MODERN HISTORY AND POLITICS-The Islamic World in the New Century: The Organization of the Islamic Conference, 1969-2009

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The Islamic World in the New Century: The Organization of the Islamic Conference, 1969-2009, by Ekmelleddin Ihsanoglu. 288 pages. $65.

After the collapse of the bipolar system, a serious debate in the international arena to shape the new international order began. Scholars of international relations theory sought to provide a macro theory. In the context of this debate, "hard power" continues to be of major significance. However, "soft power" is extremely important as well. Soft power focuses attention on the way that rules, norms, institutions, and international organizations are created, and also on the way that many demands and goals will be pursued.

Over the past two decades, Islam has been factored into the global power equation. The role that Islam has played in the global power equation can be seen in the performance of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). In The Islamic World in the New Century, Ekmelleddin Ihsanoglu analyzes the Muslim world from the viewpoint of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The author is the ninth, and first democratically elected, Secretary General of the OIC. The author believes that we can see the embodiment of the Umma in the OIC.

The book is divided into nine chapters. In the first chapter, the author reviews the historical background of the OIC. In the second chapter, he examines the foundation and consolidation of OIC from 1969-2004. Four subsequent chapters analyze topics such as the history of reform, a review of the charter, the OIC's role in the promotion of peace and the resolution of conflicts in the Muslim world, and problems facing Muslim communities and minorities in Bulgaria, Philippines, Greece, Myanmar, Thailand, and China. The seventh chapter, entitled "Islamophobia: a Threat to Global Peace," explains that "one of the most formidable challenges of today's civilized world is the emergence of Islamophobia and discrimination against Muslims in the West" (p. 143). The author offers examples of major Islamophobic incidents, such as the Danish cartoons and the Dutch film Fitna controversies. …