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OIC calls for emergency meeting on cartoon issue

18-02-2006

By P.K. Abdul Ghafour

JEDDAH, Arab News — Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, is contacting member states for an emergency meeting of their foreign ministers shortly to discuss major issues including the repercussions of the sacrilegious Danish cartoons.

Ihsanoglu has already spoken to Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abubakar Al-Qurbi and Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar to fix a date for the meeting, press reports said yesterday quoting diplomatic sources.

The meeting is significant in the backdrop of the continuing protests across the Islamic world over the blasphemous cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a Danish paper and the subsequent reprint in other Western countries.

The diplomats said the meeting would play a big role in defusing the current tension between the Islamic world and the European Union.

Professor Ihsanoglu has already informed Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief, that the 57-member OIC was seeking the EU’s cooperation to end the conflict as quickly as possible.

“The OIC member states expect from the EU to identify Islamophobia as a dangerous phenomenon and to observe and combat it like in the cases of xenophobia and anti-Semitism, by creating suitable observance mechanisms and revising its legislation, in order to prevent the recurrence of the recent unfortunate incidents,” Ihsanoglu said.

The proposed meeting will be the first after the Islamic summit in Makkah on Dec. 7-8. The summit was a big success as it approved a 10-year action plan for the overall development of OIC member countries and called for a complete facelift of the OIC to enable it to play an effective role on the world stage.

Meanwhile, the permanent representatives of the OIC member states held an extraordinary meeting at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah to examine the latest developments in the cartoon row.

“After listening to a statement by professor Ihsanoglu on the issue and the outcome of Solana’s visit to the OIC headquarters, the permanent representatives expressed their appreciation and support for the line of action undertaken by the secretary-general in managing this crisis,” an OIC statement said.

The member states approved the five points presented by Ihsanoglu to Solana as a way to defuse the crisis, and prevent the recurrence of similar crisis in the future.

The five points include the adoption by the EU of necessary legislative measures through the European Parliament against Islamophobia and making joint efforts by the EU and the OIC to adopt a UN resolution on the lines of existing UN Resolution 60/150 (combating defamation of religions), which should prohibit defamation of all prophets and faiths.

http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1§ion=0&article=77972&d=18&m=2&y=2006

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