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Organisation of the Islamic Conference

Organisation of the Islamic Conference
Organisation of the Islamic Conference ‫( يمالسإلا رمتؤملا ةمظنم‬Arabic) Organisation de la Conférence Islamique (French)


Map of OIC member states (green) and observers (blue), withrawn members (orange), observer organisations (yellow), India (red)-blocked by Pakistan

Headquarters Official languages Membership Leaders SecretaryGeneral

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Arabic, English, French 57 member states

Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu


cooperated together to form the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. The formation of the OIC happened in the backdrop of the loss of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. The final cause sufficiently compelled leaders of Muslim nations to meet in Rabat to establish the OIC on September 25, 1969.[1] According to its charter, the OIC aims to preserve Islamic social and economic values; promote solidarity amongst member states; increase cooperation in social, economic, cultural, scientific, and political areas; uphold international peace and security; and advance education, particularly in the fields of science and technology.[1] The flag of the OIC (shown above) has an overall green background (symbolic of Islam). In the center, there is an upward-facing red crescent enveloped in a white disc. On the disc the words "Allahu Akbar" (Arabic for "God is great") are written in modern Arabic calligraphy. On August 5, 1990, 45 foreign ministers of the OIC adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (not to be confused with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) to serve as a guidance for the member states in the matters of "human rights" in as much as they are compatible with the Sharia, or Quranic Law.[2]

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is an international organisation with a permanent delegation to the United Nations. It groups 57 member states, from the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, Caucasus, Balkans, Southeast Asia, South Asia and South America. The official languages of the organisation are Arabic, English and French.

Recent issues
The Parliamentary Union of the OIC member states (PUOICM) was established in Iran in 1999 and its head office is situated in Tehran. Only OIC members are entitled to membership in the union.[3] President George W. Bush announced on June 27, 2007 that the United States will establish an envoy to the OIC. Bush said of the envoy "Our special envoy will listen to and learn from representatives from Muslim states, and will share with them America’s views and values."[4] Sada Cumber became the US representative on March 3, 2008. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference on March 28, 2008 added its voice to

History and goals
Since the nineteenth century, many Muslims had aspired to uniting the Muslim ummah to serve their common political, economic, and social interests. Despite the presence of secularist, nationalist, and socialist ideologies, in modern Muslim states, together they have


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the growing criticism of the film ’Fitna’ by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, which features disturbing images of violent acts juxtaposed with verses from the Quran.[5]

Organisation of the Islamic Conference
Critics of the CDHR state quite bluntly that it is “manipulation and hypocrisy”, “designed to dilute, if not altogether eliminate, civil and political rights protected by international law” and attempts to “circumvent these principles [of freedom and equality]”.[13][14][15] Human Rights Watch says that OIC has “fought doggedly” and successfully within the United Nations Human Rights Council to shield states from criticism, except when it comes to criticism of Israel. For example, when independent experts reported violations of Human Rights in the 2006 Lebanon War, “state after state from the OIC took the floor to denounce the experts for daring to look beyond Israeli violations to discuss Hezbollah’s as well”. OIC demands that the council “should work cooperatively with abusive governments rather than condemn them”. HRW responds that this works only with those who are willing to cooperate; others exploit the passivity.[16][17]

Ninth meeting of PUOICM
The ninth meeting of the Council of PUOICM was held on 15 and 16 Feb 2007 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[6]. The speaker of Malaysia’s House of Representatives, Ramli bin Ngah Talib, delivered a speech at the beginning of the inaugural ceremony. OIC secretary-general Prof Dr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said prior to the meeting that one main agenda item was stopping Israel from continuing its excavation at the Western Wall near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine.[7] The OIC also discussed how it might send peacekeeping troops to Muslim states, as well as the possibility of a change in the name of the body and its charter.[8] Additionally, return of the sovereignty right to the Iraqi people along with withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq was another one of the main issues on the agenda.[9] Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri told reporters on 14 February 2007 that the Secretary General of OIC and foreign ministers of seven "like-minded Muslim countries" would meet in Islamabad on 25 February 2007 following meetings of President Musharraf with heads of key Muslim countries to discuss "a new initiative" for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kasuri said this would be a meeting of foreign ministers of key Muslim countries to discuss and prepare for a summit in Makkah Al Mukarramah to seek the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.[10]

