IUMS Secretary General meets Red Cross and Civil Society Delegates

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IUMS Secretary General meets Red Cross and Civil Society Delegates

The Secretary General of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), Dr. Ali Al-Qaradaghi, received in his office on Tuesday 26th February 2013 at the IUMS headquarters Ronald Oftringer, Adviser to the Director of Operations for International Issues under the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Saleh Mathlouthi Civil Society Consultant at the regional delegation of the GCC states, in the presence of sheikh Abdulrahman Al Mahmoud, IUMS Member, Rashid Al-Olwi, IUMS Executive Officer, and Walid Al-Haydari, IUMS Public Relations Director.

At the kickoff, Oftringer expressed pleasure with this meeting and reviewed some of the missions of the committee including the promotion of humanitarian international law whose roots extend to all religions. Oftringer asserted that humanitarian laws are an important means for dialogue with the Muslim world to deal with the challenges facing the committee in humanitarian work and major issues since, as Oftringer clarified, 70% of the committee’s field operations of providing assistance and aid fall within different parts of Muslim countries.

The Secretary General welcomed the guests and expressed his deep appreciation for the visit. He mentioned the common ground between the committee and the union in many goals that seek to protect humans as a whole, explained some of the Islamic principles where Islam focuses on this human concept and stressed that we need to revive this intrinsically Islamic culture of { Indeed, We have honored the sons of Adam } [Quran 17:70].

Al-Qaradaghi clarified that the union played a good part in reconciliation efforts in Mali since the beginning of the crisis and throughout reconciliation attempts until the entrance of French troops. There are current demands, as the secretary general explained, for the union to interfere for reconciliation between the Azawad, Tuareg, and the government.

Sheikh Abdulrahman expressed astonishment over the deep silence concerning the humanitarian crimes committed by the Syrian regime in Syria. Oftringer responded that their role is a neutral one, focused on protecting the lives and dignity of the victims of armed conflict. He clarified that condemnation is not among their principles but that they aim to be on the ground, to reach victims and provide assistance to them.

Mathlouthi said that they do not only witness this suffering but also live it through their presence in the battlefield. They can’t, however, play the role of other organizations in the scene.

Oftringer mentioned that they have strong ties with scholars in the Muslim world in Pakistan, Mauritania, Mali and with Al-Azhar in Egypt, that they have a proposal for comprehensive reconciliation in Mali, and that the committee is ready to cooperate in this field with the union.

The delegation and hosts discussed possibilities of cooperation in areas of common interest between the ICRC and the IUMS, the first blossom of which would be the invitation of one of the union members to participate in the global campaign in Senegal under the theme of "Health Care in Danger”. The ICRC is organizing this campaign to raise awareness that violence and threats to people working in the health sector are one of the main and most dangerous sources of humanitarian concern. The campaign also aims to instill the concept of the health care responsibility among all the parties concerned.

At the end of the visit, Al-Qaradaghi thanked Oftringer and Mathlouthi and called for more cooperation between the ICRC and the IUMS for the common human good.