The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), formerly the Organization of the Islamic Conference, is the second-largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations and has membership of 57 states spread over four continents. The organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world and ensures to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world. The organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit that took place in Rabat, Morocco on Rajab 12, 1389 Hijri (Sept. 25 1969) as a result of criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
In 1970 the first ever meeting of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Minister (ICFM) was held in Jeddah, which decided to establish a permanent secretariat in Jeddah headed by the organization's secretary general. Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani is the 10th secretary general and assumed office in January 2014.
The present charter of the organization was adopted by the 11th Islamic Summit held in Dakar on March 13-14, 2008, which laid down the objectives and principles of the organization and fundamental purposes to strengthen the solidarity and cooperation among the member states. Over the last 40 years, membership has grown from its founding members of 25 to 57 states. The organization has the singular honor to galvanize the ummah into a unified body and have actively represented Muslims by espousing all causes close to the hearts of the over 1.5 billion Muslims of the world. The organization has consultative and cooperative relations with the U.N. and other intergovernmental organizations to protect the vital interests of Muslims and to work for the settlement of conflicts and disputes involving member states. In safeguarding the true values of Islam and Muslims, the organization has taken various steps to remove misperceptions and has strongly advocated the elimination of discrimination against Muslims in all forms and manifestations.
The member states of the OIC face many challenges in the 21st century, and to address these challenges, the third extraordinary session of the Islamic Summit, held in Mecca in December 2005, laid down the blueprint called the Ten-Year Program of Action, which envisages the joint action of member states; promotion of tolerance and moderation, modernization, extensive reforms in all spheres of activities including, science and technology, education and trade enhancement, and emphasizes good governance and promotion of human rights in the Muslim world, especially with regard to rights of children, women and elderly and the family values enshrined by Islam.
Under the charter, the organization aims, inter alia, to:
Enhance and consolidate the bonds of fraternity and solidarity among the member states;
Safeguard and protect the common interests and support the legitimate causes of the member states and coordinate and unify the efforts of the member states in view of the challenges faced by the Islamic world in particular and the international community in general;
Respect the right of self-determination and non-interference in domestic affairs and to respect sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of each member state;
Ensure active participation of the member states in the global political, economic and social decision-making processes to secure their common interests;
Reaffirm its support for the rights of peoples as stipulated in the U.N. Charter and international law;
Strengthen intra-Islamic economic and trade cooperation in order to achieve economic integration leading to the establishment of an Islamic common market;
Exert efforts to achieve sustainable and comprehensive human development and economic well-being in member states.