Interview with Ekmeleddin ?hsano?lu, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

We post and are involved with a lot of videos at Vlad Tepes and with varying degrees of importance.

This one should be watched by all. Regular readers of this and similar sites will be able to read between the lines quite well and it will probably anger you a great deal. But this needs to be seen.

Full transcript below the fold. More here at GoV

To understand the importance of this, watching Stephen Coughlin’s brief on the OIC is very useful.

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Now, since 2005,

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we don’t appoint anyone unless they are highly professional in the area of diplomacy, management.

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They must have experience in dealing with international organisations

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They must come from a country that upholds agreements with the OIC

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with respect to participation in and assistance to the organisation

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and the voting record in the United Nations.

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There’s now a discipline and control in the operation of the organisation.

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And this raises the profile of the organisation,

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which has now become an influential player in the international community.

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There are decisions that are taken in the UN.

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I give you an example which is very illustrative: the membership of Palestine in UNESCO.

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If the OIC with its 50 votes in UNESCO didn’t press on the issue of membership for Palestine,

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than that would not have been possible. And many things are happening

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There’s now a kind of relationship,

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control and systematic structure in membership

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in the way events are dealt with.

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Then by means of the 10 year plan which was agreed upon

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in the historic Mecca conference, which was called by his highness Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz in 2005 and

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held in December in Mecca, which was the first conference to be held in Mecca.

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This exceptional conference produced a new outlook for the Islamic World

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and a 10-year plan.

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The new outlook may be titled “Solidarity in Action”.

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The solidarity isn’t that we just repeat words that

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makes us all happy;

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this is not what’s needed.

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Simply intangible satisfaction

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There must be cooperation in action, in projects, in political stands.

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The important thing is to change this cooperation

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from cooperation in verbal and written statements to cooperation in actions

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and unite the political positions to a great extent.

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– OK. Why is it that the Arab street – I mean the Arab and the Muslim base -

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accuses the Islamic conferences which are held,

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that they are confined only to the conference halls, and never

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convey their opinions?

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As for example the interfaith dialog conferences. –

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I mean this is a complex question and there are many elements to it.

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I would like to discuss these elements separately because generalised statements

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will be answered with unconvincing generalisations as well.

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We have to differentiate when dealing with events

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between the general issues these events relate to.

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There are political situations, for example,

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where Islamic countries act together

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in accordance with the decisions taken in the OIC

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We in this regard have made very large progress.

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With very few exceptions,

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the voting in the UN happens in accordance with OIC decisions.

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This issue is very important… Now of course the “street” is not ever part of these details.

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And here comes the role of the media.

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We would like the role of the media to be greater to make people aware a what has been accomplished.

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At this moment the OIC has four members on the security council;

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four members of the OIC are on the security council and this is very important.

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In the G20, which consists of the 20 most powerful countries, there are three OIC member countries,

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there are three OIC member countries.

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Therefore now the role of our countries has climbed the ladder of influence

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Coming to another issue… There are some problems…

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That concern the Islamic World.

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The OIC decisions concerning these problems are general,

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which means that they are not binding… for example there are issues that concern minorities (Muslims in non-Muslim countries).

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In that regard there are decisions made

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that call to do this and this,

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but there are no means to address these decisions.

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Meaning that when there is a problem with a Muslim minority group

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in a country which is not a member in the OIC,

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how is it possible for the OIC to influence on the reality,

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and change the position of the government in that country that doesn’t give Muslims a good treatment,

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other than diplomatic action?

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In the diplomatic play there are many spheres,

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And as such the relationship between our countries and one that doesn’t treat Muslims well,

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here comes the collapse in consensus and positions taken by each OIC member state,

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meaning that the position being taken

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by each member is based on its interest

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in the relationship with that country mistreating Muslims.

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And here the Islamic world looks at the reality,

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as if it is a laziness of the OIC, and that those issues are not on the priority list.

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It is necessary in dealing with this issue

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to define the boundaries of the influence of the OIC,

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which is international body that issues decisions

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based on agreement of its member states regarding any particular issue.

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But I can say that the organisation, during a period starting from 2005

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was capable of achieving a status in the international arena,

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and had become a voice which is heard and influential on many issues.

