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Islamic Bloc Seeks To Join Permanent U.N. Security Council

Sara Newman |
September 18, 2013 | 9:43 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

U.N. meeting room could be changing in power dynamics, photo by Sara Newman
U.N. meeting room could be changing in power dynamics, photo by Sara Newman

Since the founding of the United Nations in 1946, the United Nations Security Council has existed to oversee decisions made by the U.N. The five permanent members—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France—have a veto power that enables them to prevent the passage of any "substantive" draft Council resolution even if the other countries support it. 

Now, however, the Islamic countries are rallying for their own seat at the decision-making table. 

With the Muslim population set to make up more than a quarter of the world population by 2030 and many Muslim countries on the rise, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), would like to see that rise in power represented in the U.N. as well. 

The 57-member OIC comprises the largest voting bloc at the United Nations and it is time it acquired “a new position,” Ihsanoglu remarked

“During the first reconsideration of the reform in the U.N., I think there should be a seat for OIC in the Security Council,” said Ihsanoglu while visiting the Russian Foreign Ministry’s international relations institute. “If you look to the structure of the Security Council of today, you have the P5 [permanent five] and there are representatives of different civilizations, different cultures, political powers … but you won’t find representative of more than 1.6 billion people of Muslim world.”

India, Japan, Germany, Brazil, and South Africa are currently the main contenders for becoming permanent members of the security council; yet no Islamic countries are being given the same consideration. 

Back in February U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasized the importance of collaboration between the U.N. and the OIC in order to address people’s aspirations in the rapidly-transitioning Middle East. Yet, Ihsanoglu resents the preferential treatment and elevated status that the European Union has enjoyed with the U.N. since 2011, according to the Washington Times.

One of the issues that complicates the attempt to add an Islamic seat to the Permanent Security Council is that there is no specific country that stands out as aleader; rather Ihsanoglu is calling for a seat to represent the “Islamic bloc.” 

As no new seats have been added to the permanent security council since its inception over 60 years ago, it will be interesting to see how this request for a new Islamic seat plays out. 

Contact Executive Producer Sara Newman here and follow her on Twitter. 




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