OIC seeks rights debates based on Islamic values

Updated 05 February 2014
0

OIC seeks rights debates based on Islamic values

One of the major challenges of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is finding ways to enrich global human rights debates with Islamic values and principles, said Iyad Madani, the newly appointed OIC secretary-general.
In a statement issued at the fourth session of the OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), on Sunday here, Madani said that current international human rights laws are based on Western values.
He said the OIC was looking particularly at limitations on freedom of expression, gender equality, applying human rights in accordance with the OIC member states’ constitutional and legal systems, and stopping the spread of extremism.
With reference to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration on Human Rights and major UN human rights instruments, he said most OIC countries have “willingly adopted and implemented international human rights norms. However, there are a number of issues that go beyond the normal scope of human rights and clash with Islamic teachings,” Madani said in the statement.
Freedom of expression is considered a fundamental right, but despite “repeated incidents of hatred and violence resulting from discrimination based on stereotyping and stigmatization of individuals, communities and religions, some countries continue to refuse any limitations or responsible use of this right,” Madani said.
“Muslim countries wanting to ensure respect for the sanctity and reputation of religious values, scriptures and personalities for the promotion of peace in society are criticized for limiting this freedom through blasphemy laws.”
“One of the main issues related to the gender equality debate is the very definition of the term gender. While OIC countries prefer to use the notion of equality between men and women, Western countries push for the term ‘gender,’ which goes beyond the normal definition of man and woman into the direction of how one perceives him or herself rather than his or her actual physical appearance.”
“Another challenge facing the commission is that all references to human rights in the OIC documents stipulate that these principles should be applied in accordance with the member states’ constitutional and legal systems.”
He said there needs to be a way found to define these stipulations, and create “a yardstick that each individual member state can look at to measure the distance between the Islamic human rights model and its own laws and practices,” he said.
Another important challenge was how to “deprive the extreme voices” in member states from claiming they represent Islam.
“The road ahead is full of challenges, but the OIC now has the framework and mechanism to move ahead, and the commission is the spearhead of this effort,” Madani said.
He said that the OIC takes pride in the fact that Islam was the first religion that laid down universal fundamental rights for humanity. The OIC had since its inception taken care to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms, safeguard the rights of women and their participation in all spheres of life, and assist Muslim minorities and communities outside the member states to preserve their dignity, and cultural and religious identities.
The OIC charter stipulated the formation of the IPCHR, as one of its organs to promote civil, political, social and economic rights in conformity with Islamic values.
In its 10-year strategic plan, approved in Makkah in 2005, the OIC asserted that it was important for member states to revive the Muslim Ummah’s pioneering role on rights issues. They should expand the scope of political participation, ensure equality, civil liberties and social justice, promote transparency and accountability, and eliminate corruption.
The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam embodies the OIC’s most complete statement on human rights in Islam. Other documents followed suit including the covenant on the Rights of the Child in Islam and the OIC Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women.
“The commission has done commendable work on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories; on the issue of discrimination and intolerance against Muslims and on the issue of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar,” Madani said.
The commission also established four working groups to address these issues in an effective and sustained fashion: on Palestine, on the Rights of Women and of the Child, on Islamophobia and Muslim minorities, and on Right to Development. It also created an ad hoc working group to establish a proper framework for interaction between the IPHRC and member states’ human rights institutions and civil society organizations.


LuLu opens Saudi Arabia's largest store in Riyadh

Updated 42 min 58 sec ago
0

LuLu opens Saudi Arabia's largest store in Riyadh

JEDDAH: LuLu Group recently opened its 150th hypermarket in Riyadh. It was inaugurated by Ibrahim Al-Omer, governor of Saudi General Investment Authority (SAGIA); Ibrahim Al-Suwail, deputy governor of SAGIA; along with Sheikh Shakhbout bin Nahyan Al-Nahyan, UAE ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Yusuff Ali M.A., LuLu Group chairman; Shehim Mohammed, LuLu Saudi director; and other dignitaries and royal family members.
Located at the newly launched Atyaf Mall in Yarmouk, the hypermarket, the 13th in the country and the Kingdom’s largest, is spread across 220,000-square-feet.
Yusuff Ali M.A. said: “We are absolutely delighted to open our group’s 150th and Saudi Arabia’s 13 hypermarket in Riyadh and I am sure the shoppers here will be pleased by the new retail experience we have created. Through our internationally sourced quality products and enthusiastic staff, LuLu has been the most preferred destination for different nationalities and we will continue to preserve this identity with our new store.”
He added: “We see tremendous growth opportunities in the Kingdom and are glad to be part of the Vision 2030 by further expanding our presence here. We will open another 15 hypermarkets by 2020 at an investment of SR1 billion ($266 million) out of which five will be opened this year itself. This includes three hypermarkets in Riyadh followed by one each in Tabuk and Dammam. This is apart from the SR1 billion we have already invested in the Kingdom till now.”
The group currently employs more than 3,000 Saudi nationals, out of which 1,400 are women, amounting to 40 percent of Saudization.
“Our goal is to give employment to 6,000 Saudi nationals by the end of 2020. We have a very elaborate and effective multi-level training program, through which we not only train them here but also send the local recruits to other regions in the GCC and India for training in various departments. We have also tied up with Saudi vocational institutions and universities in this regard,” the LuLu Group chairman said.