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The Ineffectual OIC

Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a world body of 57 Muslim countries, is the second largest intra-governmental organization after the UN in the whole world. Article 1 of the OIC Charter lays down its first and the foremost objective as “to enhance and consolidate the bonds of fraternity and solidarity among the member states.” This is the organization which aims to bind the Muslims under one umbrella in order to solve the entire problems, ranging from economic and social issues to interstate conflicts. But, given the recent happenings in Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, and the incessant and unending Israeli atrocities against innocent Palestinians in Gaza, it would be better to call this OIC as the Organization of Impotent Countries.

What an irony of the fate that Iyad Ameen Abdullah Madani, the Secretary-General of the Organization which was established in reaction to an arson attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque on August 21, 1969, in Al-Quds, now admits that they [Arabs] can do nothing against the Israelis. He said, “In 1967, the Arabs faced a defeat as Israeli forces entered the Sinai Desert, West Bank of the Jordan River and the Golan Heights. Arabs cannot imagine stopping the support for Palestinians, but practically they are not in a position to do anything.”

Its motto rings sweet bells in our ears but practically it turned out to be only a damp squib. In the recent times, we would not see OIC doing any commendable work in multifarious crises the Muslim Ummah is grappling with haplessly.

For instance, when Iraq attacked Kuwait, the OIC did nothing except only issuing a few condemning statements against Saddam regime and demanding withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Kuwait. The OIC condemned the 9/11 attacks and when United States came up with a decision to attack Afghanistan, OIC just declared, “United States should not target other countries in its campaign against terrorism.”

The US imposed war against Iraq on the pretext of the weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) which were never found there, and OIC stood only as a silent spectator. The US even executed Saddam Hussein and plunged the country into the chaos that gave birth to the ISIS monster, but no practical steps were ever taken by this group of impotent countries.

During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979, OIC did not react to condemn or force Soviet Union, but what they did was to suspend Afghanistan’s membership in OIC and called Afghanistan as puppet regime. Now when the US and its Western allies attacked Afghanistan in the name of War on Terror and have sent the country into stone age by ruining it, nothing solid has been done by the so-called representative body of the Muslim states. In today’s Afghanistan, opium production is on the rise, the US is scheduled to leave this country without any improvement in economy or law and order situation, warlords would surely indulge into fight for power, but the OIC cannot even condemn the follies being committed there by the world.

Toppling of democratically-elected Morsi government in Egypt was not a matter of concern for the OIC. And now when the innocent Palestinians are being bombed not only in their homes and hospitals but also in the UN refugee camps, the OIC is seen as a club of wealthy state heads only who don’t have any concern for the lives of millions of Muslims.

Although the OIC has had major problems in solving the issues involving Muslims in non-member countries, it is all too more vigilant to frequently show its concern for the non-Muslims living in the Muslim states. The OIC noted that, “Non-Muslim minorities in some countries of Muslim majorities do not enjoy the political and religious rights guaranteed by international law and norms” and appealed to “countries with Muslim majorities to respect those minorities and their culture and belief and grant them their rights in accordance with the UN charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.”

Another problem of the OIC is its failure in dispute-resolution among member states. In the Syria crisis, disagreements among its members brought the OIC to an impasse. The OIC’s weak role on major issues and inability to resolve internal disputes has caused a trust gap among member states and non-member states alike. It is due to the ineptness of the OIC and Arab nations that the fruit of Arab Spring have turned sour. Most of the emerging regimes seem constantly unstable and vulnerable to foreign powers’ whims and wishes.

The mandate of OIC is to promote all round cooperation among the member states in field of science and technology, economic development and mutual trade, stability of peace, eradicating discrimination and strengthening Islamic solidarity among member states and safeguard each other from threats and insurgencies but it is undoubtedly true to say that the desired objectives and aim could not be achieved.

Unless the OIC members are willing to face the present challenges boldly, and demonstrate political will to emphasize their role in the world affairs, the OIC will continue to fail its purpose. The current crisis between the West and the world of Islam is yet another opportunity for the OIC to prove its relevance by playing a productive role by building bridges through an informed dialogue between Islam and other faiths.

It is concluded that it’s still not too late if the leaders of OIC take reformative measures and act upon the real charter and mandate they could observe peace and tranquillity, and could curb the acts of terror all around the Muslim countries, as it is a known fact the united we stand divided we fall.

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