RIYADH: The secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, praised Cambodia for its tolerance and respect for diversity. It came as an OIC delegation took part in an annual Ramadan celebration hosted by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at Koh Pich Exhibition Center in the capital, Phnom Penh.
“This annual iftar celebration is a symbol of Cambodia’s long-standing respect for diversity, multiculturalism and tolerance, and the respect of the government for the Islamic community,” said Al-Othaimeen.
In a speech delivered by the OIC’s Nouriah Al-Hamami on his behalf, he said that the Cambodian government’s encouragement of peaceful coexistence and harmony in various segments of society is a factor that distinguishes the country.
He also highlighted the OIC’s desire to continue “the close and friendly relations with the Kingdom of Cambodia and strengthen relations in the future.”
He added that the organization will continue to work with Cambodia’s government to achieve this and thanked the country’s leadership, and the prime minister in particular, for hosting the annual Ramadan celebration.
In his speech to the crowd of about 4,500 people present, Hun Sen said: “Race and religion differences do not constitute obstacles to cooperation and development.” This, he added, is a principle the Cambodian People’s Party has been proud to follow for 40 years, and he called on everyone to make every effort to promote and protect national unity and harmony among all races and religions.
He also praised the level of cooperation with the OIC and expressed appreciation for its participation in the annual iftar, at which the organization represented the Islamic world.
The OIC delegation distributed copies of the Qur’an and dates for those who are fasting, then visited a number of mosques and schools for Muslims. They also toured a number of Muslim neighborhoods in the Cambodian capital.
About 800,000 Muslims live in Cambodia, which has a population of 16 million people.