It’s about almost 50 years ago, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (O.I.C) was formed. An organization representing the population of over 1.8 billion with 53 out of 57 being Muslim countries, reached on a consensus to become the collective voice of the Muslim World and works to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim World following International peace and harmony.
Those were the days when a ray of hope emerged for the Muslim Ummah to become a single body under the united leadership of several Muslim countries. Oi- rich countries to small countries with several newly born, all got united to provide a better future to the Muslim Ummah.
Who led the Muslim World and when?
The biggest question at that time was who will lead the consensus? And that was about who will lead the Muslim World? The largest Muslim populated country Indonesia will lead or oily rich Saudi Arabia? The military power Pakistan or the Post-Ottoman wound retail Turkey? And by leading means, a country with a foremost voice to head O.I.C.
In a broader scenario, there haven’t been any specific or formal country claims to be the leader of O.I.C. However, time to time, there has always been a country who seems to be leading the Muslim World with its unprecedented economic and diplomatic value in the current World.
The 1967 Arab/Israel War
In 1967, just 2 years before the creation of O.I.C, a war had erupted between a Jewish State Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt (known at the time as United Arab league). It was the third Arab/Israel war within a span of 20 years. Egypt and its neighboring countries consisting of Syria and Jordan had suffered appropriate damage.
Following the end of this war in the month of June, the Khartoum Conference was convened in September 1967. This was the first Arab Summit to be held after the end of third Arab/Israel War. This conference was important for a several reasons. First, the Arab leaders agreed to unite their political efforts on the International and diplomatic level to eliminate the method of War and to force Israeli forces to withdraw from Arab occupied lands. Second, the King Faisal of Saudi Arabia announced the substantial financial assistance to the front-line states (that have been involved in the war). Third and foremost, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia came out as the only single country to have balls to lead the Muslim World (mostly the Arab Countries). And this was due to several reasons :
- The King Faisal of K.S.A encouraged other countries such as Libya and Kuwait to join in the offer to give financial assistance to the front-line countries.
- Also, this conference underscored some of the constants of Saudi Arabia’s stand on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Moreover, it was decided that the Kingdom wouldn’t recognize the state of Israel as long as the holy sites of Muslims in Jerusalem were under Israeli control.
- Despite the strong rejection of K.S.A with any kind of negotiations with Israel, diplomatic and political efforts were not ruled out. Also meanwhile, the military force was not seen as the ideal and exclusive method for liberating the occupied Arab states.
- As the kingdom has never been a front-line state; neither it had any military confrontation with Israel not it wants directly.
Not only this, even in the 1970’s, the Saudi Arabia invested heavily to put its weight behind improving the Syrian and Egyptian military capabilities. This led the K.S.A to form a coordination triangle with Egypt and Syria, forging countries to consulted on strategically and military issues.
And it was due to this muscle, this trio produced one of the most successful military campaigns that the Arabs have ever launched against Israel. Furthermore, the Kingdom led other Arab oil producers in imposing an oil embargo on the United States and other countries for their support to Israel.
The Saudi Arab under King Faisal was undoubtedly the leader of the O.I.C/Muslim World for the late 20th Century. However, it couldn’t go on further with this legacy due to the shift in the geopolitics of the Middle East.
The Inevitable Afghan War
In the early decade of 70’s, Saudi Arab was the only ultimate leader of the O.I.C. But the circumstances couldn’t remain the same for a long time. Meanwhile in 1975, the influential, as well as the popular leader of the Muslim Ummah of that time, Saudi’s King Faisal, had been assassinated by his nephew Faisal Bin Musaid.
With that debacle, the path to the leadership of the O.I.C darkened again. Then in the late 70’s, with the Soviet Union making a solid presence in Afghanistan by installing a self-backed govt there, raised a cloud of concerns to the Super Power America.
To restrict the rising power in the form of Soviet Union, the United States had to seek a plan. With Saudi Arabia as its ally in one hand, the USA look forward for another. And it couldn’t be any other than the Islamic Republic of Pakistan who shared a border with the battleground of that moment Afghanistan.
