OIC SG Ihsanoglu attends meeting on religious intolerance

Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu on Monday said that no one bothered to admit that it was a wrong behavior when arrogant cartoons were published in 2005 and 2006.

Delivering the opening remarks of a meeting on "religious intolerance" in the north-western province of Istanbul on Monday, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu underlined that the same countries reacted very differently in the light of recent cartoons and (an anti-Islam) movie.

"They apologized. They stressed that the movie was an exploitation of freedom of expression. They underlined that they would not accept such a movie. It is highly important to come to this point in eight years," Ihsanoglu indicated.

"This meeting of ours in Istanbul is a crucial milestone of a multifaceted, multisided, diplomatic and legal process against Islamophobia, and on the campaign initiated against Islam and its prophet," Ihsanoglu noted.

"Since the first day I assumed office, we have been able to see the adoption of resolutions defending Islam and condemning the attacks against Islam at the United Nations General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva," Ihsanoglu said.

"Such resolutions were adopted with our own votes and with the support of friendly countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, as well as with the support of countries such as Russia and China," Ihsanoglu stated.

"European countries and the United States did not accept this and they took different decisions. In order to avoid polarization, we assumed a different attitude and I offered a new plan with eight articles in a speech delivered at the UN Human Rights Council in 2010 to reach a consensus," Ihsanoglu reminded.

"The plan was firstly accepted by the U.S. government and later by the European governments. The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted the 8-article plan unanimously and the same resolution was adopted at the UN General Assembly six months later," Ihsanoglu said.

"In July 2011, we began the meeting named ’Istanbul Process’ with the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The meeting aimed to give political support to the 8-article plan known as "16/18"," Ihsanoglu expressed.

"The ’Istanbul Process’ took place in Washington and was held in London last month and continued," Ihsanoglu stated.

"As the international community, we study the eight articles. Our successful process was a diplomatic one and a diplomatic victory. Political support came after that. It is getting stronger with time. The issue to be discussed today by the wisemen is how "16/18" will be implemented. We will discuss the sanctions from the view of international law...what would happen when arrogant cartoons get drawn or a movie gets shot," Ihsanoglu said.

"The decisions to be taken are not binding. However, they will have significance at an international political level," Ihsanoglu also said.

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