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Islamic Cooperation countries (OIC)

Published: 30th Dec, 2019

All about the Islamic summit where India was invited for the first time ever


All about the Islamic summit where India was invited for the first time ever


the organization

  • The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents.
  • The Organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco on 12th Rajab 1389 Hijra (September 25, 1969).
  • In 1970, the first-ever meeting of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Minister (ICFM) was held in Jeddah, which decided to establish a permanent secretariat.
  • The secretariat comprises a secretary-general who is the Chief Administrative Officer of the organisation.
  • The majority of its member states are Muslim-majority countries, while others have significant Muslim populations, including several African and South American countries.
  • Over the last 40 years, the membership has grown from its founding members of 30 to 57 states.
  • The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union. The official languages of the OIC are Arabic, English, and French.
  • While the 22 members of the Arab League are also part of the OIC, the organisation has several significant non-Arab member states, including Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.
  • It also has five observer members, including Russia and Thailand.
  • The OIC holds an Islamic Summit once every three years.
  • Member states each get a vote. Each member state can table a resolution and then others can vote on it or suggest tweaks.

The new programme OIC-2025 focuses on 18 priority areas with 107 goals. The priority areas include issues of

  • Peace and Security
  • Palestine and Al-Quds (Jerusalem)
  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Counter-terrorism
  • Investment and Finance
  • Food Security
  • Science and Technology
  • Climate Change and Sustainability
  • Moderation
  • Culture and Interfaith Harmony
  • Empowerment of Women
  • Joint Islamic Humanitarian Action
  • Human Rights and Good Governance

Why was the OIC established?

  • The OIC first met in Morocco in September 1969, a month after an arson attack inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque that destroyed part of the roof and the 800-year-old pulpit of Salahuddin, best known for recapturing Jerusalem from the Crusaders in the 12th century.
  • Reacting to the incident, representatives from 24 Muslim countries met in the capital Rabat to establish a body that would promote cooperation across the Muslim world.
  • Issues relating to Palestine have been central to the OIC's agenda and summit discussions. The organisation has continuously condemned what member states consider Israeli aggressions against the Palestinians.

Objectives and role

  • OIC aims to preserve Islamic values, safeguard and defend the national sovereignty and independence of member states and to contribute to international peace and security.
  • While the organisation has been known for its cultural and social projects, its political influence has been relatively limited.
  • OIC doesn't have a unified voice because most of its member countries are not democracies. So, while their populations may be in agreement they do not always represent the views of their populations.

Is the OIC relevant and effective?

  • OIC includes a significant number of Arab states among its membership; it has often been compared with the Arab League.
  • While the two organisations share many similarities, the main difference lies in the OIC's limited politicisation compared with the Arab League.
  • The OIC is very different in the sense that member states cannot get a consensus across.

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