Statement by

H.E. Ambassador Abdul Wahab Permanent Observer of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to the United Nations

at the Plenary of the General Assembly

on agenda items 42 and 43:


United Nations, New York

20 October 2005.

Mr President, We would like to express our profound appreciations for the initiative of Bangladesh on culture of peace and of the Islamic Republic of Iran on dialogue among civilizations. We would also like to thank those Member States that are taking initiatives to promote inter-religious dialogue and cooperation by creating institutions for addressing the cause of peace, pluralism, dialogue and understanding among nations and civilizations.

We greatly appreciate the Secretary General's efforts towards responding to the need for bridging divides and overcoming prejudice, misconceptions, misperceptions and polarization. The excellent work being done on these issues by some of the agencies of the UN system, particularly UNESCO, deserve our special thanks.

Mr. President, All civilizations, religions and cultures welcome the unity in diversity of the human race. History tells us that all civilizations have been enriched and developed through dialogue and interaction with other civilizations. History also tells us that the absence of shared knowledge and understanding as well as lack of respect for various cultures and civilizations can impact negatively on regional and international security, stability and prosperity.

Today, globalization has brought about greater interaction among various nations and civilizations. The process of globalization has the potential to facilitate the promotion of understanding, peaceful coexistence and cooperation among various nations and civilizations. But it also has the potential to provoke cross-civilizational misunderstanding. Today, we do find many barriers of accumulated misunderstanding and vestiges of ideas that are often based on the wrong foundations.

We believe that the dissemination of wrong concepts through the media and education systems leads to emergence of ideological deviation which can harm the interests of humankind. We believe that the frequent placing of the prefix of "Islam" before "terrorism" is a sacrilege. It is highly dangerous. We believe that utmost care should be exercised not to create a perception that might lead to enmity based on religious grounds among hundreds of millions of people.

As media and education complement one another, there is a dire need to deploy media and educational strategies around the world, in each country, to address deviant thoughts. Media institutions should be encouraged to play their role in spreading the culture of dialogue and tolerance based on the recognition of cultural pluralism. The culture of dialogue and mutual understanding should be adopted in school curricula and textbooks. The curricula and textbooks must be cleansed of non-objectivity about the cultures of others and of all that can trigger the spirit of hatred towards others. It is important to encourage the exchange of media materials relevant to familiarizing with the cultures of peoples and the learning of languages as well as translation activities so as to break cultural barriers.

Mr President, Islam advocates compassion, tolerance and co-existence among all peoples of the world. The OIC, since its inception, has been making serious efforts to strengthen ties between the Muslim peoples and peoples of the world in general. The OIC has been organizing symposia and seminars in coordination with all concerned quarters for the promotion of cultural and civilizational dialogue. We believe that dialogue among various cultures and civilizations should be based on , mutual respect. We believe that sincere and sustained dialogue will foster mutual understanding, appreciation and respect among nations and civilizations.

In his visit to the Council of Europe a fortnight ago, the Secretary General of the OIC, Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanologu, had highly useful discussions on ways and means of promoting dialogue and cooperation. We hope that the OIC and the Council of Europe would work jointly to address the challenges of international terrorism and Islamophobia. The OIC and its Secretary General continue to work for and stand ready to work together with all national, regional and international institutions to promote harmony, cooperation and mutual understanding.

Before concluding, Mr President, we would like to express our earnest hope that the draft resolutions of Bangladesh and Islamic Republic of Iran which are before us, and a draft resolution to be presented by Pakistan, would be adopted by consensus.

I thank you, Mr President.