Silver LiningOIC conference: Much ado about nothing [Archives:2005/856/Opinion]

July 4 2005

By Mohammed Hatem al-Qadhi
[email protected]

The minister of the Islamic countries had a nice conference in Sana'a. The ministers delivered nice speeches, pinpointing the challenges facing the Islamic countries, expressing the need to come together. The outcome was also a nice final statement, calling for support of Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Nigeria and other Muslim states plagued with poverty and other ailments. The statement talked about several other issues but faintly talked about the need to reform which is the key element of any real change which Muslims aspire.

Our main plight as Muslims is not only lack of resources and money but also lack of the will to change and reform due to totalitarian regimes that usurped power for decades. The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was established during the 1996s of the last centuries after the burning of Holy Mosque in Jerusalem with the aim just to face that incident. What I mean is that there was no clear vision behind the OIC and how it can serve Muslims all over the world. In other words, it was just a passion behind the idea. I believe that the OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is right when he proposed to first reform the OIC, change its name and upgrade its charter so that be run effectively, away from bureaucracy.

Now, the coalition of countries or even companies or organizations is basically economic. It is economy that drives the world rather than dogmas or religious beliefs. I am against such coalitions that have religious background because they will expand and widen the divide between the world countries rather than brining them together.

Let us look at the European Union. Its main goal by the end is purely economic. I do not object that Islamic countries can come together in a union or organization but they should not be motivated just by the fact that they are all Muslims and therefore they should be brought together. They should, in fact, live up to the challenges facing their people and see how to overcome them. I think also that it is not right that Islamic countries call for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council. Then, we have to distribute seats on the basis of religions. What they can do is to demand a seat for any Muslim country instead of the OIC. It will be chaos if the representation is made in accordance with religious factors.

The OIC should not be just an institution to further propagate the rulers and their “achievements” as everybody in the conference was just delivering speeches, most of them are dedicated to the “achievements” of this or that ruler. The OIC should be an institution, able to address the problems these Islamic countries are facing. That is, its decisions should be implemented. I think Dr. Abu Bakr al-Qirbi was right when he said that we do not need any more decisions. We are fed up. I think people in the street never build on such conferences or summits whose decisions and recommendations never see the light of day. I was talking the other day with a soldier standing at the gate of the conference hall, telling him that there had not been anything of importance. He told me that he already knew that nothing concrete this event would come up with. This is the general frame of mind of the people who lost hope of such meetings.