Pakistan, a country, none before had now been become the formal ally of the United States of America followed by Saudi Arabia. Not only the Muslim countries of that time, but the whole World was then looking closely to the Pakistan. Pakistan by every mean, was going to feature as the leader of the O.I.C.
Pakistan stands with America till the withdrawal of the Soviet troops. What was the pros and cons of the role in Afghan War is a different topic, but one has to admit that Pakistan put the future of its own people at a large stake.
The First Atomic Country
After the end of brutal Afghan-Soviet War, a lot of things had been changed. A change that occurred within the Soviet Union and Afghanistan wouldn’t even left Pakistan from its epitome.
Since after the active role of Pakistan during the Soviet-Afghan War, Pakistan then، was ranked among the U.S important allies.
However,This relationship faced a severe blow, when Pakistan announced to test its nuclear missiles in 1998, in order to answer its neighbor but arch-rival India.
This was no less than a shock for the Western Countries including Pakistan’s important ally America. As this was the time too, when a campaign backed by western countries، to abolish nuclear bombs was undergoing.
Among all this, the greatest side of all this scene was the Pakistan’s power to convince the World what it is capable of. In addition, this news was no lesser than good news for the Muslim countries as Pakistan became the only country with having Atomic Missile.
Since the creation of Pakistan, a lot of states believed that it will enlighten a path for the Muslim World. The geographical importance of Pakistan in the region, along with its ideology and capabilities ranked Pakistan as topmost country to lead the race of Muslim World.
No Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt or Turkey… it was Pakistan who was supposed to be the leader and an important country of the Muslim World.
Who is Leading the Muslim World?
The Muslim World of today is facing one of the greatest turmoil of the history. Let it be in the form of development, innovation or prosperity or terrorism, the Muslims of today are in deep trouble. The question of the past, in now concerning again and again. Who is leading the Muslim World?
As I mentioned earlier about the past leading countries of the Muslim World, there is another country seems to lead the Muslim World with its affairs.
The situation of Muslim World, especially in Middle East is getting worsen day by day. Recently, Gaza (the Israel-striped) city had the worst cloud of oppression by Israeli forces resulting in the thousands of deaths of civilians. No such steps from Pakistan and Saudi!
Not enough here? The U.S.A had announced several days before, giving clean chit to Israel to annex West Bank of Palestine. Looking at it, the negligence of Muslim countries other than Turkey shows that this issue has failed to make in the list of their priorities.
West Bank is Palestine territory and belongs to Palestinians only, Erdoğan
Another exclusive issue، heading up for the Muslim World is of Uighur Muslims. The so called brother country of Pakistan, and one of the largest economy of the World، China is going over the Uighur Muslim with extreme brutality.
Few days ago, an 800-years old mosque has been demolished by the Chinese Government. Not stopping here, the Chinese govt has also ban Uighur Muslims from fasting and put a ban on women wearing burqa.
During Ramadan, Muslims will be tortured in Chinese concentration camps, barrel bombed in Syria, ethnically cleansed in Myanmar, shot while protesting in Kashmir and Gaza, lynched in India and Sri Lanka, and threatened and attacked by white nationalists at their mosques.
— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) May 4, 2019
Here’s the tweet from an American journo
Nonetheless, the Saudi Arabia stands with China over this issue and shown his support to it. Pakistan too has been highly influenced by the Chinese interference in development project in the country. First, the President of Pakistan, announced to support China over this oppression. Then comes the mighty Prime Minister of Pakistan, who living in the denial, found himself unknown about the issue.
On the contrary, the current leader of the Muslim World Tayyip Erdogan describes the crackdown on Uighurs as “genocide”.
The fact of the matter is, the Muslim World is passing through the darkest era of its history. Yet, it has no preference for the issues related to the brother countries, even some are busy in cold war with other Muslim Countries. No matter what, the people dying in Yemen through the brutalities of Saudia are human being and Muslims, and others dying in China, Gaza and Syria are Muslims too.
Its high time for the Muslim World to get United under one umbrella, and pull out from the other cold wars for the sake of the future of Muslims. Also, no matter how much another country is investing in your country, one should never get influenced and deprived of the principles of which the basic foundation is based.
Or in other case, the Muslim World has also got a 34-countries coalition army…!
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