The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation: Defined – for Better and Worse - by Its Religious Dimension

18-09-2013

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is an intergovernmental organisation with a strong religious element that regroups 57 Muslim or predominantly Muslim member states. Its priorities are promoting the interests of Muslim communities across the world and fighting Islamophobia, especially in the Western world. The OIC has a loose parliamentary arm, the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States (PUIC), based in Tehran. The PUIC has a rather limited role and low visibility, as it merely promotes meetings and dialogue among the parliaments of OIC members and encourages the exchange of parliamentary experiences and best practices. In June 2013, the OIC inaugurated a Permanent Mission Office to the EU in Brussels to increase cooperation with the EU. The EU-OIC agenda has included issues related to fighting intolerance and promoting interreligious / intercultural dialogue, as well as human rights and humanitarian assistance. A number of other sensitive issues, such as the rights and protection of Christian and other religious minorities in Muslim countries, have not yet been addressed. Some observers have suggested that the OIC may become more conservative vis-à-vis human rights after January 2014, when a new Secretary-General from Saudi Arabia takes the helm of the organisation.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is an intergovernmental organisation with a strong religious element that regroups 57 Muslim or predominantly Muslim member states. Its priorities are promoting the interests of Muslim communities across the world and fighting Islamophobia, especially in the Western world. The OIC has a loose parliamentary arm, the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States (PUIC), based in Tehran. The PUIC has a rather limited role and low visibility, as it merely promotes meetings and dialogue among the parliaments of OIC members and encourages the exchange of parliamentary experiences and best practices. In June 2013, the OIC inaugurated a Permanent Mission Office to the EU in Brussels to increase cooperation with the EU. The EU-OIC agenda has included issues related to fighting intolerance and promoting interreligious / intercultural dialogue, as well as human rights and humanitarian assistance. A number of other sensitive issues, such as the rights and protection of Christian and other religious minorities in Muslim countries, have not yet been addressed. Some observers have suggested that the OIC may become more conservative vis-à-vis human rights after January 2014, when a new Secretary-General from Saudi Arabia takes the helm of the organisation.