OIC Istanbul moot backs tech innovations to ‘present truth’ about Islam

Info Minister Marriyum urges OIC to step up efforts to protect fundamental rights of Muslims across the globe

Anadolu Agency/APP October 22, 2022
Representatives of member counties take part in the 12th Conference of Information Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkiye on October 22, 2022. PHOTO: ANADOLU AGENCY


The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which underscores the need to combat Islamophobia and hatred against Islam in all its manifestations, on Saturday called for “utilising new and emerging platforms and technological innovations to present truth” about Islam effectively.

A declaration adopted at the end of the two-day 12th Conference of the Information Ministers of the OIC in the Turkish metropolis Istanbul also welcomed the UN General Assembly resolution on International Day to Combat Islamophobia adopted by the global body on March 15.

The multi-national all-Muslim body emphasised on the importance of cooperation among the OIC member states in “developing necessary mechanisms to fight disinformation and other related challenges of the post-truth era, and devising short, medium and long-term strategic processes in the total fight against disinformation.”

It urged media outlets in the OIC member states to raise global awareness about “deliberate acts” of destruction and desecration of Islamic cultural and religious heritage in non-Muslim countries, especially in those areas where Indigenous Muslim communities were subjected to ethnic cleansing.

Recognising the importance of focusing on specific issues and possible scenarios in the short term, it called for “multidimensional crisis communication and management and mechanisms to check the accuracy of information in the medium term, and news content, media literacy and digital media literacy in the long term.”

The 57-nation Muslim bloc stressed on the crucial role of media in Islamic countries in “exposing” the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians and called for “illuminating” the legitimate cause of the Palestinian people to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The Istanbul conference highlighted the importance of international solidarity and assistance to support refugees, people seeking shelter, particularly in the multi-national body’s member states.

It also praised the efforts of the OIC “towards the advancement of the mission of Islam and promote dialogue between the Islamic culture and the world’s other cultures.”

The Muslim bloc commended constant efforts and initiatives of OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha and his contacts within and outside the Islamic world and called for a “renewed commitment to the noble objectives of the OIC and support for all its initiatives and activities, particularly in the communication and information domains with a view to encouraging unity, solidarity and cooperation in the Islamic world.”

The OIC information ministers appreciated Türkiye for hospitality during the conference and called on media entities and institutions in the member states to join the OIC Media Forum.

At the conference, a representative of Saudi Arabia handed over to Türkiye the term presidency of the OIC Information Ministers Conference and the next OIC information ministers’ conference is expected to be hosted by Azerbaijan.

Pakistan urges OIC to step up efforts for combating Islamophobia

Addressing the conference in Istanbul, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb underscored that the OIC should more proactively play its role in protecting the fundamental rights of Muslims across the globe, especially in those areas where they were in minority.

“The abhorrent phenomenon of Islamophobia is not abating. In our region – South Asia – hate speech and hate crimes against Muslims remain a source of increasing concern. Despite our efforts to the contrary, there has been a constant rise manifested in mob lynching, pre-planned communal riots, and negative portrayal in electronic and social media in India.”

As a representative of the collective aspirations of the Muslim Ummah, she stressed, the OIC was uniquely poised to lead the endeavour, and must throw its full political and economic weight and clout in protecting the fundamental rights of Muslims and interests of Muslim minorities across the globe.

She put forward multiple recommendations coupled with observations regarding the challenges faced by the Muslims.

The minister highlighted deliberate use of instruments of information control that define perceptions about Islam and the Muslims.

She cited that many Muslim countries now had independent media which had made inroads into the people’s minds about stereotyped image of Islam.

“Information colonialism has to be fought,” she said, suggesting that a new independent information regime established. “More needs to be done in terms of creating information synergies among the Muslim states.”

 “We must fight fake news with real news; fight bots with real people’s aspirations and fight trolls with genuine polls. Laws are needed to identify and prosecute promoters of hate and deception. However, we must continue to uphold basic freedoms.”

The minister said the Department of Information of the OIC General Secretariat should lead collective efforts to counter disinformation and Islamophobia. It could select journalists from the member states and organise field trips to Jammu and Kashmir and Palestine with a view to facilitating investigative journalism and factual reporting by the respective media outlets, she added.

There was a need to establish a ‘Working Group on Disinformation and Islamophobia’ in the age of social media and cyberspace, which, she said, might work in an inter-sessional mode with the objective of sharing experiences and discussing the issues in detail.

On the occasion, she also drew your attention of the participants to some other major challenges faced by the OIC states and the role of media in addressing the same.

“Climate change is the biggest generational issue of our time. Recently, my country Pakistan has faced catastrophic and unprecedented climate-induced floods – causing massive loss of life, property and livelihood,” she said.

With over one third of Pakistan’s land under water, more than 33 million people affected and over 500,000 forced to move to relief camps as over 1 million homes damaged, she said the climate-induced floods had resulted in losses estimated at $40 billion.

She said the Government of Pakistan had undertaken an extensive operation for relief, recovery and rehabilitation in the flood affected areas. “We are grateful to international community, in particular OIC countries, for their invaluable contribution for flood relief efforts.”


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