Debate on Ground Zero mosque to sow more seeds of discord: OIC

"Given the direction that it seems to be moving toward, the ongoing debate is not going to be helpful either for the proponents or opponents of the idea. The only thing that it is set out to accomplish is sowing more seeds of discord among them," OIC Secretary-General Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said in a statement issued here.

"Not only it is yet another absolutely unnecessary source of conflict that depletes the great potential of cooperation to counter our common problems such as religious extremism, racism, and xenophobia; but also very unfortunately it carries a potential to harm the great progress made in the field of interfaith and intercultural dialogue," he said.

Extremely important at this point and from now on is to distinguish between those who oppose the idea of an Islamic Centre at the Ground Zero due to their understandable anguish, and those who just exploit that anguish to spread Islamophobia, he said.

"It is really distressing to see that some extremist groups have already made such wild calls to burn Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11.

What is more distressing is the rumours that such extremist groups in the United States and Europe will join forces on September 11, 2010 for a joint protest/provocation at the Ground Zero to spread fear about Islam and Muslims," Ihsanoglu said.

Such ill efforts have already started to bear their bitter fruit in the sense of protests against the Muslim worship places across the United States, he said.

The OIC Secretary General thanked the American authorities, in particular US President Barack Obama for their unrelenting support to the Muslim Americans’ rights, and for their clear acceptance of Muslim Americans as no different than other Americans.

"Such a bold standing is only in line with the American values, and is a source of inspiration for many around the world in terms of respect for diversity and minority rights," he said.

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