By Siraj Wahab
The Islamic Solidarity Summit called by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah ended with a focus on inter-sectarian harmony and Islamic unity, and a definitive stand against the Bashar Assad regime in Syria.
“A regime that kills its people has no right to continue in power,” said Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, at a press conference in the Al-Safa Royal Palace yesterday.
“The summit sends a strong message to the Syrian regime: The massacre of unarmed civilians is unacceptable and the bloodshed has to stop,” he said.
“We suspend Syria’s membership in the OIC and in all its subsidiaries.”
The decision resulted from the resolve of the Muslim heads of state to take a united stand alongside the oppressed Syrian people.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nizar Obaid Madani said the focus of the summit was on Islamic solidarity, the crisis in Syria, the genocide of Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar and the unrest in the West African state of Mali.
The summit expressed gratitude and appreciation to King Abdullah for convening with a view to strengthening Islamic solidarity and to the Saudi people and government for their hospitality.
A statement released at the end of the summit said the Islamic Ummah would pursue every means to achieve unity, solidarity and mutual aid among its members and endeavor to overcome any obstacles to achieve these goals.
The summit statement emphasized the question of Palestine as the central cause of the Islamic Ummah.
The Muslim world leaders applauded the efforts of Saudi Arabia, under King Abdullah’s leadership, to defend Islamic holy places in Al-Quds.
Ihsanoglu said it was made very clear to the Myanmar government that 1.5 billion Muslims of the world and the 57 nations of the OIC stood solidly behind the Rohingya Muslims.
Following is the complete text of the final communique that was adopted at the end of Islamic Solidarity Summit in Makkah last night:
In response to a kind invitation from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, to his brothers, their Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses and Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Fourth Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Summit Conference was held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah on Ramadan 26-27, 1433 AH (Aug. 14-15, 2012).
The Summit Conference was inaugurated with a recitation of verses from the Holy Qur’an, after which the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, delivered an address. The inaugural session was then addressed by President Macky Sall of Senegal in his capacity as Chairman of the Islamic Summit Conference, followed by a report presented by OIC Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.
The Conference expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, for convening this extraordinary Islamic Summit with a view to strengthening Islamic solidarity; and to the Government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their characteristic hospitality and for the constant support provided by the Kingdom to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
The Conference welcomed the results of the implementation of the Ten-Year Program of Action (TYPOA), adopted by the Extraordinary Summit Conference of Makkah Al-Mukarramah in 2005, which was based on the principles of moderation, modernization and solidarity in action, particularly the adoption of a new Charter and name for the Organization, the establishment of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission, the Women Development Organization, the Humanitarian Affairs Department (ICHAD) in the General Secretariat, and Science, the Technology and Innovation Organization (STIO). The Conference called on Member States to intensify their participation in the implementation of the TYPOA and to enhance their cooperation within the framework of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation by signing and ratifying the multilateral agreements and treaties concluded within the OIC framework, with a view to putting them into effect.
The Conference reviewed the reports and recommendations submitted to it by the Meeting of the Foreign Ministers Preparatory to the Extraordinary Summit, and discussed a number of important issues on its agenda relating to the exceptional circumstances that the Islamic World is experiencing and which require wise and careful consideration so that they can be addressed and remedied in a manner conducive to the promotion of Islamic solidarity. The Conference declared as follows:
Enhancement of Islamic Solidarity
1- The Conference emphasizes that the source of the Islamic Ummah’s strength lies in its unity and consensus, as Almighty Allah says: (“Verily, this Ummah of yours is a single Ummah and I am your Lord and Cherisher; therefore serve me (and no other)” and “Hold fast, all together, to the rope which God stretches out for you and be not divided among yourselves”). Hence, the Islamic Ummah should pursue every means to achieve unity, solidarity and mutual aid among its members and should endeavor to overcome any obstacles impeding the achievement of those goals. The Ummah should build its capacities through action programs in the political, educational, economic and social fields so that its members can act in concert ideologically, emotionally and in terms of their fate both in the present and in the future. They should shun all causes of division, political discord, disharmony and factionalism among members of the Islamic Ummah and commit to credible joint Islamic action. The Conference underscores OIC’s pivotal role in promoting Islamic solidarity, in accordance with the Organization’s Charter and Ten-Year Program of Action.
