Delivering his inaugural address at the two-day extraordinary Islamic Solidarity Summit in Makkah, Saudi King Abdullah called upon the Muslim Ummah to stand united in the face of myriad challenges it is confronting today. It was a period of seditions and divisions and the only way to sail through it was unity and to counter extremism by being moderate. He proposed the setting up of a dialogue centre at Riyadh, with members drawn from states of the Organisation of Islamic Conference. In his view, such a centre would provide a forum to debate and find solutions of issues. Staying within this proposed objective, it should tackle burning issues like Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Iran, Chechnya and Syria. The most important responsibility of this dialogue centre would be to make it credible and ultimately, effective.

As of today, the OIC is most inactive and had miserably failed to project Muslim causes at international forums, including the UN. A reform agenda to re-activate the OIC is lying pending for over a decade, which needs to be implemented without further delay. The OIC must take into consideration the role being played by other organization like Asean, Non-Aligned Movement and Shanghai conference. Instead of deluding itself with conspiracy theories, the OIC must recognise that its members are inherently selfish and their treatment of Syria is the latest example. Syria, under pressure from the Arab members of the OIC, has been suspended from membership, while Pakistan and Iran have come out in support of the Alawite Assad regime, instead of the rebel groups, mostly supported by hardline Islamist groups, such as Al Qaeda and Hamas. If difference of opinion on Syria was not tolerated at the OIC, where else is it expected to happen? The OIC members mut display maturity and stop the squabbling and hypocrisy which makes them a laughing stock across the world.