Letter From The Chair

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2 Letter From The Chair Dear Delegates, Welcome to the 尡 rst ever Westmount Charter School High School Model United Nations! Your chairs and other committee staጀ for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation: Islamic Summit (OIC) are excited and honoured to have you participate in our council and hope to see a strong eጀ ort in discussion and coming up with creative resolutions to resolve the complex problems faced by our world today. Your topics for this council are as follows: 1. Tensions Between Saudi Arabia and Iran 2. Membership of India 3. Persecution of Muslims in Europe All of the aforementioned topics as well as the council will be introduced in this background guide. We have hopes that this document will serve as a good starting point, however we recommend that all delegates do further research in order to fully understand the issues being discussed. The committee staጀ of the OIC hopes that everyone will have a fun and educational time here at the WCSHSMUN and thanks you for attending. We look forward to seeing all of the wonderful ideas you come up with! Sincerely, Areeb Asif Omar Noorani Pritika Minhas

3 Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Mission The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is an international cooperation organization based on the merits of uniting countries with signi 尡 cant Muslim in uence, allowing the Islamic world to act as a united entity in times of crisis, such as in Mali or Palestine. Established in 1969, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation serves as the collective voice of the Muslim world while working to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony. Representatives of the OIC hold permanent positions at the European Union and United Nations. The goal of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, as outlined in its charter: to preserve Islamic social and economic values; promote solidarity amongst member states; increase cooperation in social, economic, cultural, scienti 尡 c, and political areas; uphold international peace and security; and advance education particularly in the 尡 elds of science and technology. (Sourced from ) The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has its administrative o 븟 ces in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; however, the council convenes in diጀ erent member states for each Islamic Summit and/or Extraordinary convention. Saudi Arabia and Morocco have hosted 3 OIC meetings each, white Qatar, Senegal and Pakistan have hosted two sessions each. The member states of the OIC are expected to comply with and recognize the superiority and legitimacy of the United Nations and work in collaboration with the United Nations when situations may allow.

4 Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Member States Afghanistan Albania Algeria Azerbaijan Bahrain Bangladesh Benin Brunei Burkina Faso Chad Cameroon Comoros Djibouti Egypt Gabon The Gambia Guinea-Bissau Guinea Guyana Indonesia Islamic Republic of Iran Iraq Côte d'ivoire Jordan Kazakhstan Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lebanon Libya Malaysia Maldives Mali Mauritania Morocco Mozambique Nigeria Niger Oman Pakistan Palestine Qatar Saudi Arabia Senegal Sierra Leone Somalia Sudan Suriname Syrian Arab Republic Tajikistan Togo Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Uganda United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Yemen

5 Membership of India The Republic of India houses more than 170 million Muslims, making up just under 11 percent of the entire Muslim population. Estimates indicate that there are more than 300,000 mosques in the territory of India. In fact, the state of Jammu and Kashmir is made up of roughly 68% Muslims; in eastern states Assam and West Bengal as well as in the southern state of Kerala more than one-quarter of the population identi 尡 es as Muslim. Yet, for various reasons, India is not a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and as a result, more than one-tenth of the world s Muslims go on represented at the Islamic Summit. Is India s claim to a spot on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation justi 尡 ed? Many experts would say that it is for multiple reasons. Firstly, India s vast Muslim population is not only signi 尡 cantly large but it is also a minority in an arguably hostile country and so representation in a council that discusses the interests of Muslims internationally would provide a greater degree of protection. Secondly, the argument is made that, though India houses one of the world s largest Muslim populations, the government itself is not based on Islamic-values and is likely to restrict uni 尡 ed council progress; however, it is worth noting that there are many similar exceptions to this rule. For example: Mozambique, Suriname, Guyana and Gabon are all examples of countries with surprisingly small Muslim minorities who hold memberships in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Lastly, India makes a strong case for economic development and trade from which independent OIC nations would signi 尡 cantly bene 尡 t if India held membership. There are various reasons that India s membership has been denied. It has been known that the neighbouring Islamic Republic of Pakistan is strongly opposed to India s admission to the council given their varying positions on the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan refuses to allow India membership to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation until India withdraws their claim to Kashmir. Aside from the Kashmir dispute, relations between the nations have been known to escalate at times leading to several wars and as a result, relations between the nations remain very tense. While Pakistan is the main country to strongly express concerns against Indian entry into the organisation, Iran (Islamic Republic of) is India s biggest advocate in the council. Given growing economic ties and similar political interests, Iran has been known to speak in favour of India s case to the council as they would be bene 尡 ciary from the Indian perspective during discussion. There are various other economic and political allies who would gain from Indian representation in the council - however, given how much Iran stands to gain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a political obligation to standing against

6 Iranian interests and has motivation to speak against Indian membership in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. In essence, many countries are expected to gain or lose things in the council if India s membership is granted and so there are various stances that neutral countries can take. The council s capacity to accept new members rest with the members. The most recent accepted request for membership was from the Cote d Ivoire in Before that, there was strong acceptance periods for the council - for example, between 1994 and 1998, six members were accepted from three diጀ erent continents. Since 2002, however, four states (Kenya, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius) have applied for full membership and India has continued to express interest and the council has continuously left these applications undeliberated. There are more than 10 observer state applications, the most signi 尡 cant being that of the People s Republic of China. India s case for membership is much stronger than of the other applicant nations, given the signi 尡 cant number of Muslims residing in the country - however, the opposition to India s case is equally tantalizing and provides one of the most gruelling disputes on the inside of the OIC. Resources to Consider The Review of Faith and International Aጀ airs: Faith and Foreign Policy in India Asia Society: Center for Global Education: India-Pakistan Relations Indian Council on Global Relations: India and the OIC Questions to Consider What is the status of my country s foreign relations with India? How much does my country trade with India? Where does my country stand on the issue of the sovereignty and administration of Kashmir?

