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Iraq, Middle East

National Reconciliation Convention hopes to Iraq together

WORLD’S LARGEST MUSLIM ORGANISATION AGREES TO HOLD NATIONAL RECONCILIATION CONVENTION TO ADDRESS SECTARIAN DIVISIONS IN IRAQ

Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the world’s second largest inter-governmental body after the UN, met with Iraq’s President and Foreign Minister on March 26-27th during an official visit to Iraq. The OIC Secretary General agreed to hold an Iraqi National Reconciliation Conference aimed at reconciling Iraq’s Sunni and Shi’ite communities.

The OIC hosted a similar national reconciliation convention for Iraq in October 2006 in Makkah, dubbed “Makkah I”. During that convention, 29 leading Iraqi Sunni and Shi’ite scholars reached agreement on the need to take practical steps to end sectarian violence in Iraq – resulting in the ‘Makkah Document’. Backed by the then Iraqi prime minister, it was notable for receiving the support of top Iraqi religious clerics – both Sunni and Shia.

The current Iraqi Foreign Minister, Dr. Ibrahim al-Jaafari, conveyed Iraq’s support for holding another such national unity convention to be called “Makkah II” in his talks with the OIC Secretary General, Iyad Ameen Madani.

It was agreed that a high level technical group would be created to start preparations for the Makkah II convention, which would aim to build unity between Iraq’s Sunni and Shi’ite Muslim communities.

OICsupportsIraqReconciliation

Enter a OIC Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani talks with the president of Iraq, Fuad Masum

Mr Madani was also received by the President of Iraq, Mr. Fuad Masum, who praised the efforts of the OIC in its willingness to pursue the “Makkah II” initiative. He reiterated Iraq’s intention to work with the OIC General Secretariat to ensure the success of the initiative.

Talks also focused on the OIC’s support for Iraq’s security, stability and territorial integrity; and reaffirming OIC’s stand with Iraq as it faces up to all forms of terrorism.

The Secretary General also met with Mr. Jan Kubis, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Iraq, and discussed the situation in the region and the ongoing cooperation between the OIC and the UN in support of international peace and security.

The OIC Secretary General’s visit, followed an official visit to Iraq made by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon the day before, where he called for renewed efforts to foster reconciliation between Iraq’s Shi’ite and Sunni communities in order to defeat DAESH (ISIS), who have exploited the country’s divisions.

The Secretary General, Iyad Madani, said “The OIC welcomes the positive response of Iraqi officials to the “Makkah II” initiative. As the collective voice of the Muslim world which represents 57-member states globally, the OIC has a special duty to strengthen relations between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslim communities and is committed to working with the Iraqi Government to achieve this goal within Iraq.”

Background information on the OIC:

• The OIC was founded in 1969 and is the second largest inter-governmental organisation in the world with 57 sovereign member states from across the Islamic world.

• The organisation is “the collective voice of the Muslim world and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony”.

• The OIC is composed three organs:

– Islamic Summit – the supreme authority of the Organization composed of Kings and Heads of State and which convenes every three years;

– The Council of Foreign Ministers which meets annually for the implementation of general policy;

– General Secretariat, the OIC’s executive organ, entrusted with the implementation of the decisions of the two preceding bodies.

• Bodies that form part of the OIC include:

– The Islamic Development Bank (IDB), set up by OIC Finance Ministers in 1973. IDB tripled its authorized capital to $150 billion to better serve Muslims in member and non-member countries in 2013.

– Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) established by the OIC in 1979.

• On 27 June 2007, the-United States President George W. Bush established an official US envoy to the OIC to “listen to and learn from representatives from Muslim states, and will share with them America’s views and values.”

• The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union.

• Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani is the 10th Secretary General who assumed the office in January 2014. His appointment was officially announced after the 12th Summit of the OIC in Cairo on 8 February 2013 and his term was effective from January 2014.

• Last year’s 2015 OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers summit to which over fifty Muslim-world Foreign Ministers were convened, focused on the need to tackle sectarian violence as a top priority.

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About Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist. Named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" for 2006/07 by the New America Media. He is the recipient of four Lisagor Awards from the Chicago Headline Club and the 2009 Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Visit his website at www.TheDailyHookah.com. Find his podcasts on iTunes and on Vimeo.

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