Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

May 2012
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THE MUSLIM WORLD

Conference on Refugees in the Muslim World
Jeddah
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is organizing, in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an international conference on “Refugees in the Muslim World” to promote and create conditions for sustainable voluntary repatriation and reintegration of refugees in their country of origin. The conference will take place in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, on May 10-11, 2012, at the ministerial level with the participation of over 500 representatives from all OIC member states, 40 international and regional organizations, 70 NGOs as well as observers from 21 countries including the US, Russia, Australia and China. One of the main themes of the conference is that voluntary repatriation is the more preferred durable solution for the refugees’ problem. This is a particularly important issue for the OIC member states which host the largest number of refugees in the world, approximately 18 million people. In Afghanistan, 3.5 million people have returned to their homes after years of displacement during which they were hosted by countries in the region, especially Pakistan and Iran. This is the largest repatriation movement in UNHCR history. UNHCR has provided returnees with initial aid for their reintegration in their country of origin, but greater efforts are needed by development actors to tackle the underlying problem of poverty, in order to consolidate and ensure the sustainability of return. In southern Sudan, following recent political developments, there is growing hope that the 500,000 Sudanese refugees, presently in eight neighbouring countries and the millions of internally displaced persons will be able to return home. The main challenge in all these repatriation movements is how to ensure the sustainability of return, so that returning refugees do not feel compelled to leave their home countries again owing to a precarious economic, social or security situation.


OIC TV Channel to Counter Islamophobia
Libreville, Republic of Gabon
The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has announced its plan to establish a satellite channel and promote investment in the media to fight Islamophobia and enhance exchange of information among the member states. “We have a number of important proposals to strengthen Islamic media activities. They including the launch of an OIC satellite channel,” OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu stated at a conference of the 9th Session of “The Islamic Conference of Information Ministers” in Libreville, Gabon, last fortnight. The OIC chief also called on Muslim businessmen and women to finance the new channel as well as to invest in major media organisations that are already making substantial profits in order to “exchange information and news of the Muslim world and project the true picture of Islam.” The OIC, which is the second largest international organisation after the UN, has set out a strategy to combat what it calls “rising intolerance against Islam and Muslims in the West.” The OIC also plans to create awards for excellence in unbiased journalism, reporting, photography and publishing.


Cable Cars to Visit Caves of Hira, Al-Thawr
Makkah
The Haj and Umrah Research Institute at Umm Al-Qura University has completed studies to introduce a cable car system to transport people to the historic caves of Hira and Al-Thawr in Makkah. Abdul Aziz Saroji, dean of the institute, said the plan aims to facilitate safe trips for Haj and Umrah pilgrims as well as visitors to the holy city who want to visit the caves situated on top of Al-Nour and Al-Thawr mountains. There will be 12 cable car lines linking the mountain valleys with the caves situated on mountaintops. Adnan Qutb, director of the Research Excellence Center at the university, said the planned project is expected to be implemented within two years. The Cave of Hira is situated on Jabl Al-Nour, 3.2 km from the Grand Mosque, where the Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh).