Although, OIC's web-site says:

The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world and ensuring to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.

... it is mostly a silent organization. We don't see much from OIC other than passing some periodic Tweets and trivial statements.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE hold a strong influence on OIC.

Among others, Pakistan and Iran are members of OIC.

  • OIC is mostly silent in the matter of Kashmir. Last year UAE invited Indian FM to the OIC's summit even though India annexed Kashmir and kept Kashmir under lockdown ever since.
  • Iran and Saudi Arabia are regional rivals and follow different sects of Islam. For years, Iran has been working in undermining the monarchy. Recently, Saudi Arabia blocked Iran from participating in an OIC meeting.

Why are Iran and Pakistan members of OIC? What benefit does it serve to them?

  • 2
    "OIC is a Saudi-led bloc." Citation needed! Indeed the Parliamentary Union of the OIC is headquartered in Tehran.
    – James K
    Aug 6 '20 at 14:49
  • India did not annex Kashmir, which has been part of India since partition.
    – jamesqf
    Aug 7 '20 at 16:42
  • @jamesqf, what was that 370 all about then?
    – user366312
    Aug 7 '20 at 16:52

Islamic countries that are generally enemies or dislike each other will occasionally ally in efforts that combat shared enemies. The most common target in groups like this is Israel, though things viewed as a general threat to Islam or theocratic rule are often targeted as well. OIC is also a way to support Shari'ah law over more western views on human rights, sexual identity, and cultural norms. Iran is a member because the goals of the OIC largely align with all the goals of the countries leadership, the Sunni/Shia conflict is lesser than the fundamentalist Islamic/western culture conflict.


This is a frame challenge:

In aspiration and in practice the OIC is not dominated by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The largest grouping within the OIC is the Parlimentary Union of the OIC. It is headquartered in Tehran.

The OIC has repeatedly refused membership to India (despite the large number of Indian Muslims) ostensibly due to opposition from Pakistan over Kashmir.

Thus Iran and Pakistan are well represented in the movement. Of course it is not surprising that Saudi Arabia is also a prominent member, given its wealth, and the fact that many of Islams most holy places are in Saudi. It is unsurprising that Saudi Arabia is a strong influence in the OIC, but it isn't clear that it is a disproportionate influence.

The OIC did oppose the Houthi rebellion in Yemen. This does align with Saudi Arabia, and against Iran, but this has more to do with supporting a member government, the Government of the Yemen.

The OIC tends not to make many detailed policies, and these it does have are mostly issues that Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran can agree on: Opposition to Israel, Promotion of Islamic cultures, Reducing the hegemony of the "West". It was set up to be "Pan-Islamic" and it generally has been.

  • Your answer isn't correct. If Saudis are not OIC's hegemon, why did they block some countries to participate in the Kualalumpore Summit which took place without the consent of KSA?
    – user366312
    Aug 7 '20 at 14:18

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