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Statement of the OIC Secretary General on Combating International Terrorism

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Statement of the OIC Secretary General at the Emergency Meeting of the OIC Executive Committee at the Ministerial Level on Combating International Terrorism and Violent Extremism in the Muslim WorldStatement of the OIC Secretary General at the Emergency Meeting of the OIC Executive Committee at the Ministerial Level on Combating International Terrorism and Violent Extremism in the Muslim World

 

(Jeddah-AlummahWorld, 29 Rabi ath-Thani 1436, 18 Feb 2015)

Excellencies
Distinguished participants,

Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh


Allow me at the outset to express to you our sincere thanks for accepting the call of the OIC General Secretariat to attend this emergency meeting of the open-ended OIC Executive Committee at the Ministerial Level to discuss the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism affecting the world at large.

Terrorism is indeed the enemy of all humanity. It has no borders, creed, race or faith. It is simply a crime driven by hate and destruction. Islam considers terrorism as one of the most heinous crimes against humanity for which it stipulates severe punishment in order to protect the sanctity of human life and shield society against intimidation and aggression.

Despite this clearly-stated position of Islam on terrorism, extremism and violence, our collective endeavors are still –unfortunately- being undermined by some fringe elements who falsely associate the violent and misguided activities of a few extremists with Islam.

The OIC is a pioneer in countering terrorism. It has adopted more than twenty years ago the 1994 Code of Conduct for Combating International Terrorism that commits all its Member States to take firm and effective measures individually and collectively and in 1999 OIC Convention on Combating International Terrorism was adopted at a time when most international institutions were still debating the definition of ‘international Terrorism’. Nonetheless, it is high time we revisit these OIC documents to include provisions addressing the current trends of terrorism and establish a follow-up mechanism to be used by Member States.

In this context, and the urgency of the question of combating terrorism makes it incumbent upon the OIC to call for an emergency session of its Ministerial-Level Executive Committee. A session that will consolidate its position and action on curbing terrorism, extremism and hate speech through addressing the contexts that breed, lead to and exploit them, and take some discernable initiatives driven by a discourse proper to the OIC.

We sincerely hope that this meeting will cement the common position of all Member States on terrorism and terrorist acts; reiterates OIC’s position condemning all forms and manifestations of terrorism regardless of what and where and that will reemphasize OIC’s unequivocal rejection of all attempts to associate any country, race, religion, culture or nationality with terrorism.

We are also looking forward to our meeting to reiterate the OIC’s strong condemnation of the incessant violations of the basic rights of the Palestinian people and the State-sponsored terrorism committed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly the blockade it imposes the Gaza Strip in total disregard to international law and international humanitarian law.

We need to condemn, particularly and in the strongest terms, the heinous and barbaric crime committed by the so-called IS terrorist group which burned alive the Jordanian pilot Mo'az Al-Kasasbah; the terrorist attack perpetrated in a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, on December 16, 2014; the terror attack on Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, Libya on January 28, 2015; and the attack in the Sinai Peninsula on January 29, 2015 as well as repeated attacks and killings by IS, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, Al-Qaeda and other similar terrorist groups. Such crimes blatantly run against Islamic and universal human values.

It is also proper to commend all the actions and efforts being exerted by our Member States to counter international terrorism, in line with the OIC Charter and relevant Convention, and consistent with other relevant international agreements and mechanisms.

Our meeting needs to voice serious concern over the mounting trend of intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, resulting into a surge of Islamophobia -a phenomenon which is an affront to the Human Rights and Dignity of Muslims.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Terrorism cannot be effectively addressed through security or military means alone. Due attention and concrete plans are needed to address the aspects, dimensions, and contexts of terrorism, including the political and socio-economic, contexts providing conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and violent extremism, such as economic deprivation, exclusion, alienation, separation and marginalization of people, and the forced dismantling of political, legal, security and socio-cultural institutions.

We must also not forget the deep impact and legacies of historical injustices done to peoples colonized or under occupation, their sufferings, and the forced destruction of their national institutions, culture and identity, and the denial of their rights to self-determination.

We must also delegitimize the ideological narratives of terrorist and extremist groups using religion, ideology or cultural superiority to legitimize their violent and manipulative acts; and address the underlying causes of sectarian violence and attempts to politicize sectarian differences, emphasize sects as a core identity and wage campaigns to convert Muslims from one sect to the other.

We should take into consideration the potential of external actors penetrating terrorist and extremist groups for the purpose of serving their own political agenda; and we need to understand the role of media and the emergence of cyber terrorism with terrorist groups using new information and communication technologies.

Thank you all for your attention.

Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh