Organization of Islamic Cooperation

Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), international organization of 57 countries whose inhabitants are mainly Muslim, est. 1969 as the Organization of the Islamic Conference, renamed 2011. It is headquartered in Jidda, Saudi Arabia. Its member states are spread out over Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, and represent some 650 million people. It promotes cooperation among member nations in economic, social, scientific, cultural, and spiritual matters and is dedicated to creating Islamic solidarity and safeguarding Islam's holy places and the rights of Muslims and ending racial discrimination and colonialism. The OIC also has pledged to restore Jerusalem and the occupied territories to Palestinian control, and since 1981 has supported an economic boycott of Israel (some members nonetheless have economic ties with Israel).

The OIC's main bodies are the Islamic Summit, its supreme body, which consists of heads of state and of government and meets every three years; the Conference of Foreign Ministers, which meets once a year and in special sessions; and the General Secretariat, which manages the OIC's affairs and is headed by a secretary-general. Among its specialized institutions is the Islamic Development Bank. The wide geographic dispersal of the OIC's members and their varied, sometimes clashing political philosophies and religious views have tended to constrain the organization's overall effectiveness, and it often has been unable to implement its resolutions.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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