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OIC Parliamentary Union meeting in Algeria provides opportunity to reinforce Muslims unity: Iran Parliament speaker

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf speaks to reporters in Tehran on January 28, 2023 before heading for Algeria to attend the 17th session of the conference of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. (Photo by ICANA)

Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf says the 17th session of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Algeria provides an opportunity to reinforce unity among Muslim countries.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday before leaving Tehran for Algiers to attend the 17th session of the PU-OIC, Qalibaf said the two-day event would be among "important economic and cultural opportunities" to forge unity among African countries and the Muslim world.

He added that the conference would be held at a very sensitive juncture as Western countries make efforts to spread Islamophobia and amid the special situation of Palestinians and the Israeli regime's measures against Palestinians in the occupied territories.

The conference, which will be held on Sunday and Monday and will be attended by parliamentary heads from the OIC member states, will discuss several topics on its agenda, including confronting Israeli plans and protecting al-Aqsa Mosque, in addition to combating all forms and manifestations of terrorism.

Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

Most of the raids have focused on Nablus and Jenin, where Israeli forces have been trying to stifle a growing Palestinian resistance in the occupied cities.

The United Nations marked 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in 16 years.

Israeli forces killed at least 171 Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied East al-Quds last year, including more than 30 children. At least 9,000 others were injured as well.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Qalibaf said that during the event in Algeria, Iran would raise issues in connection with the "Muslim world and solidarity to [promote] sustainable peace and development."

The top Iranian parliamentarian added that he would also hold bilateral and multilateral meetings on the sidelines of the conference.

He noted that it is a unique opportunity that the conference is held in North Africa which is mainly composed of Muslim states.

He emphasized that enemies of the Muslim world are trying to sow discord among different religions, saying the Algeria conference would prepare the ground for Muslim nations to take "serious and fundamental" steps to counter those who intend to harm Islam and portray Muslims as terrorists.

Last week, Sweden’s right-wing leader Rasmus Paludan received permission from his country's government to burn the Holy Qur’an in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. He was being protected by the Swedish police while committing the sacrilege, which has opened the floodgates of protests in the Muslim world.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry vehemently denounced the act of sacrilege in Sweden, saying the move was a blatant example of spreading hatred and violence against Muslims.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also said Western countries’ support for such acts in the name of freedom of expression is “not acceptable at all.”

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