By Yusuf Jameel
The heads of states and governments of various Islamic countries will converge in holy city of Makkah (Mecca) during the last week of fasting month of Ramadan for an in-depth discussion on crucial issues facing the Islamic world.
The internal strife in Syria, the latest security situations emerging from Afghanistan and Iraq and “organized violence” against the minority Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are expected to be on top of their agenda during the two-day meet called by King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud who is also the custodian of the two holy mosques in Makkah and Medina.
They would also be deliberating on challenges faced by 1.5 billion Muslims; more importantly lack of unity among the Muslim States, Islam phobia campaign and linking terrorism with Islam, disturbances in some Muslim states and other unpalatable problems facing the Muslim ummah (nation) on political, social, economic, educational and development fronts.
The 57-member Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) headquarters in Jeddah has announced that it will hold the 4th “extraordinary” two-day session of the Islamic Summit Conference in Makkah from August 14 (26th Ramadan) called for by King Abdullah “to examine the situation in many countries of the Islamic world, intensify efforts to confront this situation, address the sources of discord and division therein, reunify the Islamic Ummah and promote Islamic solidarity.”
The summit will be preceded by two meetings, the first at the level of Foreign Ministers to prepare for the summit and the second at the level of senior officials to prepare for the ministerial meeting, the announcement added.
Meanwhile, official Saudi news agency has quoted the country’s Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal as saying “the extraordinary Islamic solidarity meeting has been called to ensure unity during this delicate time as the Muslim world faces dangers of fragmentation and sedition.”
Therefore, the main purpose of the meeting is to ‘unify the ranks’ of Muslims. Saudi Arabia and the other energy-rich nations of the Gulf have repeatedly voiced support for Syrian rebels against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The Saudi King has also called for launching a campaign to raise funds “in support of our brothers in Syria”.
A decision to raise similar funding for Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar may also be taken at the meet which is expected to urge Bangladesh to extend support to the Rohingya refugees. Dhaka has refused to allow more Rohigya Muslims fleeing sectarian violence in Arakan region of Myanmar (Burma) enter its (Bangladesh’s) territory.
About the author: Yusuf Jameel
Yusuf Jameel, is journalist of South Asia. Formerly a correspondent for the BBC, he is currently the Special Correspondent with Indian global newspaper The Asian Age and its sister publication Deccan Chronicle, based in restive Kashmir besides regularly contributing to the New York Times, Time magazine and the Voice of America. He is recipient of several journalism awards, including the 1996 International Press Freedom award of the CPJ and may be reached at [email protected]