23 Mar 2015
The main purpose of these paper is to analyze the performance of the Organization of Islamic conference and find the way forward for the problems existing within the organization . In these paper I would take the prospect of being in charge of the organization of Islamic conference. These means that i will presuppose the position of the secretary general of the organization of Islamic conference ( OIC). While taking that imaginary post , i'll be briefly discussing on the origins of the international relations, what were the main reasons for its establishment . In addition, i'll be engaging in an in-depth analysis of its achievements , drawbacks . Subsequently, i'll develop an practical and implementable solution on three major important arenas - The International politics and diplomacy, the educational arena and economical and financials spheres.
Introduction: Islamic Thought on International Relation.
Its undeniably true that the concepts of politics, diplomacy and international relation realms can be traced back to the ancient Islamic history. It's clearly evident such phenomenon existed during the prophet's (p.b.u.h) reign when he had treaties with the Jews, Christians from Najran  and Aqabah  , these continued to the times of the four rightly guided caliphates to Umayyad dynasty to Fatimid Dynasty and so on. Also these was under the Islamic concept and umbrella of ummah, which means the community of believers that consists of all Muslim nations and races.
The fall of the Ottoman Islamic empire and other many different dynasties across the globe, paved a way to the adoption of the European and western ideology of the state system. Nationalism became the frontier which defined a nation rather than their religious affiliations. The belief and principle of the Islamic ummah was gradually vanishing from the Islamic Nations. Its irrefutable that this was orchestrated by the west for the primary purpose of stopping the dominance of Islam as religion. So by introducing these new concept of state system, it will divide the Islamic ummah into different countries and their citizens would pledge their allegiance to the state rather than the Islamic Ummah. These caused tensions, divides, competitions amongst Muslim nations hence resulting into current unfortunate situation.
On the occasion of rising of the modern state system, many Muslim scholars argued back and forth on whether the concept of a nation come to blows with the universality and the unity of Islamic ummah. Many have provided evidence in support of the assertion they can co-exist while many have refuted and give a counter arguments on that case. Muslim thinkers, such as Allama Muhammad Iqbal argued on the basis that Islam provides with the model for human unity and so long as the Muslims believe in the oneness of Allah (Tawheed) ; then, nationalism can co-exist with the principle of Islamic Ummah.
Origin of the Organization of Islamic Conference ( OIC).
With the modern world order resulting to a rapid rise and continual impact of the western political and economic dominance throughout the muslim nations, some of the muslim thinkers and scholars developed the theory of Pan-Islamism.  These started from early nineteenth century with scholars such as Mohamed Abdou, Jamaldin Al-Afghani and similar like them. Many attempts of instituting an International islamic body failed miserably. However, it came to fruition in the 1960's and this was through the tenacious adherence and firm believe by the different muslim leaders in that era in having a united front of Muslims. Despite the difference and the existence of the fundamentalists, socialists , nationalists and secularists in the muslim states this was finally achieved.
The establishment of the organization of Islamic conference came shortly after the historic event of the Arab-Israel conflict of 1967. Israel as a very small nation was able to crush bigger Islamic and Arab nation such as Jordan, Syria and Egypt. These sent shockwaves through the entire muslim world. The Israelis were able to occupy and take over the third holiest site of Islam, masjid al-aqsa. Afterward this was followed by the criminal and despicable event of blazing down some part of the holy mosque on 21st August 1969. Immediately the muslim leaders called for a quick historical summit which took place in Rabat, Morocco on the 25th September 1969.
Ever since the formation of the OIC, it became the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nation with fifty seven member states around the world. These was true success and the organization became the voice of the muslim through the world and it ensured to uphold and protect the interest of Islam and the muslims in the firm believe and spirit of promoting peace, harmony and unity among the various diverse people in the world.
In March of 1970, the first Islamic conference of foreign ministers was held in Jeddah and through this meeting Jeddah was selected as the headquarters of OIC, pending the liberation of Jerusalem which would be the permanent headquarters of OIC. As well, the role of permanent general secretariat was set up which the main is to ensure an effective cooperation among member state and to co-ordinate their actions. Two years later, the Islamic conference of foreign ministers meeting for the third session adopted the charter of the institute whose main aim was to strengthen the cooperation, smooth cohesion and solidarity amongst the member states in the political, economical, scientific, social and cultural grounds.