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I mean this is reality and I can give many illustrative examples of this reality.

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– What is a good example… I mean which country you have influenced to protect Muslim minority there? –

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In the Philippines, for example.

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In Philippines there is a big issue

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with the Muslim minority in the province of Mindanao.

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Over a long periods in history those Muslims had their own state, a Sultanate,

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but after the World War 2

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and the appearance of modern states, this Sultanate was removed,

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which compromised the rights of local Muslims who were the native population of that area

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The OIC has succeeded in forming an agreement between the government

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and the Muslims.

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Since 2005 we have generated a lot of noise over this political issue.

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We were involved in negotiations and the signing of agreements,

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in organizing different political groups representing Muslims,

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And entered in conversation with the Philippine government.

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The leader of Muslims was imprisoned, and were able to convince the government to release him from confinement,

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which was political and illegal.

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There are many similar examples, including the Muslim minority in Thailand.

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– Ok… If we talk about some problems… — And now we are working especially on the issue of the Rohingya,

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The Muslim minority in Burma… I will return to

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this issue in detail. — If we speak about the problems of the Islamic World today

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there is a problem that concerns everyone, the problem of extremism… the latest was the film that denigrated the prophet.

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You have demanded that the West respect religious values and not misuse the right of free speech,

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but in your view the results of the whole scandal, were they

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in interests of Muslims or against their interests? –

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I have to make it clear, we are suffering

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from extremism in more than one place.

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On our side there is extremism; now on the side of the West

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there is extremism. The extremism on our side takes certain form,

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which is different from the form that it takes in the West.

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– Weren’t we extreme in the way we dealt with that film? –

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We have to see the issue in its entirety; that is, this film was produced by

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a group whose hearts are filled

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with hatred for Islam,

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and there was no connection with the American government or their film industry,

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any connection with this event,

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the group that put the movie on to the internet are a misguided group that hates Islam.

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Now when the OIC discovered

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in one way or another that there is a film which denigrates the prophet,

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and it indeed denigrates. It’s a disgusting peace of work.

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It is impossible to defend it in any way; the response was violent,

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and I think that this violent reaction

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has confined us in the work that we began

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after the Danish cartoons.

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We were able… first of all to document, at the OIC, all occurrences of Islamophobia

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the daily, 24 hour documentation of every single occurrence.

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– Doctor, we are forced to take a break. We will return after the break –

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– We will continue the program this evening with our guest, professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu,

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the General Secretary of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the second-biggest organisation in the world after the UN.

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The record of Islamophobia which you talked about and the image of Islam

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in the world today … how do you see it? –

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There is now a wave of hatred

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and a wave of distortion of the image of Islam, which occurs in the Western world,

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from within small or marginal groups,

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but they are very active.

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And they have a special agenda… we have to deal with this issue quietly

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with reason, and using style,

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which will lead to a result. And it means dealing with the issue diplomatically over a period of time, as necessary,

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which means that expression that takes a violent shape

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in response to these actions

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transforms us from victims into aggressors,

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from having a righteous cause that can succeed to one which will fail.

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Then the individual actions of some who think that it will bring results,

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in reality it doesn’t bring any result in as much as it brings a loss

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to us all.

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– So who motivates these people to demonstrate in such a violent manner?

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Couldn’t you motivate these people to demonstrate in a peaceful manner in response to such things? –

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The crowds are motivated by their feelings.

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I do not blame the people who demonstrate but rather I blame those who motivate these people,

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and as I said, we have extremists on this side and there are extremists on the other side,

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and it is required of us that we follow the voice of sound mind

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in dealing these people… the most important point here is that we

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have succeeded in the period since 2005 (the publishing of the Danish cartoons)

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succeeded internationally in that we issued reports from

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the Human Rights Council of the UN

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on how to deal with such issues… and these reports

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we have adopted in agreement with the US and European countries

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that were objecting to these reports. We were capable of doing that by negotiating with them.

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At this moment we have the resolution 16/18

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which was issued last year at the UN

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which forms a legal groundwork

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for criminalising such actions that could lead to violence… there is

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in the international agreement for civil and political rights (year 1966 paragraph 18)

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A provision that would allow us to put limits on the misuse of the freedom of speech

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including misuse of freedom of press, freedom of thought,

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the misuse of these freedoms towards others,

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in a sense that it would encourage to violence and to hatred based on religious belief.

