Saturday, April 26, 2014

Why OIC silence on the issue of Egypt?

************************ In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. *********************** Reflection ************************ The Declining Day (Al-'Asr) 1. By the declining day, 2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss, 3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance. ***************************** DURING my stint at a local daily many years ago; one subject that I was given to take charge was matters relating to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (then Conference) (OIC), an 'umbrella' for more than 50 Muslims countries. ************************* In December 1997, I was in Teheran, Iran, covering the 8th OIC summit, which featured deliberations and declarations of major significance for the development of Islamic states, for relations with Western countries, and for peace in the Middle East, namely Palestine. ************************** The summit was historical as it was 'a great avenue' when two main powers and leading countries in the organization - Saudi Arabia and Iran - paved way for better understanding between them which had a sour relationship for decades. **************************** At that time OIC's Secretary General was Azeddine Laraki from Morocco; and at present it is under the hands of Iyad Amin Madani from Saudi Arabia. ***************************** Perhaps, 'this' could explain why OIC is very, very quiet on matters regarding the 'turmoil' in Egypt - where recently an Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwanul Muslimin) to death after a one day mass trial that allowed no genuine defense. ************************ Before discussing this matter, allow me to admit that I was naive in not updating my knowledge regarding OIC after I left the local daily in 1998. Only recently did I know that OIC no more stands for Organization of Islamic Conference as on 28 June 2011 during the 38th Council of Foreign Ministers meeting (CFM) in Astana, Kazakhstan the organization changed its name to Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The OIC also changed its logo at this time. *************************** What's the difference between 'conference' and 'cooperation'? Perhaps the word 'cooperation' is more focus and meaningful than 'conference' and during 'the old days', critics lambasted that the OIC was only good at holding meeting after meeting and in issuing statement after statement but was slow in action or had failed in helping Muslims all over the world. *********************** For example OIC failed to shine when war broke in the Balkan (Bosnia-Herzegovina) or even rendered help to Muslims who were minorities in countries such as China (the Uighurs), Myanmar (the Rohingyas), India (the Kashmiris) and Thailand (the Malays). ************************** In recent months, thousands of Rohingyas had left their homeland in Arakan, while the Uighurs were subjected to ill treatment and human rights violation, but the OIC only issued statements expressing concern on the developments. *********************** Some critics lambasted OIC for being an 'Oh I See'; it's without any power to take appropriate action to defend Muslims and their lands. Perhaps, by changing its name, there's hope in the Muslim world under the 'umbrella' of the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations which was established in Rabat, Morocco on 25 September 1969. ************************ Alas, hope in OIC did not turn into action...the latest prosecution on members of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt did not raise any eyebrow in OIC, the irony of it; it was in Egypt the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam was adopted and issued at the Nineteenth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Cairo on 5 August 1990. ************************* In it, the member states of the OIC; ************************** * Reaffirming the civilizing and historical role of the Islamic 'ummah' which God made the best nation that has given mankind a universal and well‐balanced civilization in which harmony is established between this life and the Hereafter and knowledge is combined with faith; and the role that this 'ummah' should play to guide a humanity confused by competing trends and ideologies and to provide solutions to the chronic problems of this materialistic civilization. ************************ * Wishing to contribute to the efforts of mankind to assert human rights, to protect man from exploitation and persecution, and to affirm his freedom and right to a dignified life in accordance with the Islamic Shari’ah. *********************** * Convinced that mankind which has reached an advanced stage in materialistic science is still, and shall remain, in dire need of faith to support its civilization and of a self‐motivating force to guard its rights. *************************** * Believing that fundamental rights and universal freedoms in Islam are an integral part of the Islamic religion and that no one as a matter of principle has the right to suspend them in whole or in part or violate or ignore them in as much as they are binding divine commandments, which are contained in the Revealed Books of God and were sent through the last of His Prophets to complete the preceding divine messages thereby making their observance an act of worship and their neglect or violation an abominable sin, and accordingly every person is individually responsible — and the 'ummah' collectively responsible — for their safeguard. **************************** Proceeding from the above‐mentioned principles, declare the following: ************************ Article 1 ************************* (a) All human beings form one family whose members are united by submission to God and descent from Adam. All men are equal in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities, without any discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, language, sex, religious belief, political affiliation, social status or other considerations. True faith is the guarantee for enhancing such dignity along the path to human perfection. ************************** (b) All human beings are God’s subjects, and the most loved by him are those who are most useful to the rest of His subjects, and no one has superiority over another except on the basis of piety and good deeds. ************************* Article 2 ************************ (a) Life is a God‐given gift and the right to life is guaranteed to every human being. It is the duty of individuals,societies and states to protect this right from any violation, and it is prohibited to take away life except for a Shari’ah‐prescribed reason. ******************** (b) It is forbidden to resort to such means as may result in the genocidal annihilation of mankind. *************************** (c) The preservation of human life throughout the term of time willed by God is a duty prescribed by Shari’ah. *************************** (d) Safety from bodily harm is a guaranteed right. It is the duty of the state to safeguard it, and it is prohibited to breach it without a Shari’ah‐prescribed reason. *********************** Article 3 ************************ (a) In the event of the use of force and in case of armed conflict, it is not permissible to kill non‐belligerents such as old men, women and children. The wounded and the sick shall have the right to medical treatment; and prisoners of war shall have the right to be fed, sheltered and clothed. It is prohibited to mutilate dead bodies. It is a duty to exchange prisoners of war and to arrange visits or reunions of the families separated by the circumstances of war. ************************** (b) It is prohibited to fell trees, to damage crops or livestock, and to destroy the enemy’s civilian buildings and installations by shelling, blasting or any other means. ********************** I only noted three articles from the 25 mentioned in the Cairo Declaration but in my opinion it was enough to put OIC to shame for not taking any action including to those in power in Egypt to fully observe the declaration adopted and issued by itself in that country which is a leading member of the organization. *************************** To the Egyptian coup d' tat leaders, please take note that Article 23 of the Declaration among others declared that everyone shall have the right to participate, directly or indirectly in the administration of his country's public affairs. He shall also have the right to assume public office in accordance with the provisions of Shari'ah. So, why must President Mohammed Morsi ousted from power; the fact is he was chosen by the people? **************************** In Article 24, it is noted that all the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah and in Article 25 it is mentioned that the Islamic Shari'ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification to any of the articles of this Declaration. ************************* The last question is why was OIC silent on the prosecution of leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood? As I had mentioned earlier, Saudi Arabia is now at the helm of OIC with Iyad Amin Madani as its Secretary General. On 7th March, Saudi Arabia had declared the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and it was followed by almost all of the Gulf states except for Qatar. ******************************* Saudi Arabia was said to force Qatar to follow its steps; Riyadh was very much afraid that the Muslim Brotherhood which took power over Egypt for a year from June 30, 2012 to July 3, 2013, would 'export' its revolutionary ideas to take over one country after another beginning with Saudi Arabia. ******************************** So, the Muslim Brotherhood must be stopped at all costs - thus OIC until today had been totally silence on the Egyptian issue!

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