OIC- A Talk Shop:
OIC’s response the conflicts of muslim nation
Transforming the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) from a fragmented talk shop, divided by narrow interests, into an effective political and economic forum is the most serious challenge for the leaders of the grouping at this critical juncture. The Muslim Ummah is facing a serious challenge from the western world and the 57-member forum is now at crossroads even as the Islamic world is being marginalized and targeted.
The dream of assassinated Saudi King Faisal and visionary Pakistani leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to unite Islamic nations under one banner to take on challenges of Zionism and imperialism have been shattered. Both these legendary figures were removed by agents of Islam for their zeal to use ‘’oil embargo" against those countries which supported Israel.
It was soon after Lahore OIC summit in February 1974 that western and Zionist lobbies hatched conspiracies to eliminate King Faisal and Bhutto as both pledged to confront west and make Islamic world as a strong political entity in the international arena. With their assassination, the OIC virtually collapsed and its leaders started playing to the tune of their western masters. The summits became mere rituals.
In fact, former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammed, tried his best to revive the grouping, but member countries remained least interested. He was in favour of turning the OIC into something like European Union so that Islamic world will have a common currency-gold Dinar. All these measures to give the OIC a new outlook miserably failed. Most of the members are not keen to adopt tough line against Israel, which had unleashed a reign of terror against Palestinians. Some of them enjoy excellent diplomatic and trade ties with occupant Israel. Qatar, Jordan, Turkey, Morocco and Egypt to name a few.
The world has changed so much after September 11, 2001. Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Iran, Syria and several other countries were declared rouge states by the Bush administration and the western world. Pakistan was asked to either join the allied forces in the war against terror or face annihilation if they continue to support jehadi groups. Arab and Central Asian Muslim nations not only toed the American line, but also provided financial and logistic support to the US led-coalition in its misadventure in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Both countries have been completely destroyed and devastated by the foreign forces, resulting in death of over one million people.
Islam is linked with terrorism by a hegemonic unipolar world. The Muslim countries are threatened by coercive measures in the name of democracy and human rights violations. The divisions in the Islamic world have not only weakened the OIC, but delivered a body blow to the political cause of Palestine, Iraq, Kashmir and Afghanistan.
The OIC contact group on Jammu and Kashmir has remained a silent spectator on the issue. It has never taken up the issue seriously, except passing a well-guarded resolution on the dispute that has remained a bone of contention between India and Pakistan for the past sixty years. It made several appeals to India to allow the OIC team to visit Jammu and Kashmir, but of no avail. In the past few meetings, the contact group had supported bilateral dialogue between the two neighbors to resolve this contentious issue amicably.
Even as India’s Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahmed attended the 11th summit at Dakar, Senegal, from March 13-14, 2008, it had consistently maintained its stand that OIC has no locus standi in matters concerning India’s internal affairs including Jammu & Kashmir and this has been taken up bilaterally with the member countries of the OIC. India is neither a member nor an observer in the OIC.
The Government of India even issued a rebuttal on the observation of OIC on Jammu & Kashmir.
Despite this, Saudi Arabia and some other important members of the OIC favour India’s inclusion in the grouping as an observer, arguing that it has
the second largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia. Whether India agrees to become an observer remains to be seen.
This is in contrast to 1969 Rabat Summit where India’s high-level delegation, led by Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, was refused entry into the OIC.
When the custodian of two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz visited India in January 2006,he favoured India’s inclusion in the OIC as an observer. Qatar, Morocco and several other muslim countries back this proposal on the plea that Uganda, Mozambique, Surname and Gabon are active members of the Islamic grouping even as Muslims in these countries are in a minority.
However, the matter was not further pursued in view of the strong opposition from the then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who strongly pleaded that India must first address the problem of Kashmir before it is admitted in the OIC.
In fact, the Kashmir issue has never been a priority for the OIC .The Islamic countries conclaves passed resolutions on the dispute as a formality. Pakistan, which is a party to the Kashmir dispute, is mainly entrusted responsibility to draft the resolution with the help of OIC Secretariat and some friendly nations.