7 What is the status of my country s foreign relations with Pakistan?

8 Iran-Saudi Arabia Relations Tensions between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are continuing to escalate which is heavily in uencing con ict in the Middle East. Since the two local superpowers are enemies, collaborative eጀ orts in the region are often counterproductive given the nation s will not align. Poor relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia can be accredited to many things including foreign relations, religion, political structure, resources and government interests. Both countries aspire to be the leaders of Islamic Middle East and as a result their contradictory beliefs have crashed head-on many times. In the last 尡 ve years, various events have brought the relations in the spotlight. In Yemen, Saudi Arabia has been leading the 尡 ght against pro-shia Houthi rebels and there have been claims from several Sunni Gulf states that the Houthi rebels are Iranian backed. Earlier in 2016, there was an airstrike on the Iranian embassy in Sana a, which the Iranian government has claimed to be a deliberate attack from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has since accused the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran of smuggling in weapons into Yemen equip rebel 尡 ghters. Aside from the crisis in Yemen, relations were heavily hit following the 2015 Hajj Stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia where several Iranian nationals were killed during the religious pilgrimage. Iran has claimed that the Saudi Arabian government is to be held accountable for their incompetency and lack of regard for safety. Iran has since banned their citizens from performing the religious act of Hajj which is mandated by Islam as one of the 尡 ve necessities. Early in January, Saudi Arabia executed 47 people on terrorism charges - 45 Saudi Arabians, 1 Egyptian and 1 Chadian. Out of these 47, 46 are believed to have followed Sunni Islam, which is what is predominant in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but there was an outspoken Shia Sheikh, namely Nimr al-nimr, which caused an outrage in Iran. There was massive attacks on the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran and the Saudi Arabian consulate-general in Mashhad in which protestors tried to burn the embassies down. Similarly, in neighbouring Shia-majority nation, Iraq, protesters 尡 red rockets at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Baghdad. Saudi Arabia is a strong practitioner of Sunni Islam and it is known as the home of the ultra conservative branch of the religion known as Wahhabism. Saudi Arabia is recognized as a non-aligned state and their foreign relations express their willingness to work with various international superpowers on several occasions. The nation is heavily vested in oil given they harness more than any other on the planet and they continuously make eጀ orts to keep the price low. Historically, Saudi Arabia has been a close ally of the United States of America, dating as far back as the cooperative defense agreement in

9 1951. Since then, aside from oil sales, Saudi Arabia has served as a key location for the United States to base many of their operations in the region. Saudi Arabia holds multiple key cities from the history of most interpretations of Islam including the location of the holiest mosque, which is where the religious pilgrimage occurs. The location was recently renovated to accommodate more Muslims annually, to strong criticism from many Muslims who believe that renovations took away from the original site and it no longer holds the same signi 尡 cance. Saudi Arabia also employs the Sharia law to a great extent and capital punishment is enforced within the country, drawing international criticism. While Saudi Arabia s policy has remained constant since the uni 尡 cation of Hejaz and Nejd, Iran (Islamic Republic of) is a country that has shifted many times since the Iran s policy was heavily pro-western until 1979, where a revolution occurred forming an anti-western theocracy, signi 尡 cantly changing the political nature of Iran. This new policy strongly contradicts that of Saudi Arabia and has been a point of contention in the relations. In fact, Iran maintains no diplomatic relations with the United States of America and has only recently reopened their embassy in the United Kingdom. These countries have played a signi 尡 cant role in keeping Saudi Arabia as the other leading nation in the areas, resulting in Iranian distaste for Saudi Arabia. Iran is one of the few nations on earth where Shia Muslims hold an overwhelming majority which is another one of the points of contention between the nations. Iran has aligned itself with the Russian Federation and thus, with American operations being run out of Saudi Arabia, poor relations have re ected in these two countries as well. Iranian arming of rebels all over the world including countries such as The Gambia, Yemen and Lebanon, in addition to their nuclear program, has created several security concerns for Saudi Arabia. Iran and Saudi Arabia struggle to agree on many points of policy and this makes security in the Middle East signi 尡 cantly more di 븟 cult than it necessarily has to be. This issue is pertinent for various reasons. Many diplomats and innocent civilians 尡 nd themselves at risk due to increasing tension between the two countries and their allies. Embassies and diplomatic missions 尡 nd themselves at risk whereas cooperation in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Israel and the 尡 ght against ISIS is very limited. Inciting this cooperation or dictating principles for each country to work together could prove prudent to any one of these crisis. In addition to unnecessary toughening of con icts and incredulous risks to diplomats, Iranian civilians are now unable to complete the Hajj pilgrimage as a result of Saudi incompetence. Also, council progress remains minimal with leading nations such as Pakistan and Indonesia struggle to speak for or against either country at the fear of upsetting one of these two other leading nations. There is vast potential for these countries to initiate cooperation which could signi 尡 cantly in uence con ict in the Middle

