4th Islamic Solidarity Games: new cooperation and trust stage in Muslim world - COMMENT

4th Islamic Solidarity Games: new cooperation and trust stage in Muslim world - COMMENT
Todays is one of remarkable days in Azerbaijan history in terms of hosting international events.

Official opening ceremony of 4th Islamic Solidarity Games (non-officially: Baku-2017 Islamic Solidarity Games) will be held on May 12. The games will end on May 22. About 6 000 athletes from 54 countries will compete in 22 sport branches (weightlifting, shooting, basketball, rhythmic gymnastics, box, judo, football, wrestling, handball, artistic gymnastics, karate, table tennis, water polo, diving, taekwondo, tennis, wushu, swimming, volleyball, athletics, zorkhaneh).

By the way, in 2001 Organisation of the Islamic Conference made decision to organize "Islamic Countries’ Solidarity sport games”. Let’s note that in 8th General Assembly of Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation held in Jidda, Saudi Arabia on July 24, 2014, Azerbaijan was authorized to host 4th Islamic Solidarity Games.

The 1st Islamic Solidarity Games were held in Mecca city of Saudi Arabia on April 8-20, 2005. 6 500 athletes from 53 Islamic countries, excluding Uzbekistan, Albania and Togo, took part in 15 sport branches of the Games.
In reality, current games are statistically reckoned as 4th. Because 2nd Islamic Solidarity Games were planned to be held in Iran in October 2009. But later they were postponed to April 2010. However, the Games were canceled due to disputes between Iran and Arab countries concerning name of Persian Gulf (Arabs call it "Arab Gulf” or "Basra Gulf”, ancient Turks - "Kangar”).
As a result, the Games weren’t held. Indonesian city Palembang hosted the 3rd Islamic Solidarity Games during September 22 – October 1 of 2013. 1 769 athletes in 13 branches from 44 countries participated in that event.
Azerbaijan national team is at 10th place for total number of medals won in these Games. Our team has 10 gold, 13 silver and 16 bronze medals.

Azerbaijan will be represented by 345 athletes in 4 Islamic Solidarity Games.
Turkey (339 athletes) brought second, Algeria (307) third largest delegations to the Games.
Conduction of competition among athletes of Islamic countries during such hard times in the world shows peacefulness of this religion. Because we see serious disagreements among Islamic countries in the context of developments in the Middle East. It is even known that some of them fight against each other in armed conflicts.
Normalization of situation in the Near and Middle East, establishment of stability and peace, restoration of social, political, economic and cultural ties, cooperation and development largely depend on countries of the region.

Such competitions serve for rapprochement of societies of Islamic countries and enable them to know each other. There is some mistrust among Muslim states due to international terrorism during last years.
Islamic states accuse each other of intervention to internal affairs, support to enemy, aggressor. These blames in some cases seem grounded, in others – ungrounded. However, none can reject actuality of such cases.
However, frequent organization of competitions expands cooperation of the countries, creates conditions for convergence. This mission is also for the benefit of the world in terms of stability and security.
Organization of Games in Azerbaijan is also remarkable. First of all, Azerbaijan is a Muslim country, part of whose lands is under occupation. Some Islamic states cooperate with Armenia, who keeps Nagorno-Karabakh under occupation. With its solidarity behavior Azerbaijan calls such countries to stop cooperation with the aggressor or try to force it to abandon this policy.

Azerbaijan brought to the attention of Muslim states its place and importance in Islamic world. It also propagates the country in the Muslim world.
Security is a key factor for organization of every international event. By hosting such a prestigious event, Azerbaijan demonstrates its ability to cope with such a difficult task and readiness for international cooperation in such issues, especially in fight against terrorism.
Azerbaijan proves that it is ready and able to contribute for peace and cooperation.
Thus, presumably such kind of solidarity games will be directed towards expanding cooperation and ties among countries, serve for elimination of hostilities, hesitation, distrust. 

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