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The Organization of Islamic Cooperation in contemporary international society

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Abstract

By way of conclusion, it is worth pointing out that the role of international organizations of a regional nature is becoming ever significant in the peace and conflict management processes taking place in African and Middle Eastern countries. Even if there are many regional international organizations operating in these badly affected continents, the OIC has set the pace of the race to cope with the conflicts facing the Arab/Muslim world. The reason for the creation of the OIC is often explained by pointing to the need for Muslim solidarity following two events in recent history: the Arab loss of the Six Day War in 1967, and the 1969 arson attack against the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a holy site in Sunni Islam. As a result of these two incidents the OIC, we learn, was created to safeguard the interests of the Muslim world. Its ability as mediator has been acknowledged as much by its Member States as by the international community. Suffice it to mention the free-flowing relations it has kept and still keeps with the United Nations, as is evident from their joint missions in the Syrian conflict and the action OIC has undertaken together with regional organizations such as the Arab League and the European Union. OIC’s leadership in the Muslim world has become all the more noticeable in the last decade on account of a number of circumstances, including a) its manifest independence from other regional organizations; b) the criticism leveled at the UN Security Council for its discretionary attitude towards certain international conflicts; and d) the decisions that it has adopted in spite of the rivalries existing among its Member States over religion –Shiites vs. Sunnis– politics –Qatar’s pretensions to regional leadership– or economics. As a result of all these determining factors, OIC’s voice has become pivotal around the world, which explains why various international organizations and even non-Muslim States like Russia have shown great interest in the process to be granted OIC observer status or that China has signed framework cooperation agreements with this organization.
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THE ORGANIZATION OF ISLAMIC COOPERATION IN
CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY
LA ORGANIZACION DE COOPERACIÓN ISLÁMICA EN LA
SOCIEDAD INTERNACIONAL CONTEMPORÁNEA
Víctor Luis Gutiérrez Castillo
Summary: I.
I
NTRODUCTION
.
II.
T
HE ORGANIZATION OF ISLAMIC COOPERATION
.
III.
OIC
AND THE INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
.
IV.
ROLE OF
THE OIC IN THE CONFLICTS FACINGS THE ARAB
/
MUSLIMWORDL
.
V.
CONCLUSIONS
A
BSTRACT
: The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is an international organisation consisting of 57
member States of Muslim confession, also Palestina. This organisation is "the collective voice of the Muslim
world" and works to "safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting
international peace and harmony". In 28 June 2011 during the 38th Council of Foreign Ministers meeting
(CFM) in Astana (Kazakhstan) the organisation changed its name from Organisation of the Islamic
Conference to its current name.The OIC also changed its logo at this time.The Organisation of Islamic
Cooperation (OIC) has a permanent delegation of the United Nations and it’s the second largest international
organisation outside the United Nations. In recent years it has been increasing its importance in the
international society and it has played an important role in regional conflicts
R
ESUMEN
: La Organización para la Cooperación Islámica(OCI) es una organización que agrupa a 57
Estados de confesión musulmana, incluyendo Palestina. Esta organización es la voz del mundo musulmán y
trabaja para salvaguardar y proteger los intereses del mundo musulmán en el espíritu de promover la paz y
la armonía internacional. El 28 de junio de 2011, durante la 38 reunión del Consejo de Asuntos exteriores en
Astana (Kazajistán) la organización cambió su nombre de Organización de la Conferencia islámica al
nombre actual. La OCI también cambió su logo en ese momento. La OCI tiene una delegación permanente en
Naciones Unidas y es la segunda organización internacional más grande después de ésta. En los últimos
años ha aumentado su importancia en la sociedad internacional y ha jugado un importante papel en los
conflictos regionales.
K
EYWORDS
:
Islam, International organisations, Human rights, Contemporary international society,
cooperation.
PALABRAS CLAVE
:
Islam, organizaciones internacionales, Derechos humanos, Sociedad internacional
contemporánea, cooperación.
Fecha de recepción del original: 3 de marzo de 2014. Fecha de aceptación de la versión final: 5 de mayo de
2014.
Profesor Titular de Derecho internacional público y Relaciones internacionales de la Universidad de Jaén.
Correo electrónico: vlguti@ujaen.es
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I.
I
NTRODUCTION
The vast world of Islam cover a little more than fifty heterogeneous States (city-states,
traditional monarchies, republics...) established after World War II and whose borders
remains the subject of discussion. The evolution of the Muslim countries has been long and
complex, albeit it is worth mentioning that they have been shaken by two great
revolutionary processes since they became independent: a nationalistic one (in the 1950s)
and a religious, Islamic one in the late 1970s. The main exponent of the former was Nasser,
who conducted in Egypt a secular nationalistic revolution that later on spread to countries
such as Syria and Iraq, where –much like in Egypt– heavily militarized republics, ruled by
a single party and of a reformist nature from the social viewpoint, eventually unfolded
1
. A
decade later, the prestige of these nationalistic States would start to decline, for even if both
the republics and the monarchies hailed modernization as one of their top ideals, all
practical efforts to that end merely scratched the surface, giving rise instead to a process of
growing without real development that only served the purposes of the oligarchies and
small centers of power. Domestic corruption; the rise of customer-oriented structures; very
few, if any, democratic reforms; and the failure of modernization from a political –survival
of authoritarianism– and an economic –inability to overcome underdevelopment–
standpoint led in the long run to an environment prone to change. It is in this context that
Islam thrived as an alternative to political nationalism and the conservative structures of the
existing monarchies. By that time, Islam had already taken root in many societies, and its
invocation had played a political role all along. Nationalistic regimes long self-defined as
secular ended up embracing Islam as their identifying brand, trying to find in its tenets the
political legitimacy they had theretofore lacked. Furthermore, the conservative monarchies
that came into being after decolonization had always claimed to be keepers of religious
authenticity who pursued religion in an attempt to find social order and a rationale for their
traditional structure.
Under these circumstances took place the aforesaid second revolutionary process: the
Iranian revolution. Spearheaded mostly by the masses –with the help of nationalists,
communists, socialists and, of course, Islamism– this revolution enjoyed great popular
support. The proposal to extend Islam to the social and political structure looked attractive
to these masses, long pushed into the background. In general, Islam’s broad social
implications were unquestionable, as it presupposed a genuine alternative to what was
known until then –to wit, socialist, nationalistic and other theses– and the recognition of
social groups ranging from the religious moderates who favored reform to the most radical
elements who advocated a swift transformation of society. The outcome of the Iranian
revolution would be the advent of an Islamist regime, a system in which religion would be
useful to design and legitimize power. On the other hand, the birth of the Islamic Republic
of Iran would involve making Shiism, historically alienated in other States, “official” and
1
Further more information seeNAZIH N. AYUBI,Over-Stating the Arab State: Politics and Society in the
Middle East, 1996, I. B. Tauris Publishers, London/New York, pp. 135-158.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation in contemporary international society
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“institutional”. Moreover, it would cause great upset in the international community:
whereas Islam created an atmosphere of great expectation in Muslim countries, it was cause
for concern in the West and the Sunni community.
In order to restrain fundamentalism and the likelihood of widespread revolution, many
Islamic governments carried out political changes in their States. There was also no lack of
repressive measures and forthright opposition, as in the case of Iraq, which counted on the
express support of the West to engage in a drawn-out, bloody war with Iran that would
eventually consolidated the Islamic revolution. Thus Islam became socially and politically
stronger and, in some cases –e.g. Iran, Sudan and Afghanistan– even formed the backbone
of the whole legal and political system. At the same time, the constant political
disagreement among certain Western governments (particularly the United States) and the
belligerence shown by some of their allies (namely Israel) led in time to the radicalization
of religious groups whose ambition was to be in power.
