OIC CHIEF MEETS BUDDHIST, MUSLIM GROUPS, MYANMAR OFFICIALS
YANGON, Nov 17 – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and his accompanying delegation from seven member states visited the camps of internally displaced peoples (IDPs) in restive Rakhine State, Myanmar.
The OIC delegation listened to Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims giving them a message of assurance that the OIC seeks to help both communities so as to ensure living together in peace and harmony.
Prior to the visit to the Rakhine, Myanmar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Union Minister of Border Affairs and other officials briefed on the OIC delegation the government’s efforts of resettlement. They accompanied the delegation in its full-day tour of three camps in the state’s capital of Sittwe and the town of Maungdaw.
Chief Minister of Rakhine State also joined them in the tour. Hundreds of Rakhine Muslims, mainly from the Rohingya community, lined the dusty roads cheering the OIC delegation and welcoming it. In his dialogue with members of the Rakhine Buddhists, Ihsanoglu stressed that OIC is not a religious organization and was not in Myanmar to spread Islam or to help Muslims solely, but to help all community members affected by violence without any discrimination.
He also emphasized on the need to build confidence and trust in the community and that OIC is willing to contribute towards achieving that. Ihsanoglu and the ministerial delegation prayed at Thabuchaung Mosque where thousands of worshipers surrounded them in warm welcome and joy at seeing them.
Ihsanoglu spent time listening to their grievances and expressing support and sympathy. Ihsanoglu said OIC is keen on opening direct channels of communication and dialogue with Myanmar, and as the official representative of the Muslim world, is in a position to cooperate and contribute to the socioeconomic development programs in Myanmar. He also emphasized the need to promote human rights and expressed concern over the violations of Rohingya and other Muslims’ rights.
The OIC chief’s observations came at meetings the delegation had with Vice President of Myanmar and Chairman of Central Committee on Implementation of Peace and Stability and Development in Rakhine State Sai Mauk Kham and the Vice Speaker of People’s Parliament Nanda Kyawswaron on Thursday in Nay Pyi Daw, Myanmar.
The meetings were positive and reflected the willingness of both sides to cooperate with the other. Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Ihsanoglu expressed appreciation of the recent steps taken by Myanmar toward democracy and reforms, and pointed out that OIC seeks peace and development for all.
The OIC delegation members, speaking at the meeting attended by seven members of Parliament including two Muslims, pressed for unhindered access of humanitarian aid to all affected people and communities, including Rakhine State, without any discrimination.
They also stressed the need for clarifying misconceptions and misunderstandings on both sides and for building mutual trust and interfaith community harmony.
The delegation also had a meeting with the Interfaith Friendship Group, which had two representatives of four religious groups in Myanmar — Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian. They exchanged views on the root causes of the conflict between Muslims and Buddhists in Rakhine and how to work together to build trust and harmony in the community.–IINA