It was, nonetheless, unfortunate and regrettable that vested groups and individuals who professes hatred, intolerance and harbor prejudice

04/08/08 18:51
OIC chief warns against inciting anti-Islam hatred

Jeddah (ANTARA News) - The Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu voiced his deep concern over the dangerous implications of the recent spate of Islamophobic actions, IINA reported.

He made the remarks after the inaugural session of the open ended Inter Governmental Meeting of Group of Experts that met here Monday to discuss OIC Plan of Action for Women.

He said the actions such as that caused by reprint of cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad in Danish newspapers and the release of the offensive documentary "Fitna" by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders defaming the Holy Quran and causing widespread insult to the sentiments of Muslims of the world.

"Fitna documentary was a reprehensible act of incitement and intolerance against peaceful inter-religious and inter-communal cohabitation that challenges the global agenda for peace and development," he said.

The OIC chief noted that the international community including, the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Presidency of the European Union, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the national and international television networks had shown their sense of responsibility by rejecting and denouncing the documentary and the Dutch Government dissociating themselves from the filmmaker.

"It was, nonetheless, unfortunate and regrettable that vested groups and individuals who professes hatred, intolerance and harbor prejudice and discrimination against Muslims and Islam, could still find an opportunity to create deep division and mistrust in inter-communal harmony on a global scale and are able to remain unaccounted for their actions and abusing freedom of expression," an OIC statement quoted him as saying.

He said that it was high time that the international community come together in accepting that acts such as that of Wilders under the plea of freedom of expression pose a grave threat to global peace and security.

He added that unless brought to face justice under the provisions of national laws and international legal instruments, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in particular, the perpetrators of intolerance and racism remain free to defy the will of the international community and undo the progress achieved in Dialogue among Civilizations.

Prof. Ihsanoglu expressed his hope that concerned governments will take firm action under the law against individuals, groups or organizations that abuse freedom of expression to try and incite passion and violence in society by attacking other religions.

This would not only restore confidence among people of diverse cultural backgrounds and religious faiths to live together in harmony but also serve as an effective mechanism to address the issue of religious intolerance in society, he said.

"The OIC stands ready to cooperate closely with governments and the United Nations towards this end," he added.


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