OIC launch informal forum in U.S.

Representatives from the 57 member states of the world's largest Islamic grouping, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), will launch an informal forum in Washington this week to discuss common concerns and act as a key link between the Muslim

OIC launch informal forum in U.S.

The forum was mooted by Malaysia, the current OIC chairman.It will be attended by Washington-based envoys from OIC members, including the U.S.'s Middle East rival Syria, and strong allies Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.

Iran, another U.S. rival, is an OIC member but doesn't havediplomatic ties with Washington.

Among other OIC members are Iraq,Indonesia, Cote D'Ivoire, Pakistan,Sudan, Nigeria, Libya,Bangladesh, Palestine,Kuwait, Turkey, Mozambique,United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Moroccoand Maldives.

OIC officials said the forum will act as a platform for exchange of viewsbetween Muslim states and the United States.

Malaysia's ambassador the U.S., RajmahHussein, said that the forum would also enable representatives from Muslimcountries "to promote and defend the religion and Muslim countries in thisincreasingly hostile environment towards Islam and the ummah (community)."

She said it was "the opportune time for diplomats from Muslim countries tocorrect the misperceptions about Islam in America,and to voice their concerns about anti-Islamic tendencies in Washington and around the country."

The U.S.'s under secretaryof state for public diplomacy and public affairs, Karen Hughes, who has beentasked by the Bush administration to improve Washington's image in the Islamic world, hasbeen invited for the launch of the forum on Thursday.

Diplomats said Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the OIC secretary-general, will not attendthe launching and will send a representative instead.

Some envoys from OIC states fear that discussion within the forum or with U.S. officialscould go beyond their mandate, officials said.

But they noted that the U.S.has been supportive of the forum as it could help its efforts to improve America's all-timelow popularity in the Arab and Muslim world.

However, one OIC diplomat said: "recently there has been some U.S. apprehension that the forum could behostile to the U.S."

The forum's launching comes days after American officials met Syrian and Iraniancounterparts face-to-face at a regional peace conference in Baghdadin what has been interpreted as a major policy shift by the United States,which has long shunned direct talks with the two governments.

The U.S.'s image has beendamaged in the Muslim World due to the wars in Iraqand Afghanistan, as well asits blind support for Israel.Its continuous pressure against Iranover its nuclear program has also raised fears of a new war in the Middle East.

Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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