(MENAFN - Arab News) The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) says the world needs a clear-cut definition of terrorism to remove any ambiguity and maintain strong consensus on the issue.
In a statement on Thursday to the third meeting of heads of police organizations and agencies in the OIC member states, Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said this definition should be adopted by the UN global counterterrorism strategy. The OIC had contributed to the strategy.
He said major events were unfolding in the Muslim world, which require enhanced cooperation between states.
He said the OIC has always urged its member states to coordinate efforts and collaborate to strengthen international partnerships through the UN, which in September 2011 endorsed the Saudi and OIC-backed initiative to establish an International Counter-Terrorism Center.
He said that the OIC believes that to combat terrorism, it is imperative to address its root causes in a holistic manner with a view to evolving an approach that incorporates the political, economic, social and cultural aspects that underpin it.
He said the OIC pioneered the initiative Dialogue among Civilizations in 1998. This received the backing of the international community, which subsequently declared 2001 as the International Year for Dialogue among Civilizations. In addition, the OIC has supported the establishment of the King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Center for Inter-religious and Intercultural Dialogue based in Vienna, to promote cultural dialogue, multiculturalism and reinforce global coexistence and harmony.
Ihsanoglu said the OIC wants to promote cultural dialogue and positive engagement. This would help to avoid misunderstandings leading to exclusion, alienation, extremism and the growing wave of Islamophobia in parts of the world, all of which contribute to the rise of a sense of estrangement which may in turn induce those who perceive themselves as targets to resort to blind violence.
The heads of law enforcement agencies of the OIC member states had met in 2009 in Azerbaijan and adopted the Baku Declaration, which included establishing the necessary infrastructure for regional and sub-regional cooperation of criminal justice institutions and law enforcement agencies to prevent and effectively investigate all forms of transnational crimes with special emphasis on organized crime, he said.
He said the OIC has always considered itself an integral part of the sustained fight against the global twin phenomena of terrorism and transnational crime. Successive summits and annual ministerial meetings of the organization, the latest being in November 2012 in Djibouti, have adopted resolutions on combating terrorism.
In 1994, the OIC adopted a code of conduct to regulate the efforts of the member states to combat terrorism. In 1999, an OIC convention on countering terrorism was adopted. It came into force in 2002.
He said this was the only convention that attempted to articulate a clear definition of terrorism while insisting on the right to self-determination of people who struggle against foreign occupation.
The resolve of the OIC member states to counter the manifold manifestations of terrorism is rooted in the fact that they are the principal victims of the menace and are at the front line of international efforts to tackle this heinous phenomenon.