ICYF-DC Headquarters. Istanbul, 03 August 2017.
Today President of ICYF-DC H.E. Amb. Elshad Iskandarov signed the Protocol of Cooperation on “Al-Quds – 2018 OIC Youth Capital” Programme with H.E. Gen. Jibril Rajoub, Chairman of the Palestinian Higher Council for Youth and Sports.
The signing came after an initiative by ICYF-DC to announce Al-Quds as Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Youth Capital on 25 July 2017 in the midst of a recent stand-off by the Palestinian people against Israeli violations of human rights, and the inalienable right of Palestinians and Muslim for free access to the Al-Aqsa compound. Following the ICYF-DC initiative, the Selection Committee of the “OIC Youth Capital Programme” unanimously decided in favor of the candidature of Al-Quds (one of the 14 Joint-Youth Actions implemented by ICYF-DC as a Secretariat of the Islamic Conference of Youth and Sports Ministers). This decision was strongly welcomed in the Communiqué by the Extraordinary Meeting of the OIC Executive Committee of Foreign Ministers held in Istanbul, on 1 August 2017. Following these developments, the delegation of the State of Palestine comprising of government authorities and youth representing Jerusalem visited ICYF-DC Headquarters for signing of the said protocol, on 3 August 2017.
During the briefing for local and international press attending the signing ceremony Amb. Elshad Iskandarov, while expressing ICYF-DC commitment and solidarity with the people of Palestine, emphasized the need for action-oriented support in raising international awareness towards the cause of Al-Quds. Mentioning that Jerusalem hosts holy places of 3 divine religions, ICYF-DC chief emphasized that this Programme is not only a commitment towards Palestine, but to human values of freedom of religious expression and inter-civilization peace at large.
Gen. Jibril Rajoub expressed appreciation of the State and people of Palestine for ICYF-DC efforts in supporting Palestinian youth and advocating for their integration into OIC and international youth programmes and projects. While emphasizing the need to raise international awareness of the grave circumstances of occupation that Palestinians live under, he pointed to ICYF-DC efforts as an exemplary case to be followed by fellow institutions in the OIC Member States.
The Protocol envisages action-oriented programmes and activities to be held both in Palestine, OIC countries and globally with the aim of increasing Muslim youth visits and engagement with sites of Islamic heritage in Al-Quds, and further developing long-term capacity of Palestinian youth—implicitly inclusive of the youth of Gaza—as a constructive factor for national development and dialogue.