Organisation of the Islamic Conference: Wikis


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Headquarters Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Official languages Arabic, English, French
Membership 57 member states
 -  Secretary-General Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is an international organisation with a permanent delegation to the United Nations. It groups 57 member states, from the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, Caucasus, Balkans, Southeast Asia and South Asia. The official languages of the organisation are Arabic, English and French.


History and goals

Since the nineteenth century, many Muslims had aspired to uniting the Muslim ummah to serve their common political, economic, and social interests. Despite the presence of secularist, nationalist, and socialist ideologies, in modern Muslim states, they have cooperated together to form the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. The formation of the OIC happened in the backdrop of the loss of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. The final cause sufficiently compelled leaders of Muslim nations to meet in Rabat to establish the OIC on September 25, 1969.[1]

According to its charter, 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.[1]

The flag of the OIC (shown above) has an overall green background (symbolic of Islam). In the centre, there is an upward-facing red crescent enveloped in a white disc. On the disc the words "Allahu Akbar" (Arabic for "God is great") are written in Arabic calligraphy.

On August 5, 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.[2]



Recent issues and controversies

The Parliamentary Union of the OIC member states (PUOICM) was established in Iran in 1999 and its head office is situated in Tehran. Only OIC members are entitled to membership in the union.[3]

President George W. Bush announced on June 27, 2007 that the United States will establish an envoy to the OIC. Bush said of the envoy "Our special envoy will listen to and learn from representatives from Muslim states, and will share with them America's views and values."[4] Sada Cumber became the US representative on March 3, 2008.

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference on March 28, 2008 added its voice to the growing criticism of the film 'Fitna' by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, which features disturbing images of violent acts juxtaposed with verses from the Quran.[5]

Ninth meeting of PUOICM

The ninth meeting of the Council of PUOICM was held on 15 and 16 Feb 2007 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[6]. The speaker of Malaysia's House of Representatives, Ramli bin Ngah Talib, delivered a speech at the beginning of the inaugural ceremony. OIC secretary-general Prof Dr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said prior to the meeting that one main agenda item was stopping Israel from continuing its excavation at the Western Wall near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest shrine.[7] The OIC also discussed how it might send peacekeeping troops to Muslim states, as well as the possibility of a change in the name of the body and its charter.[8] Additionally, return of the sovereignty right to the Iraqi people along with withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq was another one of the main issues on the agenda.[9]

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri told reporters on 14 February 2007 that the Secretary General of OIC and foreign ministers of seven "like-minded Muslim countries" would meet in Islamabad on 25 February 2007 following meetings of President Musharraf with heads of key Muslim countries to discuss "a new initiative" for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kasuri said this would be a meeting of foreign ministers of key Muslim countries to discuss and prepare for a summit in Makkah Al Mukarramah to seek the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.[10]

Human Rights

OIC created the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam.[2] While proponents claim it is not an alternative to the UDHR, but rather complementary, Article 24 states "All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah." and Article 25 follows that with "The Islamic Shari'ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration." Attempts to have it adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council have met increasing criticism, because of its contradiction of the UDHR, including from liberal Muslim groups.[11] Critics of the CDHR state quite bluntly that it is “manipulation and hypocrisy”, “designed to dilute, if not altogether eliminate, civil and political rights protected by international law” and attempts to “circumvent these principles [of freedom and equality]”.[12][13][14]

Human Rights Watch says that OIC has “fought doggedly” and successfully within the United Nations Human Rights Council to shield states from criticism, except when it comes to criticism of Israel. For example, when independent experts reported violations of Human Rights in the 2006 Lebanon War, “state after state from the OIC took the floor to denounce the experts for daring to look beyond Israeli violations to discuss Hezbollah’s as well”. OIC demands that the council “should work cooperatively with abusive governments rather than condemn them”. HRW responds that this works only with those who are willing to coöperate; others exploit the passivity.[15][16]


In 1999 OIC adopted the OIC Convention on Combating International Terrorism.[17] Human Rights Watch has noted that the definition of terrorism in article 1 as “any act or threat of violence carried out with the aim of, among other things, imperiling people’s honour, occupying or seizing public or private property, or threatening the stability, territorial integrity, political unity or sovereignty of a state” is vague and ill-defined, and includes much that is outside the generally accepted understandings of the concept of terrorism. In HRW's view, it labels, or could easily be used to label, as terrorist actions, acts of peaceful expression, association and assembly.[18]

Legal scholar Ben Saul of University of Sydney argues that the definition is subjective and ambiguous and concludes that there is “serious danger of the abusive use of terrorist prosecutions against political opponents” and others.[19]

Furthermore, HRW is concerned by OIC’s apparent unwillingness to recognise as terrorism acts that serve causes endorsed by their member states. Article 2 reads: “Peoples’ struggle including armed struggle against foreign occupation, aggression, colonialism, and hegemony, aimed at liberation and self-determination.” HRW has suggested to OIC that they embrace “longstanding and universally recognised international human rights standards”[18] – a request that has as yet not led to any results.

