By Saeed Ullah Khan Wazir.
Note.The essay body consists of relevant materials .However, it does not follow the pattern of essay writing.
The wider Muslim UMMAH has been in disarray due to internal and external challenges in the face of globalization.
I. Historical Perspective
II. Current scenario
III. Internal challenges
A. Ideological and political shenanigans
B. Sect and sectarianism
C. Lack of democracy
D. Ecomnomic backwardness
E. Education in the doldrums
F. Disunity in the Ummah
G. Dependence on the West for defence
H. Political instability
I. Social crisis
IV. External challenges
A. War on Terror
C. Media war
D. Immigration and diaspora issues
F. Human development
G. Economic integration of the Ummah
V. Strength of Ummah
A. Power of faith
B. Global awakening
C. Highly professional human resources
D. Rich natural resources
E. Nuclear capability
VI. Our role
A. Decoding the challenges by applying logic,ijtihad and research(Note…Convert challenges into solutions)
VII. Reforming OIC
A. Reforming the charter,structure and renaming the OIC as THE MUSLIM UNION or THE ISLAMIC UNION
B. Financial contribution
C. Science and technology
D. Central financial system
1. Muslim Monetary Fund
2. Human Development Fund
3. Islamic Dinnar Currency
E. Islamic Common Market
F. Muslim News Agency like CNN,BBC and ABC
G. Security institutions
1. Muslim Security Council
2. Muslim Defense Force
The Organization of Islamic Co-operation functions rudderless and irrelevant in the face of major political, economic, ideological and cultural challenges posed by the advent of globalization. Its raison detre illustrates nothing meaningful in the larger geo-political realignment and economic geometry.
OIC is the second largest sui generis intergovernmental organization with all the 57 members after the 193-member United Nations in terms of membership and is mantle of collective voice of the Muslim world. This constitutes 23%(1.8 billion) of the world’s population and 21.7% (8 million)of the world’s land mass with gross domestic product (GDP) of around $7 trillion, which is only 8% of the global GDP.Its GDP is equal to France, more than Germany and four times less than the US.
On August 21, 1969, Dennis Michael Rohan, an Australian Jew, set on fire the southeastern wing of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. This watershed event in Muslim history necessitated the formulation of an organization for pragmatic handling of any such situation in future. Hence, on 12th Rajab 1389 Hijra (25 September 1969), the Organization of Islamic Conference was established upon a decision of the historic summit held in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco.
The bloc changed its name to Organization of the Islamic Cooperation on 28 June 2011 during the 38th Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The OIC member countries possess 70 per cent of the world’s energy resources and 40 per cent of available raw material but their GDP is only 5 per cent of the world GDP. Muslim countries miserably lag behind in education and technology.
They produce only 500 PhDs each year as compared to 3,000 in India and 5,000 in the United Kingdom. None of their educational or research institutions or centres of excellence find place in the top 100 in the world.
The Muslim World is faced with grave political, socio-economic, cultural and scientific challenges with implications for its unity, peace, security and development. OIC Member States would need to cooperate decisively in order to face these challenges and to take necessary initiatives to overcome them.
Reform of the OIC
- Reform the OIC through restructuring, and consider changing its name, review its Charter and activities and provide it with highly qualified manpower, in such a manner as to promote its role, reactivate its institutions and strengthen its relations with the officially recognized NGOs in the OIC Member States; empower the Secretary-General to discharge his duties and provide him with sufficient flexibility and the resources that enable him to carry out the tasks assigned to him and strengthen all OIC specialized and affiliated organs in order to allow them to play their aspired role, and reinforce coordination with the General Secretariat, and request it to review the activities of these organs and recommend the dissolution of those that prove to be inefficient.
- Establish a mechanism for the follow-up of resolutions by creating an Executive Body, comprising the Summit and Ministerial Troikas, the OIC host country, and the General Secretariat. The Member States concerned should be invited to participate in the deliberations of these meetings.