2- The Conference welcomes the speech of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdualziz in which he proposed to establish a center for dialogue among Islamic schools of thought to reach a common understanding. The center is to be based in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its members appointed by the Islamic Summit Conference upon recommendation from the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Council of Foreign Ministers.
3- The Conference stresses that the media bears a significant responsibility toward achieving the goals of Islamic solidarity on the basis of the principles of responsibility. The Conference calls on Member States to commit to the implementation of the provisions of previous resolutions issued by the Standing Committee for Information and Cultural Affairs (COMIAC), and the resolutions of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers.
The Political Field
4- The Conference emphasizes the importance of the question of Palestine as the central cause of the Islamic Ummah. Hence, the termination of the Israeli occupation of the Arab and Palestinian territories, occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan, and the completion of Israel’s withdrawal from the remaining occupied Lebanese territories, in compliance with Security Council resolution 425, constitute a vital demand by the entire Islamic Ummah. The settlement of this issue, consistent with the relevant UN resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Road Map, would contribute to international peace and security, enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent sovereign State within the borders of 4 June 1967, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital; and achieve a just solution that guarantees the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes, in accordance with resolution 194 of the UN General Assembly. The Conference calls for efforts to recover the city of Al-Quds, preserve its Islamic and historical character, and secure the resources needed to preserve and protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque and other holy places. It renews its condemnation of Israel, the occupying power, for its persistent violations and emphasizes the need to engage with the international community to force Israel to cease its settlement activities, dismantle existing settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and in the occupied Syrian Golan, halt the construction of the wall and remove the parts that have been built, consistent with the legal opinion of the International Court of Justice. The Conference decides to support the multi-sectoral strategic plan for Al-Quds, adopted at the 38th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers as a framework for determining Islamic funding priorities for the city of Al-Quds, and calls upon the Member States to help meet the needs of Al-Quds, its institutions and inhabitants in accordance with this strategic plan, and to support the projects contained therein.
5- The Conference reaffirms previous resolutions on the lifting of the continued illegal Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, and requests the UN Security Council to assume its responsibility in preserving international peace and security, and to act promptly to lift the blockade and force Israel to cease its persistent attacks and aggression against the Palestinian people.
6- The Conference commends the decision of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), to approve Palestine’s request for accession to and full membership in UNESCO, and praises the efforts of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the League of Arab States and the Non-Aligned Movement, whose current chairmanship is assumed by the Arab Republic of Egypt.
7- The Conference supports Palestine’s full membership in the UN, and calls on all Member States to support UN and other international organizations’ resolutions related to the Palestinian question.
8- The Conference condemns Israel, the occupying power, for its continued detention of thousands of Palestinian prisoners, exposing them to various forms of torture and depriving them of their basic rights, in a grave breach of international law and of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions; and demands their immediate release.
9- The Conference deplores the prevention by Israeli occupation authorities of members of the Ministerial Committee on Palestine in the Non-Aligned Movement from entering Ramallah, which led to the cancellation of the Committee’s extraordinary meeting, due to have been held in Ramallah on 5-6 August 2012.
10- The Conference lauds the efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, to defend Islamic holy places in the city of Al-Quds through his generous and constant support to the holy city, its institutions and inhabitants in order to enable them to stand up to Israel’s attempts to judaize their city.
11- The Conference also lauds the efforts of His Majesty King Mohamed VI, Chairman of Al-Quds Committee, to protect the Islamic holy sites of Al-Quds Al-Sharif against the judaization measures of the Israeli occupation authorities. It hails the role of Bait Mal Al-Quds of Al-Quds Committee in supporting the city of Al-Quds through the development projects and activities it implements in favor of the holy city and its appeal to Member States to provide financial support.
12- The Conference praises His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, who announced the International Conference on Jerusalem, held in Doha in February 2012, following the decision of the 22nd Arab League Summit held in Sirte in 2010- the State of Qatar’s willingness to contribute to its full potential in implementing the special strategic plan for Al-Quds. The Conference emphasizes the need to put into action the call of His Highness the Emir of the State of Qatar to resort to the UN Security Council for the adoption of a resolution to set up an international committee to investigate all the measures taken by Israel in the Arab Al-Quds since its occupation in 1967 with the intention to obliterate its Islamic and Arab landmarks.