At any rate, it should be made clear that throughout history the Islamist organizations have
filled up the opposition’s political space vis-à-vis the powers that be, mainly as a result of
the authoritarian nature of most Islamist governments and, therefore, their exclusion from
the institutions. In their capacity as adversaries, these Islamist movements ranged between a
majority with a clear reformist slant –of an anti-establishment, protesting and antagonistic
nature– and an anti-systemic minority –of a radical, extremist and violent kind– and thus
conditioned the immediate future of their countries. Additionally, this state of affairs
brought about a paradox: precisely as a result of the criticism leveled at them by the
opposition and the community, the governments of Muslim-majority States gradually
embraced Islam as a source of legitimacy. The influence of religion on the domestic legal
system has played out in different forms and to different degrees, but one of the most
significant of the legal changes is represented by constitutional shifts from popular
sovereignty to divine sovereignty as the foundation for the state’s legitimacy and
legislation
2
.
In the current setting of today’s world, these States have sought for international forums in
which they can defend and protect their interests, and in so doing they have paved the way
for the emergence of international organizations of a regional nature having quite different
goals and whose geographic, political and economic diversity speaks for itself: the Arab
League
3
, the African Union, the Arab Maghreb Union… However, none has managed to
bring together all the Islamic States of the world. The only one that has taken Islam as the
2
An analysis of this development can be found in TADJDINI, A.‘Constitutionalization of Islam in
Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq- A Step Back for the Position of Human Rights?’ Nordic Journal of Human Rights,
vol. 4, 2011, pp 353-369.
3
MACDONALD, R., The League of Arab States: a Study in the Dynamics of Regional Organization,
Princeton: Princeton University Press 1965; GOMAA, A.,The Foundation of the League of Arab States:War
Time Diplomacy and Inter-Arab Politics, 1941-1945, London, Longman 1977.
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agglutinating element of the organization, regardless of any geographic and cultural
characteristics, is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (hereinafter OIC).
II.
T
HE
O
RGANIZATION OF
I
SLAMIC
C
OOPERATION
1. Evolution and objectives
Since 1924, the Muslim States have tried to bring the Islamic world into a single
international organization. A number of landmark events laid the foundations of its final
constitution, namely: a) the Third Islamic Conference (Jerusalem, 1931) that mostly
gathered Muslim intellectuals; b) a first conference of political leaders in August, 1954, in
which a bill was approved to that effect; and c) the Islamic Summit Conference held in
Rabat in 1969, aimed at discussing the Muslim world’s problems and interests. Finally, in
1972, the Third Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers approved and adopted the Charter
of the Islamic Conference Organization, giving rise to a new organization that put special
emphasis on the notion of Islamic solidarity. Indeed, in the wake of the criminal arson
perpetrated against the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on August 21, 1969, the Kings and
Heads of State and Government of Islamic countries decided to organize the First Islamic
Conference, held in Rabat, Morocco, from September 22 to 25. The outcome of this
Summit was the expression of their solidarity with the Palestinian people and their
commitment to foster mutual economic, cultural and religious cooperation. On March 23 to
25, 1970, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia convened in Jeddah the First Islamic Conference of
Foreign Ministers, who decided to take steps for their own mutual international cooperation
and create a forum for discussion about the main topics affecting the Muslim world. This
forum would bring forth the Organization of the Islamic Conference, whose foundational
platform –the Constitution of the Organization– was adopted in Jeddah in March 1972 by
the aforesaid Summit of Foreign Ministers and put into effect on February 28, 1973
4
.
Years later, on June 28, 2011, the organization would change its name and emblem and
thereafter became the Organization for Islamic Cooperation
5
. Currently consisting of 57
Member States, the OIC is open to all States that consider themselves Muslims regardless
of their geographical location. Thirty of its present members are founders, plus the
Palestine Liberation Organization (currently Palestine). Likewise, the Organization grants
“observer” status to entities (such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front of the Philippines
or the Turkish Cypriot Muslim community), other international bodies (such as the African
4
IHSANOGLU, E., The Islamic World in the New Century: The Organization of the Islamic Conference,
1969-2009, Columbia University Press, New York, 2010.
5
The Organisation of Islamic Conference changed name into the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in June
2011, at the 38th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers. “OIC” as an acronym remains in use.Montreal
International Forum, see: http://www.fimcivilsociety.org/f/library/OIC_Overview_and_Analysis.pdf
(accessed on 15 January 2014).
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation in contemporary international society
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Union or the Arab League) and even States like Russia.
The main objectives and commitments laid down in the Constitutional Charter of the
Islamic Conference are to improve and strengthen Islamic friendship and solidarity among
Member States; protect and defend Islam’s true image and prevent its defamation; promote
dialogue among civilizations and religions; strive to achieve integrated and sustainable
human development, and ensure the well-being of the Member States. Furthermore, the
Charter safeguards the right to self-determination and non-interference in the internal
affairs of Member States as well as their sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
The extent of these goals led to the inclusion of certain priorities on its practical agenda,
which has turned “the question of Palestine” into the center of attention at every Islamic
conference and a major topic of the Secretary-General’s pronouncements. In fact, at the
meeting held in Conakry in 2013, he called upon the Foreign Ministers to discuss the
possibility of cutting ties or breaking off diplomatic relations with any State that recognized
Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Other issues addressed by the organization’s agenda have
been the countless conflicts suffered by or in its Member States, to wit, the Soviet
intervention in Afghanistan (which led up to the Extraordinary Session of Foreign
Ministers in Islamabad, January 1980), the Iran-Iraq conflict, the war in Bosnia-
Herzegovina…
Nevertheless, beyond its interventions in conflicts, the OIC contributes in its capacity as
subject of international law, to further institutionalize international society and develop its
sources, but always from an Islamic perspective. Hence, for instance, the multiple
international agreements that the OIC has championed in matters related to human rights,
terrorism, education, and economy… Still, these initiatives have caused controversy, as in
the case of the texts about human rights (Islamic statements discussed herein) or the
adoption of covenants such as the Convention on Combating International Terrorism
approved in 1999
6
.
This last text is a good example of the assertions mentioned above: Article 1 (2) presents a
much-criticized definition of terrorism, namely
Any act of violence or threat thereof notwithstanding its motives or intentions
perpetrated to carry out an individual or collective criminal plan with the aim of
terrorizing people or threatening to harm them or imperilling their lives, honors,
freedoms, security or rights or exposing the environment or any facility or private
property to hazards or occupying or seizing them, or endangering a national resource,
6
In 1999, the OIC adopted “the Convention of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference on Combating
International Terrorism” (hereafter, “the OIC Convention”). The convention entered into force in 2002 after
the deposit of the seventh instrument of ratification in accordance with Article 40 of the convention. The
Convention contains two particular points of friction with general international law on terrorism. One is the
broad definition of terrorism and the second is the exemption of certain causes for terrorism which the OIC
endorses.
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or international facilities, or threatening the stability, territorial integrity, political
unity or sovereignty of independent States.
A description viewed as vague and labeled by doctrine as conducive to “serious danger of
the abusive use of terrorist prosecution against political opponents”. In Article 2, the
Convention exempts acts that are committed in “people’s struggle including armed struggle
against foreign occupation, aggression, colonialism, and hegemony, aimed at liberation and
self-determination” from terrorism. The OIC has pushed for this exemption to be included
in the international conventions against terrorism
7
. Along these lines, the Islamic Summit
held in Mecca in December 2005 approved the Ten-Year Action Plan (TYAP) to meet the
challenges facing Member States in the present millennium, including the promotion of
tolerance, modernization, trade, good governance and human rights in the Muslim world.
In light of the above, three very interesting features of the organization can be outlined.
