pope Francis on the need for a just world where poverty and hunger are eradicated and commended him for being recognized as “Person of the Year” by Time magazine.
Before the audience with Pope Francis, the OIC delegation met with Antoine Camilleri, undersecretary for relations with states, to discuss means of forging cooperation between the Holy See and OIC to contribute to global peace and security.


From ‘minga’ to ‘Maga’ — how the UN heard two world views

US President Donald Trump during a working luncheon hosted by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, front, at the United Nations in New York Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 26 September 2018
0

From ‘minga’ to ‘Maga’ — how the UN heard two world views

  • Trump had his own ideas for solving those very same problems, but they owed little to the minga philosophy

NEW YORK: The president of the United Nations General Assembly, Maria Espinosa, introduced the concept of “minga” to the packed audience at the organization’s HQ on East 44th Street in New York; but an hour later President Donald Trump had reasserted his own view of the world, under the “Maga” banner.
Opening the first day of the UN general debate — the centerpiece of the organization’s annual get together — Espinosa, from Ecuador, explained that minga was a principle by which the people of the Andes lived their lives. Its main tenet was the principle of living and working together in harmony for the betterment of all — an idea sure to win approval at the UN.
With minga the world could solve the big issues it faces, from gender inequality through the environment down to peace and security.
Trump had his own ideas for solving those very same problems, but they owed little to the minga philosophy. Instead, he saw the world through the prism of “strong independent nations” which together would advance the state of mankind.
And, as he made clear, the US was the leader of this band of nation, so his oft-declared amibition of “making America great again” (Maga) would bring the rest of the world along with it to greatness.
“Inside everyone listening here today is the heart of a patriot, filled with the passion that inspired reform and revolutions, economic good, technological progress and works of art. Sovereign independent nations are the only vehicles where freedom, democracy and peace have been enhanced. So we have to protect them,” the president explained.
Not everyone in the audience agreed with Trump’s unilateral view of the world, nor with America’s perceived role in it.
Before he had taken the podium — in presidential dark grey suit, white shirt and long red tie — the two previous speakers had stressed the traditional UN values of collectivism and multilateralism, and received warm applause from the delegates for doing so.
Two South American leaders, President Michel Timer of Brazil and President Lenin Moreno of Ecuador, both talked about the challenges of multilateralism, and obliquely criticized the US over its long-running embargo of Cuba, as well as what they said was the role of American banks in dominating their economies, to the detriment of their people.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said that multilateralism was “under fire exactly when we need it the most, and, in contrast to Trump’s later comments about trade deficits, explained that what the world was really suffering from was a “trust deficit”, which could sink the international order in a bloody quagmire similar to the First World War.
President Trump made light of such dire warnings. In fact, he was adamant that the future was good, with a booming US economy, strong stock markets, full employment, tax reform and increased see spending on the US military.
“In the two years of my presidency, we have seen more progress that almost any other administration in the history of this country,” he said. The delegates murmured in response.