- Mandate the Secretary-General to prepare a study to strengthen the role of Islamic Solidarity Fund and develop it, and submit the study to the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.
- Urge Member States to pay in full and on time their mandatory contributions to the General Secretariat and Subsidiary Organs, in accordance with relevant resolutions, in order to enable Member States to avail themselves of the facilities and services offered by OIC subsidiary organs and specialized and affiliated institutions.
Measures the OIC should translate into reality
- Emphasize the condemnation of terrorism in all its forms, and reject any justification or rationalization for it, consider it as a global phenomenon that is not connected with any religion, race, color, or country, and distinguish it from the legitimate resistance to foreign occupation, which does not sanction the killing of innocent civilians.
- Introduce comprehensive qualitative changes to national laws and legislations in order to criminalize all terrorist practices as well as all practices to support, finance, or instigate terrorism.
- Affirm commitment to the OIC Convention on Combating Terrorism, participate actively in international counter-terrorism efforts, and endeavor to implement the recommendations of the International Conference on Combating Terrorism, held in Riyadh in February 2005, including the establishment of an International Center for Combating Terrorism, as well as the recommendations of the Special Meeting of OIC Foreign Ministers on Terrorism, held in Kuala Lumpur in April 2002.
- Support efforts to develop an International Code of Conduct to Combat Terrorism and to convene an international conference or a special session of the UN General Assembly to reiterate the international consensus on establishing a comprehensive strategy to combat this dangerous phenomenon.
- Emphasize the responsibility of the international community, including all governments, to ensure respect for all religions and combat their defamation.
- Affirm the need to counter Islamophobia, through the establishment of an observatory at the OIC General Secretariat to monitor all forms of Islamophobia, issue an annual report thereon, and ensure cooperation with the relevant Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in order to counter Islamophobia.
- Endeavor to have the United Nations adopt an international resolution to counter Islamophobia, and call upon all States to enact laws to counter it, including deterrent punishments.
- Initiate a structured and sustained dialogue in order to project the true values of Islam and empower Muslim countries to help in the war against extremism and terrorism.
Human Rights and Good Governance
- Seriously endeavor to enlarge the scope of political participation, ensure equality, civil liberties and social justice and to promote transparency and accountability, and eliminate corruption in the OIC Member States.
- Call upon the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers to consider the possibility of establishing an independent permanent body to promote human rights in the Member States, in accordance with the provisions of the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam and to also call for the elaboration of an OIC Charter for Human Rights. Introduce changes to national laws and regulations in order to guarantee the respect of human rights in Member States.
- Mandate the OIC General Secretariat to cooperate with other international and regional organizations to guarantee the rights of Muslim Minorities and Communities in non-OIC Member States, and promote close cooperation with the Governments of the States hosting Muslim communities.
Conflict Prevention, Conflict Resolution and Post-conflict Peace Building
- Strengthen the role of the OIC in conflict prevention, confidence-building, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation in OIC Member States as well as in conflict situations involving Muslim communities.
- Enhance cooperation among the OIC Member States and between the OIC and international and regional organizations in order to protect the rights and interests of the Member States in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and post-conflict peace-building.
- Call upon the Member States to sign and ratify all existing OIC trade and economic agreements, and to implement the provisions of the relevant OIC Plan of Action to Strengthen Economic and Commercial Cooperation among OIC Member States.
- Mandate the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC) to promote measures to expand the scope of intra-OIC trade, and to consider the possibility of establishing a Free Trade Area between the Member States in order to achieve greater economic integration to raise it to a percentage of 20% of the overall trade volume during the period covered by the plan, and call on the Member States to support its activities and to participate in those activities at the highest possible level with delegations possessing the necessary expertise.
- Promote endeavors for institutionalized and enhanced cooperation between OIC and regional and international institutions working in the economic and commercial fields.
- Support OIC Member States in their efforts to accede to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and promote concerted positions between the Member States within the WTO.
