Remarks of Sartaj Aziz at Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Istanbul
Istanbul, April 12, 2016 (PPI-OT):Mr. Chairman,
Dear Colleagues and OIC Secretary General
Ladies and Gentlemen
May I express our heartiest congratulations to you on assuming the Chairmanship of Council of the Foreign Ministers Meeting Preparatory to the 13th Islamic Summit Conference.
May I also take this opportunity to recognize the contribution of the Republic of Egypt during its Chairmanship of the 12th Islamic Summit.
I also appreciate the wisdom and sagacity of the Secretary General for selecting Unity and Solidarity for Justice and Peace as the theme of this Summit Meeting.
As already pointed, our challenges today are enormous. Our people and their territories remain under foreign occupation. A number of brotherly countries are facing unprecedented turmoil. Our people are suffering unbearable misery and hardship as refugees in search of shelter. And then, our religion, our values, our outlook, our holy prophet, our symbols, indeed all that has association with our noble religion Islam is under attack.
In these difficult times, solidarity and unity of the Ummah is needed more than at any other time in our 1400 years long history. We must rekindle the spirit of brotherhood and one community that has characterized the Muslim people, for justice and peace, especially in Palestine and Afghanistan.
Resolving issues through mutual consultations, therefore, is not only our religious duty but also a political imperative for ensuring peace and security of our peoples. Any member state amongst us that could assist in bridging the differences between brotherly countries must step forward and help resolving them. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif acted in this spirit when he visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Islamic Republic of Iran in January 2016. We are thankful for the cooperation we received from our brothers.
We are also deeply concerned at the sharp rise in hate speech, discriminatory acts and social hostility against Muslims, especially the Muslim minorities. We are also witnessing increase in the instances of physical and psychological violence against Muslims and their businesses and places of worship. Muslim minorities are being alienated and marginalized. Many of them live in fear.
Western media’s ignorant portrayals of Muslims provide fuel to this campaign of hate and bigotry. At a time when there is a need to urge all communities to develop tolerance and respect for each other, we see the unfortunate rise of political opportunism by spreading fear and xenophobia.
If left unchecked, such instances and political short-sightedness will grow rapidly in the years to come. It is our collective responsibility to reverse these trends.
We attach importance to the freedom of expression. We, however, refuse to accept that it allows insults against Islam and hate speech and incitement to violence against Muslims.
OIC can take a role of a lead partner in interfaith dialogue. The Secretariat may examine the possibility of holding a high level international event to highlight the dangers that growing intolerance and hostility may pose to the international peace and security.
Second, our educational systems, media, religious scholars and the civil society as a whole construct and propagate must promote tolerance and respect for differing views in our own societies.
The adoption of consensus Resolution 16/18 in the Human Rights Council is a commendable accomplishment of the international community against intolerance and discrimination. We must work towards the implementation of the Resolution’s Action Plan agreed in the Human Rights Commission.
Today, terrorism and violent extremism pose serious threat to international peace and security. The menace has inflicted immeasurable human and economic losses. Pakistan has always supported that a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy is needed to tackle this global problem.
The complexity of challenge also demands enhanced and shared understanding and deeper dialogue between countries, cultures and civilizations. We should always give due consideration to specific local context and religious and cultural sensitivities while crafting any international response to counter violent extremism.
Terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. The OIC must maintain its consensus on the issues related to terrorism.
I thank you.
For more information, contact:
Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Ch
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan