The world-leading organizations originated from the need for a common economic, political, social, religious, and cultural security. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was established with purposes to protect the sacred religious places of Muslims as well as promoting social, economic, scientific, and cultural coordination among the member countries.
Unfortunately, the OIC seems to be falling short of fulfilling its objectives for a plethora of issues it is facing now. The ongoing daring challenges to the Ummah need to be uprooted via taking some tangible measures thereby making the Ummah an Ummah in letter and spirit.
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Above all, the curtailment of the decades-long oppression, brutality, genocide of Palestinians, and illegitimate occupation and settlement of the Palestinian land has been a litmus test for OIC.
Understanding the organization of Islamic countries
When the Al-Aqsa mosque- a religiously sacred place for Muslims- was put on fire by the Israeli forces in the 1960s, the Muslims across the world felt a need for the formation of an organization to bring into light the issues the Muslim Ummah was facing then, thereby safeguarding the sacred religious places of Muslims across the world. Thus, the OIC came into being in 1969.
It further aimed at enhancing the collaboration and cooperation across the Muslim world in the areas of science, economy, and cultural exchange among others ushering into a solidified and unified Ummah.
Finding durable solutions to a number of conflicts taking place on Muslim soil like the Palestine issue, the Kashmir conundrum, and the Middle Eastern saga, fall under the duty of OIC.
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While zooming in the geographical features of OIC, the organization is home to a resource-rich hydrocarbon bed among which only the Middle East provides 25% of the total energy required to the West.
Moreover, it claims over a handful of important straights which contribute immensely to the World’s marine trade especially in that of hydrocarbon. Similarly, the Ummah is incorporating almost 1.8bn Muslims across the world which counts a huge part of the world’s total population resulting in undeniable manpower of the Ummah.
Notwithstanding all the perils the Muslim world has, the Ummah is yet to resolve a plethora of issues ranging from territorial conflicts to political, economic, and social morbidity. The OIC needs to galvanize and reinforce per se to set aside all the challenges to Ummah in order to make the Ummah able to exploit all the natural and artificial resources it has been bestowed with, in the best favor of its people.
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However, it finds itself paralyzed by disunity and inward-looking of its member countries brushing the common interests of Ummah aside.
The Palestine Issue
The beginning of the twentieth century started paving way for the unlawful settlement of Jews in the land of Palestine. The Holocaust episode followed by the devastation of WW2 enhanced the said illegitimate occupation.
Initially, a handful of Arab countries were seen up in arms against this defecto move ushering into a series of conflicts among the warring parties. In the end, a wide range of peace initiatives was seen over a long time in the past; but none of them did remain successful.
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The reasons behind the failure of the said peace initiatives have been many over the past few decades ranging from the lack of political will to the geopolitical and economic influence leaving a majority of the Ummah affected.
Similarly, the Al- Quds has been a holy site to the followers of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity which is why the site has been a battleground among those three as each one leaving no stone unturned to fulfill its religious commandment and predications viz- a -viz the ownership of this holy land.
The annul over the past not less than a thousand years indicates the taking and overtaking of this holy site by either of those three fascinators to the sacred piece of land.
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One thing that is common in the whole period of Palestine issue as to why it has yet to be resolved has been the dormancy of not only the international community but also the whole Ummah- politically the Organisation of Islamic Countries.
The researchers find the US and a handful of European countries the main driving forces behind the long-standing Israeli terrorism. The US foreign policy towards the Middle East- Israel-oriented- keeps Israel’s question in view as it aims at securing the interests of its allies among which Israel keeps an undeniable position.
It is formed by the Pentagon which means that it has minimum chances of being reverted. Moreover, the American-based Jewish lobby for Israel has been molding an Israel-oriented US foreign policy towards the Middle over the past few decades.
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The fragile nature of OIC
The inactive posture of OIC while representing nearly 1.8bn Muslims across the world, seems to be deplorable viz-a-viz the resolution of the Palestinian conflict among others left nothing unaffected.
The status quo of the Palestinian issue paralyzes OIC by virtue of a number of reasons among which the leading position of GCC takes a key position. The history of normalization of ties with Israel with the hope of providing a durable solution to the Palestinian conundrum portraying a pathetic picture of genocide and unlawful occupation of the Palestinian land has been failed badly.
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The studies unveil that the failure in resolving the issue has been due to the surpassing of the parochial geopolitical and economic interests over the common interests of Ummah especially the affected sites like Palestine. The OIC is largely dominated by the Arab nations which have failed in protecting per se against the mounting geostrategic perils of their positions.
The lack of coordination and cooperation among the members of OIC in a plethora of areas concerned provides a widening fissure among the Ummah cutting the feathers of the member countries.
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The OIC needs a strong back from Ummah which the latter fails to provide. Almost every country falls in the clutches of its parochial geoeconomic and political interests which prevents it from contributing to the prosperity of Ummah.
More or less the territorial conflicts and foreign occupation and oppression are caused by the fragile nature of OIC members viz-a-viz the resolution of the key challenges the Ummah is facing.
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Prioritizing the interests of Ummah
The OIC needs the provision of strong political will on behalf of the Ummah in order to resolve the key issues the Muslim world is coming across. The OIC member countries especially the GCC which hold a lion’s share of the Muslim world politically and economically must oil the wheel of OIC to accelerate the resolution of key issues.
The GCC should prioritize the interests of Ummah over their personal interests requiring them to avoid any political, economic, and diplomatic move setting aside the will and presence of the key party- Palestinians in Palestine issue.
Read more: Palestine still remains core issue in Middle East
They should not revise the so-called normalization episode at the cost of the Palestinians rather must include them in any future initiative to resolve the issue. It has made clear by a plethora of normalization initiatives over the past few decades that each of them did not deliver just because of the seriousness of Muslim Arab nations prioritizing their personal interests over the resolution of the Palestinian issue.
Similarly, the recent normalization was ironically based on closing the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory in return to which the UAE and other willed Arab countries would normalize their diplomatic ties with Israel. However, it has not been the case as the ongoing oppression and genocide of the Palestinians and the attack on Al-Aqsa frankly expose the shallow nature of the basic of the Abraham Accord.
Read more: Why Israel is able to suppress Palestine
A need for unity
The OIC must be backed by a unified posture by its member countries to resolve all the key challenges to Ummah. Moreover, the international community and international organizations including the UN must relinquish their double-standard viz-a-viz the resolution of key international conflicts and gross human rights violation; but it again needs the sensitization of the gross human rights violation the Muslim world is facing which is a daring call upon the OIC.
The international media must highlight the power asymmetry in the Palestinian dilemma wherein one- Israel- is occupier and other-Palestinians- is occupied. The US and the other global powers including European countries must set aside their apartheid approach regarding the resolution of key international issues especially those related to the Muslim world in one way or the other.
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Wrapping up the discussion, the OIC needs to be active to achieve its founding objectives which demand a strong backup by its member countries. It is pretty sure that unity, coordination and cooperation while exploiting resource-rich Muslim world will put forward solutions to a number of issues the Ummah is struggling to cope with.
The economic independence of Ummah would bestow it with an undeniable posture in international politics which would grant it a strong political weight. However, for all this is required the superiority of Ummah interests to the personal and parochial interests of a single Muslim country.
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The writer has done his Master of Arts in English Literature and Linguistics from NUML, Islamabad. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.