Saudi Led OIC Criticises Malaysia’s Muslim-5 summit, Says The Move Will Weaken Islam The OIC meeting held in Dhaka this year. (pic via Twitter)

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) based in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday (18 December) called for shunning the Muslim summit in Malaysia reasoning that it would weaken Islam, reports cna.

Saudi Arabia rival Qatar, along with Iran and Turkey will attend the summit this week in Kuala Lumpur, which analysts specialising in Middle East politics called, “aimed at rivaling the OIC,” a 57-member pan-Islamic body.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad, who is the host, reportedly dismissed concerns with Saudi Arabia, which controls Islam’s two most holy mosques. In a phone conversation on Tuesday (17 December) with Saudi Arabia's King Salman, Mohammad insisted the summit was not intended to create a “new bloc.”

However OIC Secretary General Yousef al-Othaimeen said such gatherings would divide Muslims without directly referring, Malaysia.

Othaimeen told Sky News that, "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."

He added that "any weakening of the OIC platform is a weakening of Islam and Muslims".

Malaysian officials did extend the invitation to King Salman to attend the Kuala Lumpur meeting but he will most likely skip the meeting.

King Salman made it very clear to Mahathir, that “issues pertaining to the Muslim world should be channelled through the OIC in order to achieve unity", the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

Earlier, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday (17 December) cancelled his scheduled trip to Kaula Lumpur, Malaysia where he was to attend a summit of Muslim majority countries.

Top official sources told IANS that Khan decided to call off his participation at the summit hosted by the Mahathir government, last minute on Tuesday (17 December).

Saudi Arabia in recent years have had a tumultuous relationship with Shia Iran whose influence is growing in Syria and with Qatar.

With regards to relationship with Turkey, it hit a low following last year's murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, inside the Saudi Embassy.

Also the sudden rise of heir apparent to the Saudi throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has created some uncertainty and insecurity among Muslim-majority nations.

The Kuala Lumpur summit called Muslim-5 is seen as a counter balance and a parallel power block to the OIC, which is under Saudi Arabia's de facto leadership. Also Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, Iran and Turkey have close proximity to the strategic maritime points of the world – the Straits of Malacca, Gulf of Oman, Strait of Hormuz, and the Bosphorus.

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