The OIC Foreign Ministers held their annual coordination meeting in New York on 26th September 2008 under the chairmanship of Mr. Sam Kutesa, Foreign Minister of Uganda.
Discussions during the meeting focused on various issues related to the Joint Islamic Action in the light of successive shifts and developments witnessed on the international scene. The meeting expressed its support for a number of economic, social and cultural reforms in the UN Member States.
The meeting also condemned the rising phenomenon of Islamophobia and discrimination exercised against Muslims and reiterated its support to the Initiative for the Alliance of Civilisations which seeks, on the contrary to Islamophobia, to achieve concord and mutual understanding through the reaffirmation of the common values shared by all cultures and religions, and urged the international community to back up this initiative.
The meeting also focused on the international food crisis and its impact on the least developed countries and called on the international institutions and the advanced countries to step up their assistance and technical support for the agricultural sector in the developing countries so as to stimulate food production there.
The OIC Secretary General, Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, delivered a statement to the meeting in which he highlighted the scope of the world food crisis and stressed the need to combat poverty, to support health and climate change projects and to focus on development and arms control.
The Secretary General also cautioned against the phenomenon of Islamophobia which has taken on a racist form, and in this respect, referred to the reports by Western observers on Islamophobia having crossed the confines of mere dislike for a particular culture, and turned into a new form of racial discrimination. Indeed, a new strand of this phenomenon has appeared at the level of institutions, which has led certain European specialized agencies to avoid the use of certain terms in their reports such as racism and substituting them with “Islamophobia” in an attempt to water down and alter the racist character of this phenomenon, as the use of those terms would call for sanctions and legal prosecutions under the prevalent international legislation.