Adil James, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)
The eight representatives of OIC were brought to the US on a US State Department sponsored visit to American Muslim institutions, a part of a program to foster mutual understanding and goodwill.
The OIC officers are civil service officers paid by the international organization OIC, and are based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The OIC is the â€œOrganisation of the Islamic Conference,â€ an organization of 57 nation states across four continents. Member states pay annual dues to pay for the functioning of the OIC, and maintain foreign service officers who represent them to the OIC. The OIC thereby maintains a budget and is able to support its own paid staff.
The OIC was founded after a summit in Morocco in September of 1969, after arson was committed against the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In 1970 the first meeting of the OIC was held in Jeddah.
The organization sponsors a once-per-three-years meeting of heads of state of Muslim countries, an annual meeting of foreign ministers, and a full-time general secretariat to implement the decisions of the other two bodies.
In fact, the member states of the OIC are known sometimes more for their distance from Islam than from their adherence to it, and so it is intrinsically ironic that a body known as Islamic is at the same time in reality of a divided heart as to issues related to Islam. Perhaps the common ground of these nation states is a desire for increased trade, and in fact the OIC delegates, when pressed on the accomplishments of the OIC in the past 40 years, point to nearly tripled trade (from 4% to 16%) between member states in that time.
The OIC professionals asked pointed questions about TMO, and encouraged TMO to form partnerships with other Muslim news organizations.
Dr. AS Nakadar, the CEO of TMO, in turn encouraged the OIC to build educational institutions like universities in Muslim nations, saying this would contribute much to solving the problems of the Muslim world.
For more information about the OIC, you can visit www.oic-oci.org to see their website.