Explained | What is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation?

What is the News?

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretariat has condemned and denounced the comments on Prophet Muhammed made by two national spokespersons of the Indian political party.

In response, a spokesperson at the Ministry of External Affairs stated that India rejected the OIC Secretariat’s unwarranted and narrow-minded comments.

What is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation(OIC)?

Established in: 1969 summit in Rabat (Morocco) after what it describes as the ‘criminal arson’ of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. 

Aim: To work as a collective voice of the Muslim world by safeguarding the interests of the Muslims in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.

Headquarters: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Relations with the UN: The OIC has consultative and cooperative relations with the UN and other intergovernmental organizations to protect the interest of Muslims. 

MembersUN members with a Muslim majority can join the organisation. The membership is to be ratified with full consensus at the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers. The same provisions apply to acquiring an observer status. 

Currently, OIC has 57 members. India is not one among them.

Decision-making at OIC: All decision-making in the forum requires a quorum defined by the presence of two-thirds of the member states and complete consensus. In case a consensus cannot be reached, decisions shall be made by a two-thirds majority of members present and voting.

Financed by: The OIC is financed by the member states proportionate to their national incomes. 

Supreme Authority: The supreme authority of the organization is the Islamic Summit. It is composed of Kings and heads of state. It is convened every three years. It deliberates, takes policy decisions, provides guidance on issues relevant to the organization and considers issues of concern to the member states. 

India and OIC

India’s association with the OIC has not been easy. Even though the country has good relations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, its membership and engagement with OIC have been constantly challenged by Pakistan. 

In 1969, Pakistan’s opposition to Indian participation at the first OIC Plenary resulted in the Indian delegation being turned back from the venue at the last minute.

In 2019, India’s External Affairs Minister addressed the OIC Plenary of Foreign Ministers in Abu Dhabi as a guest of honour. The invitation was extended by the UAE’s Foreign Minister.

What are the criticisms against OIC?

Firstly, 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. 

Secondly, OIC lacks the power and resources to investigate human rights violations or enforce its decisions through signed treaties and declarations. 

Thirdly, the organization is largely restricted to arbitrating in conflicts where both parties are Muslims. This is because the organization is centred around Quranic values which, it believes, makes it a qualified arbitrator. 

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained | What is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation?” published in The Hindu on 13th June 2022.

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