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We have these legal bases…

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bases that existed for some time

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and new bases that we developed and the international community accepts; all we are now missing is some steps that

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would allow enforcement of these laws. We are now intent… in a few weeks we will

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have a meeting in the UK around this issue.

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six months previously there was a meeting in Washington

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with the American State Department. In the middle of last year we started a political process

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in dealing with the United States and the European Union.

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There was a conference with the participation of Hillary Clinton

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and myself which was known as the Istanbul process

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to support this work. It is impossible to achieve this undertaking without cooperation,

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working together with the international community.

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The support of The member states is necessary to achieve desired result.

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– OK, I have also read your report that says that extremism is produced by oppression in society,

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and there was… we talked about the role of the OIC

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in removing extremism from Islamic society. In your view, how can

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this can be achieved? How can the religious rhetoric that supports violence be changed? –

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I would like to refer here to the historic Mecca conference in 2005.

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that conference produced a report

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to assert a balanced interpretation of religious texts and tolerance in Islam.

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To this end a list of priorities was formed to reform the Islamic Fiqh Academy,

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Which is the highest religious authority for the member states of the OIC,

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because this academy includes 57 member states, includes the most prominent muftis,

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all the most distinguished people in the Islamic sphere who take the most prominent roles.

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Now it is necessary to distinguish between principles

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of the religion….and

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its foundational rules which call for a balanced approach and tolerance

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and acceptance of others’ ideas, and based on the principle “for them their religion, for me my religion”,

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and distinguish between all of that

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and the extremist movements that use religion as means for power that from religion makes

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an ideology for violence,

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and uses religious arguments that are wrong,

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meaning that they take religious texts from their context.

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It is impossible to understand a religious text

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which calls to do something on not to do something without knowing the right context .

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There is a lot of distortion,

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a lot of misinterpretations of the texts,

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and majority of people don’t know this and therefore they are driven by those people.

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– For political reasons…are you afraid of political Islam? –

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We have to distinguish between the right Islam and its honourable principles,

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and the Islam which is currently being pushed

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by some special groups.

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Now what is known by “Political Islam”… I mean that Islam in its long history

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didn’t have a definitive governing system.

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There are different types of governing systems. There are general principles that Islamic government should be based, on such as justice,

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doing good deeds, shura etc. All those things, if present in a governing system,

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then that governing system would be in agreement with Islam.

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Since the beginning of the prophecy to the beginning of the World War One,

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when the entire Islamic world was controlled by a single authority,

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there were many types of government. So it is possible that an individual or a group will come

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and say that the Islamic government is what I say it is,

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and he who doesn’t agree with me is not a Muslim; therefore you have to follow what I say,

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and if you don’t follow then you are outside of Islam etc.

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And all these accusations… we have to understand

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that the governing system in Islam must be built on the founding principles such as justice,

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shura and other similar values… as for the way of governing,

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now the whole world is heading towards democracy, to a mature way of governing,

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to transparency, to representation, to elections

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and its impossible that someone will come and say that these means are contrary to religion.

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The opposite is true, many of the most prominent religious scholars have said that

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all of these new ideas of governing, the election of a president,

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election of representatives etc. are in agreement with Islam. There are many precedents

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in the modern history of Islam. Since the 19th century and in the 20th century

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we have seen that between the modern values and Islam exists

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a lot of resemblance… — I want to come back to this point,

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but firstly I want finish on political Islam. Prior to the revolutions

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you tried to dismiss the fears of some

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about the rise of political Islam.

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Their fears were real, however, and the Islamists had risen into positions of power. Today are you worried for the situation in the Arab world? –

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Firstly, its necessary to understand well

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that this period which the Arab and Muslim world is passing through

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is a transitional period. This transitional period,

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there is no doubt that it will be filled with surprises and shocks,

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because we are witnessing transition from the totalitarian, absolutist regimes.

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A totalitarian system where all the authority

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is in single person’s hand and other’s views are not considered,

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where dialogue doesn’t exist nor political or social freedoms, but now

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these countries are exiting from this closed-off system to an open system,

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the openness has reached, to a great extent,

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a point of chaos. The democracy,

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the mature governing system does not mean chaos.

