Can Unity in the Muslim World Safeguard the Rights of Palestine and Kashmir?
Palestine and Kashmir remained high on the agenda of the OIC and were thoroughly debated, despite the international community's silence on the ongoing atrocities and blockade in Palestine and Kashmir.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) convened its 48th session on March 2022, in Islamabad, the capital of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, with the theme "Partnering for Unity, Justice, and Development".
Deliberations on the situation in Palestine, Indian illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), and Afghanistan were on the agenda. The session also discussed African and Muslim challenges in Europe and developments in Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, and Syria. Other topics addressed included Islamophobia, international terrorism, and economic, cultural, social, humanitarian, and scientific cooperation.
Moreover, Mr. Imran Khan, the Pakistani Prime Minister, emphasized the necessity of recognizing March 15 each year as "International Day to Combat Islamophobia". Furthermore, the Chinese minister stressed that China would never forget the Islamic world's backing at the United Nations, promising constant support for Palestinian Muslims. China supports a two-state solution for the Palestinian people.
Significantly, Palestine and Kashmir remained high on the agenda of the OIC and were thoroughly debated, All members reaffirmed their commitment to the Palestinian cause. The continuation of Israeli crimes and attacks on the Palestinian people, their land, and sanctuaries necessitates strong solidarity and collective Islamic action.
Nevertheless, to protect the rights of Muslims around the world, consistency and solidarity are required. Pakistan is concerned about violence in Palestine and believes that Muslim countries must band together to raise awareness about the problem. When all 57 members of the OIC indicate their support for the subject, it will be recognized. It is a question of faith, human rights, international law, and standing up to an apartheid regime.
Previously, Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei accused Muslim governments of allowing hegemonic powers to determine their fate, accusing those powers of establishing the cancerous tumor of Zionism in the heart of the Muslim world. It's necessary to combat the West's attempt to obscure al-Quds and Palestine as significant issues in the Muslim world. For Muslims, facts and realities should be defined by political and cultural elites, intellectuals, and religious Ulimas [scholars].
Notably, the international community's silence on the ongoing atrocities and blockade in Palestine and Kashmir is criminal. The Muslim world has let down the Palestinians and the Kashmiris, and it could not have any significant influence. Nevertheless, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir remains severe and raises a slew of substantial concerns.
The crisis in Jammu and Kashmir shows no resolution, noting that the OIC has consistently maintained its strong and unequivocal support for the people of Jammu and Kashmir in its solutions. The world community promised Kashmiris decades ago that they would be able to choose their fate. On the other hand, the Valley's status had been illegally altered, leaving residents in a precarious human rights scenario. Palestine and Kashmir are two stark examples of injustice, tyranny, occupation, and human rights violations.
Most importantly, the OIC conference in Pakistan reaffirmed its support for the people of Kashmir and their fundamental right to self-determination. It also condemned the human rights breaches and rejected India's illegal and unilateral actions in Kashmir since August 2019.
The conference reaffirmed the centrality of the Palestinian question while also expressing "unwavering support with the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their quest for their inherent right to self-determination. While such gatherings are vital for discussing the problems facing the Muslim world, the OIC's lack of delivery and unity has long been a source of fair criticism. True, OIC announcements are well-intentioned and give the impression that the Muslim bloc speaks with one voice (Fara, 2022).
Most importantly, while the Islamabad Declaration contains grave commitments to support the oppressed people of Palestine and Kashmir, most Muslim states do virtually little to help end the enslavement. If the OIC is to become an influential voice for the Muslim world and not just a talk shop issuing verbose declarations, these inconsistencies between member nations' words and deeds must be addressed.
Unfortunately, for many Muslims, the concept of an "Ummah", or pan-Islamic brotherhood, remains a dream. While their governments continue to compete and exploit different causes for domestic and regional gain, Muslim rights worldwide are increasingly being crushed under the heel of regional and international politics that sees them as pawns on a chessboard rather than actual human beings.
Consequently, if governments continue to ignore their responsibilities to their Muslim citizens, they may unintentionally design their demise. All Muslim governments and nations should look for a scheme to obscure the core issue and attempts to distort reality by stoking divisions within the Muslim Ummah. The Muslim Ummah has no choice but to band together against the conspiracies of Islam's and Muslims' foes. The burning conflicts of Kashmir and Palestine can only be resolved if the Muslim world comes together.
The OIC can create solutions for dealing successfully with essential issues like peace, security, conflict prevention, mediation, and peaceful conflict resolution. The OIC has a critical role in enabling the peaceful and just resolution of international problems affecting Muslim peoples, such as Palestinians and Kashmiris, in promoting peacebuilding and peacekeeping. The Organization's influence is based on the fundamental Islamic value of solidarity and fraternity, which pulls the Ummah together to work for the common good.