No one from Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir attended the OIC till 1990.When the disputed state witnessed political turmoil and upheaval in the beginning of the 90s, All Party Hurriyat Conference(APHC) leaders like Molvi Omer Farooq, Maulana Abbas Ansari and Prof Abdul Gani Bhat were invited to attend the summits in Casblanca(Morocco),Doha(Qatar)and Putrajya(Malaysia).Even Kashmiri separatist leaders from London and other parts of the world converged at these meetings to assist the secessionist leaders in holding parleys with satraps of the Muslim world.
The Palestinian problem is the core issue that had dominated the proceedings of the OIC right from its inception. The problem finds mention in the charter of the grouping, despite the fact that nothing concrete has been done by the Islamic nations as a united force-politically and diplomatically- to help Palestinians to realize their dream of homeland. In fact, Saudi Arabia’s proposal to recognize Israel in return of an independent Palestine State and withdrawal of troops from the occupied land, which was also endorsed by the Islamic Conference, is gathering dust due to arrogant and policies of the Zionist regime, which has a dream to establish “greater Israel”, covering territories of a number of Arab nations, including Holy Ka’ba and Prophet’s mosque of Medina.
The policies of the former Bush administration plunged the Islamic world into new crisis in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq is facing civil war and threat of disintegration.
The reason for the invasion of Iraq by the allied forces has been proven baseless. The Iraqis are no better off and the allied forces are being attacked by the insurgent Shia and Sunni groups every day.
Several western nations pulled out their forces from Iraq as they feel that there is no end to the present crisis.
The OIC plan to send Islamic peace keeping troops has no takers. The Islamic countries now want the United Nations to play a pivotal role in the war torn country.
Afghanistan is no better than Iraq. Taliban controls a sizable part of the land locked nation. France, Australia and some countries are eager to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan as the war against terror is dragging along. The British government is now willing to involve Taliban in the government to provide stability to President Hamid Karzai's regime. Karzai survived attempt on his life some time ago, underlining the fragile security situation even in the Capital Kabul..
The Organisation of Islamic Conference is a mute spectator to all these developments. It is hardly able to contribute to the restoration of peace in the troubled spots as many Islamic nations have become satellite states of the United States.
Survival of many Muslim rulers depends on their proximity to the Western powers. There is no democracy in most of the Muslim nations and the ruling monarch or dictator get dictates from their western masters on all important issues.
To make the OIC effective and powerful, the organization needed to be revitalized and revamped so as to serve the interests of the Muslim Ummah. If the OIC is united, it is the only way the organization would gain the respect of the international community. There is a need to forge cooperation and establish more effective networking among member countries .The multi-faceted approach will help bring greater unity and cohesiveness among the member nations.
Creating unity among the Ummah is a great challenge. This can be achieved by cooperating with one another and use "our strengths to overcome our weaknesses". We have 'to carry forward the mission of one Islamic world.
Muslim nations have no choice, but to unite. They have to realize the danger facing them. What happened in Iraq and Afghanistan gives impression that no Islamic country is safe anymore, even those deemed close to the U S Administration.
With globalization and the shaping of a unipolar world, Muslims nations would be sidelined if they did not become organized. Muslims countries should cooperate and not to conspire against each other. They have the capability, but unfortunately they have never been utilized properly.
The Muslim world does not look at problems from a common angle. There are different views among the members on critical issues like Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and other matters. The OIC has issued countless resolutions and communiqués on issues affecting the Ummah, but nothing much has been done to implement these decisions.
The Holy Quran says" God will not change any wrongdoing in any nation,if they do not change themselves.".
#Sheikh Manzoor Ahmed worked with the United News of India, New Delhi for over thirty years and retired as editor of the news agency. He has covered number of Islamic Summits and OIC meets. He has started an Urdu News Service, Allama Urdu Service from New Delhi