10 East, though both countries will need to take several aspects into consideration before tensions begin to de-escalate. Resources To Consider Council on Foreign Relations: Sunni-Shia Divide ict-and-human-rights/sunni-shia-divide/p33176#!/ Saudi Arabian Foreign Ministry: Foreign Policy O 븟 cial Overview aspx Congressional Research Service: Iran s Foreign and Defense Policies (Advanced) Questions To Consider What is the status of my country s foreign relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran? What is the status of my country s foreign relations with Saudi Arabia? How does my country pertain to the Shia-Sunni crisis? Which group holds a majority in my country? Historically, has my country worked better with Saudi Arabia or Iran? Can my country potentially negotiate or mediate between the involved parties or is my country more heavily vested with one side?

11 Persecution of Muslims in North America and Europe After 9/11, the persecution of Muslims in North America and Europe has massively increased for a number of reasons which include fear and a lack of understanding of the religions. Give the current crises in Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Morocco and elsewhere as well as the growing need for Muslim refugees to seek a home within Europe and North America, this can be seen as a major problem for these individuals. For example, the United Kingdom s vote to exit from the EU has been constantly accredited to a fear of foreigners, in which, we can already see the persecution of Muslims within Western society. In fact, within Western societies, there is a hatred of these Muslim communities, based on a fear of the terrorism situation, with groups including Daesh and Al-Qaeda. This issue is of great importance because due to the current persecution that Muslims face, refugees are not being accepted by societies, and therefore are at risk of death, starvation and poverty. In addition, many nations promote multicultural values, however, due to recent terrorist attacks these beliefs have often collided with national security interests. While not all countries have adopted a security versus multiculturalism mindset, there is a signi 尡 cant increase of refugees in countries which have not yet amended policy, to the extent where countries are no longer able to transport and accommodate refugees. One such example would be Germany. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation is tasked to 尡 nd a common ground on the issue of Muslim Persecution, and solutions to allow Muslims to feel safe within Western society. As well, due to the increasing refugee crisis, this issue is of major importance to the council in order to 尡 nd a safe way for those on the run to 尡 nd refuge to countries where they will 尡 nd a welcoming environment, without the fear of hatred towards them. The harsh reality for Muslims is that they are often excluded and isolated within North American and European society - for example, Denmark and the Czech Republic maintain strong anti-refugee policies while France has institutionalized a ban against clothing and accessories of all religions and since, has been criticized harshly for enforcing these bans on the Muslim population. Not only are many governments taking action in courses that could potentially harm Muslims, there is a strong anti-islamic rhetoric in European and North American countries. Hate crimes against Muslims has increased post 9/11, including burning of mosques and abuse against women in hijabs and burkas and many would agree that there is a need for change. In 2009, Egyptian national Marwa El-Sherbini was stabbed to death in a German courtroom after providing evidence against her attacker that indicated he commit a hate crime. Another example of violence against Muslims followed the Charlie Hebdo shooting; in the following week, there were 54 anti-muslim incidents in France, out of which 21 involved shootings or grenades thrown into buildings

12 associated with Muslims. There are countless examples of Muslims being punished for the actions of terrorists and several examples where terrorist activities have not been a factor, however, either way, Muslim integration into Western society has become heavily limited. A Western perspective would indicate that by allowing Muslim populations free control, the risk of terrorism increases - France s changing laws have been in attempt to alter the free reign of potential terrorists s Global Terrorism Report indicates that there was an 80% increase in people killed as a result of terrorism - more than 150,000 lives have been claimed by terrorists in the last 9 years. Terrorism brings a tremendous social and political impact, and it also aጀ ects economics as governments often spend millions dollar recovering from catastrophic attacks and insurance agencies have been known to lose signi 尡 cant money as a result of an attack. Terrorist attacks hinder the growth and progressive state of the world in many ways and that risk is perceived in Muslims. Ultimately, there is too much con ict in the world for Muslims to face additional persecution. As a result, it is the task of the international Muslim community to speak out for their safety. Resources to Consider Pew Research Center: European Surveys on Muslim Refugees errorism-fewer-jobs/ BBC News: Perspectives of Muslims in France on Persecution Macleans: Intolerance in Canada Questions to Consider What Western governmental actions, such as laws and declarations, persecute and isolate Muslims? What actions can the OIC take to call on foreign governments to change their policies?

13 What events have occurred that demonstrate intolerance of Muslims and the Islamic faith? Were they carried out by governments or individuals? What institutions, governments and non-governmental organizations can take appropriate action against individuals demonstrating intolerance? Where are these events occurring?

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