The tragic situation in Syria, and the crisis in Myanmar caused by the persecution of the Muslim Rohingya people of the Arakan region will figure prominently in the extraordinary Islamic summit to be held in Makkah on August 14-15, Secretary-General of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has announced.
“All preparations and arrangements have been completed for the grand event to be held in the last days of the holy month of Ramadan,” he told Arab News in an exclusive interview.
Ihsanoglu added that the summit would also consider the Palestinian cause and the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) issues, which were the two main factors behind the establishment of the OIC in 1969.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has called for the convening of an Islamic solidarity summit to be held in Makkah on 26-27th of Ramadan to discuss various issues facing the Ummah and further augment cohesion and solidarity in the Muslim world.
According to Ihsanoglu, meetings of senior officials and foreign ministries of the Islamic countries will precede the summit to finalize the agenda to be considered by the leaders.
He said the summit would consider all issues of concern to the Islamic world and hoped that the summit would be of great success, especially since it was being held during the last days of Ramadan coinciding with Lailat Al-Qadr, when the Qur’an was revealed.
“The Islamic leaders have a historic responsibility to make the Makkah summit a success, so as to ensure the Islamic world with security and stability,” he said.
Ihsanoglu said the summit has combined the sanctity of both place and time, and added that it was being held at a crucial juncture for the Islamic world, which had been anxiously awaiting King Abdullah to come out with such an initiative.
Following is the text of the interview:
How do you consider the importance of the summit called for by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to be held in Makkah and what do you expect from it?
The call made by King Abdullah to hold this extraordinary Islamic summit during these blessed days could not be timelier. Muslims had been expecting the King to make a move such as this in view of the gravity of the situation in the Muslim world. I do not think that there is any leader, other than King Abdullah, to whom all other Islamic leaders are in unanimous agreement. Nobody can doubt that by his very personality, integrity and honorable history, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques is a symbol for Islam and Muslims. Through many other initiatives, the king has proved that he was always above differences and rifts.
The summit is being convened at a time the Ummah is aspiring for the closure of its ranks. For this reason, we expect the summit to make decisions that will heal the rifts among Muslim countries. King Abdullah had called for the third extraordinary Islamic summit in 2005 while he was Crown Prince. That was a sincere, and at the same time, an innovative call. The King’s call for this extraordinary summit is also sincere in the intention of bringing the Ummah together. The Muslim leaders will assemble around the Holy Kaaba to take their responsibilities toward their people in front of Almighty Allah.
What are the issues to be discussed by the summit according to their importance and priorities for the Islamic world?
The summit will be preceded by a meeting at the level of foreign ministers, and another one at the level of senior officials. I strongly believe that the convening of the summit during the Holy month of Ramadan, coinciding with Lailat Al-Qadr, will be a good omen for the Ummah. The leaders should shoulder their historic responsibilities toward their people and Ummah. There are pressing matters that should be discussed. There are grave issues on which urgent decisions are required. Appropriate decisions should be taken to face this perilous situation. A new vision to face the disintegration of the Muslim world must be crystallized. The leaders should agree on a plan to stop the bloodshed and the killing of innocent people. We must make a decision that will protect the Syrian people. The situation in Syria will be very much present at the summit, and it will be at the top of the agenda. The situation in Syria is developing every day, and when the summit is convened, it has to consider the latest developments and undertake decisions that will stop the bloodbath and protect Syria and the region from the hazards of civil war and the spread of violence. There are other important matters in front of the summit — persecution, repression and violence against the Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar. The Muslim nation has a duty toward the Burmese Muslims of the Arakan region. Racial and religious liquidations are going on in Myanmar. We are making great efforts at the level of the organization, but the issue has to be treated at the level of the summit. No doubt that Palestine and Al-Quds, which led to the creation of the OIC, would prominently figure in the summit.
What do you expect the summit to do regarding the tragic situations in Syria and Myanmar? Are there any serious and decisive resolutions to be issued by the summit on these two issues?
Since the incidents started in March 2011, the world community and the international will were divided. The regime was unable to achieve security and stability. Kofi Annan’s six-point plan failed and he had to resign. The UN monitors could do nothing of value. There is a grave deficit in the world order. The situation requires agreement between the five international powers that are divided among Western and Eastern blocks as we can see now. The cold war has resurfaced through the Syrian gate. This war is between Russia and China on one hand and America and the West on the other. The present situation will be settled either by mutual agreements on the ground or by the ongoing war which will culminate in bringing down the regime. Another option is that the regime will make sacrifices at the last moment in the favor of the country and the people. The regime may finally realize that it is the leaders who make sacrifices for their people not vice versa.
The leaders of the Ummah have a great responsibility in protecting the Syrian people. The summit has to come out with a strong political resolution that will end the crisis in Syria and stop the bloodshed.
Regarding the situation in Myanmar, we called for a meeting of the executive committee in Jeddah on Aug. 5. The meeting was successive and it made recommendations which will be forwarded to the summit by the senior officials and the foreign ministers. I am sure that the Muslim leaders will spare no efforts to find a solution to the predicament of the Rohingya Muslims in Arakan.