First, OIC is the sole existing organization based on an identifying religious conception as
an element of unity among its Member States and in which Islam is the only common
denominator and the only source of identity and integration. In fact, Article II (A) (1) of the
OIC Charter stipulates that its prime objective is to “promote Islamic solidarity among
Member States”. Secondly, OIC is neither a regional body –its Member States are from
four different continents– nor a universal organization, since only the States that practice
Muslim faith can be granted membership. Thirdly, OIC takes a basically political stance on
the question of Palestine, consistent with the prevailing frame of mind that prevailed during
the Cold War, when the organization was established. Article VI (5) of the Charter
indicates that OIC will have its headquarters in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) until the liberation of
Jerusalem. And, finally, OIC can be considered the world’s second largest organization
after the United Nations, covering a geographical area of great strategic importance from an
international standpoint. An interesting detail in this connection is that the organization has
no provisions regarding the “expulsion” of a member, as it only envisages the possibility of
“suspension” or “provisional loss”. Actually, several Member States have been suspended
ever since the OIC was born, for instance, Sierra Leone in 1974, Burkina Faso in 1980 and,
recently, Syria.
2. Structure and specialized organs
Regarding its internal structure
8
, OIC consists of three bodies –two of them of a markedly
interstate nature– namely the Conference of Kings and Heads of State and Government,
7
During rounds of talks in the UN General Assembly on a convention on terrorism, proposed by India, the
OIC pushed for an amendment in line with Article 2 of the OIC Convention. Through this exemption the OIC
was pushing the Pakistan line on Kashmir, and the Pakistani president referred to the fighters in Kashmir as
“freedom fighters”, while the same fighters were referred to by India as “terrorists”.
8
See www.oic-oci.org. For a presentation of the structure and institutional functioning of the OIC see S.
KHAN, Reasserting International Islam: a Focus on the Organisation of Islamic Conference and Other
Islamic Institutions, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2001.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation in contemporary international society
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known as Islamic Summit Conference (Article IV of the Charter), the Islamic Conference of
Foreign Ministers (Article V of the Charter) and the Secretary-General of the
Organization. The former can be considered the supreme authority of the organization and
its most important body, since it lays down the strategies to fulfill the OIC’s objectives. The
second could be described as an executive organ in charge of implementing OIC’s policy
and adopting all resolutions and recommendations. Finally, the General Secretariat, located
in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), is elected by the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers and
entrusted with the task of representing the organization at international level. Throughout
history, several Conferences have made significant contributions to OIC’s development,
among others those held in Lahore (1974), Mecca (1981), Casablanca (1984), Kuwait
(1987) and Dakar (1991). This being said, it is worth pointing out that the OIC’s Charter
did not set up its own judicial organ from the very outset. It was not until the 5
th
Islamic
Summit –held in Kuwait in January 1987– that the Draft Statute of the International
Islamic Court of Justice (IICJ) was conclusively approved
9
.
Despite the fact that the Court is yet to become active for lack of ratifications
10
, its
significance and originality cannot be denied. As to its composition and functions, Article
3(a) of its Statutes establishes that it shall be composed of seven judges, each elected to a
four-year term and renewable only once. According to Article 4, these judges must be
Muslim nationals of high moral standards, Shar’iah jurists of recognized competence, and
experienced in international law. The jurisdiction of this organ, like other international
courts, would be twofold: contentious and advisory, pursuant to Articles 21 and 42 of the
Statute, respectively. As to the sources of law, Article 27 states that the Islamic Shar’iah
11
is the fundamental law of the Court and can only abide by general sources of international
law (treaties, customs, general law principles, and international jurisprudence) as the
second choice. This means that, for the first time in international law, a court would adopt
the Shar’iah as applicable to solve international disputes.
Regarding the functioning of the court, interesting scenarios began to take shape in
practice. For instance, if two Members States decided to solve a border-related problem in
this court, the judges would base their decisions on the sources of Islamic law: the Qur’an
9
See M. LOMBARDINI, “The international islamic Court of Justice: Towards and international islamic legal
system?”,Leiden Journal of International Law , vol. 14, September 2001, pp. 665 - 680.
10
Under Article 11 of the OIC Charter, 2/3 of the member states must ratify the statutes in order for the court
to become operative. So far, the statutes have been ratified by only a few member states.
11
There are two primary sources of sharia law: the precepts set forth in the Quranic verses (ayahs), and the
example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Where it has official status, sharia is
interpreted by Islamic judges (qadis) with varying responsibilities for the religious leaders (imams). For
questions not directly addressed in the primary sources, the application of sharia is extended through
consensus of the religious scholars (ulama) thought to embody the consensus of the Muslim Community
(ijma). Islamic jurisprudence will also sometimes incorporate analogies from the Quran and Sunnahthrough
qiyas, though Shia jurists also prefer reasoning ('aql) to analogy. See GÓMEZ GARCÍA, L., Diccionario de
Islam e islamismo, Espasa, Madrid, 2009.
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(the verbatim word of God) and the Sunnah (the revelation of God through the teachings
and practices of the prophet Muhammad). Should they fail to find a principle they could
apply to the dispute at issue, then they would have recourse to the secondary sources, that
is, the classic codes of international law. Interestingly enough, however, the Statute makes
no reference whatsoever to the school of religious law to be observed by the judges in court
(maliki
12
, hanafi
13
, shâfi‘i
14
, hanbali
15
), which could forebode legal difficulties.
In addition to these domestic organs, OIC relies on several specialized bodies: IDB,
ISESCO, ISBO and IINA.The Islamic Development Bank
16
(IDB) is the international
finance guild for the entire OIC. Whist offering services such as equity participation, non-
interest loans and lease facilities, which contribute to the promotion of social and economic
development within individual Member States and other Muslim communities throughout
the world, the Bank also supports technical cooperation between Islamic Countries.
Moreover, like the Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF), the Bank provides relief to Member
States that suffer natural and man-made disasters. The Islamic Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization(ISESCO)
17
was formally established by the Eleventh Conference
12
The Mālikī school is one of the schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. It was founded by
Malik bin Anas and it considers the rulings from ulema from Medina to be sunnah. Its adherents reside mostly
in North Africa, West Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, in parts of Saudi Arabia, Oman and many
middle eastern countries, and parts of India. The Murabitun World Movement also follows the Maliki school.
13
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhabs (schools of law) in jurisprudence (Fiqh) within Sunni Islam.
The Hanafimadhhab is named after the Persian scholar AbūḤanīfa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit (699 - 767CE /80 -
148 AH), a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu
Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani. As the predominant school in South Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the
Balkans and Turkey, the Hanafi school has the most adherents in the Muslim world The Barelwi and
Deobandi movements, the two largest Islamic movements in South Asia, are both Hanafi. See GÓMEZ
GARCÍA, L., op. cit., pp. 202-203.
14
The Shafi'I school of thought is one of the schools of jurisprudence within the Sunni branch of Islam,
adhering to the teachings of the Muslim Arab scholar of jurisprudence, Al-Shafi'i of the prestigious Quraysh
tribe. Originally part of the early Ahl al-Hadith and Athari movement, the mainstream of school is now
associated with the Ash'ari school of theology. The Shafi'i school is the dominant school of jurisprudence
amongst Muslims in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, the Palestinian territories, Jordan,
Egypt, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, the North Caucasus, Kurdistan and
Maldives. It is also practised by large communities in Saudi Arabia (in the Tihamah and Asir), Kuwait, Iraq,
the Swahili Coast, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan (by
Chechens) and Indian States of Kerala (most of the Mappilas), Karnataka (Bhatkal, Mangalore and Coorg
districts), Maharashtra (by Konkani Muslims) and Tamil Nadu. See GÓMEZ GARCÍA, L., op. cit., pp. 130-
131. AAVV., Compendio di Diritto Islamico, edizione giuridique Simone, Napoli, 2006, p. 29.
15
The Hanbali school is one the schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. The jurisprudence
school traces back to Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 855) but was institutionalized by his students. Hanbali
jurisprudence is considered very strict and conservative, especially regarding questions of theology. The
Hanbalischool of jurisprudence is followed predominantly in Saudi Arabia and Qatar as well as minority
communities in Syria and Iraq. The majority of the Salafist movement, though not all adherents, tend to
follow the Hanbali school. See GÓMEZ GARCÍA, L., op. cit., pp. 130-131.
