Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), has called on OIC member states to assume a pivotal role in tackling Islamophobia, pointing out that hostility against Islam had entered into a new phase which the OIC General Secretariat alone cannot deal with.
In his speech Monday at the 35th session of the Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs (ICECS) - held in preparation to the forthcoming Council of Foreign Ministers session to be held in Djibouti, Ihsanoglu noted that Islamophobia had moved to a stage where it is being exploited in election campaigns in Europe following the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet (peace be upon him) and media's distortion of the Islamic faith and its symbols in order to clamp down on Muslim communities in Europe.
He added that the OIC General Secretariat alone could not deal with such a shift and called on the member states to take advantage of their bilateral relations with many European countries in order to minimize or eradicate this phenomenon.
The OIC has a large voting bloc, he noted. Draft resolutions that affect the Muslim world are subject to OIC's approval, he added. The secretary general said the OIC was entering a new era by becoming a strategic partner of the United Nations. Ihsanoglu said that foreign ministers of OIC member states will meet on June 24 to discuss the situation in Syria, Sudan, Palestine and the African Sahel region.