Statement by H.E. Mr. A H Mahmood Ali, MP, Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh at the 44th Session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM); Abidjan; 10-11 July 2017
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Hon’bleMinisters & Heads of Delegation!
Highnesses, Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters!
Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu
I express my warmest felicitations to you, Excellency, on your assumption of the Chair. We convey our heartfelt thanks to the Government of Cote d’Ivoire for its leadership of the 44thCFM and extending to us warm hospitality. I also express my deep appreciation to the Government of Uzbekistan for its excellent stewardship of the last Session. My appreciation also goes to OIC Secretary General for his efforts.
This CFM, Mr. Chair, is being held at a time when challenges facing the Ummah persist. Our internal conflicts and divisions, instability and infamy caused by terrorists and extremists, and elsewhere, subjection of Muslim minorities to wide scale hatred or abuse call for closing our ranks. A paradigm shift is needed in our policies and approaches to the challenges. Our way out lies in expanding zones of peace and stability and resolving conflicts and differences through peaceful means. We must also bring our resources under our control and use them judiciously for our development and posterity. Constant OIC engagement with countries having Muslim minorities and better relations with key external powers are crucial not only to address the long standing question of Palestine but also to restore rights and dignity of Muslim minorities such as the dispossessed Rakhine Muslims in Myanmar.
In the high political and security interests of the Ummah, the Muslim world should take faster development course and stand on its feet to forestall fragmentation looming large in the Middle East. We must not sit idle and see our great heritage ruined and strategic resources squandered. When the member states become masters of their own, we believe, they are better able to solve their problems amongst themselves and deny outsiders any pretext for interventions and scope for exploiting us. Development then could certainly enhance freedom and solve many problems including external dependence and internal irredentism. OIC must go fast track in operationalising preferential trade and advancing FTA for an Islamic Common market mooted by Bangladesh years ago. It should work for large intra-OIC investment and bold joint projects under its second ten year programme of action.
Maintaining dignity and voice of the Ummah require the Muslims to come out of their isolation and live relevantly in the present world in full participation of human endevour towards global advancement. Pursuit of enlightenment, social justice, scientific enquiry and creative exploration may once again give the Muslims intellectual leadership in the world. We must therefore, invest in our youth and work for our resurgence with the youth’s bold view of life. Their uninhibited pursuit of technology and innovation can take us out of subservience and indignity of centuries.
As some OIC member states are doing well in certain areas, it may be useful to share each other’s best practices in transforming our societies. Bangladesh has some success stories to share in poverty eradication, keeping and building peace, interfaith harmony, women’s empowerment, and health. Zero tolerance policy on the one hand and use of the civil path and soft power on the other, under the Government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina are giving us large dividends in stemming radicalisation and terrorism. Her famous four point advice for us is: to stop supply of arms; stop flow of financing for terrorism; remove divisions within the Ummah; and pursue peaceful settlement of conflicts through dialogue resulting in a win-win situation. We keep faith in our youth engaged in skills and knowledge development under the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Digital Bangladesh’. We have faith in women massively empowered and active in attaining SDGs. We have confidence in the community including religious leaders mobilised to sensitise people with counter-radical narratives. Best example is the fatwa of Bangladesh Jamyatul Ulama endorsed by one hundred thousand Ulema and Aimmah that enjoys consensus of all.
We deplore the alarming rise of Islamophobia that is no longer remaining within psychological bounds. It’s affecting Muslim minorities as they are being subjected to intolerance and discriminatory treatment. For that, we support interfaith dialogue and criminalisation of expression of hate against Islam.
In the context of recurring humanitarian exigencies in member states, OIC needs a permanent and coordinated response mechanism with stable resources and reserves. Islamic Organisation of Food Security (IOFS) may use models from member states like Bangladesh and contribute. Bangladesh feels its need too acutely as it has been hosting over three hundred thousand Myanmar Muslim Rakhines for decades under resource constraints. The model may also solve in an innovative way the problem of many member states in paying arrears and mandatory contributions to the General Secretariat and subsidiary organs such as IUT hosted by Bangladesh.
Finally, I express our heartfelt thanks to all of you for choosing Bangladesh as the host of the 45th CFM. Seeking your cooperation and continued support for that, I invite you to take part in the Dhaka CFM in 2018.
I thank you all!
Intervention of the Hon’ble Foreign Minister in a Special Brainstorming Session on ‘Youth, Peace and Development in the World of Solidarity’; 11 July 2017; Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Highnesses, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
As Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu
Let me first thank you for holding this special session and giving us the opportunity of sharing views on such a relevant subject.
The Ummah is faced with daunting challenges from all directions. Peace and development are naturally our prime goals in the face of conflicts, instability, insecurity, indignity, underdevelopment and poverty. The Ummah seeks peace from raging wars, interventions, factional and sectarian feuds, terrorism and Islamophobia. Our minds must be at peace because it is in our minds that war and violence begins.
Then we need peace primarily for development. Development cannot happen without an atmosphere of peace and stability. We have to understand that widespread instability caused in the Islamic world goes to the interest and fits in the designs of the enemies of Islam. We need to create a virtuous cycle of peace and development for the Islamic world.
For development we need cooperation and partnership. The role of our youth is pivotal there. First, the youth have to be guided to a life of constructive work and turned into human resources. We need to invest in the youth and train them to find gainful vocation in life so that they don’t become recruits for terrorism. Second, we have to show them the vision of a developed and better life of security and dignity setting examples and ideals for them to follow. Third, we must engage them in creative pursuits such as science, technology, innovation and commerce. These require quality education and R&D. Fourth, doing things together, exchanging know-how and sharing best practices could enhance our solidarity and unity needed for pursuit of peace and development. The Islamic world must take up collective initiatives and visionary projects under the OIC-2025 Programme of Action in areas like regional connectivity, blue economy, tourism, health, high tech industry and R&D. Fifth, the bubbling energy and inherent spirit of adventure in the youth need to be harnessed and directed to healthy competition of sports and creativeness for exploring new frontiers of knowledge, culture and human development. We must save our youth from prevailing cynicism that is eating our societies from the core.
May we then, Mr. Chair, make two suggestions: first, convening a high level expert group meeting including senior officials from national planning authorities to explore, with OIC institutions, ways of investing in the youth and employing their talent and energy and consider collective projects based on a seminal concept note from the General Secretariat; second, holding a youth forum in the sidelines of the OIC regular Summits for their report and recommendations.
Thank you all.