News / Middle East

Islamic Summit Leaders Urge Action on Mali, Syria

Elizabeth Arrott
Members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation are holding a summit in Cairo. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on the first visit to Egypt by a leader of the Islamic Republic, is among those taking part. Historically, the OIC has been tepid on political issues, but in a time of sweeping change within its member states, some hope the forum will grow more dynamic. 
 
Leaders from across the Muslim world gathered for the two-day summit in Cairo, with the conflicts in Syria and Mali taking center stage.
 
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation

  • Established in 1969
  • Formerly known as the Organization of the Islamic Conference
  • Has 57 members
  • Aims to represent world's 1.5 billion Muslims
  • Works with the U.N. and other organizations to protect Muslim interests
  • Has three main bodies: The Islamic Summit, The Council of Foreign Ministers and The General Secretariat
Egypt has taken over the rotating chairmanship of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Islamist President Mohamed Morsi laid out the group's challenges - including what he called Islamophobia and extremism, even as he is under attack by opponents at home.
 
Summit participants called for a negotiated solution to the conflict in Syria. The OIC suspended Syria's government last year.  
 
Iran's foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, downplayed Tehran's position as one of the Assad government's few backers.
 
"I'm optimistic that a solution to the crisis can be found, a Syrian-Syrian solution, a peaceful solution due to the initiative of his Excellency President Morsi," he said.
 
France's military operation against Islamist militants in Mali was a source of division too. The effort was praised by Senegal. But Morsi has condemned it.

Amid protests in Tunis after the murder of an opposition leader there, Tunisia's president cancelled plans to attend the conference, a reminder of the instability across the region.
 
The conference is giving Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a chance to build ties between his Shi'ite-led nation and Sunni-majority Egypt.He's the first leader of the Islamic Republic to visit Egypt. The countries broke relations in 1980 over Iran's revolution, and Egypt's recognition of Israel. 
 
But while Ahmadinejad stressed the importance of an Egyptian-Iranian alliance, sectarian differences were on display during his visit to Al Azhar, a seat of Sunni learning.  Clerics there accused Iran of interference by spreading Shi'ite belief. 
 
Political analyst Said Sadek says Iran feels on the defensive.

"I think one of the things they understand that the West wants is that the Arab Spring turns into a sea of Sunni regimes against Iran.  So, they want to get from Egypt any symbolic blessing or cooling down of attacks against Shi'a, but this is very difficult," he said. 
 
Underscoring the tensions, on the first day of Ahmadinejad's trip, a protester tried to hit him with a shoe.  

  • Leaders of nations taking part in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's two-day summit, which brings together leaders from across the Muslim world, pose for a group photograph in Cairo, February 6, 2013.
  • Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi listens to his Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr during the opening of the 12th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Cairo, Egypt, February 6, 2013.
  • Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, surrounded by security and members of his delegation at the 12th summit of the OIC, February 6, 2013.
  • Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi greets Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before the opening OIC summit in Cairo, February 6, 2013.
  • Afghan President Hamid Karzai attends the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit in Cairo, February 6, 2013.
  • Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (2nd R) talks with other attendees before the start of the OIC summit in Cairo February 6, 2013.
  • Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends the OIC summit in Cairo, February 6, 2013.
  • A man holds a sign in Arabic reading, "(Ahmedinejad) You are not welcome in Egypt", in front of the al-Azhar mosque during Ahmedinejad's visit in Cairo, February 5, 2013.
  • Photographers take pictures of Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) before the start of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit in Cairo, February 6, 2013.
  • Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi participate in an arrival ceremony at the airport in Cairo, Egypt, February 5, 2013. (Egyptian Presidency Handout)

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
February 06, 2013 7:26 PM
I praise France and Syrian president Basher Assad for fighting radical terrorism organization ,we have to give credit to France. we have to support president Bashar Assad for his courage stand against radical Islam even so many dead but the alternative is worst .if radical Muslim won .the Syrian land will cover with blood

by: Mwadamkulu Kinganga from: London
February 06, 2013 2:50 PM
France has sent death squad to kill innocent children,women and the elderly people in Mali for no apparent reason but they chose leaders of their choice.The West only understand the language of force and destruction the way they killed , murdered the innocent and destroyed their countries of Afghanistan,Iraq,Libya and now Syria and leave them in ruin, in the name of saving the country from its own people.What a shame!
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
February 07, 2013 4:48 AM
you forget the fact that existing in other African country. look what happen in Sudan when the radical Islam took office, the civil war in southern part of Sudan is a tragedy. Sudanese Gov. cut food supply and people starve to death. another example is The horn of Africa which turn to no mans land because the barbaric radical Islam .stop spreading Islam is necessary to save country from ideology that promote violent and encourage killing non Muslim because they are infidel

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More