CAIRO - Appealing for solidarity during the holy fasting month, the world's largest Muslim organization has urged warring parties in the Muslim world to halt infighting during Ramadan.
I extend my sincere congratulations to all Muslims worldwide, praying to Allah to accept their fasting and good deeds and guide us to re-unite our ranks and strengthen our solidarity, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said in a statement on the OIC website.I seize this opportunity to renew my appeal to all warring parties in the Islamic world to respect the sanctity of this holy month and stop all forms of hostility and bloodshed.
I hope this moral commitment would pave the way for a peaceful solution to the crises facing all Islamic peoples, he said.
The OIC chief cited the Syrian crisis where killing, bloodshed and destruction had become an integral part of the Syrian daily lives.
I regret that the month of tolerance and forgiveness comes at a time when some parts of the Muslim world are living wars, unrest, and humanitarian crises as is the case in Syria, for example, where killing, bloodshed, destruction, and ruin have become an integral part of people's daily lives, he said.
I really hope the days and nights of this month of mercy will be full of purity and free of all unrest and concerns.
Ihsanoglu said Ramadan is a month of purity, serenity and security, in which Muslims exert more efforts to refrain from all forms of sin, seeking repentance and forgiveness according to the teachings and values of Islam.
"I pray to Almighty Allah to help us defend the teachings of our religion in the face of oppression and evils, the statement said.
[Also to] guide the leaders and officials of our Ummah to reach the goals sought by the Islamic world, namely embodiment of reform and good governance, and maintenance of human rights and dignity, and above all the sanctity of human blood and right to life.
Millions of Muslims began fasting Ramadan on Tuesday, while millions others will celebrate the fasting month on Wednesday, July 10.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
Prosecuted Rohingyas The OIC chief has also appealed to Muslims not to forget the prosecuted Muslim minority in Burma.
"I cannot fail to draw attention to the suffering of our brothers from the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar (Burma) and the renewal of their suffering from the continuing widespread atrocities against them, Ihsanoglu said.
"I call upon all Muslims to help alleviate the suffering of these vulnerable people.
"I also call upon the neighboring countries to look with compassion and kindness to the displaced people from this minority who have sought refuge with them, he added.
Described by the UN as one of the world's most persecuted minorities, Rohingya Muslims are facing a catalogue of discrimination in their homeland.
Rohingyas say they are deprived of free movement, education and employment in Burma.
They are not recognized as an ethnic minority by the Burmese authorities and say they suffer human rights abuses at the hands of government officials.
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been displaced from their homes in Burma after deadly waves of sectarian violence with the Buddhist majority.
Ihsanoglu called on all Muslims to offer charity to the less fortunate during the holy month of Ramadan.
I renew my call as well for all to help and support the needy in various regions of the Islamic world â¦ as is the case of the Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, he said.
I encourage everyone to donate generously, inspired by the philanthropic values of this holy month that urge us to stand with our brothers in their distress and suffering and support them in compliance with the teachings of our religion.
Fasting is meant to teach Muslims patience, self-control and spirituality, and time during the holy month is dedicated for getting closer to Allah though prayers, reading the Noble Qur'an and good deeds.
In Ramadan, Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint and good deeds.
The majority of Muslims prefer to pay Zakah for the poor and needy during the month.Many men perform i`tikaf (spiritual retreat), spending the last 10 days of the month exclusively in the mosque.