OIC for interfaith dialogue to resolve Rohingya crisis

Dhaka,  Wed,  20 September 2017
Published : 03 Aug 2017, 15:36:11 | Updated : 03 Aug 2017, 15:47:23

OIC for interfaith dialogue between Bangladesh-Myanmar to resolve Rohingya refugee crisis

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday put emphasis on an "interfaith dialogue" between the Muslim religious leaders of Bangladesh and the Buddhist religious leaders of Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya problem.

"The dialogue will help develop better understanding among them (the leaders) and resolve the Rohingya problem," visiting OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen said this when he paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office in Dhaka this morning.

After the meeting, PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters.

According to BSS, the OIC secretary general thanked Bangladesh for giving shelter to a huge number of Rohingya refugees and told the premier: "You're very generous"

He denounced the menace of terrorism and extremism and said Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance.

The OIC secretary general appreciated Bangladesh's tremendous socioeconomic development under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

"I always say that you're a successful leader and a shining example of the Muslim women in the world," he told the prime minister.

While talking about the the Bangladeshi workers, Dr Othaimeen said they are resilient, hard working and professional.

He noted with happiness that Bangladesh is hosting two important events -- OIC Foreign Ministers's Conference and OIC Tourism Ministers' Conference -- to be held next year.

He said the OIC will be happy to participate in any women development programme in Bangladesh.

The OIC secretary general said his organisation is likely to introduce scholarship programmes for the students of its member states in the fields of science, technology and medicine. 

Turning to the Rohingya refugee problem with Myanmar, the prime minister said the problem has started since 1991 and now there are some 0.4 million undocumented Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. 

"We're pursuing Myanmar to take back their nationals as I can't throw them out," she said. 

In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said that the government has already earmarked an island to give temporary shelter to the Rohingya refugees so that they could live in a better condition. 

In response, the OIC secretary general appreciated the move saying, "It's a brilliant idea." 

The premier said that the Border Guards of both Bangladesh and Myanmar are also having talks and developed good relations among them. 

Regarding the menace of terrorism and militancy, Sheikh Hasina said her government has adopted "zero tolerance policy" against the twin demons and involved cross section of people of the country to neutralise it. 

She mentioned that people from all strata like imams, teachers, guardians are also participating to combat terrorism and militancy and it gave a positive result. 

The prime minister said that some political parties have been patronizing terrorism in the country. "Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance and there is no room for terrorism in it," she said. 

Noting that communal harmony exists in the country, she said that country's people are now living in peace and harmony. 

Elaborating her government's impressive achievements in various sectors, Sheikh Hasina said the aim of her government is to establish Bangladesh as a peaceful country to ensure basic needs of all people for which Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman sacrificed his life. 

Referring to the killing of the Father of the Nation with most of his family members on August 15, 1975, the prime minister said she and her younger sister were not allowed to come to Bangladesh for six years. 

Pointing out the ongoing government strides for setting up some 100 economic zones across the country, the premier welcomed investments from OIC members countries in these EZs. 

Extending her thanks to the OIC secretary general for his huge appreciation over the country's massive socioeconomic uplift, Sheikh Hasina said that the aim of her government is to free the country from poverty alongside creating job opportunities in the rural areas.

PM's International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, PMO Senior Secretary Suraiya Begum were present on the occasion.

The OIC secretary general arrived here last night on a four-day official trip marking his first ever visit to Bangladesh since his assumption of office of the Jeddah-based organisation. 

Dr Othaimeen, the former social affairs minister of Saudi Arabia, was elected as the new secretary-general of the OIC on November 17 last year. Founded in 1969, the OIC consists of 57 member states.

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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