‘Islamophobia’ a threat to global peace: OIC chief (Lead)

October 17th, 2008 - 7:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Pervez MusharrafAstana, Oct 17 (IANS) Rising “Islamophobia” is a threat to peace and coexistence in a multi-cultural and diverse world, the chief of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) said here Friday as he extended support to the right to self-determination in Kashmir in accordance with the UN resolution to solve the 60-year-old dispute between India and Pakistan.Addressing foreign ministers and other participants from the West and Islamic countries in an international summit, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said the political dialogue among civilisations was a must.

“It is important for the civilisations to understand cultural, religious and ethnic differences, without which mutual coexistence is impossible,” Ihsanoglu said in his address to ‘Common World: Progress through Diversity’ in this Kazakhstan capital.

The international summit here was held in the backdrop of a widening gap between the Muslim and Western worlds.

“Islamophobia, targeting Muslims, is on the rise in the world,” he said, adding “Islamophobia not only stands in front of the Muslims, but the whole humanity.”

“Women wearing hijab are vulnerable to attacks by those who project Muslims as a threat to European existence,” he said.

“Stability, peace and security in the world are inseparable from each other. Muslims are psychologically, economically and socially affected by Islamophobia. Such a dramatic situation is a segregation based on race and religion,” the OIC chief said.

He said Islam is a religion of peace and advocated reconciliatory measures between Muslims and Christians.

“Islam is the religion of peace, moderation and compassion and it celebrates diversity and recognises with respect Christianity, Judaism and other religions,” he said.

The Astana conference aimed at to develop understanding between the West and the Muslim world.

Later, talking to journalists from around the world, the OIC chief said his organistation “endorses a 1948 UN resolution mandating a plebiscite in Kashmir”.

Denouncing the acts of violence in Kashmir, he said the “OIC condemns terrorism in any form in any part of the world”.

Stressing that the Kashmir issue needed to be solved as per the wishes of the people, the OIC leader said a settlement should be acceptable to all parties - Pakistan, India and the Kashmiris. This, he added, would result in durable peace in South Asia.

“We support the dialogue process that was started between the then Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf and Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and advocate settlement of conflicts through peaceful means,” said the OIC secretary general.

He said terrorism was a phenomenon in the world and couldn’t be attributed to any particular religion or region.

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