The OIC attracted attention at the opening session of the meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on 16 October 2003, where Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia in his speech argued that the Jews control the world: "They invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy, so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so that they can enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power”. He also said that “The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them”.[18][19] The speech was very well received by the delegates, including many high ranking politicians, who responded with standing ovations".[20][21][22] International, non-Muslim reactions, however, were appalled. "We view them with contempt and derision," said the US State Department, and the foreign minister of Italy, the current chair of the European Union, called the incident "gravely offensive". However, Malaysian officials later argued that what Dr Mahathir had been trying to say, was that despite having been a marginal and persecuted community the Jews have survived - by use of brains not brawn. The former prime minister said this in relation to

Human Rights
OIC created the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam.[11] While proponents claim it is not an alternative to the UDHR, but rather complementary, Article 24 states "All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah." and Article 25 follows that with "The Islamic Shari’ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration." Attempts to have it adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council have met increasing criticism, because of its contradiction of the UDHR, including from liberal Muslim groups.[12]


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the decline of Muslim knowledge in the 20th Century.[21]

Organisation of the Islamic Conference
The word terrorism was restricted to describe Israel, whom they condemned for "state terrorism" in their war with the Palestinian people.[27] At the 34th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM), an OIC section, in May 2007, the foreign ministers termed Islamophobia the worst form of terrorism.[28]

In 1999 OIC adopted the OIC Convention on Combating International Terrorism.[23] Human Rights Watch has noted that the definition of terrorism in article 1 as “any act or threat of violence carried out with the aim of, among other things, imperiling people’s honor, occupying or seizing public or private property, or threatening the stability, territorial integrity, political unity or sovereignty of a state” is vague and ill-defined, and includes much that is outside the generally accepted understandings of the concept of terrorism. In HRW:s view, it labels, or could easily be used to label, as terrorist actions, acts of peaceful expression, association and assembly.[24] Legal scholar Ben Saul of University of Sydney argues that the definition is subjective and ambiguous and concludes that there is “serious danger of the abusive use of terrorist prosecutions against political opponents” and others.[25] Furthermore, HRW is concerned by OIC’s apparent unwillingness to recognise as terrorism acts that serve causes endorsed by their member states. Article 2 reads: “Peoples’ struggle including armed struggle against foreign occupation, aggression, colonialism, and hegemony, aimed at liberation and self-determination.” HRW has suggested to OIC that they embrace “longstanding and universally recognised international human rights standards”[24] – a request that has as yet not led to any results. Contradictions between OIC’s and other U.N. member’s understanding of terrorism has stymied efforts at the U.N. to produce a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.[26] On a meeting in Malaysia in April 2002, delegates discussed terrorism, but failed to reach a definition of it. They rejected, however, any description of the Palestinian fight with Israel with terrorism. Their declaration was explicit: "We reject any attempt to link terrorism to the struggle of the Palestinian people in the exercise of their inalienable right to establish their independent state with Al-Quds Al-Shrif (Jerusalem) as its capital." In fact, at the outset of the meeting, the OIC countries signed a statement praising the Palestinians and their "blessed intifada."

Dispute with Thailand
Thailand responded harshly to OIC criticism of its battle within the Muslim majority provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat in the south of the country. In a statement issued on October 18, 2005 secretary-general Ihsanoglu vocalised concern over the continuing conflict in the south that "claimed the lives of innocent people and forced the migration of local people out of their places". He also stressed that the Thai government’s security approach to the crisis would aggravate the situation and lead to continued violence. Thailand quickly rebuffed this criticism over its alleged heavy-handed policies. ThenPrime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra responded to the OIC Secretary General by saying: "I would like him to read the Qur’an, which stated clearly that all Muslims, regardless [of] where they live, must respect the law of that land." He asked, as in with Muslims killing each other in Iraq, "why don’t the OIC make statement of concern". The Thai Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon went on to say: "We have made it clear to the OIC several times that the violence in the deep South is not caused by religious conflict and the government grants protection to all of our citizens no matter what religion they embrace. The Foreign Ministry issued a statement dismissing the OIC’s criticism and accusing it of disseminating misperceptions and misinformation about the situation in the southern provinces. "If the OIC secretariat really wants to promote the cause of peace and harmony in the three southern provinces of Thailand, the responsibility falls on the OIC secretariat to strongly condemn the militants, who are perpetrating these acts of violence against both Thai Muslims and Thai Buddhists."[29][30]

