The Islamic World in the New Century: The Organisation of the Islamic Conference, 1969-2009
The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is the Muslim world's only intergovernmental body-the largest such system operating outside of the United Nations. Based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the OIC was founded forty years ago to respond to the Palestinian crisis and counts fifty-seven Muslim countries among its members. It has since branched out into the areas of economic development, education, culture, science, technology, conflict resolution, and tackling Islamophobia. Sharing the history of the OIC with Western readers for the first time, this book details the achievements, successes, and failures of this singular political body and demonstrates why modernization is so central to the continued development of Islamic society. In 2005, the OIC elected Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu of Turkey to transform the organisation's platform and intentions. Ihsanoglu has since tackled the difficult problems of illiteracy and poverty, economic underdevelopment, and ethnic and sectarian conflict. In this history he devotes an important chapter to Islamophobia and its impact on relations between Islam and the West. The OIC treats Islamophobia as a form of racism and xenophobia, and Ihsanoglu explains why it is essential for international institutions to work together to combat violent extremism. He also argues that representative government, free speech, and equal rights for all citizens are critical for Muslim societies, and he envisions the need to reform the OIC as a necessary step toward renewing the Muslim world. One of the most important studies of the Muslim world to emerge directly from its participants, The Islamic World in the New Century ushers in a new era of change.