Head of Islamic organization deplores killings in Afghanistan

Geneva (ENInews)--The head of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on 27 February condemned as "deplorable" a recent spate of violence and killings in Afghanistan, sparked in reaction to the burning of copies of the Quran by members of the U.S. military.

"Of course killing is not acceptable, we condemn (it), it's deplorable, it's forbidden, and it's against all values. So nobody can defend that or can condone that. The most precious value is the value of human life," Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, 69, OIC secretary general, said at a news conference.

More than 30 people have reportedly been killed, including four U.S. soldiers, in the last six days across Afghanistan, despite an apology from U.S. President Barack Obama.

On 22 February, Ihsanoglu condemned the burning of the Quran at a military base in Bagram as "a deplorable act of incitement," and called for authorities to take action against those responsible.

Concerning the brutal crackdown in Syria by the Bashar al-Assad regime and reports hostilities are taking sectarian overtones, Ihsanoglu, a Turkish national, said: "This is the last thing that we would wish to see in Syria, in the Muslim world, or any other place in the world."

The OIC secretary-general said that in his dealings with different Syrian groups, he found "they don't want to slide into sectarian fighting ... They all want to refrain from this."

Finally, concerning growing pressure on Iran to release a Christian pastor (Youcef Nadarhkani) sentenced to death for apostasy (abandonment of a religion) amid reports his execution may be imminent, the OIC chief said, "I have been trying my best (with Iranian authorities) and I hope that will not happen."

The OIC, established in 1970 and based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, represents the collective voice of the Muslim world and its interests.

John Zarocostas

John Zarocostas writes for Ecumenical News International.

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