Dispute with India
India has also hit out at the OIC for supporting Pakistan’s claims to a plebiscite in Kashmir. Further to this, during the 2008


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Amarnath land transfer imbroglio the OIC’s condemnation of the "ongoing excessive and unwarranted use of force against the Kashmiri people" was met by an Indian response that said: "The OIC has once again chosen to comment upon Jammu and Kashmir and India’s internal affairs on which it has no locus standi...To call for international involvement in the sovereign internal affairs of India is gratuitous, illegal and only reflects reversion to a mindset that has led to no good consequences for Pakistan in the past." [31].

Organisation of the Islamic Conference

Subsidiary organs
• The Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC), located in Ankara, Turkey. • The Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), located in Istanbul, Turkey. • The Islamic University of Technology, located in Dhaka, Bangladesh. • The Islamic Centre for the Development of Trade, located in Casablanca, Morocco. • The Islamic Fiqh Academy, located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. • The Executive Bureau of the Islamic Solidarity Fund and its Waqf, located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. • The Islamic University in Niger, located in Say, Niger. • The Islamic University in Uganda, located in Mbale, Uganda.

Structure and organisation
The OIC system consists of:

The Islamic Summit
The largest organ, attended by the Kings and the Heads of State and Government of the member states, convened every three years.

Specialised institutions
• The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), located in Rabat, Morocco. • The Islamic States Broadcasting Organisation (ISBO) and the International Islamic News Agency (IINA), located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers
It meets once a year to examine a progress report on the implementation of its decisions taken within the framework of the policy defined by the Islamic Summit.

The Permanent Secretariat
It is the executive organ of the Organisation, entrusted with the implementation of the decisions of the two preceding bodies, and is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The current secretary general of this international organisation is Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, from Turkey, since January 1, 2005.

Affiliated institutions
• Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), located in Karachi, Pakistan. • World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. • Organisation of Islamic Capitals and Cities (OICC), located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. • Sports Federation of Islamic Solidarity Games, located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. • Islamic Committee of the International Crescent (ICIC), located in Benghazi, Libya. • Islamic Shipowners Association (ISA), located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. • World Federation of International ArabIslamic Schools, located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. • International Association of Islamic Banks (IAIB), located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. • Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation,(ICYFDC)located in Istanbul, Turkey.

Standing Committees
• Standing Committee on Information and Cultural Affairs (COMIAC). • Standing Committee on Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC). • Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH). • Islamic Committee for Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs. • Permanent Finance Committee. • Financial Control Organ.


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• General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions,(CIBAFI)located in Manama, Bahrain.

Organisation of the Islamic Conference
1st September 22 September 25, 1969 February 22 February 24, 1974 Rabat Morocco

The Secretary General of the OIC
1. Tunku Abdul Rahman (Malaysia): (1971-1973) 2. Hassan Al-Touhami (Egypt): (1974-1975) 3. Dr. Amadou Karim Gaye (Senegal): (1975-1979) 4. Habib Chatty (Tunisia): (1979-1984) 5. Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada (Pakistan): (1985-1988) 6. Dr. Hamid Algabid (Niger): (1989-1996) 7. Dr. Azeddine Laraki (Morocco): (1997-2000) 8. Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz (Morocco): (2001-2004) 9. Prof.Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu (Turkey): (2005 to present)[32]


Lahore Pakistan


January 25 - January Saudi 29, 1981 Arabia January 16 - January 19, 1984 January 26 - January 29, 1987 December 9 - December 11, 1991 December 13 December 15, 1994 Morocco

Makkah Al Mukarramah and Taif Casablanca



Kuwait City Kuwait Dakar Senegal


Note: The table can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the "><" icon.