13- The Conference praises the continued efforts of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to preserve Al-Quds Al-Sharif and keep the Arab inhabitants of Al-Quds in their land against Israel’s attempts to judaize the city, alter its Arab, Islamic and Christian landmarks and drive out its Palestinian residents. It reiterates its high appreciation of the efforts of His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein in the reconstruction of the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Al-Quds, particularly the rebuilding of Salahuddin’s historical Pulpit, the maintenance of the Dome of the Rock, the restoration of the Islamic museum and the preservation of Islamic and Christian endowments in Al-Quds Al-Sharif.
The Situation in Syria:
14- The Conference stresses the need to preserve Syria’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity; strongly condemns the ongoing bloodshed in Syria and underlines the Syrian regime’s responsibility for the continued violence and destruction of property. The Conference expresses grave concern over the deteriorating situation, the increasing frequency of killings, which claimed the lives of thousands of unarmed civilians, and the perpetration of massacres in towns and villages by the Syrian authorities.
15- The Conference affirms the importance of protecting religious and historical sites in Syria from destruction, and expresses hope for taking the necessary measures in this regard.
16- The Conference condemns Syria’s downing of a Turkish military aircraft, and considers this act as a serious threat to peace and security in the region.
17- The Conference welcomes the resolution of the UN General Assembly on the Situation in Syria dated 3 August 2012, which condemns in the strongest terms the large-scale and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities; as well as the use of force against civilians, the arbitrary executions, killings and persecution.
18- The Conference calls upon the Syrian authorities to immediately cease all acts of violence, abstain from using violence against defenseless civilians; refrain from committing human rights violations and call their perpetrators to account; fulfill all its regional and international obligations; release all detainees; and allow relief and humanitarian agencies to provide urgent assistance to the victims of these events in coordination with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
19- In the absence of any tangible results on the implementation of the UN-Arab League envoy’s initiative to resolve the Syrian crisis, as well as the Arab initiative and the resolutions of the OIC Executive Committee, and due to the Syrian regime’s intransigence and persistent pursuit of a military solution to the crisis, the Conference decides to suspend the Syrian Arab Republic’s membership in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and all its subsidiary organs, specialized and affiliated institutions, pursuant to the outcome of the Executive Committee meeting held at ministerial level on 24 June 2012.
The Situation in Mali and the Sahel Region:
20- The Conference expresses deep concern over the developments in Mali and the Sahel region, the resurgence of terrorist acts fueled by organized transnational crime, notably arms and drug trafficking, which threaten the stability, peace and socioeconomic development of the Sahel countries, particularly Mali, which faces the risk of territorial partition. The Conference reiterates its support for the maintenance of the territorial integrity, national unity and sovereignty of the Republic of Mali. In this context, it firmly condemns the attempts by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and other armed terrorist groups which violate the territorial integrity of this country. The Conference also reiterates its full solidarity with the transitional national unity Government and urges all Member States to provide the needed support and assistance to help it achieve its objectives.
21- The Conference expresses deep concern over the humanitarian tragedy in Mali and the Sahel Region and mandates the Secretary General to take the necessary measures to mobilize the needed resources to help overcome the difficulties confronting the hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people in Mali and neighboring countries.
22- The Conference strongly condemns the atrocities perpetrated by terrorist groups against unarmed civilians and the destruction of sites classified by UNESCO as world cultural heritage especially in Timbuktu. It applauds and encourages ECOWAS mediation and supports the current efforts by the field countries (Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and Niger), the African Union, the UN and Morocco to help Mali restore its territorial integrity and stability, which would enable it to consolidate its national unity and development.
Rohingya Muslim Community in Myanmar:
23- The Conference stresses the need to promote cooperation and dialogue with non-OIC Member States hosting Muslim minorities and communities, and also with the true representatives of those communities, in such a way as to safeguard their rights, and likewise emphasizes the need for continued, close monitoring of any new developments. In this regard, the Conference denounces the policy of brutalization and violence exercised by the Government of the Union of Myanmar against the Muslim Rohingya community, which is contrary to all the principles of human rights, values, ethics and international law. In this connection, the Conference adopts the recommendations of the meeting of the Executive Committee, held at the level of Permanent Representatives at the headquarters of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on 5 August 2012, including the dispatch of an OIC fact-finding mission and the constitution of a contact group.
