Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah

Muslims worldwide should work hard to highlight Islam’s message of tolerance and moderation to counter the terrorist ideology of groups that use the name of Islam as a cover for their misdeeds, said Kuwait’s senior diplomat. “Our region witnesses growing terrorist acts by groups who are using Islam as a cover while they are totally distant from its message of tolerance,” said First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.

“The acts and deeds of these groups are tarnishing and offending Islam, and show to the world that it is a religion of extremism although our religion calls for forgiveness,” Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said in a speech at a coordination meeting of foreign ministers of member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), held on the side-lines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) meetings.

“We, as a humane and Muslim society, should exert efforts to highlight the message of tolerance of our faith to the world through exploration of solutions to confront Islamophobia, on one side, and eradicate extremism and assault on other faiths, on the other,” said Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, who led Kuwait’s delegation to the OIC meeting. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled strongly condemned all practices “that use religion as a pretext for killing, displacement and terrorizing of innocent people.”

He, meanwhile, welcomed UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions 2170 and 2178 over combatting terrorism. He said Iraq has been witnessing “worrisome” security developments caused by actions committed by so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), which has controlled large swath of lands in Iraq and Syria. However, he hoped the new inclusive Iraqi government of Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi would succeed in defeating this group to ultimately preserve the unity and territorial safety of Iraq.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled also pointed out to the Israeli 50-day aggression on Gaza Strip that resulted in several thousand casualties and large-scale destruction of public and private property. He welcomed the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians that was struck on 26 August, but said that this ceasefire should be followed by confidence-building measures through provision of international protection for the Palestinian people in line with the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to ultimately lift the siege on Gaza.

Israel, he asserted, should stop its illegal policy of settlement construction and return to the negotiating table to reach a final settlement towards establishment of the independent Palestinian state within the 4 June, 1967, borders with Jerusalem as its capital. “We reaffirm our complete solidarity with the Palestinian people in their quest to regain their legitimate rights, and pay tribute to their steadfastness to their land and to the sacred sites,” he said. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, meanwhile, expressed regret over the continuous cycle of violence in Syria, which entered its fourth year, killing more people and destroying more property.

Almost half of the Syrian population live in poor conditions, he said, noting that “they are either refugees in neighboring countries or internally displaced.”

“Kuwait supports UN Special Representative to Syria Staffan de Mistura and underlines the importance of reaching a political solution for the Syrian conflict in line with Geneva I communique to ultimately achieve aspirations of the Syrian people,” he said. The senior Kuwaiti official, on the other hand, called on all parties in Yemen to abide by an agreement signed by the government and the Houthi ‘Ansar Allah’ group in order to stop the bloodshed and restore security nationwide and in Sanaa in particular.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, extending support to Yemeni president Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi, urged the international community to back Yemen’s stability and territorial integrity in line with UNSC resolution 2140. On Libya, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled also called for the implementation of UNSC resolution 2174 in order to prevent all acts that could threaten peace, security and stability in the country. He also denounced the acts of repression and torture against Muslims in Myanmar who were forced to leave their homes in a form of “ethnic cleansing” which violated all international agreements, faiths and human rights principles.

Staff Report

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