Casablanca Morocco

Membership attempts
India - India has the third largest Muslim population in the world (after Indonesia and Pakistan) and has shown an interest in joining the OICs as an observer nation.[33] While India’s candidacy is supported by several OIC members including Saudi Arabia,[34] Malaysia, Iran and Egypt,[33] some influential OIC members like Pakistan have blocked India’s inclusion into the OIC. They refer to the rules of the OIC, which state that an aspirant should not have an ongoing conflict with a member state.[35] • Philippines - The Philippine government has made attempts to join the OIC, but this was opposed by the OIC observer in the country, the Moro National Liberation Front, which finds it unnecessary. •

1st March 23, Extraordinary 1997 8th December 9 - December 11, 1997 November 12 November 13, 2000

Islamabad Pakistan Iran Tehran


Doha Qatar

2nd March 5, Extraordinary 2003 10th October 16 - October 17, 2003

Doha Qatar Putrajaya Malaysia

3rd December Extraordinary 7 - Decem- Saudi ber 8, Arabia 2005 11th March 13 March 14, 2008 Senegal

Makkah Al Mukarramah

Past Islamic Summit Conferences
Number Date Country Place



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Country Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of of Chad, Republic of Egypt, Arab Republic of Guinea, Republic of Indonesia, Republic of Iran, Islamic Republic of Jordan, Hashemite Kingdom of Kuwait, State of Lebanon, Republic of Libya, Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Malaysia Mali, Republic of Mauritania, Islamic Republic of Morocco, Kingdom of Niger, Republic of Pakistan, Islamic Republic of 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969

Organisation of the Islamic Conference
Joined Notes 1969 Suspended 1980 - March 1989

Algeria, People’s Democratic Republic 1969

Suspended May 1979 - March 1984

Palestine, represented by the Palestine 1969 Liberation Organisation Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of Senegal, Republic of Sudan, Republic of the Somalia Tunisia, Republic of Turkey, Republic of Yemen Arab Republic 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969 From 1990 as Republic of Yemen united with People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen From 2003 as Kingdom of Bahrain

Bahrain, State of Oman, Sultanate of Qatar, State of Syrian Arab Republic United Arab Emirates, State of Sierra Leone, Republic of Bangladesh, People’s Republic of Gabon, Republic of Gambia, Republic of the Guinea-Bissau, Republic of Uganda, Republic of

1970 1970 1970 1970 1970 1972 1974 1974 1974 1974 1974


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Burkina Faso Cameroon, Republic of Comoros, Federal Islamic Republic of the Iraq, Republic of Maldives, Republic of Djibouti, Republic of Benin, Republic of Brunei Darussalam, Sultanate of Nigeria, Federal Republic of Azerbaijan, Republic of Albania, Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkmenistan, Republic of Mozambique, Republic of Kazakhstan, Republic of Uzbekistan, Republic of Suriname, Republic of Togo, Republic of Guyana, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of Suspended or Withdrawn Zanzibar Observer States Bosnia and Herzegovina Central African Republic Northern Cyprus, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (as Turkish Cypriot State) Thailand, Kingdom of Russian Federation Observer Muslim Organisations and Communities Moro National Liberation Front Observer Islamic institutions Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation Observer International Organizations 2000 2005 1977 1994 1997 1979 Jan 1993 1975 1975 1976 1976 1976 1978 1982 1984 1986 1991 1992 1992 1992 1992 1994 1995 1995 1996 1997 1998 2001

Organisation of the Islamic Conference

Withdrew August 1993

Official 2004

1998 2005


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League of Arab States United Nations Non-Aligned Movement Organisation of African Unity Economic Cooperation Organisation 1975 1976 1977 1977 1995

