The Islamic Summit held in Kuala Lumpur last month has aroused hopes among Muslims that perhaps their problems are finally beginning to be taken seriously and practical solutions will be proposed and implemented. The absence of some countries was as telling as the presence of those at the conference.
Opponents of the Kuala Lumpur summit were led by Saudi Arabia. Bani Saud claimed that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) already exists and there is no need for another organization. While technically correct, the OIC has been a roaring failure primarily because it is dominated by the Saudis who won’t allow any concrete steps to be taken on vital issues confronting the Ummah. They are incapable of doing anything positive.
Aware that the KL summit may arouse concerns in some quarters, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was cautious in his pronouncements. He said “the Summit is not a platform to discuss about religion or religious affairs but specifically to address the state of affairs of the Muslim Ummah.” He urged participants that included heads of state and government to carefully analyse the reasons for the Muslims’ current plight and what practical steps can be taken to overcome them.
Apart from Prime Minister Mahathir, Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the Amir of Qatar Shaykh Tamim were also in attendance as were a large number of scholars from the Muslim world. The Saudis were invited but refused to attend.