Islamic World Heritage Committee meeting concludes in Morocco

The 8th Meeting of the Islamic World Heritage Committee (IWHC), held at the headquarters of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) on 18-19 June, brought together representatives of the IWHC member states.

These included the representatives of Kuwait, Mauritania, Indonesia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Cameroon, CAte d'Ivoire and Nigeria, as well as the representative of the Scientific Commission from the Kingdom of Morocco.

In her address to the opening session, ISESCO Deputy Director General Dr. Amina Al-Hajri reaffirmed that safeguarding and rehabilitating heritage is not a technical work that only entails maintenance, restoration, cataloging and documentation, but rather "quintessentially civilizational and moral responsibility that should be at the forefront of our action plans, given the key role of heritage in preserving collective memory and protecting peoples' identity.

She added that the magnitude of this responsibility intensifies due to negligence and mismanagement or due to destruction of historic building and archeological landmarks in many parts of the Islamic world because of conflicts and wars.

This is also a heavy responsibility in light of the looting, trafficking and illicit trade of artwork and archeological artifacts; the piracy of our intangible heritage as a result of the negative aspects of globalization and its greedy cultural industry, or the threat of distortion due to racial fanaticism, zealotry and extremism, in contradiction to the principles of respecting pluralism and cultural diversity, the ISESCO deputy chief stated.

She also talked about the great threats to cultural and civilizational heritage in Jerusalem as a result of the violations, Judaization and illegal excavations perpetrated by Israeli occupation forces, in blatant defiance of international legitimacy.

Ms. Al-Hajri underlined that the IWHC assumes a key and leading role in supporting ISESCO's efforts to preserve and safeguard heritage, being tangible, intangible or natural; in addition to strengthening its presence at the international arena and among the decision-makers concerned with heritage issues, especially the World Heritage Committee, in a view of projecting the voice of the Islamic world, uniting its stances and protecting its legitimate rights.

The deputy director general also stressed that ISESCO strives to strongly activate its role, through the IWHC in its revamped version, and in application of the directives of ISESCO Director General Dr. Salim Mohammed Al-Malik and his new vision regarding promoting the institutional aspect of ISESCO's specialized committees.

What this means for the IWHC is striving to expand its powers; provide it with new working tools to carry out its tasks more efficiently, especially regarding the inscription of more Member States' archeological sites and elements of intangible heritage on the Islamic World Heritage List; build the capacity of its capacities; and propose suitable ways for activating the contents and guidelines of ISESCO's reference documents in the field of heritage," Al-Hajri said.

She concluded her address by highlighting that the Committee is required to intensify its efforts to expose the violations and excavations of the emboldened Israeli occupation forces in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque; and widely disseminate the periodic technical and legal report that monitors these violations, seizing this opportunity to express her thanks and appreciation to ISESCO Archaeology Experts Committee in Charge of Preparing the Report.

On his part, ISESCO Director for Culture and Communication Najib Rhiati gave a detailed presentation on IWHC's missions and its role in promoting joint Islamic action with a view to safeguarding heritage in the Islamic world. In this connection, he mentioned a number of relevant reference documents, namely the Islamic Declaration on Safeguarding Cultural Heritage in the Islamic World; the Resolutions of the 10th Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers; the Bahrain Declaration on Safeguarding Human Heritage and Countering Extremism; the Action Program for Promoting Islamic and International Support for the Preservation of Cultural and Civilizational Heritage in Al-Quds Al-Sharif; and the Proclamation of 2019 as Year of Heritage in the Islamic World.

Source: International Islamic News Agency