The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) conducted an extraordinary summit December 7-8, 2005 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The session provided the 56 nation intergovernmental organization — representing over a billion of the world’s Muslims — the opportunity to refocus the OIC role in confronting challenges and crises. About 40 heads of state represented their countries at the session, the first since the OIC met for the a regular triennial meeting in October 2003. This extraordinary session was convened in response to a call from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
As Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah occupies a special place of leadership in the Islamic world. The role Saudi Arabia plays in shaping the course of the OIC as an organization and in the Muslim world in general was summed up by Bernard Dunn in an interview with GulfWire: “Leadership in the Islamic world is diffused, but if there could be said to be a symbolic seat for the center of Islam, it would be Saudi Arabia, because of its custodianship of the two holy mosques, Mecca and Medina.. ..Saudi Arabia and the head of state of Saudi Arabia will continue to be where the Islamic world turns to for guidance, leadership and defense of Islamic interests.” This leadership role is but one of the areas where the United States derives benefits from its close partnership with Saudi Arabia.
The 3rd Extraordinary Summit concluded with agreement on an action plan to move the OIC forward in the face of numerous challenges. We are pleased today to present reports from Arab News on the summit results as well as links to the Mecca Declaration and other summit documents and press reports (below).
Summit Gives Hope to the Muslim World
P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News
JEDDAH, 10 December 2005 — The extraordinary Islamic summit in the holy city of Makkah was a resounding success as it approved a 10-year action plan for the overall development of OIC member countries and gave the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims a new hope about a bright future.
Unlike the previous summits of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Makkah summit was well prepared and presented a future-looking agenda for the Muslim world. It also wanted a complete facelift of the organization in order to play an effective role on the world stage.
The 10-year action plan focuses on reforms and human rights and urges the member states to adopt a united stand on all issues at international forums. It has given the OIC secretary-general more powers and additional financial resources to carry out his mission.
The progressive action plan calls for greater political participation, equality, freedom and social justice for people in OIC countries, and it demands transparency and an end to corruption. It called for cooperation of member countries to achieve amicable settlement of regional conflicts.
The summit authorized the board of governors of the Islamic Development Bank to take necessary steps to increase the bank’s capital and strengthen the International Islamic Organization to Finance Trade. The board is also instructed to set up a special fund to fight poverty as well as to study prospects of either reducing or writing off the debts of certain deserving governments owed to the member states.
Before the summit, a group of leading intellectuals and scholars met in Makkah and presented a new vision for the Muslim world. They stressed the fact that the thoughts and energies of Muslims should be directed toward formulating answers rather than repeating questions. What is needed is a change motivated by and within the Islamic world and not imposed from outside.
“The new vision presented by the scholars was designed to call upon the member states to radically reform their international organization with a totally new mandate,” said 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.
The Makkah summit and its main architect, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, drew applause from Saudis as well as expatriates. According to Abdullah Omar Naseef, former deputy chairman of the Shoura Council, the summit was a big success. “It has presented a number of ambitious and forward-looking programs for the renaissance of the Islamic Ummah,” he said.
The summit has taken concrete steps to strengthen the OIC. “For the first time, we hear the OIC secretary-general talking in a new language, explaining the weaknesses and emphasizing the need for change in order for the OIC to play an effective role on world stage,” he said.
Naseef hoped that the secretary-general would follow up implementation of the decisions taken by the summit.
Abdul Ilah Saati of King Abdul Aziz University said it was the most successful OIC summit in terms of attendance and adoption of vital resolutions such as the 10-year plan, the firm stand against terrorism and the call to reform school curriculum. “I have not seen such resolutions in previous summits,” he added. He said the summit was one of the biggest achievements of King Abdullah.
Ali Hekami, a journalist who covered the summit, attributed the success to non-indulgence in thorny political issues.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, however, said the summit had discussed issues such as Palestine, Iraq and Kashmir.
Badr Olayan, director general of the Islamic Education Foundation in Al-Hamrah, said he was satisfied with the summit’s resolutions. “I believe if our leaders continue to hold such meetings in order to solve our problems they would have tremendous impact,” he said.
Olayan emphasized the importance of collective decision and action by OIC countries. “Individual action will not be enough and will be very weak,” he pointed out. He said all member countries should follow the decisions taken by the majority.
