İhsanoğlu calls for observer office to combat religious intolerance

İhsanoğlu calls for observer office to combat religious intolerance

Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu. (Photo: AA, İrfan Sapmaz)

January 23, 2013, Wednesday/ 16:42:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu has called for an international early warning system against discrimination and intolerance towards religions by establishing an observer office within the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of the United Nations.

Participating in an international meeting in London at the invitation of the British Conservative Party's Co-chairman and minister without portfolio Baroness Sayeeda Warsi on Tuesday, İhsanoğlu remarked on the struggle against intolerance towards religions. High-level officials from Italy, Germany, Pakistan, Canada, Egypt and the US also attended the meeting. Underscoring that intolerance and discrimination against Muslims are gradually increasing, İhsanoğlu warned that the problem may become a global issue by affecting other religions. “The world is under the threat of terrorism and people are provoked to hate, discriminate and be violent, which cannot be overlooked. If this were to be the case, every person in the world can be in danger,” said İhsanoğlu.

İhsanoğlu stated that an observer office was established to follow hate crimes due to Islamophobia by the OIC and the Foundation of European Security and Collaboration (AGİT). He stressed there is a need for another observer office to track intolerance and discrimination against every religion on the international level.

To achieve that, he called for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to reach a consensus by putting its decisions into practice for combating discrimination against individuals on the basis of religion or belief. He added that certain incidents such as the burning of the Quran and films such as “Innocence of Muslims” had raised the level of Islamophobia.

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