The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)summit has opened in Senegal’s capital, Dakar. The heads of state are discussing solidarity with poorer Muslim nations, and helping Palestinians.
At the opening ceremony, Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade was officially given the chairmanship from Malaysia, which hosted the last OIC gathering in 2003.
President Wade said he was honored that Dakar was for a few days the capital of Islam.
He thanked all Muslims who had prayed for the conference, and assured them it would be a success.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday condemned Israel’s attacks on Palestinian civilians.Addressing the summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Dakar, Senegal, Ban said Israel had employed “inappropriate and disproportionate use of force” in its renewed attacks on the Palestinian territories and called for an immediate ceasefire by both sides.
His comments came as Israeli planes launched fresh strikes in the northern Gaza Strip, ending a five day lull in violence.
New chairman of the OIC and Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade said he would make solving the Israeli-Palestinian crisis a priority for the organisation. “The just and legitimate cause of Palestine remains at the heart of our concerns,” Wade told the summit.
He called Israel an occupying power and urged its government to “immediately stop its disproportionate use of force”.
OIC’s secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu called for Israelis to be tried by an international war crimes court for “heinous” attacks against Palestinians.
The summit also aims to mount a campaign against increasing Islamophobia in the West. Reforms are also on the agenda, as is the desire to increase mutual solidarity among the participating countries and calling for dialogue and tolerance from the non-Muslim world.
In the crowded lobby of the conference center, delegation members in traditional dress from member countries such as Lebanon, Mali, Russia, and Pakistan drank tea and discussed the days’ events.
One eager participant was Palestinian ambassador to Malaysia Abdelaziz Aboughosh, who has previously held a high position in the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
“In my experience as former assistant Secretary General of the OIC for Palestine and Jerusalem, I think the OIC is the Islamic global force supporting the important Islamic issues,” said Aboughosh.
Aboughosh says he is pleased the situation in Palestinian territories is getting so much attention this year.
“It is one of the first issues that the summit tackles,” he said. “The main issue is the support of the Muslim and OIC countries towards the peace initiative that Palestine is currently trying to achieve.”
Missing from the proceedings were heads of state from the largest member countries, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who were among the largest donors for this summit.
The Bosnian President Dr Haris SilajdÅ¾iÄ‡ is leading the Bosnian state delegation participating in the 11th Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
During the Summit, President SilajdÅ¾iÄ‡ will have a series of bilateral meetings with numerous heads of states and governments of the Organization of the Islamic Conference members.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference brings together delegates from 57 member countries, and it represents more than 1.3 billion Muslims throughout the world.