Monday, April 25, 2016

FBSHApost@15 April 2016: My trip to Istanbul for the OIC Summit 2016

Today, 14 April 2016 was the final day and the closing of the OIC Summit in Istanbul, Turkey under the theme of Unity and Solidarity for peace and justice. Considering the state of the Muslim Ummah and nations the choice was well thought. In my case, I was invited to attend as a Special Envoy of the OIC for Myanmar. I sat with the Secretariat of the OIC at the second row...When I was asked by my Indonesian colleague innocently why I was not sitting with the Malaysian colleagues together with Pak Najib. In order to avoid any misunderstanding I told him I'm now working with the OIC. 

The first day I arrived in Istanbul I had to rush from the airport straight to the meeting room to give my report on the position of the Rohingya in the Rakhine state. Based on the report we had a very good interactive discussion on Myanmar Post 2015 GE, the impact of NLD landslide victory and ASSK. Whilst we welcome the transformation to democracy, the position of the Rohingya and other Muslims there still needed to be championed at the regional, international, UN and HRC as I don't see as yet any change in the stand of the new leadership or govt on their Muslim population. In fact ASSK's position is very perplexing as a Nobel laureate on Human Rights. We are still on the long journey. 

The speech by President Erdogan of Turkey as the new Chairman of the Summit was substantive and inspiring. He went into great detail on Islamophobia and the selective negative profiling and treatments of Islam and Muslims by the West...Thus the call for Unity and Solidarity. Generally the SG and other leaders brought up the same issue....of unity and solidarity to see peace and justice as a way forward. I think the OIC member states have a lot to do to address and resolve the problems of inter and intra state conflicts based on ideology and sectarian differences amongst themselves in order to bring back the honor and dignity of Islam and Muslims. I consider this Summit a great success and much needed to be done to implement the statements, pronouncements, Communique and the Istanbul Declaration. 

It was a tiring three days. But it gave a chance to see Istanbul pre and post President Erdogan. Istanbul is truly an interesting city where history, traditions and modernity intermingle with each other. I can now hear azan from the many mosques in the city. Today the Friday prayer was performed at the venue of the Summit. The hall was filled with young security personnel other than the foreign delegates of the OIC. After three days here I am ready and packed to fly home. Bon Voyage Istanbul.

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