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Speaker calls for Islamic cultural battle against terror, raps Tehran

Speaker Al-Ghanim delivering his speech at the conference.
Speaker Al-Ghanim delivering his speech at the conference.

BAGHDAD, Jan 24, (KUNA): President of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (AIPU) and Kuwaiti National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim called on Sunday for waging an “Islamic cultural battle” against growing terrorism. Addressing the 11th conference of the Parliamentary Union of OIC (PUIC) held in Baghdad, Al-Ghanim said: “As no country is now safe from terrorism, time is ripe for an Islamic cultural battle against this surging phenomenon.” He added that since terrorism could hit any country, all-out cooperation among Muslim countries against this phenomenon has become a religious, moral and human duty. “This cooperation cannot be restricted to security, though signifi cant, as it should be a cultural one armed with science, justice, development, democracy, transparency, good governance, culture of human rights and teachings of the great Islamic religion,” he said.

“We have to defeat terrorism by waging our real wars on illiteracy, ignorance, poverty, inequity, injustice, administrative backwardness, bureaucracy and corruption … the wars which we can wage through our parliaments, judiciaries, universities, libraries and research centers,” he noted. However, the Speaker warned that while terrorism is growing in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Egypt’s Sinai and other areas, the central Palestinian issue should not be forgotten. Al-Ghanim earlier objected to a statement by Iranian counterpart Ali Larijani against Saudi Arabia. If the Saudi delegation is not present at the conference, “I,personally, and the Kuwaiti delegation, represent Saudi Arabia, and will not, under any conditions, accept interference in the Kingdom’s internal affairs,” Al-Ghanim told the conference, challenging Larijani’s statement. Al-Ghanim stressed that the aim of the PUIC Baghdad conference is to bolster a unity discourse, not a divisive one.

Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Salim Al-Jabouri is presiding over the gathering, which is attended by delegations from more than 40 countries, among them parliament speakers from Kuwait, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Tunisia, Turkey, Algeria, Pakistan, Mali and the Sudan.

Iraqi President Fuad Massoum and Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi are attending the event, together with senior officials and Arab and foreign envoys to the country. In his opening address to the 11th PUIC conference, Iraq’s chief parliamentarian Al-Jabouri urged the Muslim states to counter sectarianism, and terrorism “that came to threaten Islam as a whole.” He said that the ongoing conflict in the region is perilous, resulting from disputes among regional powers, and embroiled other countries, directly or indirectly. Al-Jabouri called for an overall settlement of the issue of the region through “some concessions” to realize, and guarantee regional and international peace and security. In the meantime, he urged the international community to offer assistance to Iraq in the face of “terrorism” which has deeply hurt the country, before further losses could be caused and a “disaster occurs.” He also stressed the dire need for a national reconciliation in Iraq, through toleration among all spectrums of the society.

For his part, Iraqi President Fuad Massoum urged the Muslim countries to extend further support to Iraq which is “facing a fierce attack” that distorts Islam and fuels sectarianism to divide Muslims, and arouse trouble with followers of other religions, he said. Iraq, which is facing “terrorism putting on a religion cloak,” is defending itself and the entire world, Massoum added, noting that his country has recently taken the initiative to defeat “terrorists and takfiris.” (takfiri: is an Arabic word that indicates rejection of religious beliefs of the same sect or another.) Preparatory meetings for the conference were held as of last Thursday, and the conference wraps up meetings on Monday. On Saturday, President of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (AIPU) and Speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim chaired a meeting of the Arab Group in PUIC.

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