OIC seeks global action against religious hatred


OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha emphasised the need to continually remind the international community about the application of international law, which explicitly prohibits the promotion of religious hatred….reports Asian Lite News

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has called for international law and collective measures to stop religious hatred and to prevent future incidents of Quran desecration. The statement was issued during an extraordinary meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, following the burning and defilement of the holy book in Sweden.

OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha emphasised the need to continually remind the international community about the application of international law, which explicitly prohibits the promotion of religious hatred.

“Unfortunately, on the first day of that auspicious occasion, when all Muslims around the world were celebrating the Eid, a despicable act of desecration of a copy of Holy Qur’an was committed outside the central mosque in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden,” Taha said.

“We must send constant reminders to the international community regarding the urgent application of international law, which clearly prohibits any advocacy of religious hatred.”

The incident occurred when Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Iraqi refugee residing in Sweden, tore and set fire to pages of the Quran during the Eid al-Adha holidays. The act drew strong condemnation from OIC member Turkey, whose support Sweden requires for NATO membership.

Swedish authorities, citing constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression, permitted a protest to take place. However, following the Quran burning, Momika was charged by the police with inciting hatred against an ethnic or national group.

On Sunday, Iran said it will not send a new ambassador to Sweden in protest over the incident. The country’s foreign ministry summoned Sweden’s charge d’affaires to condemn what it said was an insult to the most sacred Islamic sanctities.

“Although administrative procedures to appoint a new ambassador to Sweden have ended, the process of dispatching them has been held off due to the Swedish government’s issuing of a permit to desecrate the Holy Quran,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian tweeted.

Meanwhile, the OIC Executive Committee has requested the Secretary-General to send a letter on behalf of the OIC Member States to the Swedish government and to consider conducting an official visit to Stockholm and the European Union Commission to express the condemnation of the incident.

It also called on the Secretary-General to call on Swedish authorities to take the necessary measures to prevent the recurrence of the “criminal act under the pretext of freedom of expression.”

The OIC warned of the seriousness of these acts, which undermine mutual respect and harmony among peoples and contradict international efforts to spread the values of tolerance, moderation and rejection of extremism.

It also has expressed grave concern at the increasing incidences of intolerance, discrimination, and acts of violence in the world, and noting with concern that “Islamophobia is on the rise in many parts of the world as evidenced by the increasing number of incidents of religious intolerance, negative stereotypes, hatred, and violence against Muslims.”

The Committee also reiterated the significance of the eight-point Action Plan unanimously agreed upon under UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 as an important step in the UN to counter incitement to hatred, discrimination, stigmatisation, and violence based on one’s religion or belief.

It also called on all member states to review the progress in the implementation of the Action Plan and for all-out efforts to preserve international consensus on this important OIC initiative.

The OIC General Secretariat was urged to expedite the implementation of the ‘Plan of Action for Combating Islamophobia’ adopted by Ministers of OIC States Members of the Contact Group on Peace and Dialogue on the sidelines of the UNGA 74th Session in New York.

Further, all member states in Geneva were asked to immediately draw the attention of the Human Rights Council to the incident by calling for an urgent discussion at its ongoing 53rd session and to submit a resolution to address the recurrence of these incidents.

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