20/03/2014: OIC again welcomes Jan 5 elections result

OIC again welcomes Jan 5 elections result


DHAKA, March 9, 2014 (BSS) - The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) today welcomed the January 5 elections result and reiterated its commitment to work with democratically elected incumbent government as its newly elected secretary general Iyad Ameen Madani arrived here on a three-day visit. 

"This (Bangladesh) is a free, democratic country and there were free elections," Madani told newsmen after talks with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque hours after his arrival in Dhaka. 

The OIC chief said his Bangladesh visit was aimed to listen to leaders of the new government about vision and priorities for the OIC.

Madani, a former Saudi Arabian minister, however, said OIC does not get involved in domestic politics of any member state as "whoever is in power represents Bangladesh".

Replying to a question, the OIC chief identified sectarian conflicts between Muslims particularly the violence among the Sias and Sunnis and extremism in the name of Islam as two major challenges for the Muslim ummah.

"This is really a situation (Shia-Sunni conflict) where there will be no winners and there will all be losers. We have to confront this as Muslims, as member states," Madani said.

Madani said Muslims cannot allow the extremists who interpret Islam from narrow perspective to "hijack Islam", which he said actually is a religion of tolerance that encourages a peaceful co-existence of prosperity, scientific knowledge of free mind.

"We cannot allow ourselves to be taken away by literal translation of narrow minded extremists (and) we cannot allow ourselves to be taken over by religious tunnel vision. We cannot allow them to hijack Islam," he said.

Bangladesh is one of the first few destinations of the OIC chief since he assumed office in January this year while he is set meet President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, apart from meeting several senior ministers.

The OIC is the second largest international organisation, after the United Nations, grouping 57 Muslim-majority countries spread over four continents. 

The OIC was established at a summit of Muslim countries in Rabat on September 25, 1969 in response to an act of criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem of Palestine.