OIC : Purpose, role with special emphasis on Palestine in historical perspective
That Islamic states need to have an organization to coordinate policies and frame responses to ever-changing global situation should never have been in doubt. That the needful did not happen even after Balafour declaration regarding Palestine in 1917 exhibited the desperate state of Islamic countries. That it took decades to get Islamic states to sign the charter setting up the ‘Organization of Islamic Conference’ in 1969 showed the apathy, the listlessness and failure to see a foreign plant in the midst of Islamic world. That four decades after setting-up the organization, the powers who have hijacked Islamic lands—the sacred Al-Quds remain least disturbed, in fact are gaining in strength with increasing weakness of Islamic states on display puts a question mark on the very effectiveness of global Islamic organization! Before we dwell in the material world, we may get into the realm of belief—a compelling motivating force for multitudes, the factor that may not be overlooked in any factual assessment of the prevailing state.
Al-Quds [Sacred place—the holy land of Palestine] was the first ‘Kiblah’ of Islam before Prophet Mohammad [SaW] turned his face to ‘Kabbah’ [house of God—Baitullah in Arabic] during a prayer. Al-Quds is the sacred place from where Prophet [SaW] took off for his journey to heavens [Mehraj-un-Nabi]. Al-Quds has the temple of Solomon [Heikel-e-Suleiman in vernacular]. Al-Quds was the place where Jesus preached and revolted against the exploitation of common folk by Jewish clergy. He released the sacrificial animals and overturned the trays with loads of offerings…the routine established by Jewish clergy. And it was on a ‘Passover Day’ the Jewish sacred day, when the offerings were considerable. Jewish ‘Rabbis’ took him to court of Pontius Pilate…the Roman governor of Palestine, cajoling him to pass the verdict of crucifixion, a verdict which only he had the authority to pass. That he was crucified remains the Christian belief, contested by Muslim. He was lifted to heavens before he could be crucified, says Holy Quran!
Al-Quds has so much of faith and history woven in its tale that it would have been ideal to leave it in its natural state, as it was at the start of 20th century, the state that had the Jew, the Christian and the Muslim live in peace and harmony. In fact the Muslims luminaries exhibited extreme sensitivity in preserving Al-Quds as a meeting place of different faiths. The effort was geared to ensure belief of various religious groupings…Jewish, Christian and Muslim staying in harmony. The great Hazrat Omar Farooq [RA] second of Khulfa-e-Rashdeen [rightly guided Caliphs] was asked by Christian religious authorities to pray right inside the church, as he heard the call for prayer [Azan] while visiting the sacred site, the Jews, the Christians and Jews hold dear. The caliph then on a visit to Jerusalem refused on the plea that were he to pray there, Muslim in future might claim it as their sacred right and it could mean a conflict. In middle ages, Salah-ud-Din Ayubi showed similar sensitivity, as he re-claimed Al-Quds. The harmony stayed until Jewish fed imperialism disturbed that harmony with European powers venturing into Afro-Asian lands to control men and matter.
Zionism started asserting biblical rights over Palestine in 19th and early 20th century and secular Europe concurred with British Secretary of State proclaiming the ‘Balafour declaration’. The Balfour Declaration dated 2 November 1917 was a letter from the United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Walter Rothschild—IInd Baron of Rothschild family. Rothschild’s were leaders of the British Jewish community, with their cousins across the channel having as strong a link with nobility and royalty as the British Rothschilds’. The declaration though meant for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland had in deed the postal address of Zion—the international Jewish organization written all-over it. The declaration initiated a chain reaction. The seedling of the plant in Arabian heartland had been manufactured in Great Britain.
Theocracy that Europe had dreaded because of oppressive church formed the seedling instead of letting Palestine live in the harmony that existed. The harmony that had the Sephardic (Asian) Jews, the Christian and the Muslims live in Palestine in harmony as they did elsewhere in the Middle East. What followed was the ultimate spectacle of oppressive Ashkenazi (European) Jews setting up a Jewish theocratic state in the Muslim heartland. And the Muslim reaction instead of being coordinated against it was pathetic. The mandate for Palestine was obtained from Muslim Turkey in ‘Treaty of Sevres’ signed in 1920. The mandate was meant to operationalize ‘Balafour Declaration’. Though a Jewish homeland was talked of, it had a rider ‘nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country’. As it turned out to be nothing was left undone to prejudice, prevail and trample upon the ‘civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine’ the tale continues.
The Muslim apathy continued. Apart from listless Turkey by then branded the ‘Sick-man of Europe’ tamely surrendering the Palestinian mandate to the British, as well as European powers slicing whatever part of Turkey they could manage, the Arab attitude was sickening. The Muslim had become the Arab, the Turk, and the Persian. The European nationalism bug had been planted into body politic of Muslim world. This is borne by Arab unconcern vis-à-vis the fate of Turks. What mattered to Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca was promise of Arab lands. And that promise excluded parts of Syria, Lebanon. While Hussein protested that Lebanon being Arab may not be excluded, nothing seemed to have transpired vis-à-vis areas to the South of Syria—Palestine. In his treatise ‘Trial and Error’ Dr. Chaim Weizmann, one of the kingpins of Zionism notes ‘‘Palestine had been excluded from the areas that should have been Arab and independent’. Multiple evidences support his contention.
