Assalamu Alaikum  

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues. 

I am honored that I have been afforded this opportunity to address all of you.   

We meet at a time when the Muslim ummah faces profound challenges. It is imperative that today we come together, in the spirit of unity.  

Mr. Chairman,  

Palestine remains one of the most pressing issues of our time. And in recent months we have witnessed a dramatic escalation by the occupying power of Israel, as they have intensified their ongoing efforts to alter the historical, geographical, and legal identity of Palestine.  

It is vital that the Islamic community come together in collective defense of the Palestinian people, their rights, and their aspirations for sovereign statehood.  

And as a humanitarian crisis unfolds across the Middle East, and severely affects the condition of Palestinian refugees, it is vital that we step up to provide UNWRA the financing they need to cater to the needs of these suffering communities. 

Mr. Chairman,  

It is not only Muslims in Palestine that are suffering. What is happening in Rohingya is a stain on our collective conscience.  We must condemn the displacement and inhumane treatment of Rohingya Muslims and do our utmost to support them in their hour of need.  

Similarly, we must call on the international community to end the conflict in Yemen. It is vital that we urge all parties to come together to resolve disputes through peaceful dialogue and diplomacy.  

In that same spirit it is vital that we step up political mediation efforts and humanitarian assistance on behalf of the people of Syria, as they have a suffered over a decade of conflict.  

And in Afghanistan, the Maldives is in full alignment with the OIC position. We call for an immediate cessation of violence and for dedicated pursuit of dialogue and national reconciliation through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process.  

Alongside the rest of the OIC, the Maldives remains committed to continuing efforts to contribute to reinforcing the foundations of peace, security, stability, and development in Afghanistan. 

Mr. Chairman,   

As we speak violent extremism and terrorism by malicious actors that claim to speak in the name of Islam, pose a nuisance to our communities and to the world.  

It is imperative that we redouble our efforts to educate those within and beyond our borders on the authentic and peaceful message of Islam. We must emphasize that ours is a religion of justice that leaves no room for extremism.  

In that same spirit, it is vital that we speak out against Islamophobia and the marginalization of Muslim communities. The Maldives commends the OIC in their leading role in countering misperceptions against Islam, and in their efforts to educate the broader international community on the true, moderate, and peaceful spirit of Islam.  

A prime example of this is the Islamophobia Observatory and Sawt Al-Hikmah centre established by the OIC to combat extremism and promote dialogue.  The Maldives praises these efforts and stands ready to assist in any capacity we can.  

Mr. Chairman,  

Gender equality is another issue on which the OIC needs to lead. Our noble religion is one that gives equal recognition and voice to both women and men and does not allow room for misogyny and sexism.   

At the national level in the Maldives, we have not only appointed women justices to our supreme court for the first time in our history, we have allocated quotas so that one third of our local councils are composed of women.  

We encourage similar such initiatives throughout the OIC, and to spur momentum towards realizing a more gender equal world.  

Mr. Chairman,  

At this critical period in our history it is profoundly important that the countries comprising the OIC come together to support one another, uplift one another, and cooperate with each other in good faith and good will.  

Inshallah, with the grace of God we will succeed in meeting the challenges we face, and in securing a brighter destiny for the entire Muslim world.  

Thank you.