Wide Angle

Amid a Moroccan official absence, two local Islamic groups attend Malaysia’s Islamic summit

In the absence of a Moroccan official delegation, the Justice and Charity Group and the Unity and Reform Movement attended an Islamic summit in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. The latter was marked by tensions between Riyadh and Ankara.

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The leaders of several countries in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) attended between December 18 and 21 an Islamic summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

While Islamic leaders from Malaysia, Turkey, Iran and Qatar participated to the meeting, entitled «The Role of Development in Achieving National Sovereignty», only 18 senior officials from other countries made it to the summit.

Attended by 450 intellectuals, academics and officials from different Muslim nations, the Malaysia summit was boycotted by Moroccan officials. In fact, only a delegation from the Al Adl Wa Al Ihssane (Justice and Charity) and the Movement of Unity and Reform (MUR) flew to Kuala Lumpur for the Islamic summit.

In a press release published on its website, the Justice and Charity group announced that its spokesperson Fathallah Arsalan and one of its leaders Omar Amkasou headed a delegation on behalf of the association to the Malaysia summit. In Kuala Lumpur, the Al Adl Wa Al Ihssane delegation was received by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad.

A summit marked by tensions

Meanwhile, the Movement of Unity and Reform said that it was represented at the summit by its president Abdelrahim Chikhi and leader Mohamed Talabi, stressing that in Malaysia, the delegation discussed «Islamophobia, the sufferings of Muslims around the world, and internal conflicts and civil wars in the Muslim world».

In general, the tense relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia marked the Malaysia summit. While countries close to Turkey supported the summit and considered it as a step forward for the development of the Islamic world, reports in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and in countries close to Saudi Arabia slammed the meeting, which was organized outside the framework of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Furthermore, Saudi free-to-air television news channel Al Arabiya stressed that «Malaysia’s attempt to unite Muslim powers in a summit held last week in Kuala Lumpur failed to attract heads of state from 53 Muslim countries».  It also described the meeting as a «Muslim Brotherhood summit».

Critics saw that Turkey wanted to undermine the role of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which includes 57 countries and within which Saudi Arabia has great influence.

Saudi Arabia, which did not attend the summit, said the meeting in question is not the appropriate way for discussing the issues of the world's Muslims. Quoting a Saudi official, Reuters wrote that Saudi Arabia was invited to attend the meeting but it refused because it was not organized under the auspices of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Riyadh pressured Pakistan and Indonesia into boycotting the summit in Malaysia.

The diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and the countries participating in the summit are marked by tensions, just as the foreign policy of the two parties is clearly incompatible, especially when it comes to supporting the currents of political Islam, at a time when Saudi Arabia has become openly hostile about it.

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