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Report of the Panel Discussion on Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief and Combating Intolerance through Inter-Religious Cooperation The balance between freedom of expression and freedom of religion and belief was discussed at a UK hosted side event at the UN in Geneva. In preparation for a Wilton Park conference in December, the UK mission organised a panel discussion at the UN in Geneva to explore how to best implement Human Rights Council resolution 16/18, and how to tackle intolerance and discrimination within the current international human rights framework. read more
The Reality of Freedom of Expression in the Muslim World Following the aftermath of the release of the anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims” and the publication of anti-Muslim cartoons in France, some voices in the Muslim world called for the enactment of strict legislation to criminalize such defamation. Despite what some on Capitol Hill have expressed, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has not been one of those voices. read more
Islam: Giving Shelter To Those Who Seek Refuge If you walk intently in the bazaars of the bustling metropolis Karachi, you'll see scores of Afghan refugees trading and selling merchandise. Sporting a four-finger-long beard, often colored in henna, they integrate well in the society and speak the local language proficiently. But not all Afghan refugees have settled so well in the society. read more
OIC chief: Global action to fight Islamophobia needed he secretary-general of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation has urged the international community to take effective action to prevent growing Islamophobia or enmity toward Islam and Muslims all over the world. read more
From clash to alliance: why the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation is an indispensable partner for western diplomacy If ever the role of the Muslim world in international affairs was pivotal — not only to Muslim countries, but equally to the West — it is now. The major theme of NATO’s upcoming heads of state summit next month is the full transition of responsibility for security issues to Afghanistan by 2014. In the Middle East, the strained ‘ceasefire’ in Syria and the controversy over F1 amidst Bahrain’s brutal crackdown on protestors, both show the extent to which the wider region is teetering on the edge. read more
Summit offers ground for dialogue, teamwork In 15 years, the Eurasian Economic Summit, which is annually organized by the Marmara Group Foundation, has emerged as an important platform for Public Private Dialogue on economic issues not only in Turkey, but also across the whole Eurasian region. read more
After a Massacre, Islamic Cavalry to the Rescue? With plans for both its options for orderly disengagement from Afghanistan upended this week by a staff sergeant's massacre of 16 Afghan civilians, the Obama administration urgently needs to alter the equation. The expiration next week of the current U.N. mandate for Afghanistan can provide the occasion. read more
Interview with Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation In this interview, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), discusses the violence in Syria and his organization's role in high-level meetings, one of which resulted in drafting Kofi Annan as a special envoy for the Arab League. Other topics he discusses at length are OIC's new human rights commission; the expanding role of women; and Western fears of Sharia law in Muslim countries. read more
Time to end exceptional security policies targeting Muslims: they don't work Contemporary counter-terrorist policies often discriminate directly or indirectly against Muslims, as the recent case of Abu Qatada illustrate. This bias produces counter-productive effects. After 9/11 and 7/7 US and UK governments introduced security policies and practices that often set different and exceptional standards for their Muslim citizens and residents. Not only has this been unfair and undemocratic it has also been counter-productive in terms of public safety. read more
US, OIC collaboration on religious tolerance: changing times On Monday, Dec. 19, 2011, the UN General Assembly passed a path-breaking resolution supporting religious tolerance. The resolution, passed by the joint efforts of the US and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), points to the increasing collaboration between the two. The resolution has been in the making for some time and is part of an effort by Muslim states to get Western states to combat growing Islamophobia in the post-9/11 world. read more
The OIC's Xenophobic Publicists in the United States At the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), ever since Professor Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu became secretary-general of the organization in 2005, engaging with the relevant US authorities and gaining publicity within American public opinion have continued to be priorities. After all, the OIC and the United States should be and are natural allies in dealing with a wide range of issues, which include countering inter-ethnic and intra-religious violence in both Iraq and Afghanistan as elsewhere, combating racial and religious discrimination, promoting moderation and modernization, improving mother-child health in OIC member states, encouraging the participation of women in politics, improving human rights conditions and female equality, as well as many other existing and emerging issues. The US has a vested interest in each and every single one of these areas, and the OIC is the legitimate, credible and able political body to partner with as it too shares the same interests. read more
Book Review - Crescent and Dove: Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam Crescent and Dove — edited by Dr. Qamar ul Huda and including contributions from other Muslim scholars and peace practitioners — carries an essence of contemporary Muslim scholarship and helps great deal to correct many misapprehension and fallacies by spotlighting the misperception that Islam is an intrinsically dictatorial religion, so not compatible with democratic freedom. The work does not make a direct search into the underlying roots of tolerance within Islam but shows them in action in different parts of the Muslim world. read more
U.N. Tackles Religious Intolerance without Limiting Free Speech Yesterday, in an historic vote, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on combating religious intolerance. The novelty of this text is that it does not include the harmful concept of “defamation of religions.” Instead, the General Assembly resolution calls on governments to speak out and to condemn hatred, while encouraging open debate, human rights education, and interfaith and intercultural initiatives. read more
Where is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation headed? In the final analysis, the debate over the OIC should have started long ago. After İhsanoğlu became the secretary-general of the OIC, the concerned elements of the OIC member states started to seriously discuss the structure, vision, goals and operation of the organization. It is a very good development that this debate has been adopted and joined by the publics of its member states. In fact, even this development itself is a clear indication that the OIC's future will be brighter than its past. It is hoped that this debate will remain immune to the black propaganda and attempts to settle personal scores, and that it will become ever more constructive. Similarly, it is hoped that while addressing what needs to be done, what has already been done is not ignored. read more
OIC: A quest for reform across the Muslim world Amid these tensions, Secretary-General İhsanoğlu’s structural and substantial overhaul of the OIC has gone mostly unnoticed both in the member and non-member states, if not deliberately ignored. Probably, his most important contribution was the shift of a paradigm that defines the very existence of the OIC. He has transformed the OIC’s institutional purpose of existence from the one that is defined by the past grievances of its member states and that aims to reactively guard against the repetitions as such, to the one that is future oriented and that aims to proactively make the Muslim world a constructive and integral part of the international community. read more
OIC Secretary General welcomes US-Muslim World Cooperation IN A SPEECH before a crowd of international reporters at the National Press Club on June 23, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu offered praise for President Barack Obama’s Cairo speech, calling it framework for cooperation.” read more
Danish Daily Jyllands Posten Interview with the OIC Secretary General First of all let me be very clear on one point. We are neither against criticism of any religion nor calling for banning criticism of religions. History of religions, including Islam, is a history of criticism and debates, which led to the formation of different sects and schools of thought. These debates have always been there at the academic, scholarly, or theological level. As for the debates, which are conducted at the level of public opinion, we have no problem with any criticism, as long as they are objectives, fair and conducted in a responsible manner. read more
OIC: A Voice for the Muslim World? Not one but many voices of the “middle way” have to emerge to reflect the rich diversity as well as the multifaceted concerns and anxieties of Muslim communities the world over. This is what is happening in different parts of the Muslim world. Countless Muslim organizations, small and big, conservative and liberal, local and international, are converging on the necessity of such platforms where the voices of moderation, wisdom, mercy, and serious thinking can flourish. They are seeking the “middle path” to make sense of everything from the Danish cartoon saga to the mindless killings in Iraq. read more
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