24- The Conference recalls the historical marginalization of the Muslim Rohingya community in the Union of Myanmar and calls on the Government of Myanmar to ensure an all-inclusive policy toward its minorities, (including the Rohingya Muslims), as an integral part of the ongoing democratization and reform process in the country. The Conference denounces the recent violence and urges the Government of Myanmar to take all necessary measures to restore stability and launch a rehabilitation and reconciliation process in the region. The Conference calls on the Government of Myanmar to cooperate with all parties and allow full access of humanitarian assistance to reach affected persons and communities. It further urges Myanmar to reinstate the right of citizenship to the Rohingya minority; and welcomes the invitation extended by the Government of Myanmar to the OIC Secretary General to visit Myanmar, including the Rakhine State. The Conference welcomes ASEAN Member States’ firm commitment to this issue.
25- The Conference commends the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for donating the amount of US $ 50 million as humanitarian assistance to Rohingya Muslims.
26- The Conference appeals to Member States that maintain political and diplomatic relations and share economic interests with the Government of Myanmar to leverage those relations and bring pressure to bear on the latter to stop acts of brutalization and violence against the Rohingya Muslims in Mynamar.
Solidarity With Other Member States:
27- The Conference affirms its solidarity with and full support of the Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Jammu and Kashmir, Iraq, Yemen, Cote d’Ivoire, the Union of Comoros and the Turkish Republic of Cyprus in addressing their challenges. The Conference also condemns Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan and calls for Armenia’s withdrawal from Azerbaijan’s territories.
28- The Conference stresses that reform and development is a renewed and on-going process and that it is the exclusive obligation of the members of the Ummah to set up scientific and practical plans and programmes guided by Allah’ Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet to ensure the Ummah’s progress and eminent standing. The desired reform and development should stem from the actual needs of the Islamic Ummah and should be conducive to the unity and cohesion of its social fabric, consistent with the changing times in which we live and in keeping with the aims of sound governance based on justice and equality among the members of the Islamic Ummah, the respect of the laws and regulations and opposition to any form of foreign interference in internal affairs. It calls upon Member States to take the necessary measures to avoid kindling strife and intolerance among Islamic communities and, within this framework, States should seek to play a conciliatory role, uniting peoples and promoting equality and national unity among the members of the Ummah rather than being a cause of discord and internecine strife. There is a need to combat corruption and protect human rights in accordance with the principles of justice and dignity. Citizens should also participate in the management of the affairs of the Ummah and pave the way for the establishment of civil society institutions to help rulers achieve the objective of the reform and development of Islamic society.
Countering Intolerance and Extremism:
29- The Conference reaffirms that Islam is a religion of moderation and openness which rejects all forms of intolerance, extremism and introversion and, in this connection, underscores the importance of countering any dissemination or propagation of aberrant ideology with all means available. It calls for developing educational curricula in such a way as to inculcate the true Islamic values of mutual understanding, tolerance, dialogue and pluralism, and for establishing bridges between the members of the Islamic Ummah to enhance unity and solidarity through the holding of symposia and conferences that would explain these values. The Conference also calls for combating extremism disguised as religion and doctrine, refraining from declaring followers of other Islamic schools of thought as disbelievers and deepening dialogue between these schools to promote moderation and tolerance.
30- The Conference stresses its condemnation of all forms of terrorism and its rejection of any justification or vindication thereof; it reaffirms its solidarity with the OIC Member States which have been or are currently victims of terrorist acts and emphasizes the need to combat all terrorist activities and all forms of support, funding or instigation thereof, considering that terrorism is a global phenomenon not associated with any religion, race, colour or country. The Conference also emphasizes the importance of concerted international efforts to combat this phenomenon and commends the considerable efforts exerted by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in establishing the International Centre for Combating Terrorism under United Nations auspices, pursuant to the recommendations of the International Counter-Terrorism Conference, held in Riyadh in 2005. The Conference likewise emphasizes the need to differentiate between terrorism and legitimate resistance to foreign occupation, which does not justify shedding the blood of innocent civilians.
31- The Conference expresses deep concern at the mounting tendency to associate Islam with terrorism, exploited by some extremist currents and parties in the West to defame Islam and Muslims.
