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The Dilemma of Muslim Unity

The Dilemma of Muslim Unity

United we stand, divided we fall

When US President Donald Trump announced his disruptive policy decision to shift American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the divided Muslim world awoke from its deep slumber and issued its disapproval, albeit faint, of the decision.

Since the creation of Organisation of Islamic Conference (now Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) in 1969, the Muslim Ummah has failed to collectively extend meaningful support to the oppressed Palestinians in acquiring their inalienable right to a sovereign state in the Middle East. Besides the protracted Palestinian issue, the divided Muslim world is also plagued with political, economic, security and religious issues.

Worryingly, many Muslims countries are at loggerheads with one another owing to geopolitical, economic and security reasons. The divergence of interests has impeded Muslim unity that is indispensable to safeguarding their global interests that are in jeopardy. This has provided an opportunity to the West to further drive a wedge among Muslims. West has made policies that are specifically designed to sharply divide Muslims so that they do not pose a serious threat to its political, economic and cultural dominance.

A week after Trump’s announcement, Turkey immediately convened an Extraordinary Session of the OIC Islamic Summit Conference in Istanbul to send a befitting response to the United States. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) declared East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine, rejected the US stance by terming it ‘dangerous’ and called on the global community to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

But, the Saudi decision to send only a minister to attend the OIC’s extraordinary session manifests that some Muslim countries may not be on the same page with others. Such conflicts of interest have been the major stumbling block for Muslim countries to resolve their deep-seated political and economic issues. As history suggests, the indecisive OIC will once again fail to translate its hollow promises about an independent Palestine into tangible measures and, thereby, let Palestinians further reel under Israel’s brutal oppression.

Muslims experienced a golden age from the eighth century to the thirteenth century. During this period, Muslim rulers had not only established one of the largest empires in the world, but they also excelled in social and natural sciences. Baghdad became the centre of learning where scholars around the world gathered to seek and disseminate knowledge. However, when the Mongols invaded Baghdad in 1258, the golden age of Muslims came to an abrupt end, resulting in the supremacy of the Europeans.

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About Ayaz Ahmed

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The writer is a former senior researcher at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA), and now an independent researcher and columnist based in Karachi.

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