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The openness must be within a framework of laws and controls

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that are agreed upon. This is the situation in countries that experienced

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democratic rule over a long period. We are still in the beginning of this process.

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…. I have compared, I said that the expression

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“the Arab Spring” is an incorrect expression because a spring

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if what meant by that is the appearance of flowers and fruits and good weather.

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This is not what is happening . What is happening is

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is the autumn of oppression. The people have woken up and

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got rid of the absolute rule.

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Now the spring is in front of us. The long autumn is still upon us. The winter will also come;

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the winter will be full of rains and storms etc.

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– When will it end? — It will take a long time. No country or society has ever arrived,

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in Europe , Asia or the Americas,

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did not arrive at a democratic society overnight.

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In my country Turkey for example… — So you are somewhat optimistic, for example,

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the Arabic countries that went through revolutions in the beginning of the 20th century, but

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after that they had entered Autumn, or let’s say winter, and stayed there until now,

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can we distinguish between then and now? — What happened in the Arab world wasn’t revolutions; what happened was

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military coups. Starting from Adib al Shakli then in Egypt

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abd al Nasr, in Iraq abd al Karim Qasim

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and in Libya… All that was military coups,

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so by means of coups the militaries took control of governments,

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and they named those coups revolutions,

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even the name “revolution” didn’t appear in Egypt, following the coup, for a long time.

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At some stage someone suggested it be named “revolution”, and they called a revolution but in reality wasn’t anything other than

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military coup. Now what’s happening

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is the awakening of the people.

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– You have mentioned your country Turkey…they say… they say Turkish example

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They say that the Turks want to implement their example in the area…

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that the Turks want extend their influence in the area through these revolutions… so always the Turkish example is mentioned. –

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I say the following,

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First of all I express my personal view as an educated Turk,

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not the official position of Turkish government, which has its own representatives,

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and I am not speaking in its name as I don’t have the right to.

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Turkey wouldn’t have arrived at this point if it wasn’t accepted

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or appreciated by others … and I think there are those who call for this.

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It didn’t happen overnight.

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It has been happening over the last ten years. Turkey was going through a process of reform.

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For the last century and a half it passed through a number of stages ,

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starting with the reorganisation of the Ottoman state, then a constitution, then the republic

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went through military coups. In Turkey in the year 1961

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a military coup happened which arrested the entire government.

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The prime minister, the speaker of parliament,

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the foreign minister were executed. Many politicians were imprisoned;

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some went into exile. And I am one of those who were imprisoned at that time.

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After that there were many other events, other coups.

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I mean to say that Turkey didn’t arrive at this point in the last 5 or 10 years. This has taken a century and a half,

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therefore this means that the place which Turkey has now arrived at,

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the other can’t arrive at in a short time,

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and each country has its own political circumstances,

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political history, economic, social and demographic situations

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and circumstances that influence the flow of events, in one case

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may not repeat, in the other case and the opposite is true.

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Each country has its own circumstances. Indonesia, for example,

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from the beginning of independence to the end of the Suharto era

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had lived through military dictatorship,

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and when the Suharto regime collapsed, a major democratic reform occurred,

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which wasn’t completed until recently. Now there is a democratic government.

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Indonesia lived through a very long period of upheavals

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until arrived at this shape.

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This is a very natural thing. The Indonesian experience is very different from the Turkish.

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– OK, is it true that Turks… — Every country that lived and lives through such events

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Will have its own path. But it’s possible to examine

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experience of others and benefit from it,

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so what is the conclusion of the Turkish experience? It is that an Islamic society

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can achieve a democratic system, that the authority

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can change hands peacefully by means of elections,

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meaning that whoever comes doesn’t stay in power longer than a constitutionally-designated term,

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comes in and leaves through elections; another point

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is that there is no contradiction between this democratic regime that we talked about

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and the teachings of Islam. And maybe our people

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can accomplish this other point.

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Industrial and social progress and openness to others,

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these values are in harmony with Islam,

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and Islam is not a barrier to this, but the opposite. Islam actually is the stimulus.

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This is what they can benefit from, as for taking this example and say,

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A did this, B did this and C did that,

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this is not possible.

