Future of US-Islamic relations in second Obama term
From Will at THE OTHER NEWS:
By Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general, Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
The presidential elections in the United States are watched with great interest and concern in every part of the world, including in the Islamic world. The results will have impact on countless international issues.
With President Obama’s re-election, we believe there is an opportunity to continue an unprecedented engagement with the Muslim world, which he began at the beginning of his first term. President Obama undertook a bold initiative in his first four years to engage with the Muslim world in June 2009 at the Cairo University, which demonstrated vision and leadership.
Now that President Obama has been re-elected, his leadership is fundamentally important on a series of issues close to the OIC that have international impact.
More than ever, the president’s leadership is required to bring a permanent resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the two state solution. Both Palestinians and Israeli peoples long for and deserve a permanent peace to focus their energy and resources on developing their societies in peace, harmony, and co-existence. Death, destruction, insecurity and mistrust should no longer be part of the prospects for the new Palestinian and Israeli generation.
U.S.-OIC cooperation will be vital for supporting the efforts of the Governments of Afghanistan and Somalia to ensure stability, security, socio-economic development and reconstruction in their countries.
The president’s trip to Myanmar offered an unprecedented opportunity for America to influence developments in the country.
The U.S. role will be important in bringing an end to the plight and suffering of the Muslim Rohingya minority and encouraging the Government to develop a long term plan for the reintegration of the Rohingya and Rakhine people while ensuring that the democratic development in the country continues uninhibited by their internal conflict.
While the president is rightly concerned about democratization and the opening up of Myanmar, as International Crisis Group warned in its latest report “there is a real risk that the localised conflict in the Rakhine State could take on a more general Buddhist-Muslim dimension and spread to other parts of the multi-religious and multi-ethnic country”.
Under the president’s administration, the OIC General Secretariat and the State Department supported the Istanbul Process which seeks to implement UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 by protecting freedom of expression and encouraging respect for every religion and belief system. It is important that this dialogue continues strongly in the president’s new term and that the current resolutions are implemented in order to solidify relationships among all religions and the protection against intolerance; not just for one religion but for all.The president’s re-election frees him from the strictures of electoral politics and allows him to exercise leadership and judgment unfettered by an impending election. I assured him of our commitment to work with him and his government in close cooperation to bring peace, progress and harmony to all, and the OIC looks forward to strengthening this relationship with the United States substantively in the coming years.
We continue to believe in what President eloquently stated in his election-night acceptance speech in November 2008, “our stories are singular but our destiny is shared.”
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