British government’s 1922 White Paper might not have explicitly noted establishment of a state ‘Jewish home’ being the preferred vocabulary, however demographic re-structuring implied a state. In the midst of World War First, it might sound a contradiction of sorts, but cooperation of USA and Russia was tied to placating and winning over international Jewry. President Woodrow Wilson of USA had fervent Zionists as advisers. Conversely Germans replicated the attempt to win over Jews. Thus apart from forming German-Jewish Society, the Grand Vizier Talat of Othmans’ allied to Germans promised in a statement "all justifiable wishes of the Jews in Palestine would be able to find their fulfillment". The British ally Sharief Hussein of Mecca noted in Al Qibla, the daily newspaper of Mecca that return of exiles [Jaliya in Arabic (read European Ashkenazi Jews)] ‘to their homeland will prove materially and spiritually an experimental school for their [Arab] brethren who are with them in the fields, factories, trades and all things connected to the land’. In the same write-up Hussein called on the Arab population in Palestine to welcome the Jews as brethren and cooperate with them for the common welfare. Thus international Jewry—Zion had the cake and were eating it too!
The British agent Hussein and the German agent Talat were no different from Jaffar and Sadiq, the agents of British ‘East India Company’ of whom Allama Iqbal noted in a moving couplet:
Jaffar az Bengal va Sadiq az Deccan
Nang-e-Aadam, Nang-e-Deen, Nang-e-watan!
It may be read as:
Jaffar from Bengal and Sadiq from Deccan,
Shame on humanity, on religion, on nation!
Talat [the Grand Vizier] from Turkey and Hussein [the Sheriff] from Mecca could be substituted for Jaffar and Sadiq. As is evident all this had happened because of disorganized state of Islamic world. Over the decades that followed the Jewish state of Israel got established by stealth. And supported by western powers mainly USA post Second World War, due to Jewish control of financial institutions and media, Israel rolled over the Arab lands without let or hindrance. In war after war, Arabs were humiliated. Post Second World War, the oil boom had started in Middle East. Lacking technology of exploration of new fields and maintaining the existing ones, western oil cartels stepped in to handle and control the precious energy source. With this west had total monopoly over Middle Eastern economies, where with the low literacy rate the expertise to manage was abysmal. Few Arab countries that had the potential to develop the technological pool…the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Jordanians were in an economically depressed state. And Gulf oil did little to invest within the Arab states to widen the technological pool. Instead money was invested in non-productive sectors like real estate. New York or London mansion and putting their money in western businesses mattered much more than developing a productive indigenous economy.
Middle Eastern polity had in the meantime borrowed heavily from western political thought. The nationalism of Nasser, socialism of ‘Baathists’ in Syria and Iraq neither had neither an Arab nor a Muslim flavour. With their economies dominated by West, as well as their political thought, Israel continued to add to Palestine refugee traffic. The humiliation of 1967 war ultimately brought it home that uniting Arabs and roping in non-Arab Muslim States might be the way out of the miserable state. Thus OIC came into being, however over four decades later, the situation has hardly shown any change, although in sheer number of countries making up OIC, the organization in numerical strength is second only to UNO. In fact the plight is worse that it was four decades above.
Soviet invasion of Afghanistan had the west promote Muslim groups fight communism in the name of religion against Godless communism. In a two pronged strategy, Soviet Union was done away with and west soon invented a new enemy to continue its intrusion into Muslim lands. In the name of fighting Muslim extremism, west is having a free ride in Islamic world. It has reached a stage where USA and its lackey—Israel decide the limits to which any Islamic country could grow. While Israel has developed into a de-facto atomic power, even though western nuclear umbrella was available to it, there is a moratorium on defence preparedness of Islamic countries.
West has helped its way into Islamic lands by promoting discord. Iran-Iraq war, Iraqi intrusion into Kuwait and the resultant Gulf war could all be traced to western prompting. 2011 Arab spring which promised much has been hijacked, a situation much worse than what it was at the start of Arab spring prevails in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain. All this is due to western propensity to turn the situation into meeting its own ends. OIC has miserably failed to check it. The problem areas continue to be low literacy rate in OIC states. The bottom 5 countries with the lowest literacy rates in the world are all OIC members, though some members which are still in the process of getting into Islamic mould because of years of harsh communist rule like, the central Asian States--Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan have over 99% literacy. The quality of education though is questionable. The stress on scientific education and research is low, withstanding some Islamic countries like the Islamic Republic of Iran exhibiting a high scientific publication growth rate in 2009-10; however it is only a fraction of western world.
OIC would need years of effort, massive investment in education, pooling of resources, widening of technological pool before results could be expected. More important gearing economies to home base, avoiding investment in non-productive ventures like real estate in west, as also avoiding basing political thought on western concepts could be the way out. No doubt, it would need time and effort, instant results would not be available. But then nearly a millennium of Islamic golden age from 7th to 15th century [calculated from the rise of Abbasids of Baghdad in 750 A.D up-to fall of Muslim Spain in 1492 A.D] was not free of effort, nor was the European renaissance that followed 15th century onwards. In the history of the world, there has never been, nor could there ever be progress without effort, scientific thinking and technological advance.
Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi
[Reunion is subordinate to survival]