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– Possibly it’s because we are still lost, always search for an a model to adopt. –

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I say that its not an easy thing for these societies to exit

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from the pattern that lasted for that long a time.

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Now some, in Egypt for example,

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exit from the rule of dictatorship that lasted for 60 years.

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Now comes a big change,

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and the parliament forms the government

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and gives it confidence. And the prime minister is accountable to the parliament.

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The president of the country is elected for a specified period and not for life.

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– It’s a difficult thing… generally the road to freedom is not covered with flowers. We will take a break, Dr. Akmal,

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and will return after the break, stay with us. –

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– Welcome back again with Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu

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At the OIC headquarters in Jeddah.

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Dr. Akmal, before the break you were talking about bridging

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the modern social and political ideas with Islamic ideas. So how

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can we unite the modern values such as democracy with Islamic ideas?

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In your view is this an easy thing to accomplish at this point? –

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I don’t think there is a difficulty; it is an issue of understanding,

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if we are capable of understanding Islam and the rules of government in Islam

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in its correct form as was revealed in the holy texts,

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as was implemented historically.

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We cannot understand the texts without understanding the historical context when the laws were developed,

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so there would be no problem. But if confine ourselves by the narrow understanding of the texts

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taking the texts out of the historical context,

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That will create obstacles for us. And we are living through some of these obstacles now.

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And within the year I think some of that will happen,

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and I see some good indications of that. — With respect to some of the modern values,

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democracy, human rights, specifically women’s rights…

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I have heard you say previously that these revolutions will benefit women. That women will have a better status

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In the Arab world after the “Arab Spring”.

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The biggest problems for women today, and what is the role of OIC in solving these problems? –

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In reality the women’s issue was not brought up

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within the organisation until 2005. Since 2005

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we have made the women’s issue and woman’s place and role in society

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the top of the priority list for the new agenda,

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the agenda of reform in the organisation.

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We have started holding a first ministerial conference about the issues of women in the year 2006,

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and this conference was a big turning point in dealing

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with female issues, as it hadn’t even been raised previously within the organisation,

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Whether in the meetings of foreign ministers or conferences,

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as this issue was considered of low significance. For that reason we had held a conference specifically for that purpose

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for ministers that deal with women and family issues,

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and great work was undertaken in that area.

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We have already had three conferences on that issue, and during the next month there will be a fourth conference

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for the ministers dealing with women’s issues… what had come from these conferences?

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Is all of it just meeting of ministers,

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speeches and dinner parties?

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Or did it yield fruits? And I say that actual positive results were produced.

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There is a document on the place of women,

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and empowering women in Islamic societies.

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And this document expresses explicitly Islam’s view

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on the position of women, their right to participate and their role in building society,

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and also woman’s participation in decision-making,

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in the priorities of decision-making.

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A decision was also made to set up a dedicated organisation

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that will be involved specifically in women’s issues. This was agreed,

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and we are currently in the middle of the process to set up this organisation,

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we are gathering the required signatures

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to form the administrative structure for the new organisation.

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– But the Islamic world and especially the Arab world… I mean, I as a woman,

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we have been putting up for a long time with this story of signatures on documents

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Agreements to eliminate discrimination against women… there are many agreements

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that were signed but never implemented, or with strong reservations

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and simply paying lip service. How you will force these countries to implement [the decisions]? –

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Now in our dealing with this issue we have finished with all such pretence.

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If a country doesn’t believe in it, then it’s not obliged and doesn’t sign

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and remains outside this matter. But the countries that sign, then

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they have to implement it. It is hoped for…

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The point that I you raised is very important. Here we say the work is not finished

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by issuing statements and documents.

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It is necessary for women’s organisations,

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for organisations in civil society to work for that goal.

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We cannot do everything;

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there is no international organisation that does everything. — You mean if there’s no desire from women… –

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There needs to be a follow-through

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from women’s organisations with regard to these decisions,

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and efforts for their implementation. Because the bureaucracy in our countries

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is problematic… there are many complications and other issues

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and there are those who believe in this and those who don’t

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and some who are interested and some who are not.

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So we say to women that this document is here and that the member states are supposed to act

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in accordance with this document. — But what about a country like Saudi Arabia?