Objectives of Organization of Islamic Conference ( OIC)
Under the Charter, the organization of Islamic conference aims to achieve the following ;
Strengthen the Islamic solidarity among member states.
Coordinate action to safeguard the holy site of Islam.
Strengthen cooperation amongst member states in the political, economic, scientific, social and cultural fields.
Strengthen the struggle of all muslim people to safeguard their dignity, independence and national rights.
Coordinate action to support the struggle of the Palestinian people and assisting them in recovering their rights and liberating their occupied territories.
Work to eliminate racial discrimination and all forms of colonialism.
Work to create a favourable atmosphere for the cooperation and understanding between member states and other countries, parties, and organizations.
The charters also spells out some fundamental principles which governs the activities of OIC. To name a few are the full equality amongst member states, the non interference with the internal affairs of member states, the observation of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of each state. And also a major Islamic principle that exists and is clearly stipulated in the OIC charter is the settlement of any dispute that might arise between the member states by peaceful means such as negotiations, mediation, conciliation and arbitration. This mentioned in the holy Quran in surratul hujjarat [49:7-10]
"But Allah has endeared the faith to you and has made it seemly in your hearts, and He has made hateful to you unbelief and transgression and disobedience; these it is that are the followers of a right way. By grace from Allah and as a favor; and Allah is Knowing, Wise. And if two parties of the believers quarrel, make peace between them; but if one of them acts wrongfully towards the other, fight that which acts wrongfully until it returns to Allah's command; then if it returns, make peace between them with justice and act equitably; surely Allah loves those who act equitably. The believers are but brethren, therefore make peace between your brethren and be careful of (your duty to) Allah that mercy may be had on you. (49:7-10)"
Structure and Organs of the Organization of Islamic Conference
The organization consists of the followings.
The Islamic Summit
This the highest decision and policy making organ, its attended by the heads of states of governments and usually they met every three years.
The Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers
During the three year interval between the summits, these organ members meet to watch over the implementation of decisions taken by the head of states.
The Permanent Secretariat
These is the executive organ of the OIC which is delegated to handle the day to day activities of the organization.
In furtherance of coordinating and boosting the organization's action and bring into line to its view points and stands, the organization has created different standing committees which are chaired by the heads of states. i.e Al-quds Committee, Islamic committee for economic, cultural and social affairs etc.
These include the statistical, economic and social research and training center for Islamic countries etc.
These includes the Islamic development bank (IDB) , Islamic states broadcasting organization (ISBO) etc
These includes the Islamic chamber of commerce and industry (ICCI), Islamic committee of the international crescent (ICIC).
C ) The Achievements and Drawbacks of Organization of Islamic Conference
One of the major strengths of the OIC is the institutional architecture and the charter itself. With that being a strength OIC was able to achieve a lot of success despite their dormancy in the last fifteen years. With the new general secretary Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu of Turkey who came in by a voting system. Some of the recent achievements done by organizational Islamic conference is initiating the goldstone report which in turn lead to the international condemnation of the Israel government assault on Gaza .Politics is about perception and the organization of Islamic conference must be credited for putting forth the truth of the matter in Palestine and thus wiping off the perception of Israel - the occupier - as being innocent.
A second major achievements was initiation of the Islamic conference humanitarian affairs department in 2008. During the tsunami disaster they extended help to more than 10,000 orphans. And even before the inception of this department some of the philanthropic work they did can be traced by during the end of Balkan war. Many muslim Bosnians were uprooted from their country of birth and were homeless. The OIC setup a fund named the fund for return of the Bosnians refugees which was located in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Also in june of 2007 it jointly organized with the state of Qatar an international donor's conference for the republic of Niger to help and beef up the food shortages suffered by the muslim in that state. Also they engaged extensively in other poverty alleviation programs in countries such as Somalia.
Despite these achievements, the organization of Islamic conference has had a lot of drawbacks and short comings since its inception. A major weakness is the running of the organization with a short-string budget that comes from mandatory payments from some of the member states. The budget isn't enough for the scope of activities which is to be done and its numerous committees. These is majorly caused by the poor state of the majority of the OIC members states whereby almost half of them are ranked the in lower position in the GDP  per capita and GNP  per capita indexes. The lack of enough fund has crippled the OIC in terms of helping to develop the educational standards amongst its member states, the funding of research and developments programs.