16
See http://www.isdb.org/irj/portal/anonymous
17
See http://www.isesco.org.ma
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation in contemporary international society
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when Resolution nº. 2/11-C approved the Statute of this newly created institution. Its
headquarters are in Rabat, Morocco. ISESCO aims to promote cooperation among Member
States in the fields of education, science, and culture. In the case of education, the
organization recommends that Islamic ethics and values should be integrated in to the
syllabus. In the area of science, the use of modern technology and the development of
applied sciences are encouraged within the framework of Islamic ideals, whilst cultural and
educational exchanges are organized with a view to promoting world peace and security.
By encouraging cooperation between Member States in the field of broadcasting vis-à-vis
the exchange of radio and television programs among the broadcasting organizations of
these countries, ISBO (Islamic States Broadcasting Organization
18
) nurtures cooperation
among OIC Member States and also encourages them to come to terms with each other’s
religious and cultural heritage and social and economic progress. It also encourages
feelings of brotherhood among Muslim peoples with a view to uniting them in the
development of Islamic causes. More importantly, ISBO proclaims the principles of the
Islamic Da’wah (preaching of Islam) and promotes the teaching of Arabic and other
languages spoken in Member States.The International Islamic News Agency
19
(IINA) was
formally established by the Third Islamic Conference (Jeddah, March 1972). Its main
objective is to promote the exchange of information among news agencies in relation to
cooperation programs designed to enhance mutual understanding of political, economic and
social issues among Member States. It also aims to upgrade the professional standards of
the media in all Member States on the basis of Islamic values.
III.
OIC
AND THE INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION OF
H
UMAN RIGHTS
Human rights have become a topic of discussion that divides societies and affects the
policies developed by the governments of Islamic States and the international organizations
in which they participate. This division manifests itself in the drafts, projects and final texts
that private associations or public organizations have disseminated as proposals of human
rights in Islam. Some of them clearly come close to the rights recognized in the classic
universal texts of International Law, whereas others maintain that all rights, be they
individual or collective, must submit to Islam, breaking away from international
declarations that they only deem fit for the Western world’s secularized culture.
Accordingly, rather than human rights accepted and adopted by Islam as a whole, there are
only proposals made by ideologically committed sectors at variance with one another
20
. Be
that as it may, and any difference notwithstanding, the fact that human rights are captured
in Declarations of international Islamic organizations highlights their acceptance by
18
See http://www.isboo.org/
19
See http://www.islamicnews.org.sa/
20
BERGERS, M., Islamic Views on International Law, Hague Academic Press, The Hague,, 2008, pp. 105-
117.
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Muslim countries and their adaptation to both a variety of cultures and, especially, to the
need to bring ad usum institutions and rights into line with the idiosyncrasies of the Muslim
world. Islam’s most liberal wing concurs with the universal nature of human rights –which
they consider compatible with the main tenets of Shar’iah– and therefore reject the need to
draft lists of Islamic human rights that, in the final analysis, entail religion
21
-based
limitations and restrictions on international human rights.
Our study is focused on three texts put forward by OIC. The first one is the “Draft
declaration of fundamental human rights and duties in Islam” (1979), followed by the
“Draft document of human rights in Islam” (1981), and finally, the “Cairo Declaration on
Human Rights in Islam”, adopted on August 5, 1990 by the Nineteenth Islamic Conference
and held to be the ultimate proposal of Islamic Declaration.
The ideology that promotes and makes these Islamic declarations fruitful is the non-
extreme traditionalistic line. In other words, one that accepts human rights formulated in
the style of international texts provided they be subject to the religious law or Shar’iah,
whose rules and principles condition, qualify, regulate and limit the body of universal
human rights. In fact, the true basis of these rights is said to be addressed in the Shar’iah in
their most refined and flawless conception, which effectively reconciles faith and reason.
The result of this approach to Islam, as Mayer underscored, is a set of Declarations built
upon a mixture of international principles and standards and Islamic rules and concepts.
This explains why one of the most outstanding features of these Declarations is the
diversity of their formulation and the fact that their content is contingent on the individual’s
qualities, religion and sex. Consequently, we are faced with rights and duties that differ
depending as much on the individual’s gender as on whether or not he or she is a believer
(Muslim, Jewish, Christian, etc.)
22
.
1. Islamic Declarations on Human Rights: The Shar’iah as basis and boundary
As we have seen, the common denominator of the OIC Member States, beyond any ethnic,
linguistic or cultural diversity, is their people’s Muslim beliefs and Islam’s status as an
official state religion
23
. That is why, to some logical extent, Islam and the
21
For a comprehensive discussion on the resurgence of religion in law, please see HIRSCHL,
R.,Constitutional Theocracy, Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press 2010; KEPEL, G., The
Revenge of God: The Resurgence of Islam, Christianity and Judaism in the Modern World, Cambridge: Polity
1994. Also, CASANOVA, J.,Public Religions in the Modern World, Chicago University Press, Chicago,
1994.
22
For a interesting discussion about this sujet see MAHIOU, A., “Le Droit international on la dialectique de
la rigueur et la flexibilité. Cours Général de Droit International Public”, Recueil de Cours de l’Academie de
Droit international de La Haye, vol. 337, 2008.
23
For a comprehensive discussion about official state religion, please see AN-NA’IM, A.A., Islam and the
Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Sharia, Cambridge MA, and London: Harvard University Press
2008.
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Shar’iah’sprinciples, dictates and values are used as a point of reference to formulate
means of human rights protection. What scholars of OIC-approved texts do find definitely
surprising is how much they have made Islam dependent on the civil, political and social
rights laid down in international declarations.
The three aforesaid Declarations open with a profession of faith in Islamic dogmas and the
Shar’iah’s moral tenets, and this makes them lean, surprisingly, towards the theological
basis of the human rights doctrine and, at the same time, conceal their real origins in the
schools of thought of the Enlightenment and ideological liberalism
24
. The preambles to the
Second and Third Declarations suggest that people’s rights and liberties were enunciated by
Islam since its very inception and, therefore, their observance is a matter of necessity, both
ethical and religious. In fact, human rights in Islam are held to be superior to those
proclaimed by International Law inasmuch as they fulfill the mandates revealed by
God,and their commitment to spread Islamic concepts lies in the mission to help mankind
attend a true balance between faith and reason and overcome the materialistic nature of
today’s civilization. Underlying these Declarations, then, is the wish to constantly stress its
unswerving loyalty and orthodoxy to Islamic religion beyond any other considerations of
ethical or political convenience. Hence their leaning toward texts of a theological nature or
containing religious morality, which distinguishes them from and even challenge other
universal international declarations considered by some as Western ideological products.
This is somewhat contradictory if we bear in mind that the OIC Member States played an
active role in the drafting of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other
international texts on this topic
25
.
The divine basis of the rights recognized in every OIC Declaration is expressly asserted
therein
26
. In the preamble to the First Declaration (1979) we read the following: “... human
rights and duties in Islam are guided by imperative texts provided by the Creator (…) in
such a way that man shall not be able to infringe them...” And the Third Declaration (1990),
closely following the text of the Second Declaration (1981), emphasizes “... the universal
rights and fundamental liberties(stem from)inalterable divine rules contained in the Book of
God and transmitted to His Prophet to complete the preceding divine messages...”.This
implies religious punishment in case of infringement. The above Declarations state that the
24
TIBI, B., “Islamic Law/Shari’a, Human Rights, Universal Morality and International Relations”, Human
Rights Quarterly , vol. 2, 1994, pp. 277-299.
25
For a comprehensive discussion on the relativism and Human Rights see SALEM AZZAM. "Universal
Islamic declaration of human rights". The International Journal of Human Rights, vol. 2, Issue 3 Autumn
1998, pp. 102 – 112; HALLIDAY, F., "Relativism and Universalism in Human Rights: the Case of the
Islamic Middle East". Political Studies vol. 43, 1005, pp. 152–167 and GUTIÉRREZ ESPADA, C. (dir.),
Nosotros y el Islam, ed. Diego Marín, Murcia, 2012, pp. 119-129.