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There are no organisations in civil society or women’s organisations such as you have mentioned.

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Who are you going to cooperate with? — There must be some groups.

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I see for example in business rooms there are large numbers of female members

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I see in press there women writers… in universities there are professors

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I don’t want to get into specific details,

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but there must be cooperation, there must be an interest

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and follow-through with regard to these issues, and we have to do something ourselves,

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not just wait for someone to do it for us.

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– OK, let’s come back to politics. The disagreements within the Islamic world today, how do you see them?

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Especially the disagreements of the Arab countries with Iran? –

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Yes this issue is very worrisome… and we in this regard

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call everyone to respect the rights of others

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and not to interfere in others’ affairs

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This is the main issue – to respect peacefulness of states

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and their territorial integrity. As well as not to infringe on their legitimate international rights.

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and we are also calling to recognise a very important point

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which is… or bring to the attention this issue,

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that is, that these countries mentioned

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are members in the OIC.

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They are not members in the Arab league or Agreement of the Central Asian States.

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They are members in the UN and in the OIC.

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And there is no common membership for those countries except in the UN and here.

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Hence, in this framework, in the framework of the Islamic family

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a good framework in which all parties can sit together under

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the roof of the OIC… based on the same philosophy

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that brought this organisation together more than 40 years ago and the same Islamic principles of cooperation

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that were confirmed over many periods,

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difficult periods which the organisation went through.

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The latest meeting that was held,

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its purpose was to reinforce the principle of Islamic cooperation and state the definition of its meaning,

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what is the meaning of Islamic cooperation If there is a problem between me and you?

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We belong to one Muslim family, and this organisation unites

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the Islamic nation everywhere around the world, therefore we use this organisation

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as means to solve our problems, this is why

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we call upon everyone to benefit from resources at our disposal to overcome such crises.

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– OK, with regard to Syria…

457
00:45:25,000 –> 00:45:30,000
You have spoken on numerous occasions about the danger of the situation in Syria.

458
00:45:30,000 –> 00:45:35,000
Until when, in your view, will this indifference continue over what’s going on in Syria? –

459
00:45:35,000 –> 00:45:40,000
I think that we will soon enter a new period…

460
00:45:40,000 –> 00:45:45,000
Even this morning the entire world was preoccupied with the US elections

461
00:45:45,000 –> 00:45:50,000
And there was a big sign on the gates of the White House that said: Do Not Disturb.

462
00:45:50,000 –> 00:45:55,000
Don’t bother us, there are elections. Now this sign had changed,

463
00:45:55,000 –> 00:46:00,000
and the White House and its inhabitant

464
00:46:00,000 –> 00:46:05,000
is in a better state to deal with international issues.

465
00:46:05,000 –> 00:46:10,000
Now to this day

466
00:46:10,000 –> 00:46:15,000
there is no consensus on what needs to be done on the Palestinian issue

467
00:46:15,000 –> 00:46:20,000
whilst there is a consensus… around

468
00:46:20,000 –> 00:46:25,000
what must not be done

469
00:46:25,000 –> 00:46:30,000
concerning the situation in Syria. There is a consensus on what

470
00:46:30,000 –> 00:46:35,000
not to do, but no consensus on what needs to be done,

471
00:46:35,000 –> 00:46:40,000
so now we hope that there will be an agreement between the major powers

472
00:46:40,000 –> 00:46:45,000
which have an influence on the warring parties.

473
00:46:45,000 –> 00:46:50,000
This agreement need to happen to stop the bloodshed on the ground,

474
00:46:50,000 –> 00:46:55,000
and after that political solution can be found.

475
00:46:55,000 –> 00:47:00,000
The political solution is the beginning of the exit from the crisis.

476
00:47:00,000 –> 00:47:05,000
It is not possible now to have a discussion about any sort of foreign intervention from outside.

477
00:47:05,000 –> 00:47:10,000
This has been rejected internationally,

478
00:47:10,000 –> 00:47:15,000
and will not lead to the resolution but the opposite, to complicate the problem

479
00:47:15,000 –> 00:47:20,000
and make it bigger. It will increase the bloodshed

480
00:47:20,000 –> 00:47:25,000
and the destruction of the country. — OK, why not send Arab and Islamic forces?

