Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

There are all kinds of IGOs, or inter-governmental organizations, around the world, all created with common goals and interests. Whether it’s the United Nations, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, OPEC, the European Union, or any other such group, they often have member states which are committed to the same interests and goals for which the organization was established. We are talking major international players not some local community government in Kansas CIty, Missouri.

You can add another such group to the list, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which currently has 57 member states, making it the second-largest IGO in the world (behind only the U.N.). The organization is the United Nations for predominantly Muslim countries on four continents (mostly Asia and Africa; Europe and South America are represented by single countries, Albania for the former and Guyana for the latter), and it has delegations to the United Nations and the European Union in order to promote and cooperate on common issues. The OIC calls itself the “voice of the Muslim world,” and seems to take a “moderate” approach to Islam in that it has made several public statements recently condemning terror bombings in Manchester, Kabul, Baghdad, and the series of attacks in Southeast Asia. On the other hand, the OIC has been supportive of a boycott of Israel.

According to the charter of OIC, the mission of the group is to promote common interests of the Muslim world as a whole, using influence of 1.5 billion people in those countries to promote culture, education, science and technology and economic progress in the Muslim world, working with the UN and EU (among others) to ensure stability and peace and find opportunities for growth and progress within the fundamental principles of Islam.

The organization was established in 1969 after an arson attempt by Denis Rohan, an Australian Christian, on the famous Al-Asqa mosque on the Temple Mount outside Jerusalem. Rohan was tried, found insane and was committed to a psychiatric institution until he died in the mid-1990s. That event mobilized the Muslim world, and 30 countries sent delegates to form a new group that would unify the Muslim world and promotes cooperation not only among the member states but also work toward peaceful co-existence with other faiths as well, including Jews and Christians.

The United States began sending a special envoy to the OIC under President George W. Bush in 2007, in order to understand the needs and values of Muslims and find ways for the U.S. to work with the Muslim community toward common goals. However, recent information showed that during a two-year period earlier this decade, the Parliamentary Union of the OIC (a version of the U.N. Security Council) voted against the United States nearly 90 percent of the time.

In September of this year, the first OIC Summit on Science and Technology will be held, with about 120 scientists from around the world expected to attend and inform the member states about policy positions in these fields.