Contradictions between OIC's and other U.N. member’s understanding of terrorism has stymied efforts at the U.N. to produce a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.[20]

On a meeting in Malaysia in April 2002, delegates discussed terrorism, but failed to reach a definition of it. They rejected, however, any description of the Palestinian fight with Israel with terrorism. Their declaration was explicit: "We reject any attempt to link terrorism to the struggle of the Palestinian people in the exercise of their inalienable right to establish their independent state with Al-Quds Al-Shrif (Jerusalem) as its capital." In fact, at the outset of the meeting, the OIC countries signed a statement praising the Palestinians and their "blessed intifada." The word terrorism was restricted to describe Israel, whom they condemned for "state terrorism" in their war with the Palestinian people.[21]

At the 34th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM), an OIC section, in May 2007, the foreign ministers termed Islamophobia the worst form of terrorism.[22]

Dispute with Thailand

Thailand has responded to OIC criticism of human rights abuses in the Muslim majority provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat in the south of the country. In a statement issued on October 18, 2005 secretary-general Ihsanoglu vocalised concern over the continuing conflict in the south that "claimed the lives of innocent people and forced the migration of local people out of their places".[23] He also stressed that the Thai government's security approach to the crisis would aggravate the situation and lead to continued violence.

On 18-19 of April 2009, The exile Patani leader Abu Yasir Fikri (see PULO)was invited to the OIC to speak out about the conflict and present a solution to end the violence between the Thai government and the ethnicly malay muslims living in the socioeconomically neglected south, that has been struggling against Thai assimilation policy and for self governance since it became annexed by Thailand in 1902. Abu Yasir Fikri presented a six point solution at the conference in Jiddah that included getting the same basic rights as other groups when it came to right of language, religion and culture. In the solution Abu Yasir Fikri also suggested that Thailand give up their discriminatory policies against the Patani people and allow Patani to at least be allowed the same self governing rights as other regions in Thailand already have, citing that this does not go against the Thai constitution since it has been done in other parts of Thailand and that it is only a matter of political will.[24] He also criticized the Thai governments escalation of violence by arming and creating Buddhist militia groups and questioned their intentions. He added Thai Policies of not investigating corruption, murder and human rights violations perpetrated by Bangkok led administration and military personnel against the malay muslim population was an obstacle for achieving peace and healing the deep wounds of being treated as third class citizens. [25][26]

Thailand responded to this criticism over its policies. The Thai Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon said: "We have made it clear to the OIC several times that the violence in the deep South is not caused by religious conflict and the government grants protection to all of our citizens no matter what religion they embrace." The Foreign Ministry issued a statement dismissing the OIC’s criticism and accusing it of disseminating misperceptions and misinformation about the situation in the southern provinces. "If the OIC secretariat really wants to promote the cause of peace and harmony in the three southern provinces of Thailand, the responsibility falls on the OIC secretariat to strongly condemn the militants, who are perpetrating these acts of violence against both Thai Muslims and Thai Buddhists."[27][28] [29]

HRW"[30] and Amnesty International[31] have echoed the same concerns as OIC, rebuffing Thailand's attempts to dismiss the issue.

Dispute with India

India has also hit out at the OIC for supporting UN demands for a plebiscite in Kashmir. Further to this, during the 2008 Amarnath land transfer imbroglio the OIC's condemnation of the "ongoing excessive and unwarranted use of force against the Kashmiri people" was met by an Indian response that said: "The OIC has once again chosen to comment upon Jammu and Kashmir and India's internal affairs on which it has no locus standi...To call for international involvement in the sovereign internal affairs of India is gratuitous, illegal and only reflects reversion to a mindset that has led to no good consequences for Pakistan in the past." [32] The UN stated that it was "concerned" about the "violent protests" in Kashmir and the reaction from the Indian state and called for restraint from both sides. [33].

Kashmir is a disputed territory claimed by both Pakistan and India. The UN does not recognize either side's claims to sovereignty over Kashmir. HRW[34] and Amnesty International have also been critical of human rights abuses in Kashmir.

Structure and organisation

The OIC system consists of:

The Islamic Summit

The largest organ, attended by the Kings and the Heads of State and Government of the member states, convened every three years.

The Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers

It meets once a year to examine a progress report on the implementation of its decisions taken within the framework of the policy defined by the Islamic Summit.

The Permanent Secretariat

It is the executive organ of the Organisation, entrusted with the implementation of the decisions of the two preceding bodies, and is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The current secretary general of this international organisation is Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, from Turkey, since January 1, 2005.

