- Recently, the General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemned and denounced the comments on Prophet Muhammed made by two erstwhile national spokespersons of an Indian political party.
- In response, the Ministry of External Affairs, stated that India rejected the OIC Secretariat’s “unwarranted” and “narrow-minded” comments, noting that the views expressed by the two individuals did not reflect the views of the Indian government and that relevant authorities had already initiated strong actions against them.
What is the OIC?
- The OIC claims to be the “collective voice of the Muslim world”. It was established at a 1969 summit in Rabat (Morocco). It consists of 57 members.
- The OIC endeavours to establish solidarity among member states, support restoration of complete sovereignty and territorial integrity of any member state under occupation; protect, defend and combat defamation of Islam, prevent growing dissention in Muslim societies and work to ensure that member states take a united stand at the UN General Assembly, Human Rights Council and other international fora.
- The OIC has consultative and cooperative relations with the UN and other inter-governmental organisations to protect the interest of Muslims, and settle conflicts and disputes involving member states, among them being the territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the status of Jammu & Kashmir.
- Presently based in Jeddah, the organisation plans to permanently move its headquarters to East Jerusalem once the disputed city is ‘liberated’. Moreover, it aspires to hold Israel accountable for ‘war crimes’ and violations of international law.
- Member states are expected to uphold and promote good governance, democracy, human rights, fundamental freedom and the rule of law — settling disputes through peaceful means and refraining from the use of threat or force.
What have been the criticisms against the OIC grouping?
- Critics of OIC claim that the OIC had become a premise for ‘window dressing’, more interested in the rights of Muslim minorities in places such as Palestine or Myanmar than the human rights violations of its member states.
- Experts have also pointed to the fact that the organisation is largely restricted to arbitrating in conflicts where both parties are Muslims. This is because the organisation is centred around Quranic values, which, it believes, makes it a qualified arbitrator. The according of observer status at the UN to the Palestine Liberation Organisation is considered among its major successes.
- The OIC has failed to establish a cooperative venture among its members, who were either capital-rich and labour-scarce countries or manpower-rich and capital scarce. The organization has not evolved to become a significant player either in international politics or in the area of economic cooperation.