OIC: an irrelevant laughing stock

Developing Just Leadership

Zafar Bangash

Rabi' al-Thani 22, 1437 2016-02-01


by Zafar Bangash (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 44, No. 12, Rabi' al-Thani, 1437)

The entity, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), with ever-changing names is the butt of many jokes. It was originally called the Organization of Islamic Conference. Its abbreviation was still the same: OIC. Given its lack of performance — nobody took it seriously because of the brainless Saudis (not to mention spineless) — it was often called, “Oh I see”! Then it underwent a name change to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Unfortunately, there is little or no cooperation between its 57 members. Why the organization exists, nobody really knows except when the Saudis want to use it for some propaganda purposes as was the case on January 21 when an “emergency meeting” of the body was convened in Jeddah. What precisely was the emergency? The Saudis, bereft of any successes in recent years because of their ill-conceived policies, wanted to have the body issue a statement denouncing Islamic Iran because some demonstrators had attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran during a protest following the execution of Shaykh Nimr al-Nimr by the Saudi regime on January 2. Does the OIC have no other issue to address?

When was the last time the OIC called an emergency meeting to address the suffering of the Palestinians at the hands of the Zionists? Has the OIC ever convened a meeting to tackle mass poverty and the refugee crisis gripping the world, primarily the Muslim world? An organization that carries the word “cooperation” in its name has shown scant interest in fostering cooperation among member states and has shown much greater propensity for promoting divisions, hatred, and bigotry at the behest of some of its members. The question one is forced to ask is: what is the relevance of such an organization?

Take its January 21 statement issued following an emergency meeting in Jeddah. Instead of trying to work for reconciliation and patch up differences, the OIC backed Saudi Arabia accusing Tehran of supporting terrorism and interfering in other countries’ affairs. Interference in the “internal affairs” of other countries is the latest excuse the Saudi regime has latched on to in order to deflect criticism of its barbaric practices such as the mass executions of January 2. This has specifically to do with the regime’s execution of Shaykh al-Nimr whose only crime was that he called for human rights and dignity for all people in the Arabian Peninsula, especially the Eastern Province that is predominantly Shi‘i.

Bani Saud, however, must be taken up on the non-interference claim. The regime has unleashed takfiri terrorists in Syria and supported them for nearly five years. Does this not constitute interference in the internal affairs of Syria? Worse, the Saudi regime demands that President Bashar al-Asad must resign because he no longer enjoys the support of the Syrian people. First, the Saudi claim is belied by ground realities. Even if it were true — a big if — what business is it of the Saudis to demand al-Asad’s ouster? If the same principle were applied in the Kingdom, Bani Saud would be banished from power in the blink of an eye.

Let us look at Yemen, the poorest country in the region. The Najdi Bedouins have bombed the country killing thousands of innocent people since last March and have created a humanitarian disaster. What right do the Saudis have to attack Yemen? They do not own that poor country. Its future should be left to the people of Yemen to decide not the Bedouins of Najd ensconced in air-conditioned palaces in Riyadh. Has the OIC convened any meeting to discuss the crimes being perpetrated in Yemen? What about Kashmir that has been under illegal Indian occupation since 1947? Why has the OIC not been able to exert any pressure on Hindu India to stop its crimes against Muslim Kashmiris? Instead, millions of Indians work in the Muslim East (aka the Middle East) siphoning billion of dollars annually to support the oppression and persecution of Muslims in Kashmir.

The OIC reflects the pathetic state of its members, especially those that dictate its policy: the Saudi regime. Both are irrelevant and destined for the dustbin of history.

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