The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations which has a membership of 57 states spread over four continents. The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world and ensuring to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
The Organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco on 12th Rajab 1389 Hijra (25th September 1969) as a result of criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. The OIC has a permanent delegation to the United Nations. The official languages of the OIC are Arabic, English, and French.
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The OIC composed of the following main bodies:
- The Islamic Summit Conference (ISC); is the supreme authority of the OIC which meets every three years to lay down the Organization’s policy
- The Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM); meets once a year to examine the implementation of its decisions taken within the framework of the policy defined by the Summit
- The General Secretariat; the executive organ of the OIC entrusted with the implementation of the decisions of the two preceding bodies
To coordinate its action in the various fields of cooperation: political, economic, cultural, social, spiritual and scientific, among Member States, the Organization has created different committees at ministerial level and a number of which are chaired by heads of state such as The Al-Quds Committee, the Standing Committee for Information and Cultural Affairs (COMIAC), the Standing Committee for Economic and Trade Cooperation (COMCEC) and the Standing Committee for Scientific and Technical Cooperation (COMSTECH).
The current chairman of the OIC Summit is Senegal, while the chairmanship of the CFM is Republic of Kazakhstan.
In 1970 the first ever meeting of Islamic Conference of Foreign Minister (ICFM) was held in Jeddah which decided to establish a permanent secretariat in Jeddah headed by the organization’s secretary general. Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani is the 10th Secretary General who assumed the office in January 2014.
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The OIC aims to preserve Islamic social and economic values; promote solidarity amongst member states; increase cooperation in social, economic, cultural, scientific, and political areas; uphold international peace and security; and advance education, particularly in the fields of science and technology.
The emblem of the OIC (shown above) contains three main elements that reflect its vision and mission as incorporated in its new Charter. These elements are the Ka’bah, the Globe, and the Crescent.
On 5 August 1990, 45 foreign ministers of the OIC adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam to serve as a guidance for the member states in the matters of human rights in as much as they are compatible with the Sharia, or Quranic Law.
In June 2008, the OIC conducted a formal revision of its charter. The revised charter set out to promote human rights, fundamental freedoms, and good governance in all member states. The revisions also removed any mention of the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. Within the revised charter, the OIC has chosen to support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international law.
In June 2011, the name of the OIC was changed from the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has 57 members, 56 of which are also member states of the United Nations. Some, especially in West Africa, are – though with large Muslim populations – not necessarily Muslim majority countries. A few countries with significant Muslim populations, such as Russia and Thailand, sit as the Observer States, while others, such as India and Ethiopia, are not members.
There are several controversial issues involving the OIC, including Israel/Palestine, Human Rights, and Terrorism.