32- The Conference underscores the need for collective action to highlight the real image of Islam and its lofty values, counter the phenomenon of Islamophobia, the distortion of the image of Islam, its values and symbols and the desecration of Islamic sites; and the need to actively engage with States as well as regional and international institutions and organizations and to urge them to combat this phenomenon and not to use the freedom of expression as a pretext to abuse religions. The Conference also emphasizes the need to respect cultural and religious diversity, peaceful coexistence and the importance of continued international cooperation against incitement to hatred and intolerance. In this connection, it welcomes the adoption of the Human Rights Council, by consensus, of its historic Resolution 16/18 on “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief”, which constitutes a giant step towards respect for cultural pluralism.
Dialogue Among Religions, Cultures and Civilizations:
33- The Conference stresses that dialogue between civilizations is the best way to embody the values of mutual respect, understanding and equality between peoples, and is essential to building a world of tolerance, cooperation, peace and trust between nations. It calls on Member States to take part in the programs of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Inter-religious and Intercultural Dialogue, established by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Vienna in collaboration with the Republic of Austria and the Kingdom of Spain in order to promote dialogue among the followers of different religions and cultures, as well as in the context of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, co-chaired by Turkey and Spain.
In the Economic and Social Fields:
34- The Conference affirms the need for optimal use of the human, natural and economic resources of the Islamic World in order to promote cooperation among its States and to implement the plan of action to develop this cooperation, and to consider the possibility of establishing free trade zones and activating the Trade Preferential System among Member States, accession to, and implementation of, agreements and resolutions, and support for the activities of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC). Commending the invaluable efforts of the Chairman of the COMCEC in light of the relevant decision of the COMCEC Economic Summit held in 2009 to produce a new vision document for the COMCEC in line with the current needs of the Member States and to improve the institutional set-up of the economic and commercial cooperation. The Conference declares that the document entitled “Making Cooperation Work: the COMCEC Strategy for Building an Interdependent Islamic World” adopted, if no valuable comments are received by the General Secretariat within two months period.
35- The Conference welcomes the increased volume of intra-OIC trade to achieve the objectives set forth in the Ten-Year Program of action and also welcomes the entry into force of the OIC Trade Preferential System and its Protocol concerning Rules of Origin. It further welcomes the establishment of the Islamic Trade Finance Corporation in response to the proposal made by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, at the Tenth Islamic Summit Conference. The Conference calls for an increase in the capital of the Islamic Development Bank to enable it to meet the needs of Member States, and reaffirms the vital role played by the private sector in development. It further directs the Islamic Development Bank to support the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development in achieving its goal of raising the target capital in order to implement a new special program for the development of Africa.
36- The Conference emphasizes the need for cooperation in capacity building, the fight against poverty and unemployment, literacy, eradicating diseases and mobilizing the necessary resources therefor. It calls upon the Islamic Development Bank to consider the establishment of a special fund for this purpose at the Bank and to mandate the Bank’s Board of Governors to follow up on this matter.
37- The Conference calls for promoting and revitalizing cooperation among the OIC Member States for achieving agricultural and industrial development, leading to food security.
38- The Conference supports development in Africa and the NEPAD initiative, and decides to promote specific programs in this regard. It reaffirms its commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals through the adoption of appropriate measures to alleviate poverty in the Member States; and urges creditor States and international institutions which can partially write off or waive the debts due to them by Member States to consider the possibility of so doing in order to enable the indebted States to achieve economic development and poverty alleviation. The Conference also encourages initiatives by Member States to promote economic cooperation with other Member States and with the least developed and low-income OIC Member States.
39- The Conference decides to adopt clearly defined measures to promote scientific and technological development and innovation and higher education, in particular, self-sufficiency in fields such as the peaceful use of technology under the aegis of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with a view to supporting sustainable development in the OIC Member States. The Conference expresses support to the activities of the Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH), the Science, Technology and Innovation Organization, and the OIC Scholarship Program aimed at improving the quality of education in the OIC Member States.
40- The Conference expresses appreciation to His Excellency the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and his assistants for their relentless efforts, and commends the staff of the General Secretariat for their commendable efforts and professionalism in discharging the tasks assigned to them in a record time.