481
00:47:25,000 –> 00:47:30,000
Qatar proposed to send Arabic and Islamic forces. Are you for the Idea of sending Islamic troops, for example?

482
00:47:30,000 –> 00:47:35,000
I mean sending troops from Arab and Islamic countries. –

483
00:47:35,000 –> 00:47:40,000
There is no problem, whether they come only from Arab countries,

484
00:47:40,000 –> 00:47:45,000
or from the whole of Islamic world. But it is necessary to have international backing, meaning that it’s impossible to send military forces

485
00:47:45,000 –> 00:47:50,000
to any country without a decision from the Security Council

486
00:47:50,000 –> 00:47:55,000
in accordance with Section 7 of the UN document. This is still the problem.

487
00:47:55,000 –> 00:48:00,000
That’s why I say that the major powers need to come to an understanding in order to

488
00:48:00,000 –> 00:48:05,000
influence the situation in Syria, in order to achieve

489
00:48:05,000 –> 00:48:10,000
a ceasefire, and after that a conversation can start

490
00:48:10,000 –> 00:48:15,000
about political solution, and if agreement about solution can be reached

491
00:48:15,000 –> 00:48:20,000
it will be possible to send peacekeeping forces.

492
00:48:20,000 –> 00:48:25,000
As for now, sending troops to fight requires international agreement.

493
00:48:25,000 –> 00:48:30,000
– I have asked you a question during this interview about the role of Turkey.

494
00:48:30,000 –> 00:48:35,000
Some see that Turkey wants to have a significant, critical role,

495
00:48:35,000 –> 00:48:40,000
and that it wants to enter the Arab world through its role in the Arab revolutions. –

496
00:48:40,000 –> 00:48:45,000
I don’t want to be a part of a political discussion about Turkey

497
00:48:45,000 –> 00:48:50,000
Because those who comment on the Turkish politics are the Turkish government in Ankara

498
00:48:50,000 –> 00:48:55,000
I don’t represent it or belong to it. In my position as secretary general of the OIC

499
00:48:55,000 –> 00:49:00,000
I make statements on behalf of this organisation.

500
00:49:00,000 –> 00:49:05,000
As for the sovereign decisions on any matter that any state makes,

501
00:49:05,000 –> 00:49:10,000
it is not my position to comment on it.

502
00:49:10,000 –> 00:49:15,000
I have talked in general terms about the Turkish historical experience.

503
00:49:15,000 –> 00:49:20,000
As for talking about policies of the government I would ask you to

504
00:49:20,000 –> 00:49:25,000
address this question to … — OK, some see that you take the position of Iran –

505
00:49:25,000 –> 00:49:30,000
– against the interests of the Arab states that are in confrontation with Iran. Is that true? –

506
00:49:30,000 –> 00:49:35,000
Is there a single piece of evidence for that? — They say that you support Iran

507
00:49:35,000 –> 00:49:40,000
on the matters where the interests of Arab states are concerned. –

508
00:49:40,000 –> 00:49:45,000
I don’t take sides with anyone against other. I take an objective position regarding every matter,

509
00:49:45,000 –> 00:49:50,000
and call for understanding between Iran and the Arab countries, and I say that

510
00:49:50,000 –> 00:49:55,000
the OIC is in the service of these countries, as I explained.

511
00:49:55,000 –> 00:50:00,000
I don’t believe there were any biased statements issued by me.

512
00:50:00,000 –> 00:50:05,000
We speak on issues in light of the decisions taken by the organisation…

513
00:50:05,000 –> 00:50:10,000
– So these accusations are unfounded… — with the consensus of the members.

514
00:50:10,000 –> 00:50:15,000
And I don’t believe there is a single decision that would confirm the truth of such accusations.

515
00:50:15,000 –> 00:50:20,000
– I would like to ask a question about President Obama. Today Americans are voting.

516
00:50:20,000 –> 00:50:25,000
How do you see Obama with respect to Islamic issues?

517
00:50:25,000 –> 00:50:30,000
I have heard you speak about the Obama’s speech after he was elected

518
00:50:30,000 –> 00:50:35,000
in 2009 approximately, in discussing human rights, minorities in the Arab world.

