India Abroad

Bangladesh Calls For Inclusion Of India As An Observer In Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| May 6 , 2018 , 10:42 IST

Bangladesh has made the first official call to include nations with significant Muslim populations, such as India, as observers to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which so far has only Muslim majority countries as its members.

During a meeting of the OIC foreign ministers in Dhaka on Saturday, Bangladesh minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali called for reforms within the group so that nations without a Muslim majority but having a significant Muslim population can get an 'observer' seat in the OIC.

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“A number of countries, not OIC members, have a large number of Muslims as their citizens. The Muslims may be minority in those countries, but in terms of number they often exceed the total population of many OIC member countries,” said Ali.

“There is a need to build bridges with those non-OIC countries so that a large number of Muslim populations do not remain untouched by the good work of OIC. That is why reforms and restructuring is critical for OIC,” the Bangladesh foreign minister said.

Apart from Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia's former ruler Abdullah in 2006 had also proposed that India become an observer in OIC, but the call was rejected by Pakistan which holds a veto position.

As per 2017 statistics, India has a population of 182 million Muslims, accounting for 14.2 percent of the overall population. In comparison, member states of Nigeria with 178 million Muslims, Bangladesh with 156 million Muslims and Egypt with 86 million Muslims, all have a less Muslim population than that in India.