EU chief on Mideast mission

August 30th, 2019

Category: 苏州半永久

After arriving in Saudi Arabia, Mr Solana held a meeting in Jeddah with the Organisation of the Islamic Conference’s (OIC) secretary general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.


The OIC had earlier urged the EU to combat what it termed “Islamophobia” which it said should be equated with xenophobia and anti-Semitism.

“We have been talking today on how we can send a message to the people in both communities, the Islamic and European, that we need this not to happen again,” Mr Solana said in reference to Muslim anger over the publication of the cartoons in European newspapers.

After the meeting the parties said they would back United Nations action to stop “defamation of religion”.

The OIC is lobbying for the UN to include language against blasphemy in the tenets of a new human rights body.

“We agreed to take different measures including at the level of the United Nations to guarantee these acts will not be repeated,” Mr Ihsanoglu said.

Mr Solana’s four-day tour will include visits to Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Israel.

The cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, first published in a Danish newspaper, have triggered a wave of violent protests across the Muslim world.

Call for dialogue

Egypt’s foreign minister meanwhile has called for urgent dialogue between the West and Muslim countries to avert a clash of civilisations.

“We are witnessing the early signs of a campaign and a clash between the West and Islam,” Abul Gheit told a conference on security in the Middle East co-sponsored with NATO.

Thousands of students gathered on Monday at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University to protest against the cartoons and encourage a boycott of Danish products.

There were also demonstrations in Pakistan, where police in the northwest of the country fired teargas to disperse around 4,000 protesters.

Hundreds of Palestinian students demonstrated in the West Bank city of Hebron against the publication of the cartoons.

In Copenhagen, Denmark’s prime minister said the spread of false pictures, stories and rumours have tarnished the country’s image in the Muslim world.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, after meeting with moderate Muslim leaders, insisted Denmark was an open and tolerant country that respects all faiths.

“We have seen Denmark portrayed as a closed and intolerant society,” he said.

“The truth is the opposite. Denmark is an open and tolerant society, a tolerant society which respects all faiths.”

Tolerance urged

Meanwhile, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said it will meet with its Mediterranean Partners and representatives on tolerance and non-discrimination in Vienna on Thursday to appease the controversy over the cartoons.

Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, who holds the rotating OSCE presidency, has invited all 55 member-states — including Central Asian countries with a majority Muslim population — and its 11 Partners for Co-operation, among them Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia, the OSCE said in a statement.

“The participating states show a profound attachment to freedom of expression; but equally to tolerance and mutual respect between people of different opinions and beliefs,” the Chairman of the Permanent Council, Ambassador Bertrand de Crombrugghe, said.

The OSCE promotes human rights, democratisation and conflict prevention in its 55 member states in Europe, North America and Central Asia.

Cartoons reprinted

A Canadian political magazine meanwile published eight of 12 controversial cartoons in a special edition on Monday, prompting censure from Muslim leaders there.

Ezra Levant of the conservative Western Standard, based in Calgary, said he reprinted the cartoons to support free speech and poke North American media which largely avoided the polemic.

“We’re not publishing them for their editorial merits or because we share their views. They’re actually boring compared to normal political cartoons, they’re bland,” he said.

Islam prohibits depictions of the Prophet.

Mohamed Elmasry, leader of the Canadian Islamic Congress, said he would press for criminal charges to be laid against the magazine for distributing hate literature under Canadian law.

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