Embargoed until 00.01 (UTC +3), 14 August 2022

Various NGOs and Civil Society networks write Open Letter to the Secretary General

NGOs and Civil Society Networks from Europe, Asia, North America and Africa[1] have signed an open letter[2] to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation criticising their silence over the recent attacks on Palestinians and their increasing silence over the issue of Palestine.

The letter, organised by the Decolonial International Network and the Universal Justice Network, is co-signed by dozens of organisations and networks from as far afield as Nigeria, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Iran, UK, Lebanon and Pakistan.

In drawing attention to the founding of the OIC in the 1970s, the letter said:

On 21 August 1969 Zionists started a fire in the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Amin al-Husseini, the former Mufti of Jerusalem, called for all Muslim heads of state to convene a summit to defend Palestine. On 25 September 1969, a summit of head of states of 24 Muslim majority countries was held in Rabat, Morocco. A resolution was passed that called for close cooperation and mutual assistance between Muslim countries. Six months later in March 1970, the First Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers was held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Two years later, in 1972, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was founded. It was inspired by the Palestinian resistance against the Zionist occupation.

 “Today the website of the OIC condemns the attack against the Azerbaijani Embassy in London and the bomb attack in West Kabul, Afghanistan. But you are completely silent about the Israeli attack on Gaza that started on Friday August 5. Some countries of the OIC now have entered into agreements of cooperation with Israel, thus betraying their founding creed of solidarity with the Palestinians suffering from injustice.

 “We call upon the OIC to honour their history of solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle by issuing a resolute condemnation of the Israeli aggression of the past few days and by sanctioning those of its members who have proceeded on a path of ‘normalisation’ with the apartheid regime.  There can be no normalisation of war crimes, genocidal acts and policies and ongoing ethnic cleansing.” 

For further comment, please email media@ihrc.org or call +44 7958522196 (UK – IHRC / UJN), +31641283785 (Netherlands – DIN).

 

Notes to editors:

[1] The signatories include:

Decolonial International Network

Universal Justice Network (both secretariats Citizens International and Islamic Human Rights Commission individually and on behalf of the membership)

CENDEKIA IKHLAS MADANI FOUNDATION (Indonesia)

Malaysia Consultative Council of Islamic Organisations (MAPIM)

Convivencia Alliance (UK)

 

[2] Find the full text of the letter here, and below.

The OIC needs to have solidarity with the people of Palestine, now more than ever

HE Hissein Brahim Taha

Secretary General

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
P.O.Box 178,

Jeddah 21411,
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

 

11 August 2022

 

Your Excellency,

 

OIC solidarity with the people of Palestine

 

It seems a never-ending story. Again, Israeli aircraft are bombarding Gaza, killing children, women and men.  Many are dead, many more are injured.  We, the undersigned civil society networks call on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to stand with the Palestinians, support their right to self-defence and demand that their claims for sovereignty and self-determination are met in the fullest and most just way.

 

We are concerned that the OIC – contrary to its history and its founding mission – has become acquiescent to the crimes against humanity that are being perpetrated with greater or lesser violence on a daily basis by the Israelis.

 

Let us look simply from the time of August 2005, when Israeli forces and occupiers withdrew from Gaza after decades. In January 2006 Hamas won the majority of seats in a Palestinian legislative election, but were then besieged in Gaza and gradually – along with the inhabitants of the strip – strangled by various blockades from Israeli and international powers, and indifference and collaboration by some Muslim regimes.

 

In December 2008 Israel launched a 22-day military offensive in Gaza killing 1,400 Palestinians. In July-August 2014 for seven weeks Israeli bombardments killed more than 2,100 Palestinians. In March 2018 Palestinian protests at Gaza’s fenced border with Israel led to an armed conflict that left more than 170 Palestinians – most if not all unarmed -killed. In May 2021 hundreds of Palestinians were injured by Israeli security forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem. Hamas demanded Israel withdraw security forces from the compound. Israel responded with air raids on Gaza that went on for 11 days. At least 260 people were killed. And now more than 40 Palestinians have been killed in a new round of bombardments.

 

These killings and onslaughts occur in the context of a national liberation struggle against the colonial occupation of Palestine by Zionists.  A struggle in which the Palestinians have every right under international law, not only to defend themselves but to struggle for their freedom.

 

These rights are a cornerstone of the issues at hand today.  Issues that the OIC should be no stranger to.  On 21 August 1969 Zionists started a fire in the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Amin al-Husseini, the former Mufti of Jerusalem, called for all Muslim heads of state to convene a summit to defend Palestine. On 25 September 1969, a summit of heads of states of 24 Muslim majority countries was held in Rabat, Morocco. A resolution was passed that called for close cooperation and mutual assistance between Muslim countries. Six months later in March 1970, the First Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers was held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Two years later, in 1972, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was founded. It was inspired by the Palestinian resistance against the Zionist occupation.

 

Today the website of the OIC condemns the attack against the Azerbaijani Embassy in London and the bomb attack in West Kabul, Afghanistan. But you are completely silent about the Israeli attack on Gaza that started on Friday August 5. Some countries of the OIC now have entered into agreements of cooperation with Israel, thus betraying their founding creed of solidarity with the Palestinians suffering from injustice.

 

We call upon the OIC to honour their history of solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle by issuing a resolute condemnation of the Israeli aggression of the past few days and by sanctioning those of its members who have proceeded on a path of ‘normalisation’ with the apartheid regime.  There can be no normalisation of war crimes, genocidal acts and policies and ongoing ethnic cleansing.

 

Signed by:

 

Sandew Hira

Decolonial International Network

 

Massoud Shadjareh and Mohideen Abdul Kader

Universal Justice Network

 

David Cannon,

Convivencia Alliance

UK

 

Azmi Abdul Hamid

Majlis Consultative Council of Islamic Organizations

Malaysia

 

Mohideen Abdul Kader

Citizens International

Malaysia

 

Massoud Shadjareh

Chair, Islamic Human Rights Commission

UK

 

Mardani Ali Sera

Cendekia Ikhlas Madani Foundation

Indonesia[ENDS]