Why in news?
- Calling on the Indian government to take steps to protect Muslim minorities who are being “negatively profiled,” facing “discrimination and violence” amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has criticised what it called “growing Islamophobia” in India.
- Recently the Ministry of External Affairs had reacted sharply to two similar statements on religious “stigmatisation” of minorities in India by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
- The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states, with a collective population of over 1.8 billion as of 2015 with 53 countries being Muslim-majority countries.
- The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony”.
- The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union.
- Some members, especially in West Africa and South America, are – though with large Muslim populations – not necessarily Muslim majority countries.
- A few countries with significant Muslim populations, such as Russia and Thailand, sit as Observer States.
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
- The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom is a U.S. federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.
- USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives
- USCIRF researches and monitors international religious freedom issues.
- The Commission is authorized to travel on fact-finding missions to other countries and hold public hearings