Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)

Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)

General information:

       The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the international organization of Islamic states, currently consists of fifty-seven member states spread over four continents, that is, Asia, Europe, Africa and South America, thus, it is the largest international organization in the Muslim world with the significant roles in the world stage. The OIC was established in May 1971 upon a decision of the first summit of 35-Muslim nation’s leaders, taking place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco on September 22-25, 1969. The establishment of the OIC was initiated by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and King Hassain of Morocco with the main objectives not only to create solidarity and collaboration of Islamic Ummah based on the idea of Pan-Islamism, but also to protect and promote Muslim interests.

       In addition to the member states of the OIC, there is the Observer Status which belongs to four states, that is, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Central African Republic, Thailand and Russia. Besides, Muslim communities in various countries, such as Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus under Turkey and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the Philippines, are the observer members of the Muslim Communities and Minorities.

The important mechanism of the Organization of the Islamic Conference:

       1. The Islamic Summit Conference is held in every three years. The chairman of the Summit in 2008 was Senegal and the next chairman goes to Egypt.

       2. Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) is held in every year. The next meeting, the 37th Council of Foreign Ministers in 2010, will be held in Kazakhstan.

       3. The General Secretariat is the administrative office of the organization and Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu of Turkey is the Secretary General taking office in January 2005 with renewable to 2012. The office was located in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a temporary office and the permanent office will be established in Jerusalem after the liberation of Al-Aqsa Mosque from Israel.

The importance of the OIC:

       In the international politics, the OIC is the most significant multilateral stage of the Muslim world with one-third of the member states of the United Nations (UN) and over twenty international organizations, including the UN, as observer members.

       In terms of the Islamic religion, the Organization is the only inter-governmental organization established based on the Islamic Solidarity.

       In the economic issue, the group of Islamic countries is one of the most important energy sources, labor markets and exporting countries. At present, there is attempt to integrate their economies by establishing the Islamic Common Market as well.

The cooperation between Thailand and the OIC:

       - The education development for Muslim-Thai people: The Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the specialized organization of the OIC, subsidizes and loans the construction of private Islamic schools in Thailand, including continuously gives scholarships for Muslim-Thai students to study in Thailand.

       - Education, science and culture: Thailand participates in the Islamic Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), one of the specialized organizations of the OIC, as the Observer Member in March 2007.

       - Trade: The Thai Islamic Trade and Industrial Association is the member of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI). The ICCI signed the Memorandum Of Understanding with the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (OSMEP) of Thailand in 2007 to cooperate in SMEs trade and industry promotion, particularly halal food, jewelry and accessory and fashionable products.

       - The humanitarian aids: The IDB donated Tsunami victims for $180,000 thru the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), Muslim leaders, heads of the Muslim communities in the damaged southern provinces of Thailand.

       - The technical and academic cooperation: In 2007, Thailand operated the project to help the OIC member states in the Bird Flu prevention and resolution or organized the operating meetings in Bangkok and Cairo.

Middle East Division, December 2013