OIC at a Glance
06 February, 2006
By Aamir Hakeem
The contemporary politics, challenges, threat perceptions and state of affairs of the Muslim world compelled the Muslim leaders to deliberate at 3rd extraordinary OIC Summit at Makkah in early December last year. Prior to the Summit, scholars and intellectuals of the Ummah were requested to examine the challenges faced by the Muslim world in intellectual, cultural, political, media, economic and developmental fields. Based on the views and recommendations of these scholars and intellectuals, a Ten-Year program of action was developed.
Organizational development of OIC in the last 36 years has never been considered remarkable, as neither it formed uniformity in the ranks of Ummah nor achieved the objectives of its charter. Keeping in view the progress of OIC, the commission of scholars and intellectuals also recommended to restructure the secretariat, develop a new charter and give it a new name.
OIC was established in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco on Rajab 138H (25th Sep. 1969) by Muslim states to overcome their differences for a common cause and to liberate Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque from Zionist occupation. The general secretariat was established at Jeddah in 1970 and a Secretary General was appointed. In 1972 charter of the organization was adopted with a purpose to strengthen solidarity among Islamic Sates in the political, economic, cultural, scientific and social fields.
OIC is the second largest organization of the world after UN having 57 Muslim member countries and five observer organizations named UN, NAM, LAS, AU and ECO. The observer status was also granted to some states including the Russian Federation, who got this status in 2005. The charter of the OIC is registered in conformity with article 102 of the UN’s charter since February 1974, which states that every treaty and international agreement entered into by any member of the UN shall as soon as possible be registered with the secretariat and published by it.
Though Muslims have had great expectations from OIC but the limited growth of the organization can not be neglected. Gradually established subsidiary organs of the OIC i.e. Statistical, Economic, Social research and training Centre, Turkey; Research centre for Islamic History Art and Culture, Istanbul; Islamic University of Technology, Dhaka; Islamic Centre for the development of trade, Morocco; Islamic Fiqh Academy, Jeddah and the Islamic university of Niger and Uganda are some achievements of the organization. Besides, seven other affiliated institutions have been established including Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Karachi and International Associations of Islamic Banks, Jeddah.
An organization having history of almost three and half decades may be regarded dormant but not dead; only determination and strategies are needed with optimal utilization of resources for its renascence. Recently announced design competition for the construction of the OIC headquarters at Jeddah is a step forward towards this goal. The first Islamic ministerial conference on the child and problem of refugees in the Muslim world is another initiative in social sector.
Communication revolution and globalization process has changed the course of history. The objective of OIC needs far greater role in this modern world for the welfare of humanity. The realistic approach at the recent extra ordinary meeting at Makkah needs continuation of the process of deliberations. Main body of OIC, the Conference of Heads of States and Government meet once every three years. If there are yearly meetings like UN then it may contribute in prompt decision making.
The decline of Muslim Civilization from the height of glory mentioned by King Abdullah at Makkah summit is indeed the decline of humanitarian values of Muslims and the lost urge for knowledge. At the summit, Islamic Charter of human rights in accordance with the provisions of Cairo declaration of human rights in Islam and its interaction with UN and other relevant bodies was deliberated. The humanitarian values of Islam are much strong; only interpretation in modern age language is required. Women rights, child rights, neighbor rights, ethics of war, prisoners’ rights and status of refugees are all well defined by Islam.
Countering Islam phobia, dialogue among civilizations and reforming the Islamic Fiqh Academy to make it the jurisprudence authority of the Ummah remain the major challenges at OIC summit. The role of media was stressed to project the true image of Islam. The developments, minor or major, at OIC could also be reported regularly on print and electronic media at least in the member countries. The coverage of Secretary General and the reportage of organizational developments on regular basis are of vital importance for debates, deliberations and implementation.
The commitment for Joint Islamic Action and display of Islamic solidarity to face natural disasters and countering foreign threats that jeopardize the security of any Member State in a collective manner was discussed during summit. Diplomatic solidarity is the best way to achieve these goals. Every demand of OIC regarding conflict resolution is in conformity with the UN resolutions. Therefore, the apprehensions of OIC regarding the security of its member states must be observed by the UN, while concrete steps are needed to achieve the peace.
Elimination of illiteracy, healthcare and civilized way of living with peace and harmony is the need of hour in the Muslim world. For that matter, volunteerism can to be introduced at OIC on the pattern of UN and Commonwealth. It shall enable the individuals and organizations to conduct social work in their respective countries under the banner of OIC. The OIC has built Islamic Colleges and Cultural Institutes and Centers to spread Islamic culture and teaching of Arabic in 1998 under UNESCO. At the home front organized volunteerism in social sector would help to revive our lost values.
Economic constraints for that matter can be overcome through fund raising for humanitarian work. In the age of information technology online donations can be called through OIC official website. At one end it would divert the funds from individuals to OIC for a noble cause and on the other end shall curtail the funding to banned organizations.