JEDDAH: Organization of Islamic Cooperation foreign ministers on Wednesday welcomed the efforts of member states to counter the novel coronavirus pandemic. The effects of the outbreak on health care, security and financial stability were also discussed during an extraordinary virtual meeting hosted by the organization’s Jeddah headquarters.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, said the meeting acknowledged the important role of religious and community leaders, Islamic scholars and other prominent figures in raising public awareness. People must be informed about the importance of personal hygiene, safe habits and appropriate social behaviors as tools for curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and protecting lives in member states, he added.
According to Prince Faisal, the meeting also emphasized the importance of following recommended precautions based on the objectives of noble Islamic principles and teachings to ward off risks and protect lives. With this in mind, he said the efforts of member states and their religious leaders to protect lives and prevent the spread of the pandemic, including the temporary closure of mosques and places of worship, were appreciated.
In the same context, the participants supported the precautionary measures taken regarding the Two Holy Mosques and Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as all additional steps member states might take as a priority. They stressed the importance of the timely decision taken by Saudi Arabia to suspend Umrah and visits to the Prophet’s Mosque.
The ministers also urged all sides engaged in conflicts to declare a cease-fire, end the violence, and allow medical and food supplies to reach those who need them most. They also appealed to humanitarian groups and donors to provide aid and identify safe supply routes.
OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen said that all parties have “joined hands to fight a joint enemy whose repercussions have affected the world.”
Foreign ministers highlighted the importance of addressing the health, humanitarian, social and economic impact of the pandemic by relying on science and strengthening coordination. They praised measures taken by member states to prevent the virus spreading, and voiced support for health workers on the frontlines working around the clock to save lives.