Organisation of the Islamic Conference


[17] The UN Human Rights Council Human Rights Watch Testimony Delivered to the The OIC members have a combined GDP (at US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, PPP) of USD 7,840 billion. The highest GDP July 25, 2007. in OIC belongs to Turkey with a GDP exceed[18] Mahathir attack on Jews condemned ing USD 900 billion. The richest country on CNN October 17, 2003. the basis of GDP per capita is Qatar at [19] Mahathir airs virulent anti-Semitism The USD62,181 per capita. Taipei Times, Friday, Oct 17, 2003 [20] Condemned by West, Malaysia apologizes for Judaism attack Jerusalem Post October 17, 2003. [1] ^ [21] ^ Muslim reaction to Mahathir speech page_detail.asp?p_id=52 BBC October 18, 2003. [2] [22] Islamic Anti-Semitism New York Times cairodeclaration.html October 18, 2003. [3] [23] OIC Convention on Combating menu-236/0702153662195331.htm International Terrorism [4] [24] ^ Organisation of the Islamic story/0,,-6740455,00.html Conference: Improve and Strengthen the [5] 1999 OIC Convention on Combating europe/03/28/ International Terrorism Human Rights [6] Watch March 11, 2008. Display_news.asp?section=Local_News&subsection=Qatar+News&month=February2007&file=Loca [25] Ben Saul: Branding Enemies: Regional [7] Legal Responses to Terrorism in Asia v3/news.php?id=247167 ‘’Asia-Pacific Yearbook of International [8] Humanitarian Law, 2008’’ Sydney Law v3/news.php?id=247227 School Legal Studies Research Paper No. [9] 08/127, October 2008. reply/17638 [26] Patrick Goodenough: UN Anti-Terror [10] Effort Bogged Down Over Terrorism Feb07/15/05.htm Definition, September 2, [11] 2008. cairodeclaration.html [27] The OIC’s blind eye to terror The Japan [12] ’’Human Rights Brief’’ United Nations Times April 9, 2002. Update Accessed March 10, 2009. [28] ‘Islamophobia Worst Form of Terrorism’ [13] Fatema Mernissi: Islam and Democracy, Arab News May 17, 2007. Cambridge 2002, Perseus Books, p. 67. [29] [14] Ann Mayer, “An Assessment of Human News/2005-10/20/article08.shtml Rights Schemes”, in Islam and Human [30] Rights, p. 175. Westview 1999, Westview ReadEnglish.asp?ID=130 Press. [31] [15] Robert Carle: "Revealing and article.aspx?cp-documentid=1630710 Concealing: Islamist Discourse on India rebuffs OIC comments on Kashmir Human Rights”, Human rights review, [32] vol:6, No 3 April–June 2005. page_detail.asp?p_id=38 [16] How to Put U.N. Rights Council Back on [33] ^ Mustafa El-Feki: Track Human Rights Watch, November 2, 2006.



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in1.htm An Indo-Arab blunder? AlAhram, February 17-23, 2005. [34] messages.php?newsid=61844 Observer status for India at OIC: King Abdullah, January 22, 2006. [35] Pak disapproves Saudi king’s comments on India’s OIC entry Rediff News, January 23, 2006.

Organisation of the Islamic Conference
• Islamic University of Technology • International Islamic Relief Organisation • List of Organisation of the Islamic Conference member states by population • Abdullah O. Nasseef

Further reading
• Ankerl, Guy Coexisting Contemporary Civilisations: Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western. Geneva, INUPress, 2000, ISBN 2-88155-004-5

• Al-Huda, Qamar. "Organisation of the Islamic Conference." Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. Edited by Martin, Richard C. Macmillan Reference, 2004. vol. 1 p. 394. 20 April 2008 • Organisation of The Islamic Conference. Islamic Summit Conference.

External links
• The Organisation of the Islamic Conference • Islamic Conference with documents and information from the latest Summit (Arabic, English, French) • Permanent Delegation of the OIC to the United Nations • The Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) • October 18, 2003: speech from Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad speech at the 10th OIC Summit • September 14, 2001: statements from the Organisation of Islamic Conference

See also
Organization of the Islamic Conference • Economy GDP, GDP/capita, Exports, Imports • Education • Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam

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