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OIC chief for Rohingya send-off

March 10, 2014

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani has urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to take initiative to repatriate Myanmar's Muslim refugees.

Madani appealed to Hasina during a meeting with her at her office on Sunday evening, her Special Assistant Md Mahbubul Hoque Shakil said.

Bangladesh gave shelter to thousands of Muslim Rohingya refugees, fleeing Myanmar's Rakhine province following years of sectarian clashes.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, put the number at over 200,000 with 30,000 documented refugees living in two government-run camps – the Kutupalong and Nayapara.

The government says more than 500,000 of them were living outside the camp in the country.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Shakil said the Prime Minister told the OIC chief that she had already discussed refugee repatriation when she visited Myanmar in 2011.

The Prime Minister also raised the issue while meeting Myanmar President Thein Sein during the BIMSTEC conference held recently in Naypyidaw.

Madani, a former Saudi Arabian minister, arrived in Dhaka on Sunday morning on a three-day visit, his first after he took up OIC post in Jan.

He congratulated Hasina for her return to the power for the second successive term after Jan 5 elections, which BNP-led oppositions had boycotted.

As chief of the world’s largest Muslim grouping, he termed ‘extremism’ as the enemy of Islam and urged Hasina to take firm steps against it.

Shakil quoted him as telling the Prime Minister: “Extremism is our main enemy. We have to be vocal against fundamentalism. We have to save Islam from their hand”.

Madani also expressed similar concerns while talking to journalists at the foreign ministry, where he met foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali and foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque.

During his meeting with the Prime Minister, Shakil said, he also stressed working together to cut poverty in Muslim nations.

He said the member states would benefit if the Muslim world worked together for development and peace.

OIC was established through a decision of the Summit in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, on Sep 25 in 1969 in response to an act of criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem in Palestine.

OIC to play key role in solving Rohingya problem

March 10, 2014

DHAKA - The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has said that the organization expects a quick solution to the Rohingya issue and it aims to play a key role in solving the problem.

The issue was a major talking point during a meeting between Iyad Ameen Madani and Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmud Ali in Dhaka on Sunday morning, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Md. Sahidul Haque told media.

The OIC secretary general - a former Saudi Arabian minister - said that the OIC will raise the issue at international forums, including the United Nations.

He called the issue a matter of citizenship issue between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Outside of the Rohingya issue, Madani said that chief among the challenges that face Muslim Ummah today is sectarian violence between Shias and Sunnis, and sometimes between Sunnis.

"In that situation, there is no winner and all are losers," he said, adding that Islam is a religion of tolerance and peaceful co-existence.

The visit was the first to Bangladesh by Madani since he assumed office as the 10th secretary general of the OIC in January.

The purpose of his visit was to strengthen existing co-operation between Bangladesh and the OIC.

The OIC is the largest organization of Muslim countries in the world. It was established in Morocco in 1969.

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