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Ankara hosts OIC youth capital handover ceremony

Focus and investments in the overall development of youth in Muslim communities will ensure a safe, secure, and prosperous future, speakers said at the closing ceremony of the symbolic Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Youth Capital 2018.

Addressing a mass gathering in Turkey’s capital Ankara, Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu said that programs held under the OIC youth capital banner are important for maintaining and furthering brotherhood among Muslim countries.

“Today’s event summarizes our work as such programs, where our youth come together to share knowledge, culture and social relations, are quite important to boost solidarity among Muslim countries,” Kasapoglu said.

“The Republic of Turkey is working to create and develop cooperation with the state of Palestine,” Kasapoglu added. He stressed that Turkey is willing to support OIC youth projects.

Kasapoglu said that Jerusalem is not just any other city of the Muslim world “but a symbol for Muslims. … our first divine love.”

The “atrocities on the holy site are going on to this day,” he said, causing Muslims “to grieve.”

Jerusalem was declared an OIC youth capital in 2017 at the general assembly of Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF), a subsidiary of the OIC which has worked since 2014 for the development of Muslim youth. Istanbul was the first OIC youth capital in 2015.

Doha, Qatar’s capital, on Monday took the honor.

Also attending the handover ceremony was Cibril Recub, the head of Palestine’s Higher Council for Youth and Sports.

“Jerusalem is not just a city,” he said. “Jerusalem is a symbol for all Muslims globally.”

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem — occupied by Israel since 1967 — might one day serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.


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