March 25, 2014
BARI – “Italy has the credentials to become a leading country in exports to the Islamic world, and we want to offer to institutions and businesses all the support to make this happen.” Says Sharif Lorenzini, president of the Italian section of the International Halal Authority (HIA), the only recognized body for the certification of Halal products.
A few days before the World Halal Food Council meeting, which will convene for the first time in Italy, all the representatives of the Halal world and representatives of 57 Islamic states of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in Rome from March 27 to 29 of next year. Lorenzini supports the Italian food economy in Islamic markets. “We’re talking about a three trillion euro a year industry, an increase of about 15% each year due to the two billion Muslims in the world.”
To open the doors to this potential, Italian companies of all kinds, from food to cosmetics and clothing, must produce according to standards laid down by Shariah, i.e. Islamic law that determines what is ‘Halal,’ then the product is admitted for Muslim consumption. “In fact” says Lorenzini “it is a return to simplicity in production, and usually at no additional cost to the company. And Italian companies are subsidized in this process since the quality standards, especially in food and cosmetics, are already very high.” The 220 Italian companies that have become certified in three years know the profit margins very well, seeing their revenues climb.
“Of these companies – said Lorenzini – 150 have begun to get certified because they had an order from the Islamic world. Several of these businesses were about to close, but now they cannot cope with all the requests for their products. According to the estimates of Lorenzini, Italian exports in Islamic markets, mainly Malaysia, Indonesia and South -East Asia, but also America and Europe where there are many Muslims, amounted to 15-16 billion euro.” But it is especially important for companies because of “the great increase of Muslims in Italy.”
3 May 2012
Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, leader of the PVV (Freedom Party) will be officially released in the United States this week. The autobiographical Marked for Death: Islam’s War against the West and Me has drawn criticism from Muslims. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has released a statement on their website stating that “the new book is nothing but a repetition of Mr. Wilders campaign of hate mongering against Islam…”. Wilders is currently touring the United States to promote the book.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 15, 2011) – A group of American Muslim leaders have expressed disappointment with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the U.S. State Department for giving a platform to the Saudi-Based Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) campaign to suppress freedom of thought, expression and conscience, by hosting a 3 day conference in Washington, D.C. The American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) issued a statement which said:
“This conference was hosted in the name of ‘combating [religious] intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization’, but in fact is likely to encourage the opposite. The U.S. is in danger of becoming a tool in the OIC’s aggressive efforts to suppress freedom of speech for Muslims and non-Muslims alike throughout the world.”
We ask the U.S. State Department to defend the interests of the United States—and of sincere people of faith throughout the world—by vigorously defending the First Amendment values that encouraged our families to come to this country; values that we cherish, and that allow us to study, discuss and practice our faith far more freely than is permitted in most Muslim-majority nations.
We ask the State Department not to provide autocrats with a platform from which to divert attention from the systematic oppression of women, minorities and their citizens in general, which is characteristic of many OIC member states, including those at the forefront of the OIC’s “defamation of religion” campaign.
Op-Ed: Criminalizing intolerance
This week in Washington, the United States is hosting an international conference obliquely titled “Expert Meeting on Implementing the U.N. Human Rights Resolution 16/18.” The impenetrable title conceals the disturbing agenda: to establish international standards for, among other things, criminalizing “intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of … religion and belief.” The unstated enemy of religion in this conference is free speech, and the Obama administration is facilitating efforts by Muslim countries to “deter” some speech in the name of human rights.
This year, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton invited nations to come to implement the resolution and “to build those muscles” needed “to avoid a return to the old patterns of division.” Those “old patterns” include instances in which writers and cartoonists became the targets of protests by religious groups. The most famous such incident occurred in 2005 when a Danish newspaper published cartoons mocking the prophet Muhammad. The result were worldwide protests in which Muslims reportedly killed more than 100 people — a curious way to demonstrate religious tolerance. While Western governments reaffirmed the right of people to free speech after the riots, they quietly moved toward greater prosecution of anti-religious speech under laws prohibiting hate speech and discrimination.
The OIC members have long sought to elevate religious dogma over individual rights. In 1990, members adopted the Cairo Declaration, which rejected core provisions of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and affirmed that free speech and other rights must be consistent with “the principles of the sharia,” or Islamic law. The biggest victory of the OIC came in 2009 when the Obama administration joined in condemning speech containing “negative racial and religious stereotyping” and asked states to “take effective measures” to combat incidents, including those of “religious intolerance.” Then, in March, the U.S. supported Resolution 16/18’s call for states to “criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief.” It also “condemns” statements that advocate “hostility” toward religion.