Standing Committees

Subsidiary organs

Specialised institutions

Affiliated institutions

The Secretary General of the OIC

  1. Tunku Abdul Rahman (Malaysia): (1971-1973)
  2. Hassan Al-Touhami (Egypt): (1974-1975)
  3. Dr. Amadou Karim Gaye (Senegal): (1975-1979)
  4. Habib Chatty (Tunisia): (1979-1984)
  5. Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada (Pakistan): (1985-1988)
  6. Dr. Hamid Algabid (Niger): (1989-1996)
  7. Dr. Azeddine Laraki (Morocco): (1997-2000)
  8. Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz (Morocco): (2001-2004)
  9. Prof.Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu (Turkey): (2005 to present)[35]


Map of OIC member states (green) and observers (red), India and Philippines (blue)-blocked

Note: The table can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the "><" icon.

Member State Joined Notes
 Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of 1969 Suspended 1980 - March 1989
 Algeria, People's Democratic Republic of 1969
 Chad, Republic of 1969
 Egypt, Arab Republic of 1969 Suspended May 1979 - March 1984
 Guinea, Republic of 1969
 Indonesia, Republic of 1969
 Iran, Islamic Republic of 1969
 Jordan, Hashemite Kingdom of 1969
 Kuwait, State of 1969
 Lebanon, Republic of 1969
 Libya, Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 1969
 Malaysia 1969
 Mali, Republic of 1969
 Mauritania, Islamic Republic of 1969
 Morocco, Kingdom of 1969
 Niger, Republic of 1969
 Pakistan, Federal Democratic Republic of(Islamic Republic of) 1969
 Palestine[36], represented by the Palestine Liberation Organisation 1969
 Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of 1969
 Senegal, Republic of 1969
 Sudan, Republic of the 1969
 Somalia 1969
 Tunisia, Republic of 1969
 Turkey, Republic of 1969
Yemen Arab Republic Yemen Arab Republic 1969 From 1990 as Republic of Yemen united with People's Democratic Republic of Yemen
 Bahrain, State of 1970 From 2003 as Kingdom of Bahrain
 Oman, Sultanate of 1970
 Qatar, State of 1970
 Syrian Arab Republic 1970
 United Arab Emirates 1970
 Sierra Leone, Republic of 1972
 Bangladesh, People's Republic of 1974
 Gabon, Republic of 1974
 Gambia, Republic of the 1974
 Guinea-Bissau, Republic of 1974
 Uganda, Republic of 1974
 Burkina Faso 1975
 Cameroon, Republic of 1975
 Comoros, Union of (previously Federal Islamic Republic of) the 1976
 Iraq, Republic of 1976
 Maldives, Republic of 1976
 Djibouti, Republic of 1978
 Benin, Republic of 1982
 Brunei Darussalam, Sultanate of 1984
 Nigeria, Federal Republic of 1986
 Azerbaijan, Republic of 1991
 Albania, Republic of 1992
 Kyrgyzstan, Republic of 1992
 Tajikistan, Republic of 1992
 Turkmenistan, Republic of 1992
 Mozambique, Republic of 1994
 Kazakhstan, Republic of 1995
 Uzbekistan, Republic of 1995
 Suriname, Republic of 1996
 Togo, Republic of 1997
 Guyana, Republic of 1998
 Côte d'Ivoire, Republic of 2001
Suspended or Withdrawn
 Zanzibar Jan 1993 Withdrew August 1993
Observer States
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1994
 Central African Republic 1997
 Northern Cyprus Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (as 'Turkish Cypriot State') 1979 Official 2004
 Thailand, Kingdom of 1998
 Russian Federation 2005
Observer Muslim Organisations and Communities
Moro National Liberation Front 1977
Observer Islamic institutions
Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States 2000
Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation 2005
Observer International Organisations
League of Arab States 1975
United Nations 1976
Non-Aligned Movement 1977
Organisation of African Unity 1977
Economic Cooperation Organisation 1995

Membership attempts

  •  India - India has shown an interest in joining the OIC as an observer nation.[37] While India's candidacy is supported by some OIC members including Saudi Arabia,[38] some OIC members like Pakistan have blocked India's inclusion into the OIC, arguing India's inclusion in OIC is against the rules of OIC, which state that an aspirant should not have an ongoing conflict with a member state.[39]
  •  Philippines - The Philippine government has made attempts to join the OIC, but this was opposed by the OIC observer in the country, the Moro National Liberation Front, which finds it unnecessary. In 2009, the country's bid has received stronger support and has been advocated by countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates, among others.[40][41][42][43]

