Monday, December 26

Walk the 'Talk'

The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) recently held a summit at Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Set up with a purpose to "strengthen solidarity and cooperation among Islamic States in the political, economic, cultural, scientific and social fields", it is the only religion based inter-governmental body in the world. Its formation in 1969 raised quite a few doubts, but the Mecca Summit seems to attempt to falsify those and present a new face of the OIC to the world.

The new OIC according to General Mussharaf will be a "dynamic and forward looking" one. The Saudi-US Relations Information Service article elaborates upon the new look of the OIC :
According to OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, “A new OIC based on the principles of transparency, accountability, effectiveness, flexibility and pro-activeness must take the initiative to deal with the urgent problems of our day and age
.” A new OIC will have a more comprehensive and larger scope of activities. These activities include monitoring, coordinating, agenda-building, advocacy and raising awareness about such crucial issues as conflict prevention and management, minority affairs, disaster relief, policy harmonization, economic and commercial development, science and research, education and cultural issues, women’s and children’s rights, preventing extremism of all kinds, and easing religious, sectarian and ethnic tensions through the guidance of scholars and leaders.

If the OIC is sincere in its 'talk' and does actually abide by its above mentioned plans, then it could definitely serve to decrease the suspicions the non-Muslim world has about Islam and Islamic countries. It might dissuade the scores of youth falling prey to the brainstorming of the Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations from straying away and wasting their lives and consequentially aid the 'war against terror'. It might help being in hope and prosperity to the worn-torn States in the Middle East. It might, in short, help usher in a period of peace for the entire world.

The Mecca summit also opened fresh discussions about 'Islam Hadhari' which mean 'Civilisational Islam' and connotes the renewal, reform and revivalism of substance of form in the Muslim world. Said to be basically a Malaysian concept it would show Islam "as a religion of enlightenment, peace, tolerance, development" according to the Malaysian Prime Minister Badawi. Though certain sections feels that it is an attempt to pacify the West and apologize for perceived Islamic threats, the PM feels otherwise. He explains that it would be a "guide for more moderate vision of Islam that focuses on economic and technological development, social justice and religious tolerance." The concept as explained here is definitely very optimistic and forward looking.

If one is to believe the leaders of the OIC to follow their decision and also be guided by Islam Hadhari, I think it wouldn’t be long before the 'war on terror' becomes history.

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