News / Middle East

Islamic Summit Leaders Urge Action on Mali, Syria

Syria, Mali Take Center Stage at Islamic Summiti
X
February 06, 2013 9:00 PM
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. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from Cairo.
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

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid