0724 GMT March 19, 2019
Even though many cultural and political organizations, one of which is the OIC, have been ineffective in bringing forth any solid and significant results up until now, it does not mean that they never will. Since the Islamic world is suffering like it has never experienced before, it would be a grave mistake to simply sit back and watch and do nothing if we are not directly affected. It is not only a shame for humanity but completely against the moral values of the Qur’an.
The primary cause for similar institutions’ or organizations’ lack of success is the lack of unity based on a strong foundation. Similarly, the reason for the failure of the OIC up until now is the absence of a union based on the morality of the Qur’an. We all know for a fact that the Islamic world is badly fragmented and burning with the fires of war as a result. By pointing out the importance of this matter, President Erdogan stated the situation of Muslims all over the world thusly: “From all corners of the world rise the cries of the downtrodden and the innocent. A great majority of these cries are of Muslims. Turning their faces to Istanbul, the Islamic world is now awaiting the decisions this summit will issue. The major problems that we must overcome as Muslims are the seditions of sectarianism and racism. My religion is neither Sunni nor Shia. My religion is Islam. As my other 700 million brothers, I am only a Muslim…We must not be divisive but unifying. We must strengthen love, not hostility. It is only Muslims, only the Islamic countries who suffer from its consequences. We need to make more friends while reducing the number of our foes. I ask God that this summit meeting of today becomes a turning point for the unity, solidarity, brotherhood and unity of Muslims.”
When we examine the 2015 Global Terrorism Index, we are confronted with the skyrocketing figures of terrorist acts increasing 80% in 2014 to its highest recorded degree. It is also deeply alarming to see that the first five states that are affected the most by these brutal attacks are Islamic countries. In order to stop the lethal effects of terrorism, we need to unite all Muslims under our real identity, which is Islam. In our day, the Islamic world is challenged by various menaces. Once united, the Islamic world will turn out to be a deterrent force that will foil any such ploys. Hence, such unity will be instrumental in putting an end to any conflict that becomes a threat to any Islamic country.
Another reason for OIC's general ineffectiveness is the prejudice that when Muslims unite under one umbrella, they will cut off their bonds with the West. However, the truth is otherwise because this unity will be instrumental in presenting Islamic countries to the West with a stronger stance. Additionally, we have to believe in our cause and not be pessimistic on our path to success. We need political leaders, non-governmental organization members, young people and people from various backgrounds at the grassroots level to strive for the success of a unity among Muslims.
There are certainly some specific elements we need to deal with to accomplish our goal in the soonest possible time. First and foremost, we should put forth our true identity; Islam. President Rouhani pointed out this matter very well in his visit to another Islamic country, Pakistan, by stressing the importance of promoting the culture of Islam to confront the threats of enemies. He also emphasized the urgency of using the opportunity of the power of Islam and support our Muslim unity and went on to state, “We need to boost our Islamic identity”.
Just like President Rouhani said, in order for the Islamic world to reach smooth waters we need to act with our Islamic identity and find a solution within ourselves to remove the bias embedded in the West. Everyone is deeply cognizant of the fact that there is a strong prejudice against Muslims in the West and they are in state of fear whenever they see, hear about, or read news about Muslims since they tend to believe that Islam equals terrorism, hatred and being detached from high culture such as art, beauty and esthetics. By putting forth the real morality of the Qur’an – without mixing it with various and sundry superstitions – we can overcome this scourge. Another important task of Muslims in presenting the true essence of Islam lies in bringing forth the high quality of Islam in every aspect of life. We should not say that nothing will change and thus sink to apathy; things can – and will – change, God willing, if we put forth effort in a determined and steadfast manner.
It goes without saying that the position of women in any given society is an important pointer showing just how civilized that society is. For this reason, it is promising to hear that it was one of the main themes on the agenda of both the OIC Assembly and was discussed during the meeting of President Rouhani and President Erdogan. During the joint press conference, the Iranian leader stressed that they had come to a mutual agreement in promoting the place of Muslim woman in Islamic law to the entire world.
Above all else, both Iran and Turkey decided to carry on their political dialog at every level on both bilateral and regional issues. We can consider this a major step forward in attaining unity among Muslims because despite their significant differences on many points, such as their stance on the Syrian war, they managed to overcome their differences by focusing on their commonalities and recognizing the urgency of cooperation to end the turmoil in the region. The two countries reached a consensus on one important issue: Assuming a strictly sectarian posture towards the conflagrations occurring in the region would ultimately have the most disastrous repercussions.
Therefore, their acting together will serve as a model for the rest of the Islamic world to follow and hopefully, the others will begin taking positive steps towards forming the unity Muslims have been seeking for so long.