- Call upon the OIC Member States to facilitate the freedom of movement of businessmen and investors across their borders.
- Support expanding electronic commerce among the OIC Member States and call on the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry to strengthen its activities in the field of data and expertise exchanges between chambers of commerce of the Member States.
- Call upon the Member States to coordinate their environmental policies and positions in international environmental fora so as to prevent any adverse effects of such policies on their economic development.
Higher Education, Science and Technology
- Effectively improve and reform educational institutions and curricula in all levels, link postgraduate studies to the comprehensive development plans of the Islamic World. At the same time, priority should be given to science and technology and facilitating academic interaction and exchange of knowledge among the academic institutions of Member States, and urge the Member States to strive for quality education that promotes creativity, innovation, and research and development
- Assimilate highly-qualified Muslims within the Muslim World, develop a comprehensive strategy in order to utilize their expertise and prevent brain migration phenomenon.
- Entrust the General Secretariat to study the creation of an OIC Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievements by Muslim scientists.
- Call upon Islamic countries to encourage research and development programmes, taking into account that the global percentage of this activity is 2% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and request Member States to ensure that their individual contribution is not inferior to half of this percentage.
- Take advantage of the important results of the World Summit on Information Society, held in Tunis, in which all Muslim States actively participated with a view to close the digital gap between the developed and developing States and request the General Secretariat to follow up these results in order to build the capacities of Member States to adhere to the information society which, in turn, will sustain development in Muslim States.
- Encourage public and private national research institutions to invest in technology capacity-building, in areas of advanced technologies, such as the acquisition of nuclear technology for peaceful uses.
- Review the performance of the OIC-affiliated universities so as to improve their effectiveness and efficiency, and call for participation in the two Waqfs (Endowments) dedicated to the two universities in Niger and Uganda, and provide support to the International Islamic University in Malaysia. 8. Call upon the Member States to extend enhanced support to the Islamic University of Technology in Bangladesh in order to enable it to contribute more towards capacity building of the OIC Member States through human resources development. 9. Urge the IDB to further enhance its programme of scholarships for outstanding students and Hi-Tech specializations aimed at developing the scientific, technical, and research capabilities of scientists and researchers in the Member States.
Rights of Women, Youth, Children, and the Family in the Muslim World
- Strengthen laws aimed at enhancing the advancement of women in Muslim societies in economic, cultural, social, and political fields, in accordance with Islamic values of justice and equality; and aimed also at protecting women from all forms of violence and discrimination and adhering to the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, in line with the Islamic values of justice and equality.
- Give special attention to women’s education and female literacy.
- Expedite developing “The Covenant on the Rights of Women in Islam”, in accordance with Resolution No. 60/27-P and the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.
- Strive to provide free and quality basic education for all children.
- Strengthen laws aimed at preserving the rights of children, enjoying the highest possible health levels, taking effective measures in order to eradicate poliomyelitis and protect them from all forms of violence and exploitation.
- Encourage the Member States to sign and ratify the OIC Covenant on the Rights of the Child in Islam, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child in Islam, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its annexed Optional Protocols, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol with regard to the Girl Child.
- Call upon all Member States to support and promote youth programmes and youth forums.
- Call upon the OIC to contribute towards projecting Islam as a religion that guarantees full protection of women’s rights and encourages their participation in all walks of life.
- Accord necessary attention to the family as the principal nucleus of the Muslim society, exert all possible efforts, at all levels, to face up to the contemporary social challenges confronting the Muslim family and affecting its cohesion, on the basis of Islamic values.
- Establish a Division responsible for Family Affairs within the framework of the General Secretariat’s restructuring.
The solutions tend to idealistic and quixotic in nature. But with guarded optimism and steely resolve, they could be implemented once the Muslim world take the much-needed cudgels for revival of lost glory of the now defunct, demoralized community.
Saeed Ullah Khan Wazir is a freelance writer, human rights activist, aspirant to CSS and having specialization in English Literature and Linguistics from NUML, Islamabad.