The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was conceived pursuant to an Islamic Summit in Rabat, Morocco. Israeli aggressions in Palestine specifically the arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was raison d’être of this conference. It is the largest organisation of Muslim countries and second biggest inter-governmental organisation in the world albeit only in terms of its make-up. Its members are scattered around the world in four main continents but its prestige and influence are non-existent. It has proved being unable to bring to fruition its vision and objectives and has miserably failed to live up to its chief purposes and expectations of the Ummah.

Collective voice of the Muslim World couldn’t be faintly discerned. Their common interests seem to be in jeopardy and left unguarded. Signs of discord and splits among the member countries are beyond question. They are even divided in dealing with crucial issues confronted by the Muslim world. Many Muslim nations are witnessing savagery at the hands of brutal regimes while at the same time the others among them are busy in getting chummy with those oppressors.

There is lack of mutual understanding among the Muslim states. Two regional powers in the Middle East have been at daggers drawn. Saudi Arabia and Iran are involved in a sort of cold war since long. Both overwhelmingly support opposite sides in Yemen and Syria to expand their spheres of influence. In this regard the Yemeni and Syrian Muslims along with the minorities have been paying a heavy cost. Some gulf countries together with Israel conducted a campaign to sabotage the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (also called Iran Nuclear Deal) that is a relatively fair agreement secured by Iran with p5+1. To their pleasure the United States has already pulled out and as a result one of the outstanding achievements of the world community is hanging by a thread now. Besides, the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition which is an Islamic military alliance reflects a palpable sectarian tilt. This has potentially further infuriated Tehran.

Moreover, intra-gulf divergences also came to forth recently. Many Gulf States severed ties with Qatar last year for inexplicable reasons. Absurd demands were made of the small rich country including the closure of Al Jazeera and the removal of Turkish troops from its soil. A rift in the Islamic World deepened more when Turkey openly sided with Doha. Later, the Khashoggi affair further strained the Ankara-Riyadh relations. While on the other hand relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan remain capricious switching at times from bad to good but the overall trend is adverse and disturbing. In presence of such sharp divisions within the Muslim countries the unity among them would only remain a distant dream until the defunct OIC triggers off.

The issue of Palestine which is the reason the OIC came into being continues to be unresolved. Declarations of many OIC summits in late 20th century called for liberation of Palestine only on paper. No considerable concerted efforts have been made in this respect till today. The people of Kashmir have been enduring terrible atrocities at the hands of the brutal Indian regime for decades yet New Delhi face no political, social, or economic pressure from the OIC countries.

The OIC conferences and the decisions made thereby mostly go unreported in the international media because of its non-serious nature. Resolutions are mostly not followed by actions. Thus the working of the organization is taken lightly not only by the world at large but also by the member states themselves.

It has also dismally failed to play a prominent role in the United Nations. The member countries are divided over the stance of permanent membership of the Security Council. The sensitive issue of blasphemy and the prevalence of Islamophobia in the West couldn’t be addressed. It remained a silent spectator when the Rohingya Muslims were massacred, their women raped, and children burnt alive. The organization needs some introspection. Why it has become of limited significance with no dominant role to play in the international affairs of the member states?

The main problem lies in the lack of harmony and cooperation among the Muslim countries. They confront bitter internal conflicts which have rendered the organization ineffective. It is known all over the world only for its name and composition with nothing impressive on its achievements list.

With Imran Khan on good terms with Saudi Arabia and Tayyib Erdogan enjoying close intimacy with Qatar and Iran, both the leaders who are known for their outstanding leadership qualities can play a pivotal role in setting the OIC in motion which is a crying need for the Islamic world. Closer cooperation in areas of, inter alia, trade, information technology, defence, and education among the member countries is indispensable now and their mutual differences need to be patched up. The Muslim World is facing unprecedented challenges on the global front for the purpose of which unity is needful.

 

The writer is a freelance contributor.

 SirajShawa@gmail.com

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