He said the whole Muslim world would soon enjoy the result of the Makkah summit.
Businessman Khaleel Bahadur praised the resolution calling for increasing trade between OIC states by 20 percent in 10 years.
Abdul Rahman Faqeeh, a well-known Makkah businessman, called upon OIC leaders to establish a permanent exhibition center for the products of member countries in the holy city.
Mustafa Hashim, editorial assistant of “Muslim Youth”, published by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, commended the king for his initiative that resulted in the 10-year plan, which includes programs to cultivate the spirit of moderation among Muslims and lead the Ummah on the path of modernization through science and technology.
In his comment, Saifudeen Thassim, assistant manager of the Samba Financial Group, made a pointed reference to the 10 fundamental principles outlined by Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi. He said the Malaysian model called for harnessing the resources of the OIC countries for the development of science and technology in the member countries. Another important aspect of the Malaysian model plan, he said, is increasing transparency and accountability among the member countries. He predicted that this would go a long way in promoting good governance and combating corruption, which is endemic to some of the member countries.
“The proposals were really encouraging, but they need the right Islamic spirit for effective implementation,” said Habib Badr, a freelance journalist.
— With input from Mohammed Rasooldeen and Galal Fakkar
OIC Action Plan Ordered
P.K. Abdul Ghafour & Abdul Maqsood Mirza, Arab News —
JEDDAH, 11 December 2005 — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has instructed Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal to meet with OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu here today to set out a working program to implement the Makkah summit resolutions.
The quick order from King Abdullah, the main architect of the extraordinary summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, proves that he was serious when he said the Makkah summit would open a new chapter in the history the Islamic nation.
The two-day conference, which was attended by most heads of state of the 57-member OIC, approved a 10-year action plan for the overall development of OIC countries and sought a complete facelift of the organization in order for it to play an effective role on the world stage.
According to Atta Al-Mannan, spokesman of the Jeddah-based organization, OIC officials have already started discussions with the Islamic Development Bank on establishing a fund to fight poverty as part of efforts to carry out the summit’s resolutions. He said expert committees would identify the priorities among the resolutions and work out an implementation timeline.
Al-Mannan said it would take time to realize the results of the 10-year action plan. “The restructuring of the organization will also take time as it involves changing the OIC Charter,” he said.
Meanwhile, the king launched seven health projects, including a cardiac center, a college of nursing and medical sciences and a bone marrow transplant unit at King Abdul Aziz Medical City here yesterday.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeea, executive director for the National Guard health department, said the projects would cost SR300 million. He said the king had approved a national family security program at the department.
During the inaugural ceremony, Abdullah said the new health facilities would serve Saudis, expatriates and all Muslims.
“These projects are part of efforts to build a modern state, which was inaugurated by King Abdul Aziz, the founder of the Kingdom,” the king said.
The new projects at the medical city includes outpatient clinics, expansion of the emergency ward, the operation rooms, Princess Noura bint Abdul Rahman Al-Faisal Cancer Center and a medical unit to treat burns, Rabeea said.
Reprinted with permission of Arab News.
Organization of Islamic Conference Summit Begins – SUSRIS
Way to go – Editorial – Khaleej Times
Muslim leaders warn of ‘crisis’ – BBC
Arab press hails Islamic summit ‘unity’ – BBC
OIC Sets up Counter-Terrorism Unit – Zaman
Muslim Leaders Pledge Crackdown on Extremism – Fox News
Islamic leaders unveil action plan to rescue a ‘nation in crisis’ – Guardian (UK)
We Can’t Expect Others to Solve Our Problems, Says OIC Chief – Arab News
King Abdullah opens OIC summit with call for unity, tolerance – Saudi Embassy
Organization of the Islamic Conference Profile (SUSRIS)
OIC Summits History (SUSRIS)
OIC 3rd Extraordinary Summit (2005) Mecca Declaration (SUSRIS)
OIC 3rd Extraordinary Summit (2005) King Abdullah Statement (SUSRIS)
OIC 3rd Extraordinary Summit (2005) Secretary General’s Report (SUSRIS)
OIC 3rd Extraordinary Summit (2005) Communiqué (SUSRIS)