At a time when terrorists invoking Islam are killing Christians, fellow Muslims and others from South Asia to the Middle East to Africa, Islamic nations’ information ministers meeting in Iran concluded that priorities include fighting “Islamophobia” and highlighting Israeli “war crimes.”
Israel featured at the top of a nine-point communique issued by Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) information ministers at the end of last week’s two-day conference.
It said the gathering “commends the outstanding role of OIC member-states’ mass media in exposing the horrifying war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli Zionist regime against the Palestinian people and its efforts to execute the plans of judaizing the city of Al-Quds Al-Sharif [Jerusalem].”
The meeting in addition lauded “the role of that mass media play in highlighting the legitimate struggle of Palestinians to end the Israeli occupation.”
Of nine resolutions considered by the ministers, the first on the list focused on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, in depth. None of the others dealt with the violence in Iraq, Syria, or elsewhere in the Muslim world.
Among other issues covered in the resolutions were calls to launch an OIC satellite channel and condemnation of a campaign opposing Qatar’s selection as host for the 2022 soccer World Cup. Campaigners cite alleged corruption in the selection process and concerns about the Gulf state’s support for terrorism.
At a press conference with Iranian culture minister Ali Jannati after the meeting, OIC secretary-general Iyad Ameen Madani said “Palestine” had been the primary issue for the OIC from the outset and it would remain so forever.
(The OIC was established in 1969, in response to a failed arson attempt at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque. The Australian perpetrator, who was neither an Israeli citizen nor Jewish, was later declared insane. Muslim claims of Zionist plots against al-Aqsa have become commonplace.)
The meeting in Tehran of the 57-nation bloc coincided with a gathering in Brussels of members of a growing coalition formed to tackle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Tens of thousands of Iraqis and many more Syrians have been killed in recent years at the hands of ISIS and other terrorists, sectarian militias, and the Assad regime.
Militants claiming to be inspired by Islam are also continuing to wreak varying degrees of havoc in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and Somalia and neighboring countries.
Against that background, the OIC ministers in their final communique repudiated both violence carried out in the name of Islam and what they said were “hostile” Western campaigns to vilify Islam by linking it to violence.
The statement accused “various international media in the West” of intensifying campaigns “to propagate Islamophobia aiming at tarnishing the true image of Islam, a religion of moderation and tolerance.”
The ministers voiced support for Islamic media and institutions “to counter biased attempts to desecrate Islamic holy sites and symbols, spread hatred and discrimination against Islam and Muslims and associate Islam with violence and terrorism.”
At the same time, they expressed “serious concerns over dreadful acts of terrorism committed under the sublime name of Islam.”
“It is high time for all true believers and OIC to use the power and influence of media to fight back [against] such acts and the dangerous mindsets behind them that have nothing to do with the compassionate teachings and divine nature of Islam,” they said, specifically condemning ISIS for “heinous acts of terrorism” and for its “abuse of modern media to serve its vicious goals.”