Despite being the second largest intergovernmental organisation after the United Nations (UN), the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has failed to achieve its main goals of safeguarding and protecting the interest of the global Muslim Ummah by promoting the spirit of peace and harmony, writes Mohammed Kahiye.
Millions of Muslims across the world lost their lives and property in unjust and illegal western and Israeli engineered wars in their respective countries under the facade of “combating terrorism”, “restoring democracy”, “regime change” or “prevention” of nuclear war.
The lives of Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and now Egypt will never be the same again and they feel excluded and betrayed by their own brethren like never before. The OIC which consists of 57 member states has been the only voice of 1.5 billion Muslims – a quarter of the world’s population since the abolition of the Ottoman caliphate in 1924.
The OIC has apparently been working towards the “safeguarding” and “protection” of matters important to Muslims but in recent years the organisation has not addressed the real issues affecting the Muslim population. Instead it has been a vehicle for empty promises and holding meetings in plush five-star hotels.
Conflict resolution and sectarianism
Though the group claims it has “tried” to constructively engage in conflict resolution both within and outside its member states such as Iraq, Somalia, between Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels and the Philippine government and between the Thai government and its Muslim majority in the south, their efforts seem to be non-existent in regards to the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Egypt. Furthermore it has achieved nothing to tackle or stop the increasing sectarian violence across the Muslim world because inherently, many of the member states promote and consent to sectarianism.
This can be attributed to the politically and financially motivated agendas by some of its members who are in the driving seat of the organization in fulfilling their selfish driven interests by bypassing organisation’s regulations.
The OIC’s headquarters is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. KSA along with other oil rich Gulf States are the biggest financial contributors to the body, and their influence within the group cannot be ruled out, therefore an element of unbalanced power already exists by financial and political default.
The recent move by the OIC in suspending Syria from its membership due to the brutal violence committed by Bashar al Assad was undoubtedly influenced by the Gulf States. KSA and Qatar’s next move to lobby and then eventually grant an obscure and foreign element of the Syrian opposition (SNC) a seat in the body and then openly supply arms to selective rebel factions has greatly divided the members, not that this would have made any difference on its operational “unity”.
Suspicious moves like the ones mentioned above have diminished the credibility and the trust of the organisation naively bestowed upon them by the Muslim Ummah. Since its inception nearly 50 years ago (1969), the OIC has never really achieved anything tangible in dealing with or tackling any of the issues faced by Muslims worldwide, let alone the major ones facing them like occupation, sectarianism and the looting of natural resources by western powers. It would be fair to question whether member states have betrayed the principles which they initially began with and whether loyalty to particular sects or western agendas has clouded their objective in protecting the interests of the Ummah.
I personally believe the days when Muslims trusted and relied on the OIC have long surpassed, if it ever did exist in the first place. However, if a minuscule of that trust is to be regained, the OIC would have to start by displaying independence from western powers namely the US, and seriously start working towards the wellbeing of the Muslim Ummah, even if that means military intervention to counter western or Zionist occupation of Muslim lands and oppressive dictators. The group would also have to prove itself to be a unified body irrelevant of sectarian differences when dealing with warring factions like the conflict in Syria.
The OIC has a permanent delegation to the UN and is pushing for another permanent representative in the UN Security Council. How effective or realistic (a Muslim country to be given veto power) this is only time will tell. However, if such initiatives should go ahead, it should only be used to collectively protect Muslim interests, and not to succumb to western pressure by taking foreign aid and to serve the agenda of those members who openly ally themselves with the Zionists.