Early, I mentioned that the institutional architecture as being impressive and as a major strength but I have to point out that still there is insufficiency in it. A main point is the lack of any kind of representative form of leadership and this one echoes the deficit of democracy in the muslim states. A disappointing record mainly characterized by infighting, power struggles and failure to articulate a clear and consistent policies. Further another core problem came from the highest decision making organ named the conference of kings and heads of state. In every summit their work was opaque to the public scrutiny. Furthermore, not until recently the organization had a little contact or cooperation with other nongovernmental or inter-governmental organization in the world such as the united nation.
Organization of Islamic Conference has failed miserably on their initial objective of coordinating actions to safeguard the holy site of muslims and Islam. Also one of the founding directives they failed is in the strengthening the struggle of all muslim people to safeguard their dignity, independence and national rights despite it being This hasn't been the case with Afghanistan, Iraq and mostly Palestine. Verbal condemnation is not enough but a rather action is required on these cases. The concerns has been reiterated and the main objectives have been reaffirmed countless times at different meeting forums but the organization has achieved little in the way of material change.
Practical and Implementable solutions to the advancement of OIC.
If you want to achieve and reach at a desired goal and you haven't done it after some period of time has elapsed. Then first you need urgently to revise yourself, your actions, study your surroundings, admit any flaws and mistakes, highlight the drawbacks. Only then you can find solutions as to what has made you deviate from your path of reaching your desired goals. With these done you can formulate a better strategy to attain the new desired targets. Same is the case with the organization of Islamic conference, if I was in charge I would do similar steps in finding the solutions to the current existing problems and then i can achieve the envisioned better future. In these part of the paper, I would be discussing on the possible solution on three dimension, the educational, economical and the political arenas.
Firstly, the economical arena is a major issue for the OIC member states. Almost half of the member states in OIC are performing badly in all indicators of economy. There are several propositions that can be done for the member state in order to shoot up their economy. Financial sectors, tourism sector, increasing multilateral trades, and allowing foreign direct investments. To start with the tourism sector, the diversity around them and their rich geographical and cultural heritage makes them bear up a remarkable tourism potential. Planning and organizing these sector will play a very considerable role in advancing the socio-economic development in these states.
The challenges such as lack of technical know-how, poor promotional activities, lack of investment in the tourism sector in terms safety and diversification would be tackled by two way which are at a national level and organization level. At the national level sustainable tourism development should be included in their framework, while at the organization level joint programs and data networks should be established to reveal the opportunities and be made available for the member states.
Another aspect of the economical arena is the financial and investment sector, as the general secretary I would encourage and initiate the establishment of Islamic an Islamic security exchange to be located in Istanbul, Turkey. This would help in intensifying the cooperation of their stock exchanges and also partly encourage foreign direct investments. Furthermore, this will create a common market for introducing and trading Islamic financial instruments and also increasing the participation of muslim countries in the international markets. Hence this will in turn increase the multinational trade amongst the member states. The direct impact of this will be the boost up in the gross domestic product of the countries invested in and the gross national product of the investor country.
Secondly, its noticeable in the educational arena of the OIC members state that's their exists a very wide gap on the literacy level in the OIC member states compared to the other developed nation. They are lagging behind in terms of curriculum setup, the research and development, innovation and technology advancement. These can be related to the economical aspects but at the same time these countries are rich in resources and energy. And as earlier discussed, developing the tourism sector, increasing the multinational trade, and boosting of the economy would generate a great revenue for the member states. This can be channeled to the education sector especially to increase the number of institutions of higher learning whilst improving and reforming centers in preventing brain drains and also revising the curricula in all levels.
In addition, encouraging the states to fund the research and development opportunities at the institutions of higher learning, muslim researchers and technicians should be employed. This will increase the chances of scientific breakthroughs from the muslim world through journals articles and high technological exports and imports. Additionally, there will be a review for all affiliated universities with the OIC.
Lastly, the international politics and diplomacy strategies will be reviewed in order to match with the current politics. Developing a regional security that protects the interest of muslim nations is a must in the current times. Events of striking Gaza, Iraq, and Afghanistan has occurred in front of the Muslim eyes and yet nothing concerete has been done. Power matches power and as much as we want freedom, security should come along with. Finally binding all the muslim leaders and kings into one platform of accepting unity through diversity should be established. This would help in getting rid of sectarian divides and divides in ideologies.
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