7 February 2013, Male';President Dr Mohamed Waheed has said that the Maldivian democratization project is demonstrating to the world that democracy and Islam can exist in harmony. The President made this statement in his speech delivered at the 12th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held in Cairo.



Speaking on the theme of the Conference, the Muslim World: New Challenges and Expanding Opportunities, the President noted that the tensions, the clashes, and the conflicts that are threatening to rip apart the Islamic Ummah are caused by the denial, in some parts of the Islamic World, to recognize that Allah has given every human being a desire to be free, and be able to shape their own destiny. The President said that human aspirations for human rights and freedom need to be granted fully to the peoples of Islamic countries. The President further said that the Maldives, being a 100 percent Muslim country, has been able to introduce and foster a democratic system of governance that guarantees fundamental human rights.

In his speech, the President stressed the need for sharing experiences among member states of OIC that are in transition to democracy, and called on the OIC to support these countries to overcome the challenges of democratic consolidation. The President highlighted some of the challenges that the Maldives is facing in its democratization process, and said that the Maldives is discovering that democratic consolidation requires patience, perseverance, and prudence.

"Failing that, there is danger that the very people who placed such high hopes and dreams in democracy would become detached from it", added the President.

Speaking on the challenges facing the Islamic world, President Waheed called for the immediate cessation for hostilities in Syria, and said that the civilized world will not tolerate a government killing its own people.

The President congratulated Palestine for obtaining non-member observer State status at the United Nations last year, and condemned Israel's continued occupations and illegal settlements in the occupied territory of Palestine. The President further said that restoring the inalienable rights of the Palestinians should be a central focus of the Islamic Ummah, and that a just and equitable resolution of the conflict is fundamental for maintaining peace and security in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The President called for demonstrating more unity and solidarity by Islamic countries in combatting Islamophobia, and in addressing extremism, intolerance and other prejudices. He further called for upholding Islamic virtues of respect and tolerance.

ENDS.