OIC criticises Malaysia’s Muslim summit
This handout photo taken and released on December 18, 2019 from Malaysia’s Department of Information shows Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani posing for photos ahead of their meeting in Putrajaya. — AFP pic
RIYADH, Dec 19 — The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) yesterday mounted a veiled attack on a Muslim summit in Malaysia shunned by Saudi Arabia, saying such gatherings would weaken Islam.
Leaders of Muslim nations, including Saudi rivals Iran, Turkey and Qatar, will attend the summit this week in Kuala Lumpur, which analysts say is aimed at rivalling the OIC, a 57-member pan-Islamic body headquartered in the Saudi city of Jeddah.
Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dismissed those concerns in a phone call Tuesday with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, insisting the summit was not intended to create a new bloc.
But in thinly veiled criticism of the four-day summit that started yesterday, OIC Secretary General Yousef al-Othaimeen said such gatherings would divide Muslims.
“It is not in the interest of an Islamic nation to hold summits and meetings outside the framework of the (OIC), especially at this time when the world is witnessing multiple conflicts,” Othaimeen told Sky News Arabia, without directly naming Malaysia.
He added that “any weakening of the OIC platform is a weakening of Islam and Muslims.”
Malaysian officials say King Salman was invited to the Kuala Lumpur meeting but was not attending.
In his call with Dr Mahathir, the king insisted that issues pertaining to the Muslim world should be channelled through the OIC “in order to achieve unity”, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
In a sign that Riyadh was unhappy about the event, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan cancelled his attendance after a recent visit to Saudi Arabia, reportedly to assuage his ally’s concerns.
With the president of the kingdom’s arch-rival Iran and the emir of Qatar — under a two-year Riyadh-led blockade — in attendance, there has been speculation the forum could be used to counter the kingdom’s influence.
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Naturally Saudi is mad as hell, because her bête noires Iran and Qatar are attending, whereas Pakistan has kuai-kuai absent herself, wakakaka.
But Saudi might not know that Mahathir has this meeting, the so-called 'summit' (preposterously misnamed as the Big Kahuna is not even there) when it is all about Mahathir's Muslim prestige and thus his domestic political interests.
The Malay Dignity Congress was similarly held to impress Heartland voters of Mahathir's Malay credentials
But as mentioned, eff the Islamophobia as it's Mahathir's need to impress the local Heartland voters of his wannabe-Kahuna Muslim prestige.