The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation holding Israel to account - YASIN AKTAY

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation holding Israel to account

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) committee meeting was held virtually in recent days. I had mentioned in my latest column President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s criticisms against French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent Islamophobic discourses during this meeting, which was expected to serve as a platform to discuss numerous issues afflicting the Islamic world.

A significant portion of these criticisms concerned the Islamic world more so than Macron. As a result, Macron’s audacious statements regarding Islam and Muslims are encouraged by the Islamic world’s lack of reaction and failure to exhibit an attitude as a whole. What is worse, Macron’s anti-Islam sentiment and hostility is no more than that of certain administrators of the Islamic world.

While we were discussing Macron’s insolent words, Hamad al Mazrouei, the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed’s mercenary journalist, had the nerve in an interview to an Israeli newspaper to say our holy prophet unjustly drove out the Jews of Khaybar from Medina in 629. In fact, before he could press the brakes, he even apologized to Israel for this on behalf of Muslims. The words of this disgraceful and despicable person reveal a never before seen hostility towards the prophet and Islam. It is an example to be taken as a lesson, as it shows there is no limit to how low one can stoop as a result of the infamous Deal of the Century.

Surely the OIC is obligated to develop a common attitude, discourse and cooperation against outside attacks, however, before this, whether the organization truly represents Muslims is a matter that required evaluation. In order to fulfill this duty, the organization first needs to focus on what Muslims are doing to Muslims rather than what non-Muslims are doing to Muslims. This is due to the fact that 90 percent of the current oppression of Muslims is by Muslims or through Muslims. The remaining 10 percent happens as a result of the disregard or cooperation of Muslims in power.

Despite this, the report published at the end of the OIC committee meeting surprisingly states that there is concern regarding the conditions of Palestinians under arrest in Israel prisons. As a matter of fact, it is stated that there is serious concern regarding the worsening health conditions of captive Palestinians, and the ill treatment they are encountering, with a call made for their release.

The statement that additionally mentioned concern about the health condition of Palestinian captive Maher el-Akhras, who has been continuing a hunger strike in an Israel prison for 88 years, a call was also made onto the international community to intervene for the release of the captives.

Pointing out that Israel prisons lack the necessary health conditions, and that this has led to at least 31 Palestinian captives’ infection with the new-type coronavirus (Covid-19),the statement further included a request from the international community to protect human rights and to pressure Israel to provide appropriate health and treatment services for the captives.

This is truly what we want to see the OIC do at all times. However, we also know that the organization’s power is not limited to making such calls alone. First, it is possible to pose sanctions against Israel for its actions to deter it. If the powerful members of the organization were sincere in using their influence, it would be impossible for Israel to keep those captives for even a single day. Yet, on the contrary, the members of this organization are competing against one another to normalize relations with Israel, further encouraging it in its ways despite all its violations.

Why would Israel change its attitude against such calls, which will result in no sanctions or have any affect anyway?

Second, could the state of the Muslim captives in the dungeons of the same powerful members be any better than the Palestinian captives in Israel’s dungeons?

In the case of Egyptian dungeons, there are currently tens of thousands of people there who have been arrested completely arbitrarily, and who have been facing all sorts of torture and ill-treatment for years, without even being given the chance to stand trial. All of these captives are reputable civilians of the country, who have no history of involvement in any acts of violence. One difference about them in comparison to Israel is that it is not possible to receive any news from most of them; they are not allowed to speak to their attorneys; some of those who cannot be heard from are held captive as a form of punishment to their families – who are the real targets.

What about the UAE? Even the slightest hint of opposition is enough of a reason to be held in dungeons under the toughest conditions, indefinitely, without any interrogation, or trial for years, is it not? The UAE is where human rights are most intensely violated in the Islamic world today. Whose rights are being violated other than Muslims?

What about the thousands of people among the scholars, leaders, politicians, and intelligentsia in Saudi Arabia, who were arrested simply for their inadequate show of partisanship even though they are not dissidents; who were thrown into prison without any questions, and whom nobody heard from for months and years? Who must be held accountable for this?

These people are of no less value or significance for Muslims than the Palestinian captives in Israel’s dungeons. Some of them are among the scholars, who are highly esteemed by the entire Muslim community. Of course, they are all children and members of the Muslim community.

Can those who deem their own children deserving of these tortures show even the smallest sign of sincerity in terms of calling Israel to account for the Palestinian captives?

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