OIC Dictionary Definitions

According to abbreviationfinder, OIC stands for Organization of the Islamic Conference. The organization was founded in 1969 with the aim of promoting Islamic identity and spreading the message of Islam. The supreme leader is Secretary-General Iyad Ameen Madani. The organization works with current issues such as the Israel-Palestine conflict, terrorism and antagonisms between the Islamic world and the West.


The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), with its 57 member states from Asia, Africa, Central America and Europe, is a geographically extensive organization that includes over one billion Muslims.

The OIC was founded in 1972 and aims to promote Islamic solidarity and spread the message of Islam. Membership is open to all Muslim states.

The OIC was formerly called the Islamic Conference, but changed its name in 2011. It is not an organization motivated primarily by religious beliefs. It is largely the cultural and historical community of Islam that binds the states together. The organization has member states where Islam and its law, sharia, form the foundation of the country, as in Iran (Shia Muslim) and Saudi Arabia (Sunni Muslim). In other states such as Libya, Islam does not have the same political role.

As the members come from different continents and have different conditions, there are great differences between the OIC states. Rich oil states such as Saudi Arabia coexist with about twenty of the world’s poorest countries, such as the African states of Mali and Chad. The most recent Member State is Côte d’Ivoire.

The emergence

The Islamic Conference (now the Islamic Cooperation Organization) emerged in the late 1960’s since Jerusalem came under Israeli rule. Following a fire in the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem (Islam’s third holiest site), the heads of state of 25 countries gathered in Morocco in 1969.

In order to meet together the dangers that were considered to threaten the Islamic world, the decision was made to form the Islamic Conference (OIC). In 1970, the foreign ministers agreed to create a permanent secretariat located in Saudi Arabia.

Some Arab states (Egypt, Libya and Sudan) opposed the formation of an Islamic organization. They considered that this would be done at the expense of the Arab unit, and that the OIC was initiated by the West. Despite opposition, however, these states were present at the signing of the Charter in Saudi Arabia in 1972.

The Charter stipulates that in addition to strengthening Islamic values, the OIC shall work for economic, social and cultural cooperation and coordinate efforts to protect and preserve the holy sites of Islam. The OIC will support the struggle of all Muslims for independence and national rights and eradicate racial discrimination and colonialism, as well as support peace and justice.

One of the cornerstones of the Charter is respect for the sovereignty and independence of the Member States. Self-determination and non-interference in the states’ internal conflicts are emphasized.

Cooperation with other actors

The Islamic Conference and the UN have observer status with each other. The OIC has a permanent office at the UN headquarters in New York. The OIC states sometimes act jointly within the UN. A practical collaboration has been developed with some of the UN specialized agencies.

In recent years, an increasingly intensive collaboration with other organizations regarding conflict resolution has developed. The OIC has worked together with, among others, the UN and the Arab League to resolve conflicts in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Somalia.

The Arab League, the Arab Maghreb Union and the GCC have observer positions in the OIC. There is some economic cooperation between the organizations, but politically they have not always agreed.

The Palestinian issue and the conflict with Israel have taken a large place in the OIC’s work. Palestine is considered a full member, even if a Palestinian state does not yet formally exist. The OIC raised the issue of Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem at the UN, which led to the annexation being condemned.

A special fund, the Al-Quds Fund, was established in 1976 to preserve Jerusalem’s Arab character and support the Palestinian struggle. The 1981 summit decided on an economic boycott of Israel, and special offices were set up for this. Egypt was excluded from the organization in 1979 when the country made peace with Israel. In 1984, Egypt was re-admitted.

During the peace process in the 1990’s, the OIC had the ambition to establish normal relations with Israel, but when the failed autumn of 2000 and the Palestinian al-Aqsa uprising began (the second intifada), the tone sharpened again against Israel.

The OIC has on several occasions sought to mediate between government representatives and Muslim separatist movements in the Philippines.

The Russian war in Chechnya was initially harshly criticized, but later the OIC dampened criticism. In practice, it has not been possible, or wanted, to play a more active role in resolving the Chechen conflict, partly because several member states are concerned about the spread of the interpretations of Islam that some of the Chechen rebels represent.