The impressions of OIC Secretary Generals

The Secretary Generals of the OIC have occasionally expressed their views on IRCICA as part of their reports on OIC subsidiaries submitted to Islamic Conferences, in their speeches at events organised by the Centre, by recording their impressions in IRCICA Visitors' Book, etc. Meanwhile, starting from 1990, Prof. Ihsanoglu requested interviews from the former OIC Secretary Generals to ask for their views on IRCICA's objectives and activities. As the idea of the interviews was not formulated yet, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj (Malaysia), first Secretary General of the OIC, who had received Prof. Ihsanoglu in Kuala Lumpur in 1986 was not interviewed. Most of the interviews with the previous Secretary Generals were made during the commemoration of the Twentieth Anniversary of the OIC in Jeddah (1990). They covered subjects related to the OIC's establishment and development, its activities in various fields, its future prospects, and issues on its agenda. Following are excerpts from their talks concerning IRCICA.

Interview with H.E. Mr. Hassan Al-Touhami (1974-75) in Jeddah, on 6 February 1990

E. Ihsanoglu - What were, according to you, the major achievements of the OIC during the period of your mandate?

Hassan Al-Touhami - Three important steps were taken during that period: first, formulation of the idea to create IRCICA; second, the process which led to the Mecca Declaration of the Third Islamic Summit Conference in 1981; and third, the establishment of the Fiqh Academy in Jeddah.

Interview with H.E. Dr. Amadou Karim Gaye (1975-79) in Jeddah, on 8 February 1990

E. Ihsanoglu - What were the conditions of the Muslim world at the time of the beginning of your term of office and what measures did you take?

Amadou Karim Gaye - When I took office, cooperation between the Member States was at an insufficient level, be it in the political, economic or cultural fields. ... The Islamic Development Bank was the first institution to be established in order to reinforce Islamic solidarity, but this was not sufficient. It was necessary that the Member States become acquainted with each other and be aware of their problems. To meet this need, a number of centres and subsidiaries were created within the OIC. In the cultural field, the need was felt to train the manpower. ... Culture must be studied, in the largest sense of the term. ... It was necessary to underscore the values of Islam, and for that, to study the contributions of Islamic civilisation to world civilisation. ... The Istanbul Centre came into being in response to that need, with the objective of reviving Islamic civilisation. I was one of the supporters for the establishment of the Centre.

Interview with H.E. Mr. Habib Chatti (1979-84) in Jeddah, on 8 February 1990

E. Ihsanoglu - What were the major achievements in the cultural field during the period of your mandate?

Habib Chatti - IRCICA and the Fiqh Academy were established and put into operation. Islamic universities were established during the same period.

Interview with H.E. Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada (1985-88) in Jeddah, on 7 February 1990

E. Ihsanoglu - What were the major issues facing the OIC during the period of your mandate?

Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada - Political issues were crucial. There was the problem of Afghanistan, the question of the common market. There were financial problems, as well, that all the OIC institutions were facing. ... On the subject of improving the OIC, many resolutions were taken but not all were applied. ... IRCICA made good contributions in the cultural field.

Interview with H.E. Dr. Hamid Algabid (1989-1996) in Jeddah, on 26 January 1999

E. Ihsanoglu - What is your frank opinion about IRCICA, Sir?

Hamid Algabid - IRCICA is a very good institution. It is really doing very well. On the cultural level, it is the best institution in the OIC. ... You are concentrating on cultural and historical subjects.

E. I. - And how do you see the future of IRCICA? ... How do you think IRCICA can develop?

H. A. - It could become the best institution for history and culture as regards the Central Asian countries. Not abandoning the overall culture of Islamic countries, of course, but it has to concentrate on this region specially and to be the first, best place, where you can find something about these countries. So if you do this, it will benefit the other parts of the Islamic world. ...