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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


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