Guyana and Suriname to be joined by China in Islamic organisation
BEIJING, China, Wednesday July 04, 2012 – China, which is home to 20 million Muslims, is seeking to become an observer member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the largest international organisation outside of the United Nations.
According to its charter, the OIC aims to preserve Islamic social and economic values; promote solidarity amongst member states; increase cooperation in social, economic, cultural, scientific and political areas; uphold international peace and security; and advance education, particularly in the fields of science and technology.
On August 5, 1990, 45 foreign ministers of the OIC adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam to serve as a guideline for the member states in the matters of human rights in as much as they are compatible with the Sharia, or Quranic law.
Headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, OIC has 57 members, 56 of which are classed by the United Nations as member states. Some, especially in West Africa, are – though with large Muslim populations – not necessarily Muslim majority countries. A few countries with significant Muslim populations, such as Russia, sit as observer states, while others, such as India, are not members.
The collective population of OIC member states was over 1.4 billion as of 2008. Guyana and Suriname are the only members in the Caribbean.
China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun expressed China’s interest in observer status in the OIC when he met OIC’s Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu who was on a visit to China last week.
Ihsanoglu also met top Chinese political advisor Jia Qingl at the Great Hall of the People and called for closer ties between China and Islamic countries. Jia said he hoped that the membership request would be considered at the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Djibouti in November.
Hailing the state of relations between China and the Islamic world, Jia said China and Islamic countries are political partners with mutual support, economic partners with reciprocal cooperation and cultural partners with mutual exchanges.
The two sides should strengthen communication and coordination, promote dialogue and map out the future development of their relations from a long-term perspective, said Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
The role of Islam in China, as well as China's relations with Muslim countries, was the subject of a two-day conference in Beijing under the theme "China and the Muslim World: Cultural Encounters".