The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (formerly the Organization of the Islamic Conference) 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 economic development, education, culture, science, technology, conflict resolution, and countering Islamophobia. Sharing the history of the OIC with Western readers, this book details the achievements, successes, and failures of a singular political body and why modernization is so central to the development of Islamic society.
In 2005, the OIC elected Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu of Turkey to transform its platform and intentions. Ihsanoglu has since confronted 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.
“Despite its significance in the Muslim world and the field of NGOs, there is practically no serious and reliable book like this one on the Organization of the Islamic Conference, its mission, its history, and its activities.”—Ibrahim Kalin, Georgetown University
“The Islamic World in the New Century offers an important perspective on OIC reform and its potential to address twenty-first-century challenges in the Muslim world and in Muslim-West relations.”—John L. Esposito, Georgetown University
“A timely and much needed work of scholarship from someone who has played a key part in shaping the Organization of the Islamic Conference.”—Ziauddin Sardar, School of Arts, The City University, London