Leaders from some of the world’s largest Muslim countries met at a summit titled “Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC)” last month, calling on all adherents of Islam to take a stand against terror attacks and condemn those orchestrating them in the name of religion. The world leaders, who met in the Turkish capital of Istanbul from April 10 to 15, all agreed that terrorism was beginning to spread like cancer within Islam.
Speaking to the audience, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mevlut Çavuşoğlu, said that sectarianism and violence had already caused a division in the Muslim world and was now beginning to bring more sorrow to the Muslim brethren.
“Muslims are the ones that experience the biggest harm. We cannot accept this situation. We cannot stay silent in front of such a picture,” stressed Çavuşoğlu. “The disease tries to set Muslims against one another. If nothing is done to stop the cancer within Islam, terrorism and radical trends will continue to divide the Islamic community and the result will be more bloodshed.”
Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, reiterated Çavuşoğlu’s thoughts while urging Muslim countries to take action against terrorist groups and defeat their plans that have been perpetrated so long in the name of Islam.
“We will continue to fight against forces of darkness and extremism that misrepresent the real teaching of Islam, which is based on tolerance,” Shoukry said.
Explaining how Islam needs more moderation, he called on OIC member states to build a comprehensive strategy that would succeed in completely wiping out terror and religious radicalism.
The summit sought to find a new peace process that would bring an end to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It also attempted to tackle other weighty issues such as preventing extremism within Muslim countries, fighting fear and hatred of Islam in different parts of the world and defending a particular group of Muslims that has been suffering religious persecution in Myanmar.
At the summit, some major Arab powers indicated a change of view towards Israel, saying they no longer view the Jewish state as an enemy. This came as Kuwait’s media expert, Yousef Abd al-Karim al-Zinkawi, called on Arab and Muslim nations to recognize Israel openly and without hesitance and stop referring to the Jewish state as a Zionist entity.
The last speech at the summit was delivered by Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said that Muslims should be able to solve their own problems without seeking help from outsiders.
“Why are we expecting others to solve the problems of Muslims? We should be able to solve our own problems. The OIC shall be there for eventual purpose,” he said.
Emphasizing the significance of OIC as a full-fledged platform for unity and solidarity, Erdogan said Muslim countries need peace and prosperity as their core values.
Wondering why it is Muslims that suffer the most during terrorist attacks, he asked, “Why do Muslim nations suffer from terrorism the most? Who is behind this terror? Which countries stand behind this issue? This needs to be addressed. … I believe that with the Istanbul summit we are conveying a message of justice and peace not only to Muslims, but to the entire world.”
Founded in 1969, OIC today consists of 57 member states. For decades, the organization has served as the collective voice for the Muslim world and it continues to hold a summit once every three years.
Photo Credits: FTN News