Pakistani prime minister to attend OIC summit in Makkah

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will highlight continuing Israeli ‘aggression’ in Palestine at the summit. (File/Reuters)
Updated 24 May 2019

Pakistani prime minister to attend OIC summit in Makkah

  • Saudi Arabia will host the 14th session of the OIC’s Islamic Summit in Makkah on May 31

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will be in Saudi Arabia on May 27-28 for ministerial meetings ahead of the Islamic Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Foreign Office said on Thursday, paving the way for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s trip to the Kingdom to attend the summit on May 31.

Saudi Arabia will host the 14th session of the OIC’s Islamic Summit in Makkah on May 31, chaired by King Salman.

The summit, according to the Saudi Press Agency, is titled “Makkah Summit: Together for the Future” and aims to develop a unified stance on events in the Islamic world.

Foreign Office spokesman Dr. Mohammed Faisal confirmed to Arab News that Khan would be participating in the summit, and was expected to address members of the forum.

It is also expected that Khan will use the forum to highlight continuing Israeli aggression in Palestine, and recent developments in Pakistan’s relationship with India.

FASTFACT

 

Saudi Arabia will host the 14th session of the OIC’s Islamic Summit in Makkah on May 31, chaired by King Salman.

Israel started building settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in the wake of the Six-Day War in June 1967. During the run-up to elections this year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to annex the settlements — built in violation of international law — if he won another term in office.

“Pakistan remains at the forefront of supporting our Palestinian brethren in all OIC regular meetings,” Faisal said.

“We have supported resolutions on Palestine at the OIC which strongly condemns Israeli aggression.”

Describing Pakistan’s position on the Israel-Palestine conflict, Faisal said only the “establishment of a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders, and with Al-Quds and Al-Sharif as its capital” would guarantee sustainable peace in West Asia.


Oxford University probes ‘sale’ of ancient Bible fragments originally from Egypt

Updated 16 October 2019

Oxford University probes ‘sale’ of ancient Bible fragments originally from Egypt

  • The university is investigating wether an associate professor unilaterally sold about a dozen fragments to the US retailer Hobby Lobby
  • The artifacts were part of the Oxyrhynchus collection owned by the London-based Egypt Exploration Society

LONDON: Oxford University said Wednesday it has launched an investigation into claims that one of its professors sold ancient Bible fragments to the controversial US company of a billionaire evangelical Christian.
The renowned British university confirmed it was seeking to establish if Dirk Obbink, an associate professor in papyrology and Greek literature, unilaterally sold about a dozen fragments to the US retailer Hobby Lobby.
The arts and crafts chain was founded by Steve Green, who is also chairman of the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC, and has courted controversy for supporting conservative causes.
The artifacts were part of the Oxyrhynchus collection owned by the London-based Egypt Exploration Society, which initiated its own probe earlier this year after it emerged its items may be held by the museum. 

The Oxyrhynchus Papyri Project is a collection of centuries-old manuscripts recovered from an ancient Egyptian rubbish dump during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

“We can confirm we are engaging with the Egypt Exploration Society with regard to the allegations concerning papyri from the Oxyrhynchus Collection,” an Oxford University spokesperson said.
“The University is conducting its own internal investigation to seek to establish the facts.”
Obbink did not respond to a request for comment from AFP.
In a statement, the EES said it had been working with the museum to clarify whether any texts from its collection had been sold or offered for sale to Hobby Lobby or its agents.
That followed the emergence of a copy of a redacted 2017 contract purportedly between Obbink and the retailer for the sale of six items, “including four New Testament fragments probably of EES provenance.”
The EES statement added the museum had subsequently provided photos identifying 13 texts from its collection which had been “taken without authorization” and were now being returned.
“The (museum) has informed the EES that 11 of these pieces came into its care after being sold to Hobby Lobby Stores by Professor Obbink, most of them in two batches in 2010,” EES said.
The society noted it had not re-appointed Obbink in August 2016 as a general editor of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri project partly due to concerns “about his alleged involvement in the marketing of ancient texts.”
It added he was then banned from any access to its collection “pending his satisfactory clarification of the 2013 contract” which he had yet to provide.
“We cannot comment here on any broader legal issues arising from these findings, except to note that they are under consideration by all the institutions concerned,” EES said.
It is not the first time both Hobby Lobby and the Museum of the Bible have been caught up in an artifacts controversy.
The company was forced to pay a $3 million settlement in 2017 and give up 5,500 artifacts — including ancient clay cuneiform tablets from Iraq — that the US Justice Department said were illegally imported.
Meanwhile the museum last year announced that five items it had said were fragments of the ancient manuscripts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls were in fact fake, and would no longer be displayed.