OIC mulls Syria’s suspension

Updated 26 June 2012

OIC mulls Syria’s suspension

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), is seriously considering suspension of Syria from the membership of the pan Islamic organization and its affiliated bodies.
“Foreign ministers from the member countries will discuss the issue and take a decision at the ministerial level meeting to be held in Djibouti on Nov. 15,” he said. Ihsanoglu was replying to queries from Arab News during a press conference held at the end of the ministerial-level extraordinary meeting of the OIC Executive Committee here on Sunday.
The OIC chief said that any military intervention in Syria at present would not be fruitful but instead it would further deteriorate the situation and drag the region into a vicious war. "This would exacerbate the situation and in no way serve the interests of the Syrian people,” he said.
All the members of the executive committee, except Syria and Iran, supported the recommendation to suspend Syria from OIC, according to OIC sources. Subsequently, the committee recommended suspending Syria's membership in the pan-Muslim grouping.
The 57-member OIC committee has "recommended to the Djibouti meeting the suspension of Syria's membership in the OIC in light of the bloody events taking place in the country. The committee also urged the UN Security Council “to assume its full responsibilities to put an end to the violence and bloodshed taking place in Syria."
Earlier, addressing the meeting, Ihsanoglu warned that the current situation in Syria presages a civil war outbreak, which could crush thousands more of innocent lives and whose impact could overspill to all the countries of the region.
The OIC chief expressed his profound concern, pain and sorrow at he turn of events in Syria. “With the approach of the holy month of Ramadan and the sacred months during which Allah has forbidden warring, and the blood-letting of innocent civilians becomes even more reprehensible,” he said while appealing the Syrian Islamic scholars to urge people to observe the sanctity of these sacred months.
Ihsanoglu noted that the OIC, ever since its inception, has been keen in avoiding interference in the domestic affairs of any member country, in addition to respecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity with the hope of achieving a permanent solution within the framework of the Arab-Islamic world.
“However, the exacerbated security situation, the nature of the repressive practices, and the killing of so many children and women have contributed to the internationalization of the crisis,” he said while emphasizing the pan Islamic body’s earlier position of rejecting internationalization of the crisis.
Ihsanoglu said the meeting, held at the OIC headquarters, also examined the serious developments in Palestine, Syria, Sudan and Mali, and that OIC is striving to find a solution to these crises without allowing them to get further worsened.
In his speech, Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Saud Al-Kabeer noted that the meeting was convened at a time when the Muslim Ummah was passing through a difficult time. “The painful situation in Syria demands from us all types of support and help to the people of Syria,” he said.
Prince Turki drew attention to an earlier meeting convened by OIC to discuss the deteriorating situation in Syria in November last year and its demand to Damascus to stop atrocities against its own people and support to the Arab League plan to end the crisis. “But unfortunately, none of these demands have so far been materialized. Hence, the meeting must take decisive and strong action in the wake of the failure of half solutions and all efforts to stop the massacres against the Syrian people," Prince Turki added.

 


Tolerance key to promoting inclusive society: EU envoy

Updated 17 October 2019

Tolerance key to promoting inclusive society: EU envoy

  • Intellectuals, diplomats discuss challenge of blending cultures, faiths and values

RIYADH/JEDDAH: The European envoy to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday called for more tolerance and respect to help bring diverse societies closer together.

Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso, head of the EU delegation to the Kingdom, made his appeal as he welcomed attendees to a high-profile lecture to discuss Saudi and European perspectives on religious tolerance and diversity.

Organized by the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS), the event gathered together top intellectuals, diplomats and scholars to debate the issues of tolerance, forgiveness and acceptance of others.

Opening the lecture at the King Faisal Foundation building in Riyadh, d’Urso spoke about tolerance and how it was core to the transformation of societies, especially in Europe which had become more diverse.

“Today’s European society is a mixture of cultures, faiths, values, ideas, and habits. The challenge is to make sure our society is more inclusive, enhance mutual understanding and promote tolerance and respect,” the envoy said.

He pointed to the UN’s blossoming partnership with the KFCRIS and the importance of the lecture as key building blocks in the process of bridging cultural and religious gaps between societies.

“I think there are few more teams that are exchanging on the Saudi and European perspectives of religious tolerance and diversity. All of us know that the KFCRIS builds from the legacy of the late King Faisal and has been a pillar in promoting Islam,” d’Urso added.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso, head of the EU delegation to the Kingdom, made his appeal as he welcomed attendees to a high-profile lecture to discuss Saudi and European perspectives on religious tolerance and diversity.
  • Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), told delegates that when he talked about tolerance in Islam, he also meant tolerance in Saudi Arabia as a state that applied and was governed by Shariah law.
  • The director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Dr. Michael Privot, who converted to Islam 26 years ago, spoke about how the EU was characterized by increasing diversity, including religious and philosophical beliefs, even from the Muslim perspective.

He noted that in Europe there were many people of faith that had respect for coexistence. 

Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), told delegates that when he talked about tolerance in Islam, he also meant tolerance in Saudi Arabia as a state that applied and was governed by Shariah law.

He said a state that respected others, human existence and brotherhood could not exist “unless there is respect for diversity and differences as a universal norm that no one can collide.”

According to Al-Issa, the Charter of Madinah (regarded as the first Islamic state constitution) was considered one of the best achievements of civil legislation in human history. “This document was held by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, with the Jews and represented binding legislation for Muslims toward religious minorities.”

The MWL chief noted that the document included the protection of civil and religious rights. “The document cannot be absorbed by extremism, it is clear. These rights and freedoms have been preserved by this legislation. And the Prophet Muhammad coexisted with everyone and understood these differences and diversity.”

In his speech, Al-Issa explained how the Qur’an gave Jews and Christians a special name to celebrate their religious origins where they were called “people of the book,” in reference to the Torah and the Gospel. The history of Christians and Jews was also never omitted.

Addressing the event, director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Dr. Michael Privot, who converted to Islam 26 years ago, spoke about how the EU was characterized by increasing diversity, including religious and philosophical beliefs, even from the Muslim perspective.

“We encounter such a diversity of ways of being Muslim from a theoretical, cultural, philosophical, ideological point of view. Any single Muslim group or community is represented somewhere in Europe and this situation puts European Muslims in a very unique environment which is different from any other Islamic majority society in the world,” said Privot.

He pointed out that for the first time in history Muslim groups from Uzbekistan and Senegal were living together and trying to become a community in European societies.

“Societies, which have completely liberalized the market of religions, believe all faiths are accepted,” he added.

Earlier on Monday, an MWL forum in Makkah recommended that Islamic discourse should adhere to the principles of the Qur’an and Sunnah, the Muslims’ uppermost legislative sources, which are also known as the Two Divine Revelations.

The forum, titled “The Service of the Two Revelations,” called upon concerned authorities in the Muslim world to regulate Islamic fatwas in a way that prevented extremism and stopped producing any misguided explanations of the divinely revealed texts.

The participants also encouraged the use of modern technology, especially social media, to better serve the Qur’an and Sunnah to help link Muslim youths with the two revelations.

In addition, the gathering proposed establishing platforms for producing software and smart apps related to the Qur’an and Sunnah and the launch of an international service award under the umbrella of the MWL.

Al-Issa added that the MWL had staged a number of Qur’an memorization programs in 78 countries and said there were now 68 colleges and institutes where 7,500 students were studying the Qur’an.

“Some 61,275 Qur’an readers have graduated from these institutes, with 5,055 reciters having obtained authentic reading certificates. The IOQAS (International Organization of Qitab and Sunnah) has also carried out 193 training courses and provided nearly 3,000 scholarships,” he said.