In the fifth year since its establishment, the OIC Observatory on Islamophobia has brought out its 4th annual report covering a particularly tumultuous period punctuated by some alarming developments. The scourge of Islamophobia continued unabated, despite all efforts to raise awareness of its dangers and the need to contain it. Rather it acquired an expansive dimension with some of the most shocking manifestations of the anti-Islam tirade. Islamophobia is already acute in Europe and in recent time it has unfolded in the US – a nation essentially premised on, and long admired as an exponent of, cultural and religious diversity. The unfortunate and outrageous episode of burning the Holy Quran was one of the most blatant examples of extremism that the international community has been consistent and unanimous in condemning since the 9/11 tragedy. Beyond the confines of electoral politics in the West, some important revelations during the reporting period suggested Islamophobia factoring as a variable in the conduct of international relations. Despite the UN resolutions reflecting international community’s loud and clear stance against conflation of any religion with terrorism, the tendency, on the part of media and motivated individuals and groups, of inflicting the psyche of over 1.5 billion Muslims by manipulating the portrayal of ‘collective guilt’ was unrelenting. The escalation in Islamophobia is indeed portentous. It accentuates the gravity of the issue and validates the OIC’s concerns with regard to adverse implications towards multicultural fabric of societies and peaceful coexistence, underwritten by interfaith harmony, as articulated in preceding reports of the Observatory as well as a host of resolutions and communiqués. Fortunately, a sustained frequency and intensity of Islamophobic incidents in this eventful year did not escape the attention of the international political and religious elite. OIC appreciates the stance taken by many Western leaders against the proponents of religious hatred and discrimination against Muslims. It was during my address to the 15th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva that I outlined a new approach towards evolving a consensus against incitement to violence and intolerance on religious ground that could plague peaceful coexistence and as such was antithetical to the very notion of a globalized world. I am glad that the eight points in the proposed approach found resonance with all the negotiating partners and formed the basis of the consensus reflected in HRC resolution 16/18. The importance of this resolution as a triumph of multilateralism must not be discounted. It could yield a considerable amount of positive energy. It would now be important to translate this potential energy into the kinetic form by taking action to implement the resolution in letter and spirit. Islamophobia remains a matter of transcendental priority for the OIC. From a futuristic perspective, events during the period covered by this report clearly establish that combating incitement to hatred and violence on religious grounds must figure into the strategic calculations of the international community. Encouraged by the experience of the Observatory in the General Secretariat, OIC has proposed a similar mechanism at the international level as a first concrete step towards concerted action at both monitoring as well as combating Islamophobia, Christianophobia, Judeophobia and other manifestations intolerance, incitement to violence and discrimination on religious grounds.
Indonesia, the world`s largest Moslem country, considers the pro-Koln group`s plan to hold an anti-Islam congress in Cologne, Germany, on Sept 19-20 to be counterproductive to interfaith dialogs, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said. “Any plan to organize an anti-Islam congress would be counter-productive to interfaith dialogs which also involve European nations,” Teuku Faizasyah said on Thursday. The Indonesian government, along with other ASEAN members and other countries through bilateral relations had been active in holding interfaith and cultural dialogs to solve differences and avoid misunderstanding, he said. “We hope there will be sensitivity (on the part of the congress` organizing committee) because such an event will only worsen misunderstanding,” he said. He said the German government had yet to confirm the group`s plan to hold such a congress. “So, we have heard the plan only from a news report,” he said. Last week, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) expressed deep concern about the plan to organize the anti-Islam congress.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has expressed serious concerns about reports that an far right group is holding an anti-Islam conference in the German city of Cologne in September. A spokesman for the OIC’s Islamophobia Observatory in Jeddah said in a statement issued yesterday that the proposed conference was aimed at arousing anti-Muslim sentiments in Europe and that it would pose a threat to inter-communal peace and harmony in society. The right-wing extremist group Pro Koln is organizing the event on Sept. 19-20, with the aim of issuing a declaration against the purported Islami-fication of Europe. The meeting is expected to be attended by some of the most inflammatory names in European race politics, including Jean-Marie Le Pen of France, Austria’s Heinz-Christian Strache, and Belgium’s Filip Dewinter. The organizers of the conference are motivated by racial hatred and xenophobia, said the OIC spokesman. The OIC hopes that all segments of society in Germany and other parts of Europe will come out strongly against the holding of such a conference, and reject the proponents of hatred and racism, he said in the statement.
In a report by the monitoring committee of the organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Netherlands is coming under fire for doing very little to stop Islamophobia – this pertaining to the release of an anti-Quran film by Geert Wilders, expected to be released later this month. The Islamophobia Monitor, the first ever such report by the OIC, will be discussed by the 57 OIC member states at a summit in Senegal Thursday. The report describes Wilders’ film as an extremely provocative documentary, and points to the recent report by the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance released in February, which points to shortfalls in the government’s handling of Islamophobia in the country.
The leader of the world’s largest Muslim body criticized the European Union on Friday for what he described as an unsatisfactory response to the furor over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said that by simply regretting that Muslims found the cartoons offensive, EU foreign ministers had not gone far enough at a meeting in Brussels last week. “We expected the EU to address the issue of cartoons in a more fair way,” Ihsanoglu told a news conference in London. “I must say that we are not satisfied with the result of last week’s meeting in Brussels. The conclusion published by the European Union fell short of our expectations.” The 12 cartoons, which Ihsanoglu described as “insulting, ugly and uncivilized,” were first published by a Danish newspaper and then reprinted by papers across Europe. They sparked indignation and violence in the Muslim world, where images of the prophet are deemed blasphemous. At least 50 people were killed in anti-Western protests and three Danish embassies were attacked. The furor exposed a gulf of misunderstanding between the West, which defended the publication by citing the right of free speech, and Muslims who saw it as an attack on their beliefs. In their February 27 statement, EU foreign ministers issued a strong condemnation of attacks on EU citizens and property. Diplomats noted the statement was more critical of the Muslim reaction than one issued days earlier by the United Nations, the Arab League and the OIC, an umbrella group of 57 predominantly Muslim nations.