26
MOTILLA DE LA CALLE, A., “Las declaraciones de derechos humanos de organismos internacionales
islámicos”, en CIÁURRIZ, M.J.; GARCÍA-PARDO GÓMEZ, D.; LORENZO VÁZQUEZ, P.; ROSSELL
GRANADOS, J.; MOTILLA DE LA CALLE, A., (dir.), Islam y Derechos Humanos, Editorial Trotta,
Madrid., 2006, pp. 27-52.
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protection of these rights is an act of worship, so that any attack against them is forbidden
by religion
27
. From all this we can deduce that these rights are also subject to, and
conditioned on, God’s law.
Such a consequence –the subjugation of rights and liberties to the Islamic Shar’iah– is
found throughout the process of recognition of the rights included in the OIC Declarations.
From the standpoint of religious law, it represents the superiority of the divine law of the
Qur’an and the Sunnah, which conditions and restrains the divine laws created by human
legislators. This statement, shared by other religions in their approach to human rights, is
the key to understand the structure at the root of the Islamic Declarations we have studied:
they accept many international rights in their original terminology (the rights to life,
marriage, freedom of opinion and expression, education, religious freedom, work, physical
integrity, ownership...), except that their content is limited and modified as a function of the
content of the Shar’iahin its traditional conception. This is further noticeable in the fact that
the said Declarations fail to mention rights that belie specific rules of the Shar’iah, thus
limiting their exercise. This is the case, for instance, of the right to marriage, the granting of
legal capacity, parental rights to choose their child’s education, freedoms of opinion and
expression, religious freedom, intellectual/scientific/artistic freedom, freedom of
circulation, etc.In this way, Islamic law’s role as limit and basis of the rights recognized in
various Declarations is explicitly acknowledged by the assertion that “all rights and
freedoms stipulated in this document are subject to the provisions of Islamic law”
28
and the
remark that Islam is the only possible point of reference to interpret or clarify any
article
29
.Taking the aforesaid into account, there is no doubt that by uplifting religion to a
higher stage that restricts and regulates people’s rights, Islam’s Declarations make a clean
break from their recognition at international level, where religious notions are never
assumed as an element of human rights authentication. In conclusion, it is safe to say that
by making human rights contingent on Islamic law rather than on people’s intrinsic dignity,
the OIC Declarations end up distorting their recognition and exercise. The “cultural factor”
that in this case distinguishes human rights in Islam from those proclaimed at universal
level involves restrictions and limitations religionis causae bound to be rebuffed as
contrary to international standards
30
.
27
Article 13 of the Second Declaration (1981) and Articles 1 and 2 of the Third Declaration (1990).
28
Article 24 of the Third Declaration (1990) and Article 27 of the Second Declaration (1981).
29
Article 28 of the Second Declaration (1981) and Article 25 of the Third Declaration (1990).
30
Further more information seeTURAN KAYAOGLU, A Rights Agenda for the MuslimWorld: the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation's Evolving Human Rights Framework, University of Washington,
Tacoma, 2013.
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2. Rights recognized in OIC Declarations: disagreement and concurrence with
universal texts
The basic principle of equality is covered by Islam’s three Declarations, although a
distinction is made between equality in dignity –based on the idea that man is God’s
creation– and equality before the law, which gives rise to different rights and obligations
depending on the individual’s religion and gender. This is particularly so in the case of the
rights within the family, whose importance in Muslim society becomes apparent in the
stress that the Declarations lay on this social group. For instance, man’s and woman’s roles
in the family are clearly differentiated in the Declarations. According to Article 6 of the
Third Declaration (1990), the male is responsible for the support and welfare of the family,
and no mention whatsoever is made of the female. Another gender-related distinction, in
this case with religious roots, is marriage. The obstacles to marriage recognized in the
Declarations are different for men and women, with religion at the core of the problem
31
.On
the other hand, it is significant that all three Declarations regard as illicit to ban marriage on
grounds of race, color or nationality, but nowhere do they say anything about possible
limitations or prohibitions for religious reasons. Actually, the First Declaration (1979)
explicitly states that faith in God is a necessary condition and religious unity a requirement
in Muslim marriages (Article 9), which leaves the door open to religion-based legal
discrimination against marriage.
Additionally, the religious element is also present in the regulation of the right to life in its
every form: dependent and independent. Its proclamation is linked to the ban on the
permanent interruption of fertility, abortion and infanticide. Again, religious law is what
essentially puts a limit on the right to life, as stipulated in Article 2 of the Third Declaration
(1990): “It is prohibited to take away life except for a Shar’iah-prescribed reason. In this
connection, the right to safety from bodily harm is no less conditional, since it is the duty of
the State to safeguard it and it cannot be breached “without a Shar’iah-prescribed
reason”.Sensu contrario, death penalty and bodily harm legalized by the Qur’an or the
Sunnahare justified in the said Declarations.Other civil rights recognized by these Islamic
Declarations are also conditioned by religious law. There are many examples: people will
enjoy legal capacity in accordance with the Shar’iah, which stands out as a limitation to
freedom of opinion and expression. Likewise, freedom of information may not be
“exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of
Prophets”
32
; the right to seek asylum is not guaranteed if the request is motivated by an act
which Shar’iah regards as a crime; the right to free movement is respected within the
context of Islamic law; the right to own property and to enjoy the fruits of scientific,
literary, artistic or technical production are not protected if they go against Islamic law; and
31
A comprehensive comparative analysis of the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam and universal
rights is given by MAYER, A.E., ‘Universal versus Islamic Human Rights: A Clash of Cultures or a Clash
with a Construct?’, Michigan Journal of International Law 1993/1994, 307, pp. 308-402.
32
Article 22.3 of the Third Declaration (1990).
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the right to resort to justice is equally subject to Islamic law, as per Article 19.4 of the Third
Declaration (1990): “There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the
Shar’iah”.
The right to religious freedom, subject as it is to the harsh and unequivocal limitations that
protecting Islamic faith entails, deserves a separate analysis. What the SecondDeclaration
(1981) calls “right to freedom of worship”is followed by the prohibition of atheism,
unlawful proselytism –ascertained through the use of coactive means– and the prohibition
to take advantage of an individual’s poverty or ignorance to convert him to another
religion. Actually, religious conversion is absolutely forbidden to Muslims, as laid down in
Article 10 of theThirdDeclaration (1990): “Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature”. As far
as the civil rights recognized in the Declarations are concerned, it should be remembered
that no mention is made of two rights essential to the development of an individual’s social
personality: the right of assembly and the freedom of association for private or public
purposes. However, the texts include the political rights to participate in the administration
of public affairs, assume public office, and exercise control over the government, albeit
nothing is explicitly said about the democratic means and channels required by an election.
As to social, economic or cultural rights, the Declarations prescribe the rights to medical
care and social assistance, the right to work and the State’s obligation to safeguard people’s
guarantees and provide for their self-development in fair conditions. Yet, nowhere do they
say anything about the right to strike. Other rights based on and limited by the Shar’iah are
also recognized, namely the individual’s right to receive a decent burial and have his last
will respected after his death “...in accordance with the rules set out in the Qur’an and the
Sunnah
33
. The right to privacy in business and legitimate trade practices are also restricted
by express order of the Shar’iah: usury is absolutely prohibited.
Religious inspiration is especially apparent with regard to the right to education, which is
one of the fundamental rights granted to children and exercised mostly in the bosom of the
family. The aforesaid Declarations point out that the father “... is the worthiest man capable
of assuring the child’s education...”
