The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr Yousef Al-Othaimeen, called for creating a cultural bulwark built on the values of dialogue and intercultural exchange, to help tackle the rising threat of hate and discrimination and their attendant forms of terrorist and extremist activity.
Speaking before the Fifth World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, held in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, on 2-3 May 2019, on the theme “Building dialogue into action against discrimination, inequality, and violent conflict”, Dr Al-Othaimeen recalled the New Zealand mosque terrorist killings, along with the Sri Lanka church attacks, pointing out that rising ethnic and religious conflict has put peaceful societies into unwanted tension. To all of us, Dr Al-Othaimeen added, this is proof enough that terrorism has no religion, no nationality and no race. Both attacks were ideologically driven, the result of a narrow-minded view of the world, he stressed.
On the Organization’s counterterrorism and anti-extremism efforts, the Secretary General said the OIC has contributed effectively to advancing intercultural dialogue and promoting understanding between peoples from all religions and civilizations. The OIC, he went on, puts this objective at the heart of its programmes and activities.
In a pro-active effort to forge harmonious relations between Muslims and Buddhists in East and Southeast Asia, Dr Al-Othaimeen explained, the OIC conducted a strategic workshop on interfaith dialogue in Bangkok, in December 2017, in association with KAICIID (King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue), and a number of partners in Thailand
Continuing on the same path, Dr Al-Othaimeen further said, the OIC and KAICIID co-organized in December 2017, in the Senegalese capital of Dakar, a roundtable on interfaith dialogue.
The OIC Secretary General, Dr Al-Othaimeen, was granted an audience with His Excellency President Ilham Aliyev, on the sidelines of the Forum, to discuss issues of common concern. He thanked the Azerbaijani President for the warmth and hospitality offered.
Further, the OIC Secretary General met the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Mr Elmar Mammadyarov, for talks on the arrangements for the Islamic Summit meeting to be held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah. Discussions also centred on the activities and programmes led by the OIC.