agenda item

Organisation of the Islamic Conference

|linking_name = the Organization of the Islamic Conference |image_flag = Flag of OIC.svg |image_map = OIC members.png |map_caption = Map of Organization of the Islamic Conference members (green) and observers (blue). |membership = 57 member states |admin_center_type = Headquarters |admin_center = Jeddah, Saudi Arabia |languages_type = Official languages |languages = Arabic, English, French |leader_title1 = Secretary-General |leader_name1 = Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu |established_event1 = |established_date1 = September 25 1969 |official_website = |footnote1 =}} The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is an international organization with a permanent delegation to the United Nations. It groups 57 member states, from the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, Caucasus, Balkans, Southeast Asia, South Asia and South America. The official languages of the organization are Arabic, English and French.

History and goals

Since the nineteenth century, Muslims had aspired ideas of uniting their community to serve their common political, economic, and social interests. Despite the presence of secularist, nationalist, and socialist ideologies, in modern Muslim states, King Faysal of Saudi Arabia cooperated with other Muslim leaders to form the Organization of 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 were to meet in Rabat to establish the OIC in May 1971.

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.

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

Recent issues

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.

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. Sada Cumber became the US representative on March 3, 2008.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference rejected the Universal Declaration of Humans Rights as not being consistent with Sharia Law. In its place, they supported the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam . While many 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."

The Organization 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 terrorist acts alleged to be superimposed over verses from the Quran.

Ninth meeting of PUOICM

The ninth meeting of the Council of PUOICM was held on 15 and 16 Feb 2007 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.. 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 is stopping Israel from continuing its excavation at the Western Wall near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest shrine. OIC is also discussing 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. Additionally, return of the sovereignty right to the Iraqi people along with withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq is another one of the main issues on the agenda.

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" will 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 will 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.

Structure and organization

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 Organization, entrusted with the implementation of the decisions of the two preceding bodies, and is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Current secretary general of this international organization 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)


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

Country Joined Notes
, Islamic Republic of 1969 Suspended 1980 - March 1989
, People's Democratic Republic of 1969
, Republic of 1969
, Arab Republic of 1969 Suspended May 1979 - March 1984
, Republic of 1969
, Republic of 1969
, Islamic Republic of 1969
, Hashemite Kingdom of 1969
, State of 1969
, Republic of 1969
, Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 1969
, Republic of 1969
, Islamic Republic of 1969
, Kingdom of 1969
, Republic of 1969
, Islamic Republic of 1969
, represented by the Palestine Liberation Organization 1969
, Kingdom of 1969
, Republic of 1969
, Republic of the 1969
, Republic of 1969
, Republic of 1969
Yemen Arab Republic 1969 From 1990 as Republic of Yemen united with People's Democratic Republic of Yemen
, State of 1970 From 2003 as Kingdom of Bahrain
, Sultanate of 1970
, State of 1970
n Arab Republic 1970
, State of 1970
, Republic of 1972
, People's Republic of 1974
, Republic of 1974
, Republic of the 1974
, Republic of 1974
, Republic of 1974
, Republic of 1975
, Federal Islamic Republic of the 1976
, Republic of 1976
, Republic of 1976
, Republic of 1978
, Republic of 1982
Darussalam, Sultanate of 1984
, Federal Republic of 1986
, Republic of 1991
, Republic of 1992
, Republic of 1992
, Republic of 1992
, Republic of 1992
, Republic of 1994
, Republic of 1995
, Republic of 1995
, Republic of 1996
, Republic of 1997
, Republic of 1998
, Republic of 2001
Suspended or Withdrawn
Jan 1993 Withdrew August 1993
Observer States
, Turkish Republic of (as Turkish Cypriot State) 1979 Official 2004
, Kingdom of 1998
n Federation 2005
Observer Muslim Organizations 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 Organizations
League of Arab States 1975
United Nations 1976
Non-Aligned Movement 1977
Organization of African Unity 1977
Economic Cooperation Organization 1995

Membership attempts

  • - has the third largest (Behind Indonesia and Pakistan, respectively) Muslim population in the world and had shown its interest in joining the OIC, as an observer nation. While India's candidacy is supported by several OIC members including Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Iran and Egypt, some influential OIC members like Pakistan have blocked India's inclusion into the OIC. They argue that though India is home to more than 135 million Muslims, they form just over 13% of India's total population. (By comparison, Muslims form only 7.3% of Guyana's population, and no more than 15% of Russia's.)
  • - The Philippine government has made attempts to join the OIC, but was opposed by its Muslim minority of the state. Muslims make up only 5% (4.5 million) of the 90 million population in this predominantly Christian country (this estimate is disputed by the BangsaMoro people that put the Muslim population at 15 million)

Past Islamic Summit Conferences

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


The OIC members have a combined GDP (at PPP) of USD7,840 billion. The highest GDP in OIC belongs to Turkey with a GDP exceeding USD900 billion. The richest country on the basis of GDP per capita is Qatar at USD62,181 per capita.


Due to its passive reaction and inability to react in time to the world events involving Muslim states and Muslims, the OIC is sometimes satirically called "Oh! I See.

Thailand responsed harshly to OIC criticism of its battle within 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 vocalized 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". He also stressed that the Thai government's security approach to the crisis would aggravate the situation and lead to continued violence. Thailand quickly rebuffed this criticism over its alleged heavy-handed policies. Then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra responded to the OIC Secretary General by saying: "I would like him to read the Qur’an, which stated clearly that all Muslims, regardless [of] where they live, must respect the law of that land." He asked, as in with Muslims killing each other in Iraq, "why don’t the OIC make statement of concern". The Thai Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon went on to say: "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.

India have also hit out at the OIC for supporting Pakistan's claims to 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..



  • 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
  • Organization of The Islamic Conference. Islamic Summit Conference

See also

Further reading

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

External links

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