34
, whereas the mother is assigned custody (hadana) or
material sustenance of the minor. The father has the right and obligation to choose the type
of education that he desires for the children in accordance with ethical values and the
principles of the Shar’iah. This religious aim of education is laid down in Article 9 of the
Third Declaration (1990), paragraph 1: “The State shall ensure the availability of ways and
means to acquire education and shall guarantee educational diversity in the interest of
society so as to enable man to be acquainted with the religion of Islam and the facts of the
Universe for the benefit of mankind...”. Paragraph 2 states that “... every human being has
the right to receive both religious and worldly education from the various institutions of
education and guidance ... and in such an integrated and balanced manner as to develop his
33
Article 26 of the Second Declaration (1981) and, in similar terms, Article 30 of the First Declaration (1979).
34
Article 11 of the First Declaration (1979).
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personality, strengthen his faith in God and promote his respect for and defense of both his
rights and obligations”
35
.
All of the above legalizes not only the teaching of Islamic religion at school but also the
teaching of every other religious subject in keeping with the principles and values of Islam.
Such is the task that Muslim States undertake to carry out in public education and the role
of the public institutions in relation to social life, which is governed by religious morality.
In this connection, Article 17.1 of the ThirdDeclaration (1990) states,“everyone shall have
the right to live in a clean environment, away from vice and moral corruption, that would
foster his self-development; and it is incumbent upon the State and society in general to
afford that right”. Imposing religious morality on society is also a right granted to
individuals. Article 22.2 of the ThirdDeclaration quotes an expression from the Qur’an that
says: “Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, propagate what is good, and
warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shar’iah.”
Understood literally, this precept empowers any Muslim to demand observance of religious
law in society if the relevant authority fails to do so.
Finally, these Declarations recognize people’s right to freedom and self-determination and
to exercise control over their wealth and resources and decry colonialism –an evil suffered
by most Muslim States– in categorical terms in the ThirdDeclaration (1990): “...
Colonialism of all types, being one of the most evil forms of enslavement, is totally
prohibited ... It is the duty of all States and peoples to support the struggle for the
liquidation of all forms of colonialism and occupation...” (Article 11.2).Nor is there in the
Declarations any definite prohibition on war, either defensive or offensive, for religious
reasons (jihad), even if somewhere in a Declaration we either find a strong denunciation of
any attack against other people to appropriate their wealth or natural resources or confirm
the acceptance of certain humanitarian norms in case of armed conflict.The Declarations
never mention any means to protect and safeguard the said recognized rights. Only in the
First Declaration (1979) reference is made to people’s right to “... employ any means
necessary to guarantee and protect these rights” (Article 5). Therefore, it is understood that
the effective protection of these rights is made subordinate to whatever mechanism the OIC
Member States envisages in their respective codes.
IV.
ROLE OF THE OIC IN THE CONFLICTS FACING THE ARAB
/
MUSLIM WORLD
The social movements and conflicts that Africa and the Middle East have suffered in the
last few years have brought about political changes and clashes of undeniable international
repercussion. Among others, the Iraqi War and the conflicts that took place in Somalia,
Libya,Yemen, Mali, and Syria come to mind.In these cases, the role of the international
35
SeeMOTILLA DE LA CALLE, A., “Las declaraciones…cit.,pp. 27-52.
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organizations has been (and still is) critical, as evidenced by the Resolutions of the United
Nations Security Council, which are not without controversy. Nonetheless, irrespective of
the stance taken by the UN and other Western bodies like the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO) or the European Union (EU), the role of regional organizations in
Member States –and especially the part played by OIC– that have been affected to a greater
or lesser extent by recent conflicts merits our full attention
36
. In this respect, we must bear
in mind that OIC has tried to spearhead the efforts to manage regional conflicts, which
explains why its attempts at mediating have been a regular feature of the disharmony we
have witnessed in Africa and the Middle East. In fact, OIC’s role has been recognized by
the UN, with which it has intensely cooperated since 1975, the year when OIC was
accepted as an “observer member” pursuant to Resolution 3369 of October 10
37
. Both
organizations have met at the highest level and extended these contacts to their specialized
agencies ever since, as unquestionably proved by Resolutions 61/49 of February 12, 2007;
63/114 of February 26, 2009; and 65/140 of April 5, 2011, all of which advocate mutual
cooperation to uphold international peace and security, foster free self-determination, and
promote fundamental human rights. There is also the report titled “Follow-up to the
cooperation between OIC and the United Nations” published by OIC itself
38
.
1. OIC and the conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa has seen two recent conflicts in which the religious factor has played a
key role, one in Somalia and another in Mali. State failure in Somaliain 1991 triggered a
civil war that claimed over a million lives and, together with the country’s political
instability, had considerable fallout worldwide, including the appearance of pirates in the
Gulf of Aden that seriously endangered international sea navigation
39
. This state of affairs
led the UN to intervene in the conflict in 1993, albeit with little political success. OIC, in
turn, tried to contribute to the peace process by establishing a “Contact Group”, but its
efforts were no more successful. Following the failure of these initiatives, the regional
scuffles escalated into a military intervention by Ethiopia in 2006. In this context, OIC took
part in the talks that ended up in August 2008 with the “Djibouti Peace Agreement”, signed
by the countries involved and a number of international organizations that attended the
process as observers. Moreover, OIC played a very important role in coordinating relief
efforts in the Horn of Africa, stricken by a drastic shortage of food in 2011. In fact, under
36
For a comprehensive discussion on the OCI and regional challenges see TADJDINI, A., “The Organisation
of Islamic Cooperation and Regional Challenges to International Law and Security”, Amsterdam Law Forum,
vol. 4, nº.2, pp. 36- 48.
37
Follow up Report on Cooperation between the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the United
Nations (UN), Organization of the Islamic Conference, Jeddah, September 2007. Vid. http://www.oic-
oci.org/english/conf/un-oic/OIC-UN_FOLLOW-UP_REPORT_rev3.pdf
38
For a interesting study about the rol of the OCI in the conflicts see SHARQIEH, I., “Can the Organization
of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Resolve Conflicts?”, Peace and conflict Studies, vol. 19, nº. 2,pp. 162-179.
39
MARTÍN MARTÍN-PERALTA, C., “2013: Somalia y el Cuerno de África en la encrucijada”, Documento
de Opinión IEEE, nº. 12, 2013, pp. 9-11.
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OIC supervision, many Muslim NGOs provided assistance to the Somali people to round
off the international effort. After two tours in the field, OIC alerted the world to the
pressing need to fight famine and decided to open an Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Mogadishu in charge of delivering food supplies to
affected areas. OIC’s outstanding involvement in the conflict is beyond any doubt, to the
extreme that since 2012 the organization has served as Somalia’s mouthpiece to report to
the international community about the situation in that country, which is still closely
monitoring.
In March 2012, Malian president Amadou Toumani Touré, a retired general who had led
national democracy in 1991, was overthrown by a military coup d’état that unleashed a
bloody conflict in which rebel Tuareg groups opposed to Mali’s government since the
1950s were actively involved. After closing the borders and establishing a military junta,
the pro-coup faction within the army justified their actions by saying that a firmer hand was
needed to deal with the Tuareg separatists. Tension between the new government and the
rebel ethnic group increased as a result, and grew even worse after the ousting ofLibyan
president Muammar al-Qaddafi, who had offered protection to the Tuaregsall through his
mandate but whose fall forced their tribes to return to Mali, where they linked up with
separatist movements in the northern part of the country. What followed was the emergence
of a self-proclaimed State –Azawad– that nowadays spreads over two thirds of the national
territory. In this sense, the "Islamization" of some Tuareg groups such as Ansar al - Charia
and its collaboration with jihadist groups like al - Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)
also played an important role in the conflict.
In September 2012, the Malian government officially askedthe United Nations to authorize
a military intervention in the area, a request leading up to Security Council Resolution 2085
of December 20, 2012 approving the deployment of the International Support Mission to
Mali to help the transitional government regain control over northern Mali. There had been
no plans for an intervention before the end of 2013, but on January 9 that year the Malian
authorities requested military assistance from France, which set off operation SERVAL
40
.
