The Organization of Islamic Cooperation is an umbrella group that unites 57 Muslim countries across the globe. At the request of Turkey, which currently holds the rotating presidency, the organization met this week to hold an urgent discussion on the matter of Jerusalem.
It comes as no surprise: The organization was launched in 1969, after a mentally unstable Christian man tried and failed to set Al-Aqsa mosque on fire. One of the organization’s goals is “to support the Palestinian people, which is under a foreign occupation, and provide it with tools to restore its rights, including the right of self-determination and the right to establish a state of their own, whose capital is Al-Quds Al-Sharif [the noble Jerusalem], while preserving the city’s historic and Islamic character.”
At the meeting, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he hoped that the Muslim world would come together to address Israeli “aggression” against the Palestinians, and mentioned that the goal of the organization was to work to unite “the nation” in taking a stance against “Zionist expansion.”
For years, Turkey has been trying to enhance its influence in Jerusalem. It has invested millions of dollars into this effort, transferring funds to the Palestinian Authority, funding imams in the Old City, supporting Turkish language instruction, and more. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s portal into Israel is the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement and its leader, Sheikh Raed Salah. Salah is a chief inciter to violence who called the terrorists who murdered two Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount last month shahids (martyrs). Turkey has weakened Jordan’s standing in the Old City and nurtured the Murabiton, the Muslim Arabs positioned on the Temple Mount to harass and attack non-Muslim visitors.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation does not limit its activity to fighting on behalf of the Palestinians. At the beginning of July, it came out in support of the Kashmir region’s right to self-determination — meaning the right to split off from India — despite India’s objections. The organization supports Muslims wherever they are engaged in conflict with non-Muslims: Lebanon, Kosovo, Bosnia, etc. It also works to ensure that Muslims in Europe adhere to their Muslim identity rather than becoming westernized.
Loyal to the fundamental Islamist worldview of the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization works to bring the entire world under Islamic control through what Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi calls “fatah silmi” — a victory through peaceful means. The group’s newsletter, Islam Today, carried the statement: “The success of the Muslim minority is that one day, it will be the majority. We will achieve this by integrating the Muslim minority into the non-Muslim majority, so the latter receives Islamic morality and religion bit by bit, and eventually comes to identify with Islam.”
Given this, it’s obvious that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is an existential threat not only to Israel, but also the entire West. So Israel, rather than justifying itself in the face of the group’s plan demands about Jerusalem, should emphasize that the organization’s battle for the city is a stage in its plan to impose Islamic rule everywhere in the world. Many experts are afraid to call a spade a spade, as we all know that religious wars are bloody. But we didn’t declare this one, and denying the reality does nothing to change it. In fact, it only makes it worse. To win, we must present the problem truthfully.
Dr. Ephraim Herrera is the author of “Jihad — Fundamentals and Fundamentalism.”