'Muslims became new Jews of Europe'

The 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) called for international legislation to stop defamation of religion and combat Islamophobia.

'Muslims became new Jews of Europe'

The OIC Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu received the High Representative of the European Union for Common Foreign and Security Policy Mr. Javier Solana, who visited the OIC Headquarters, accompanied by a high level delegation with the aim of discussing the ramifications of the publication by the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten of imaginary caricatures insulting Prophet Mohamed (PBUH).

The two parties held lengthy discussions and examined the case with a view to reaching a satisfactory settlement of the issue.

The Secretary-General welcomed his European guest and expressed his appreciation for his visit to Jeddah at this moment of crisis when the feelings of dissatisfaction and anger have intensified all over the Muslim world in reaction to some Western media organs' attempts to insult the Islamic values under the pretext of freedom of speech. The Secretary-General stated that he looked forward to cooperating with the European Union in order to overcome this crisis and to ensure that it is not repeated in the future.

For his part, Mr. Solana stated that through his first visit to the OIC Headquarters, he wanted to send out a strong signal to the Islamic public opinion by expressing in a clear and unequivocal manner, Europe's strong respect for Islam and for Muslims' sentiments, and to demonstrate his sorrow and regret at the fallouts of the issue of the caricatures whose publishers have misjudged the Muslims' reaction to them. Mr. Solana said that the whole issue was not justified and that he understood the reactions of Muslims, who felt injustice and hurt. He expressed his sincere willingness to cooperate with the Organization of the Islamic Conference and with the Muslim States to avoid the recurrence of this incident in the future.            Mr. Solana added that today's world is full of complicated crises and that the last thing they wanted was a confrontation due to these caricatures. He emphasized, on the contrary, the importance of cooperating and working together in order to make the world a safer place and to consider adopting measures capable of appeasing the situation first and then to consider the steps that would guarantee that such incidents are not repeated in the future.

The Secretary-General extended his thanks to the EU High Representative for his spirit of cooperation, and made a number of legal and political proposals that may guarantee that this crisis is not repeated in the future. These proposals include:

1- To adopt necessary legislative measures by the EU against Islamophobia through the European Parliament.

2-To make joint efforts by the EU and the OIC for the adoption of a Resolution by the United Nations on the lines of existing UN Resolution 60/150 (Combating defamation of religions) which should prohibit defamation of all Prophets and faiths.

3-To adopt code of ethics for the European media. The code of ethics should take into account the sensitivities of the Muslims and defamation in any form or manifestation and the core beliefs of the religions including mocking and criticizing Prophets and it should be considered as an ethical offence in the European media code.

4-To adopt an International Communication/Media Order by the United Nations defining the freedom of speech with regard to religious symbols.

5-To include operative provisions prohibiting blasphemy and defamation as well as incitement to hatred in the text of the resolution on the Statute of the Human Rights Council presently being considered at the UN.

Mr. Solana welcomed these ideas and promised to cooperate with the OIC Secretary-General, the European Union institutions and the United Nations in light of these proposals. He also expressed his satisfaction over the positive climate of the discussions and the willingness to reach positive results, and demonstrated his desire to hold a joint EU-OIC meeting in continuation of the meeting that was held between the two organizations in 2002 in Istanbul which had yielded positive results regarding the facilitation of understanding and dialogue between the Muslim world and the West.

At the end of the discussions, the OIC Secretary-General, Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and the EU High Representative Mr. Javier Solana held a joint press conference. The Secretary-General made a short statement in which he welcomed once again Mr. Solana and thanked him for his cooperation and for the exchange of views aiming at finding the best ways of resolving the crisis created by the offensive cartoons, as well as for his understanding of the strong sentiments they caused for Muslims. The Secretary-General stressed that the two sides decided to work together in order to overcome the ramifications of the crisis and to prevent its repetition in the future. The Secretary-General expressed his keen interest in promoting cooperation between the OIC and the EU, stating that his first visit to Europe was to the EU Headquarters in Brussels during which he had a fruitful meeting with Mr. Solana.

For his part, Mr. Solana summarized the purposes of his visit to the OIC Headquarters in the following three main points, and he underlined the importance of these points for the Islamic European cooperation:

1-Rebuilding bridges between the two parties.

2-Endeavouring to promote the opportunities for mutual dialogue between the two parties.

3-Establishing strong relations between the Muslim world and Europe, as well as between their respective organizations.

Mr. Solana stressed that he would spare no effort within his capabilities to ensure that such a crisis does not occur in the future and that he would do his best to convince the EU Member States of the importance of this aspect. He underlined his willingness to turn this aspired cooperation from words to deeds. He concluded his statement by stating that the world in its current interdependent state makes it important and necessary for the Muslim world and Europe to have strong relations as they need each other. He pledged to continue his efforts in this regard, in cooperation and coordination with the OIC. 

Source: OIC Press Department

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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