OIC’s position on this conflict has also been particularly interesting.On January 28, 2013
OIC Secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu condemned the Malian radical force’s
behavior, and has often urged action against the war and for dialogue to attain a political
settlement in Mali. Besides, he tagged the UN Security Council’s decision as hastyand
made public the Final Communiqué of the Islamic Summit held in Cairo in February 2013
that describes terrorism as contrary to “the values of tolerance, peace and moderation
advanced by noble Islam”.
40
Operation SERVAL is an ongoing French military operation in Mali. The aim of the operation is to oust
Islamic militants in the north of Mali, who had begun a push into the center of Mali. Operation Serval follows
the UN Security CouncilResolution 2085 of 20 December 2012.
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2. OIC and the conflicts in the Middle East
Countless conflicts have shaken the Middle East in the last few decades, so it would be
impossible to review OIC’s role in every one of them. Therefore, we will restrict our study
to some of the most recent cases: Iraq, Syria,and the never-ending Palestinian conflict.OIC
has been actively and permanently involved in the Iraqi situation. In the wake of the Gulf
War –waged between Iraq and an international coalition headed by the UN following the
invasion of Kuwait in August 1990– OIC adopted a Resolution in its 1997 Summit
Conference in Tehran condemning the attack against Kuwait and appealing for respect of
all UN resolutions on the matter. In this context, the organization considered that Iraq’s
aggression violated Article II(A) of the OIC Charter that lays down the principle of
solidarity among Member States.The whole situation recurred years later on the occasion of
the attack launched by a second coalition under US command. This time, at the Islamic
Summit Conference held in Putrajaya (Malaysia) on October 16 to 18, OIC issued a
Declaration reaffirming the value of the principles of self-determination, sovereignty,
independence and national integrity of the States. Additionally, the document stressed the
importance of the principle of non-intervention in Iraq’s internal affairs, openly
condemning any form of terrorism and calling upon all Member States to ratify the
Convention on Combatting International Terrorism, put forward by OIC itself.
With regard to Syria, OIC has played a crucial role, both taking steps for cooperation and
approving sanctions. In this connection, and in order to twist (Syrian president) Bashar al-
Assad’s arm, OIC seized upon the Islamic Summit held in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in August
2012, to suspend Syria’s membership in the organization
41
. The move had been previously
approved at a preliminary meeting in the Saudi city of Jeddah and even recommended
months before by the Arab League, and it was adopted despite Iran’s opposition, voiced by
that country all through a Summit billed as a showdown between Saudi Arabia –in favor of
isolating Syria diplomatically– and the Iranians, who accused Qatar, Turkey and Saudi
Arabia of arming the Syrian rebels. The Summit also rubber-stamped the so-called Mecca
Letter to promote Islamic solidarity, which at once censured human rights violations in
Syria and underlined the need to “preserve the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity”
of the Syrian nation, in light of rumors that the country might end up partitioned. At the
present time, OIC is playing a key role in mediation and cooperation for development. To
this end, the organization reached an agreement with the Syrian authorities in December
2013 to send humanitarian aid and a joint OIC-UN mission to Syria.
Finally, on the subject of OIC’s stance on the Palestinian situation, we will restrict
ourselves to offer a few short sentences, taking into account the complexity and duration of
this case. Unlike other conflicts, the question of Palestine captured OIC’s attention and
became paramount to the organization since its very inception. We must not lose sight of
41
SeeBERENGUER HERNÁNDEZ, F.J., “La organización de Cooperación Islámica suspende a Siria”,
Documento informativo, IEEE, nº. 52, 2012, p. 2.
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the fact that it was in the aftermath of the arson perpetrated against the Al-Aqsa Mosque in
Jerusalem on August 21, 1969, and precisely because of it, that the OIC was established.
Innumerable times throughout its history and that of the endless Arab-Israeli conflict, the
organization has made plainits rejection of the West Bank settlements, the boarding of the
French ship Dignité Al Karama, and the policy of demographic change and land
requisition… Besides, OIC was instrumental in the efforts leading up to the UN General
Assembly’s approval of Palestine as observer member and has made pressing appeals to the
international community to support the establishment of a an independent Palestinian State.
V.
C
ONCLUSIONS
By way of conclusion, it is worth pointing out that the role of international organizations of
a regional nature is becoming ever significant in the peace and conflict management
processes taking place in African and Middle Eastern countries. Even if there are many
regional international organizations operating in these badly affected continents, the OIC
has set the pace of the race to cope with the conflicts facing the Arab/Muslim world. The
reason for the creation of the OIC is often explained by pointing to the need for Muslim
solidarity following two events in recent history: the Arab loss of the Six Day War in 1967,
and the 1969 arson attack against the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a holy site in Sunni Islam. As a
result of these two incidents the OIC, we learn, was created to safeguard the interests of the
Muslim world. Its ability as mediator has been acknowledged as much by its Member
States as by the international community. Suffice it to mention the free-flowing relations it
has kept and still keeps with the United Nations, as is evident from their joint missions in
the Syrian conflict and the action OIC has undertaken together with regional organizations
such as the Arab League and the European Union. OIC’s leadership in the Muslim world
has become all the more noticeable in the last decade on account of a number of
circumstances, including a) its manifest independence from other regional organizations; b)
the criticism leveled at the UN Security Council for its discretionary attitude towards
certain international conflicts; and d) the decisions that it has adopted in spite of the
rivalries existing among its Member States over religion –Shiites vs. Sunnispolitics –
Qatar’s pretensions to regional leadership– or economics. As a result of all these
determining factors, OIC’s voice has become pivotal around the world, which explains why
various international organizations and even non-Muslim States like Russia have shown
great interest in the process to be granted OIC observer status or that China has signed
framework cooperation agreements with this organization.
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E
STUDIOS
I
NTERNACIONALES
(2014)
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M
EMBER
S
TATES OF THE
O
RGANISATION OF
I
SLAMIC
C
OOPERATION
STATE JOINED NOTE STATE JOINED NOTE
A
FGANISTAN
1969 Suspended 1980-1989 U
NITED
A
RAB
E
MIRATES
1971
A
LGERIA
1969 S
IERRA
L
EONE
1972
C
HAD
1969 B
ANGLADESH
1974 Pakistan recognized
Bangladesh at the start
of the 2nd summit in,
and subsequently
invited, to attend the
sumit.
E
GYPT
1969 G
ABON
1974
G
UINEA
1969 G
AMBIA
1974
I
NDONESIA
1969 G
INEA
-B
ISSAU
1974
I
RAN
1969 U
GANDA
1974
J
ORDAN
1969 B
URKINA
F
ASO
1975
K
UWAIT
1969 C
AMEROON
1975
L
EBANON
1969 C
OMOROS
1976
L
YBIA
1969 I
RAQ
1976
M
ALAYSIA
1969 M
ALDIVES
1976
M
ALI
1969 D
JIBOUTI
1978
M
AURITANIA
1969 B
ENIN
1982
M
OROCCO
1969 B
RUNEI
1984
N
IGER
1969 N
IGERIA
1986
P
AKISTAN
1969 A
ZERBAIJAN
1991
P
ALESTINE
42
1969 A
LBANIA
1992
S
AUDI
A
RABIA
1969 K
YRGYSZSTAN
1992
S
ENEGAL
1969 T
AJIKISTAN
1992
S
UDAN
1969 T
URKMENISTAN
1992
S
OMALIA
1969 M
OZAMBIQUE
1994
T
UNISIA
1969 K
AZAKHSTAN
1995
T
URKEY
1969 U
ZBEKISTAN
1995
Y
EMEN
1969 From 1990 as Republic of
Yemen united with
People’s Democratic
Republic of Yemen
S
URINAME
1996
B
AHRAIN
1970 T
ONGO
1997
O
MAN
1970 G
UAYANA
1998
Q
ATAR
1970 C
ÔTED
’I
VOIRE
2001
S
YRIA
1970 Suspended in August 2012
during the Syrian civil war
42
Palestine succeeded the seat of the Palestine Liberation Organization following the 1988 Palestinian
Declaration of Independence.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation in contemporary international society
- 21 -
O
BSERVER
S
TATES
STATE JOINED NOTE
N
ORTH
C
YPRUS AS
T
URKISH
C
YPRIOT
S
TATE
43
1979 Designation changed in 2004
B
OSNIA AND
H
ERZEGOVINA
1994
C
ENTRAL
A
FRICAN
R
EPUBLIC
1997
T
HAILAND
1998
R
USSIA
2005
O
BSERVER INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS
ORGANISATION
JOINED
NOTE
L
EAGUE OF ARAB
S
TATES
1975
U
NITED
N
ATIONS
1976
N
ON
-A
LIGNED
M
OVEMENT
1977
ORGANISATION OF AFRICANUNITY
1977
E
CONOMIC COOPERATION ORGANISATION
1995
43
The Turkish Cypriots of Cyprus became an OIC “observer community” in 1979 under the name “Turkish
Muslim community of Cyprus”. The 31st OIC Meeting of Foreign Ministers which met in Istanbul in June
2004, decided that the Turkish Cypriot Community (represented by the Turkish Republic of Northen
Cyprus).will participate in the OIC meetings under the name envisaged in the Annan Plan for Cyprus.
