Difficult tasks facing the OIC

March 13, 2008

The 11th summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference opens today in Dakar, Senegal.

Foreign ministers of the 57 OIC member states met ahead of the summit and prepared the draft of the final statement.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference was established in 1969 after the Al-Aqsa Mosque was set on fire by an extremist Zionist, and although it has been in existence for such a long time, the OIC has not been able to play an influential role in the international arena.
The organization can do a better job at solving the Islamic world’s problems by devising ways to realize decisions made at past summits such as the establishment of an Islamic peacekeeping force, television network, university, court, common market, and investment fund.
The theme of the 11th OIC summit is “Islam in the 21st Century”, but the Islamic world clearly still has a long way to go to reach a consensus on a common direction for the new century.
Some of the major issues that summit participants must address are Islamophobia in the West, international terrorism, the rise in violence against Muslims in European countries, the insults to Islamic sanctities in the European press, and the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Moreover, at the Dakar meeting, the leaders of OIC member states will be holding discussions on revising the OIC charter, reducing the debts of poor members of the organization, and increasing the funding for the Islamic Centre for the Development of Trade from $2.5 billion to $10 billion.
In order to improve the position of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, efforts should be made to ensure that an Islamic country acquires a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and that the OIC sends an ambassador to the European Union to uphold the rights of the millions of Muslims in the West.
The Islamic community accounts for about one fourth of the world population. Islamic countries possess 70 percent of the world’s fossil fuel reserves and occupy over 30 million square kilometers. Thus, Muslims’ role in the world should be clearly defined.
There are two things that must be done.
First, Islamic countries must define their socioeconomic and cultural boundaries with Western colonialist countries, use their own potential, end their economic and political dependence on the West, and create an Islamic bloc which would be sovereign in the areas of politics, economics, culture, and religion.
Islamic countries must rely on indigenous talent because in this way they can gradually reduce their reliance on industrial assistance from Western countries and eventually become truly independent.
The greatest model that Islamic countries can use for reducing their dependence on the West is Iran, which is now independent in the areas of nanotechnology, civilian nuclear technology, nuclear medicine, other modern technologies, and agriculture.
In addition, Islamic countries must begin playing a major role in international bodies such as the UN Security Council, the European Union, and the International Atomic Energy Agency so that they can elevate Muslims’ status because Muslims living in the United States and European countries are treated like second-class citizens, although, based on Islamic teachings, the non-Muslims living in Islamic countries enjoy equal rights with Muslims.
In light of all this, the OIC summit should not be just a talk shop but should be a place where decisions are realized because the 21st century will be the age of Islam in which Muslims attain their rightful place in the world