“Innocence of Muslims,” a controversial film which has sparked violent protests across the Middle East over the past 10 days due to its anti-Islamic content, will be discussed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) members next week at a meeting in New York, the OIC’s secretary-general announced on Tuesday.
OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin ?hsanoglu told a press conference at the headquarters of the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah that the efforts he had made over the previous few days had resulted in the issue of the indecent film targeting the character of the Prophet Muhammad being put on top of the agenda of the annual coordination meeting of OIC members, slated for next week.
At a press conference at the headquarters of the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah, ?hsano?lu said that the planned meeting will discuss all possible initiatives to reach an action plan to address what he called the escalating wave of incitement against Muslims after the dissemination of a trailer for the controversial film.
?hsano?lu stated that he had initiated intensive diplomatic efforts and made high-level contacts to begin to formulate an unified international response to the film. He noted that he had sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and had made contacts with Dr. Nabil Elaraby, Secretary General of the League of Arab States and Catherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Policy of the European Union, in order to explore ways to prevent the repetition of such acts aiming to incite violence.
“Some OIC member states contacted us proposing separate initiatives, but I urged all 57 member states to speak with a strong and unified voice on this very important matter,” he said.
The secretary-general began the press conference by renewing the OIC’s condemnation of this film in the strongest possible terms and also reiterated its strong condemnation of the tragic killing of US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens along with three other US officials during an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
He added that resorting to violence leads to loss of life and cannot be tolerated on any grounds.
He underlined that the international community needs to come up with a unified response with regard to implementing international law, which warns clearly against any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, aggression or violence.
?hsanoglu pointed to Article 20 of the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the first paragraph of which prohibits by law any propaganda for war, while the second paragraph prohibits advocacy for nationalist, racial or religious hatred.