... The conference's goal is to promote Islamic brotherhood through the coordination of social, economic, scientific, and cultural activities. The meeting aims to remove racial segregation and injustice, particularly against Palestinians, under the banner of strengthening the battle of Muslims (Gutiérrez Castillo, 2014). Turkey is one of the members of OIC, with its president Erdogan, takes a chance in using the conflict between Israel and Hamas to position himself as an Islamic leader and earn political points at home. ...
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This study discusses about Organization of Islamic Cooperation members responds towards Israeli-Palestinian dispute. We all know that the conflict and tensions between Israel and Palestine will never go away. Both parties' actions continue to this day. There must be an underlying problem in this conflict that must be remedied for the sake of peace between the two sides. There are various consequences of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such as the humanitarian crisis that has occurred in Palestine in particular. Many individuals died because of the war that erupted during that period. Not only that, but there are also more factors that contribute to the continuation of this battle. In this study we will know about; (1) Response from the leaders of the Islamic world in this conflict; (2) Diplomatic channels or track that will be used to create peace in this conflict; (3) Diplomatic Law or rules.
... The main objective of organization of OIC to counter western aggression with one voice is not present and it proved toothless tiger to combat external conflicts. As well other matters, resolutions about Kashmir were passed and Indian brutality was condemned officially but practical decisions were not taken to counter it (Castillo, 2014). ...
... The main objective of organization of OIC to counter western aggression with one voice is not present and it proved toothless tiger to combat external conflicts. As well other matters, resolutions about Kashmir were passed and Indian brutality was condemned officially but practical decisions were not taken to counter it (Castillo, 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
Unified platform is guaranteed to collective efforts for mutual cooperation and prosperity. The mutual cooperation and collaboration bring stability and development among member countries. Internally, Muslim world is suffering under bad governance, corruption, malpractices, poverty, backwardness, ignorance, social injustices, unemployment, inequality, immoral values. The other are extremisms, terrorism, regional and territorial conflicts are with its full swing in most of the countries of the Islamic world. While, externally the western aggression, Islamophobia and anti-Islamist propaganda, Kashmir, Palestine and misbehave with Muslim minorities by the host countries are another challenges. Some other factors which increase distrust among them are internal sectarian and territorial rivalry, for example, both Iran and Saudi-Arabia have aggressive policy against each other as well as some materialistic and self-governing minded leadership have soft corner towards India, western countries as well as United States (US). Role of Organization of Islamic cooperation OIC in enhancing cooperation among Muslim countries is the dire need of current world by resolving their internal disputes, maintaining global peace and collective security. In this research qualitative techniques will be applied.
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İslam İşbirliği Teşkilatı, nüfusu itibariyle Birleşmiş Milletler’den sonra dünyadaki en büyük uluslararası kuruluş olmasına karşın, ekonomik açıdan benzerleri ile yarışamayacak durumdadır. Toplamda 57 ülkenin üyesi bulunduğu örgütün temel sorunu üye ülkelerin ekonomik gelişmişlikleri arasındaki farktır. Üye ülkelerin bir kısmı zengin doğal kaynaklara sahipken diğer önemli bir kısmı, yüksek işsizlik ve yetersiz üretim gibi sorunlar yaşamaktadır. Dolayısıyla bu anlamda farklı gelişmişlik düzeylerine sahip bu ülkelerin Avrupa Birliği ve benzeri yapılanmalar gibi ortak ekonomi politikaları üretmeleri kısa vadede mümkün gözükmemektedir. Keza örgüt içinde benzer gelişmişlik seviyelerine sahip ülkelerin de bu doğrultuda bir çaba içinde olmadıkları gözükmektedir. Ayrıca üye ülkeler arasındaki ticaret hacmi de potansiyelin çok altında kalmaktadır. Tüm bu durumların varlığı çalışmanın amacını ortaya koymaktadır. Çalışmanın amacı, beşeri ve doğal kaynaklar bakımından zengin olan İslam İşbirliği Teşkilatı’nın mevcut ekonomik yapısını incelemek ve taşıdığı potansiyellere rağmen istenen ölçüde başarı ortaya koyamamasının nedenlerini sorgulamaktır.
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As leis de família muçulmanas, que lidam com aspectos como casamento, divórcio, custódia de filhos, refletem normas sociais, culturais e religiosas dos papeis de gênero nas sociedades em que são inseridas. Objetiva-se apresentar e discutir os principais aspectos da intersecção entre gênero, sexualidade e Islã refletidos nas referidas leis, bem como a crítica feminista islâmica (desenvolvida no Oriente Médio e Norte da África a partir de 1990) aos discursos que legitimam práticas normativas para expressão da sexualidade. Ao observar os princípios que estruturam as leis de família muçulmanas é possível argumentar que existe um descompasso entre os de direitos das mulheres e os discursos religiosos que legitimam práticas normativas acerca do corpo feminino.
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Southern Thailand violent conflict, a civil war faced by Thailand Government against Pattani groups, has been lasted since 2004 without significant reconciliation.International organization, i.e., Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) has participated as the third actor striving for resolution. However, the conflict has been trapped in stagnancy. This study examines how three involving actors contributes to civil war duration. Third parties’ incapabilities, rebel fragmentation, and state’s power are the main reason why such a civil conflict could not reach a mutual agreement. Such conclusion is deduced based on qualitative data through two frameworks: Hourglass model and bargaining theory.
Universal Islamic declaration of human rightsRelativism and Universalism in Human Rights: the Case of the Islamic Middle East Las declaraciones de derechos humanos de organismos internacionales islámicos
  • Salem Halliday
  • Gutiérrez Espada
  • C Motilla De La Calle
  • A En
  • M J García-Pardo Gómez
  • D Lorenzo Vázquez
  • P Rossell Granados
For a comprehensive discussion on the relativism and Human Rights see SALEM AZZAM. "Universal Islamic declaration of human rights". The International Journal of Human Rights, vol. 2, Issue 3 Autumn 1998, pp. 102 – 112; HALLIDAY, F., "Relativism and Universalism in Human Rights: the Case of the Islamic Middle East". Political Studies vol. 43, 1005, pp. 152–167 and GUTIÉRREZ ESPADA, C. (dir.), Nosotros y el Islam, ed. Diego Marín, Murcia, 2012, pp. 119-129. 26 MOTILLA DE LA CALLE, A., " Las declaraciones de derechos humanos de organismos internacionales islámicos ", en CIÁURRIZ, M.J.; GARCÍA-PARDO GÓMEZ, D.; LORENZO VÁZQUEZ, P.; ROSSELL GRANADOS, J.; MOTILLA DE LA CALLE, A., (dir.), Islam y Derechos Humanos, Editorial Trotta, Madrid., 2006, pp. 27-52.