Past Islamic Summit Conferences

Number Date Country Place
1st September 22 - September 25, 1969  Morocco Rabat
2nd February 22 - February 24, 1974  Pakistan Lahore
3rd January 25 - January 29, 1981  Saudi Arabia Makkah Al Mukarramah and Taif
4th January 16 - January 19, 1984  Morocco Casablanca
5th January 26 - January 29, 1987  Kuwait Kuwait City
6th December 9 - December 11, 1991  Senegal Dakar
7th December 13 - December 15, 1994  Morocco Casablanca
1st Extraordinary March 23, 1997  Pakistan Islamabad
8th December 9 - December 11, 1997  Iran Tehran
9th November 12 - November 13, 2000  Qatar Doha
2nd Extraordinary March 5, 2003  Qatar Doha
10th October 16 - October 17, 2003  Malaysia Putrajaya
3rd Extraordinary December 7 - December 8, 2005  Saudi Arabia Makkah Al Mukarramah
11th March 13 - March 14, 2008  Senegal Dakar


The OIC members have a combined GDP (at PPP) of USD 10,140,000,000,000. As upto 50% of economic activity may occur in the grey or shadow economy, the actual output could be higher by a great deal. The highest GDP in OIC belongs to Gulf Cooperation Council with a GDP exceeding USD 1,239 billion on a nominal exchange rate basis. The GDP of GCC would have been higher using this method if their currencies were not pegged to the US dollar (except for Kuwait) when US$ plummetted in value. It is observed that the GCC wields an inordinate amount of influence in maintaining the status of US$ as the world's reserve currency, with more than 50% of global foreign exchange reserves stored in this paper currency. See also Fiat money. Individually, Islamic Republic of Iran has the largest GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity with an estimated economy anywhere from 1,300 international dollars to 1,727 international dollars. Possibly its actual output remains somewhere inbetween the two extreme estimates. The richest country on the basis of GDP per capita is Qatar at USD 103,204 per capita.

See also

Organisation of the Islamic Conference


  • Al-Huda, Qamar. "Organisation of the Islamic Conference." Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. Edited by Martin, Richard C. Macmillan Reference, 2004. vol. 1 p. 394. 20 April 2008
  • Organisation of The Islamic Conference. Islamic Summit Conference.

Further reading

  • Ankerl, Guy Coexisting Contemporary Civilisations: Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western. Geneva, INUPress, 2000, ISBN 2-88155-004-5

External links


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^,,-6740455,00.html
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ ’’Human Rights Brief’’ United Nations Update Accessed March 10, 2009.
  12. ^ Fatema Mernissi: Islam and Democracy, Cambridge 2002, Perseus Books, p. 67.
  13. ^ Ann Mayer, “An Assessment of Human Rights Schemes”, in Islam and Human Rights, p. 175. Westview 1999, Westview Press.
  14. ^ Robert Carle: "Revealing and Concealing: Islamist Discourse on Human Rights”, Human rights review, vol:6, No 3 April–June 2005.
  15. ^ How to Put U.N. Rights Council Back on Track Human Rights Watch, November 2, 2006.
  16. ^ The UN Human Rights Council Human Rights Watch Testimony Delivered to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, July 25, 2007.
  17. ^ OIC Convention on Combating International Terrorism
  18. ^ a b Organisation of the Islamic Conference: Improve and Strengthen the 1999 OIC Convention on Combating International Terrorism Human Rights Watch March 11, 2008.
  19. ^ Ben Saul: Branding Enemies: Regional Legal Responses to Terrorism in Asia ‘’Asia-Pacific Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, 2008’’ Sydney Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08/127, October 2008.
  20. ^ Patrick Goodenough: UN Anti-Terror Effort Bogged Down Over Terrorism Definition, September 2, 2008.
  21. ^ The OIC's blind eye to terror The Japan Times April 9, 2002.
  22. ^ ‘Islamophobia Worst Form of Terrorism’ Arab News May 17, 2007.
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ India rebuffs OIC comments on Kashmir
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ The Palestine is a state with limited recognitionand is represented by the PLO as a "member state" of the OIC.
  37. ^ Mustafa El-Feki: An Indo-Arab blunder? Al-Ahram, February 17-23, 2005.
  38. ^ Observer status for India at OIC: King Abdullah, January 22, 2006.
  39. ^ Pak disapproves Saudi king's comments on India's OIC entry Rediff News, January 23, 2006.
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^

Simple English

File:Flag of
flag of the organisation
Organisation of the Islamic Conference members (green) and observers (blue), withrawn members (orange), observer organisations (yellow), Republic of India (red)-blocked by Pakistan.

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is an international organisation with a permanent delegation to the United Nations. It groups 57 member states, from the Greater Middle East regions, Africa, Central Asia, Caucasus, Balkans, Southeast Asia, and South America. The official languages of the organisation are Arabic, English and French. Founded in 1969 orignially it started from 25 members, that are permanent and has grown since 2001.


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