Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon has called for a thorough self-assessment to identify the reason Islam is being associated with intolerance, terrorism, violence, and backwardness.
Speaking at the 41st session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dunya suggested that although Muslims could blame the West and Western media, Muslim societies must make a self-assessment as to why Islam is being tarnished by images linked to terrorism.
“Muslims were once the pioneers of science and technology. Today, we have to accept the reality that Muslim societies are on the brink of falling into an abyss for creativity,” said the foreign minister in Jeddah.
“It is beyond imagination, or within the realm of belief, to think that we can overcome these dark times? Let us recommit ourselves to work together to overcome our challenges. United and strong we can once again become the standard bearers of tolerance and innovation,” she said.
Condemning Islamophobia, Dunya also argued that the chaos seen in the Muslim world today is a result of not exercising true Islamic ideals.
“Islamic principles and values of justice and equality of all humans, and the right of citizens in having a say and a stake in their governments is well in line with modern democratic values,” she said.
Urging the OIC to unite in support for democratic change around the world and in Islamic societies, Dunya said Maldives was an emerging democracy that is striving to advance its democratic institutions and to cherish the values of Islam.
Stating that Islam emphasises the equal rights and responsibilities of men and women, she called on the OIC to work to protect, safeguard, and guarantee the rights of Muslim women around the world.
Concern over the ‘tarnished image of Islam’ was also highlighted in OIC Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani’s statement.
He called on ‘European leaders’ to reflect internally “before accusing Islam of racism, Nazism and committing massacres against others” and called for the rights of Muslim minorities around the world.
“The Organization of Islamic Cooperation condemns terrorism wherever it is and confirms, as in all international agreements and resolutions in this regard, that terrorism has no religion, nationality, doctrine, color, or race,” said Madani
“It is rather a phenomenon that should be combatted and addressed wherever it is and whatever its source may be. Accordingly, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation rejects and condemns any attempt to render terrorism equivalent to Islam, a religion espoused by more than two billion people throughout the world.”
Madani noted that terrorism, religious, and sectarian extremism, and the rights of Muslim minorities outside the Muslim World were primary concerns of the OIC.
Concepts of human rights, the rights of women and children, and religious practice were also listed a key interests of the group.
A statement from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was also delivered yesterday at the conference, in which he commented on issues faced by Muslim communities around the world, particularly in Myanmar, Mali, Central African Republic, Syria, Palestine and Iraq.
Stating that a humanitarian crisis is quickly unfolding in Iraq, Ban Ki-moon called for a national security plan against terrorist threats, saying that OIC members can play a key role in creating a positive and enabling environment for a national dialogue in Iraq.