Organisation of Islamic Cooperation: What’s the Point?

Mr. Li Huaxin, Ambassador of Beijing to Riyadh, underscores China's friendship to Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Mr. Li Huaxin, Ambassador of Beijing to Riyadh, underscores China's friendship to Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Did you know? According to the mission statement of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), it is “the second largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents.” The organization calls itself the “collective voice of the Muslim world.” Yet, when the ummah cries out in pain, the OIC is still silent.

From Burma to Kashmir, Syria and Palestine, Muslims are being butchered, women violated, and homes burnt and seized. While the OIC claims it exists to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world,” the majority of us have probably forgotten the organization exists.
Kashmir hasn’t seen peace and harmony since 1947, when they were promised self-determination by the United Nations, only to fall under the brutal oppression of Hindu nationalists in India. The OIC hopes to see the situation resolved in 2025, at the latest, along with Syria, Palestine and Iraq and other countries.

The OIC did find time to issue a statement regarding the overt genocide occurring against Muslims in Burma, but only on the sidelines of a September technology conference in Kazakhstan.

But while the Holy Quran states that “oppression is worse than slaughter”, the OIC hasn’t said anything meaningful about Xinjiang since 2015. In China, Muslims of Uighur and Kyrgyz descent are being forced to surrender their prayer mats, Holy Qur’ans, religious texts and anything else in their possession that culturally identifies them with Islam, including clothing. Headscarves were already restricted and at least one woman was arrested for allegedly promoting their use.

Thousands of Uighur Muslims are now housed in a vast network of Socialist re-education camps indefinitely, according to Radio Free Asia, for crimes like hearing a sermon at a wedding, for which the men in the room are now in camps. Other offenses include returning from Hajj, the lslamic pilgrimage, and studying abroad at the renowned Al-Azhar University in Cairo.

No objections, OIC?

One religious teacher, Hebibulla Tohti, was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison on three counts, “teaching religion to Uyghur students in Egypt without permission from the Chinese authorities…emphasizing the distinct achievements of the Uyghur culture in his dissertation paper… and attending a major religious conference in Saudi Arabia in 2015 without permission from the Chinese authorities,” according to RFA.

Although based in Saudi Arabia, it doesn’t appear the OIC will speak out on Mr. Tohti’s behalf – not even regarding the nature of the 2015 conference held there.

The last time Xinjiang was tabled by the OIC was in 2016. The topic? Well, according to the press release, they sought the implementation of “China’s plans for a modern Silk Road economic belt in the country’s northwest,” i.e., Xinjiang. Given that Uighurs are denied job opportunities, which are given to Han Chinese immigrants to the region, it’s doubtful that the Muslims in Xinjiang will profit from such a venture. The OIC probably will, though.

To the “voice of the Muslim world:” appeal to China, on behalf of the Muslims being crushed by them. Demand their basic fundamental religious rights to pray, read Holy Qur’an, fast, perform pilgrimage and study are restored! Uighurs have settled in Pakistan, Canada, the United States and your own country of Saudi Arabia, peacefully. Why ignore them?

Whose side are you really on?