519
00:50:35,000 –> 00:50:40,000
Did anything he promised eventuate? –

520
00:50:40,000 –> 00:50:45,000
We want to develop a relationship between the Islamic world and the USA

521
00:50:45,000 –> 00:50:50,000
based on two principles: mutual respect and common interests,

522
00:50:50,000 –> 00:50:55,000
and based on this principle

523
00:50:55,000 –> 00:51:00,000
we have explained what our expectations are from the USA with respect the Islamic world,

524
00:51:00,000 –> 00:51:05,000
of which the first issue is Palestine, the political and development issues etc.

525
00:51:05,000 –> 00:51:10,000
President Obama in his Cairo speech, which I was personally invited to,

526
00:51:10,000 –> 00:51:15,000
to be present with and listen to him,

527
00:51:15,000 –> 00:51:20,000
and I was with Madam Hillary Clinton during that event,

528
00:51:20,000 –> 00:51:25,000
President Obama stated

529
00:51:25,000 –> 00:51:30,000
in a very clear fashion the intention of the new US government

530
00:51:30,000 –> 00:51:35,000
to cooperate with the Islamic world in a positive manner

531
00:51:35,000 –> 00:51:40,000
… and it was

532
00:51:40,000 –> 00:51:45,000
a very big surprise for all of us, because the manner in which the speech was given,

533
00:51:45,000 –> 00:51:50,000
that the type of word president Obama used…

534
00:51:50,000 –> 00:51:55,000
was the first time in history of our relationship that we heard such words from

535
00:51:55,000 –> 00:52:00,000
a president, and he is the highest authority,

536
00:52:00,000 –> 00:52:05,000
and the impression was very positive, and we welcomed it with great receptiveness.

537
00:52:05,000 –> 00:52:10,000
But I would like to mention that I said at the end of his speech,

538
00:52:10,000 –> 00:52:15,000
that now the import thing is to put these good intentions into action.

539
00:52:15,000 –> 00:52:20,000
– Was it put into action? — With respect to political side of things,

540
00:52:20,000 –> 00:52:25,000
we don’t see any advancement, however there is a cooperation

541
00:52:25,000 –> 00:52:30,000
which began, and we had initiated it

542
00:52:30,000 –> 00:52:35,000
during the period of George Bush,

543
00:52:35,000 –> 00:52:40,000
and this has continued during the presidency of president Obama,

544
00:52:40,000 –> 00:52:45,000
and has expanded. And there was for example a suggestion

545
00:52:45,000 –> 00:52:50,000
of eradicating poliomyelitis by cooperation between us and there is indeed cooperation

546
00:52:50,000 –> 00:52:55,000
between us and the US government, there is a cooperation with the Islamic Development Bank,

547
00:52:55,000 –> 00:53:00,000
and it is one of the OIC foundations. — So you are optimistic in that regard? –

548
00:53:00,000 –> 00:53:05,000
There is cooperation between us and the Bill Gates Foundation.

549
00:53:05,000 –> 00:53:10,000
There are projects that were already started. So cooperation in this space continues .

550
00:53:10,000 –> 00:53:15,000
Cooperation in the area concerning Islamophobia

551
00:53:15,000 –> 00:53:20,000
and insulting Islam, there is cooperation between us and them but in the political arena,

552
00:53:20,000 –> 00:53:25,000
especially with regard to the Palestinian issue, nothing has happened,

553
00:53:25,000 –> 00:53:30,000
and I believe that it is impossible for a relationship between the USA and the Islamic world

554
00:53:30,000 –> 00:53:35,000
to become satisfactory

555
00:53:35,000 –> 00:53:40,000
without solving the Palestinian issue.

556
00:53:40,000 –> 00:53:45,000
So the biggest of our yearnings now and the biggest of our expectations

557
00:53:45,000 –> 00:53:50,000
is that president Obama keeps to the promises that he made to himself, and his government,

558
00:53:50,000 –> 00:53:55,000
that he will solve the Palestinian problem and the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

559
00:53:55,000 –> 00:54:00,000
Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, thank you very much for this interview.

560
00:54:00,000 –> 00:54:06,000
I thank you for following and being with us.

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic
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