October 22, 2012 News: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Government of the United Kingdom signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on issues of promoting dialogue, peace and humanitarian assistance at the annual OIC reception.
OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Rt. Hon. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, UK Senior Minister of State signed the MOC on the sidelines of the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 28 September 2012.
The memorandum covers cooperation in several areas including the promotion of peace and interfaith and intercultural dialogue and cooperating on humanitarian assistance and human rights. Representatives of the OIC and the UK will hold annual consultations at an appropriate level to discuss issues of mutual interest and identify potential areas for cooperation and projects.
This development is being carried by the media de0partment of the OIC in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, a political analyst in Cotabato City that the signing of the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro is an opportunity for cooperation and collaboration between the British government and the US government and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation as shown below. Several OIC countries in Southeast Asia are part of the GPH-MILF peace talks, in particular, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. The OIC is an observer in the International Contact Group for the GPH-MILF peace talks which includes Britain, Japan, Turkey and Saudi, the last two countries being influential members of the OIC in their own right. OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu witnessed the signing of the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro on October 15 in Manila.
In a related development, the OIC also signed with the United States government, the Institute of Global Engagement, and Religions for Peace International a Co-partners Track 1.5 Diplomacy for Peace and Prosperity at the sidelines of the United Nations Assembly in New York last September 28, this year.
Present during the signing ceremony were some 120 senior governmental representatives, religious and other civil society leaders for a high-level side event during the United Nations General Assembly.
The event focused on advancing strategic partnerships between governments and faith-based civil society organizations for peace and prosperity. By consensus, the group expressed its desire to collaborate to build a working platform to facilitate collaboration among states, intergovernmental bodies and faith-based civil society organizations for peace.
Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace opened the high-level dialogue and stated “we recognize that the identities, mandates and capacities of governments and religious bodies are different. Governmental efforts for problem solving can be called ’track one’ approaches, while faith-based civil society initiatives can be called ‘track two’ approaches. We want partnerships that respect and retain these differences, but also harness their respective strengths. We are calling these partnerships track ‘1.5.’
“Today, we need to reflect on the principles, best practices and new opportunities for these important partnerships,” he stressed
Ihsanoglu stressed that governments and faith-based civil society organizations should strengthen their collaboration to overcome ignorance, radicalism and the misuse of religion.
He added that he was concerned with and condemned Islamophobia, but at the same time, on every occasion I have reaised my concern and condemnation of acts of Christianophobia and Anti-Semitism.
He noted that followers of other religions as well as non-believers also deserve our respect.
“I was always concerned that the interfaith dialogue was not reaching the grass roots. Now I can see the added value of what Religions for Peace is trying to do from West Africa—to the MENA region—to the Far East. He stated further.