Dec 16, 2009

Tun Mahathir blasts OIC for failing to unite Muslims

The former Prime Minster, Tun Mahathir has criticized the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) which he said had failed to unite Muslims.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has lambasted the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) which he said had failed to unite Muslims.

“It often serves to emphasise divisions within the Muslim world. The disagreements between member countries are so obvious as to expose their disunity,” he claimed on Tuesday.

Dr Mahathir, who was the prime minister when Malaysia chaired the OIC in 2003, said the problem was that it was an organisation of governments of countries whose interests took precedence over the religion.

“As an organisation of governments, the OIC is unable to consider anything purely on the basis of religious injunctions or the interest of religion.

“Even the injunction of Islam that all Muslims are brothers could not override certain other national priorities,” he said in his keynote address at the Second International Muslim’s Unity conference.

The OIC, he added, worked on a basis of consensus which was not conducive to organisational decision making.

He suggested setting up a chain of Muslim non-governmental organisations in Muslim communities and countries to restore the brotherhood and unity of Muslims regardless of sects or differences.

Using such NGOs as the vehicle for Muslim unity, he said, should be focused on the promotion of Muslim brotherhood, reducing misunderstandings or suspicions, acquiring knowledge and skills, and pushing for better education systems, among others.

Muslim NGOs, he added, must also launch a concerted campaign to stop the “revenge mentality” which leads to blind retaliation.

“Muslims are very angry. And in anger, they lash out at everyone, including other Muslims. They blow themselves up in revenge, killing at random, not so much their enemies as they do their own people.

“After they have lost their lives, what have they gained? Basically nothing that will stop their enemies from continuing to oppress and kill them,” he said.

Muslims, Dr Mahathir said, must work out plans and strategies with the objective of achieving success in their struggles.

“One should be prepared to accept partial unity if total unity cannot be achieved as much can still be done,” he said.

“Today, Muslims are deeply divided into many different sects which often are violently pitted against each other.

“Lethal suicide bombers of different sects direct their attacks against each other, killing hundreds of Muslims each time. They may believe they will become martyrs and go to heaven but can we really believe they will when they go against the injunctions of the Quran that Muslims must not kill Muslims?

“True practising Muslims must stop the fighting, reduce the divisions and restore brotherhood and unity,” he said.

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