Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC): UPSC Notes

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, previously known as the Organization of The Islamic Conference is an international organisation of Muslim countries. It is the second-largest intergovernmental body next to the United Nations. It plays an important role in international politics and is hence, important for the UPSC exam, especially in the International Relations segment.

OIC – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

Overview of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states, with a collective population of over 1.8 billion as of 2015 with 53 countries being Muslim-majority countries. The organisation states that it 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”.

The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union. The official languages of the OIC are Arabic, English, and French.

OIC Details

  • OIC was established on the 25th of September 1969 when an Islamic Conference took place with 24 members. The catalyst that led to this conference was a fire on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
  • The OIC was officially founded in 1972.
  • It is headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
  • It has 57 members spread over 4 continents.
  • Its official languages are Arabic, English and French.
  • The membership spans roughly 1.81 million people.
  • The organisation was set up to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslims in the world and also to promote international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
  • OIC expresses solidarity with conflict-hit Muslim regions such as Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Bosnia, as well as with the peoples of the Turkish Cypriot state, Kosovo and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • There are OIC permanent delegations to the UN and the EU.
  • The OIC has many organs and universities under its wing.

OIC Members

  • There are 56 members in the OIC today. 56 of them are in the UN as well.
  • Pakistan is a founding member.
  • Palestine is also a member of the OIC (it is not a member of the UN).
  • Not all members are Muslim-majority ones although they have a significant Muslim population. (E.g. Countries in West Africa and South America).
  • Observer states:
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    • Central African Republic
    • Northern Cyprus (Turkish Cypriot State)
    • Thailand
    • Russia
  • Observer International Organisations:
    • NAM
    • UN
    • League of Arab States
    • African Union
    • Economic Cooperation Organisation.

Secretary Generals of OIC

The below table gives details about the Secretary Generals of the OIC ever since its inception:

Secretaries-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

Name Country of origin Took office Left office
Tunku Abdul Rahman Malaysia 1970 1974
Hassan Al-Touhami Egypt 1974 1975
Amadou Karim Gaye Senegal 1975 1979
Habib Chatty Tunisia 1979 1984
Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada Pakistan 1984 1988
Hamid Algabid Niger 1988 1996
Azeddine Laraki Morocco 1996 2000
Abdelouahed Belkeziz Morocco 2000 2004
Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu Turkey 2004 2014
Iyad bin Amin Madani Saudi Arabia 2014 2016
Yousef Al-Othaimeen Saudi Arabia 2016 Current

Goals of the OIC

According to its charter, the OIC aims to preserve Islamic social and economic values; promote solidarity amongst member states; increase cooperation in social, economic, cultural, scientific, and political areas; uphold international peace and security; and advance education, particularly in the fields of science and technology.

India and OIC

India had expressed its desire to be a member in the OIC during its formation in 1969. But this was bitterly opposed by Pakistan. India has a significant minority population of Muslims. But Pakistan’s opposition to India’s entry has prevented it from being a part of the body. Pakistan also argues that India’s entry will violate a rule of the OIC that a state that wished to be a part of the OIC should not have conflicts with any member-state.

For more on India and OIC and recent developments thereof, click on the link below:

OIC- India’s Participation [UPSC Notes for GS II]

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