The Kuala Lumpur Summit held 18-21 December represents a seismic shift in the Muslim world towards developing a new effective Muslim leadership body to complement the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, to address the great issues facing the Ummah.

Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamed, and the key leaders who attended, Turkish President Recep Erdogan, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani must be commended for this timely initiative strengthening Ummatic unity.

The Summit backdrop is major crises challenging the Ummah, particularly resulting from Saudi-Iran conflict that weakens the Muslim world and allows protagonists to play havoc with our well-being: worst refugee crisis since World War 2, parallel moves against Muslim minorities in China, India and Myanmar and Israel’s disgraceful treatment of Palestinians.

OIC’s failure to address these necessitates its augmentation by an action-oriented body with teeth to resolve serious issues.

Erdogan called for reforming the OIC, stating the biggest problem is “the issue of implementation.”

Reportedly, participants discussed a strategic development plan based on “the economic independence of the Muslim world and an international monetary system free of foreign hegemony” and a virtual currency to replace the dollar.

Saudi Arabia was invited but declined to attend. Pakistan also declined to attend presumably under Saudi pressure.

Criticism by OIC Secretary, Yousef al-Othaimeen, is off-mark in saying “such gatherings would weaken Islam” and ‘divide the Muslims.”

In reality, certain Gulf countries especially Saudi Arabia, as well as Iran, hold responsibility for both weakening the Muslim world and dividing it.

Mahathir said however, that the Summit is not to isolate anyone but to address problems facing the Islamic world: “Understanding the problems and their causes may enlighten us on ways to overcome or mitigate disasters that have befallen the Ummah.”

The Saudi royal elite for generations shows excessive homage to ally, the United States – to the extent that their agency, Muslim World League, as this writer is reliably informed, needs prior US approval for disbursement of funds worldwide.

Similarly, Saudi oil income from the US cannot be freely recouped, which explains why Saudi is highest spender on (US) military arms.

The US under zionist lobby influence since end of the Cold War, is implicated in massive destruction of the Muslim states of Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya, and in promoting Saudi Arabian-Iran conflict.

The object was not primarily ‘Oil’ but to weaken any obstacle to Israel’s expansion.

The Saudis deserve accolades for their excellent facilities provided for Muslim pilgrims.

Saudi leadership, however, does not reflect the august role of khadiman al-haramain, but rather extremely poor judgement leading to the Yemeni civil war, Khashoggi murder debacle, isolation of Qatar, and cosying up to Israel.

King Salman condoned China’s treatment of the embattled Uighurs.

Prince Walid was shareholder of Islamophobic News Limited.

Saudi-UAE leaders and scholars attacked democracy’s legitimacy, which respected Islamic scholars demonstrate convincingly is Islamic.

Saudi wishes acceptance as defacto leader of the Ummah but fails due to subjugation by America and poor leadership.

This situation justifies development of the new body to which Saudis can contribute but not dominate.

Summit leaders should move smartly to establish a powerful politically independent grouping with a Secretariat and identify priority actions.

These could range from engendering peace in Somalia, Libya, and Yemen; stimulating inter-Muslim trade and research, to exchanging defence technologies.

Pakistan needs loan refunding to recapture national sovereignty and participate.

Peaceful reconciliation should be achieved between Saudi-UAE and Qatar, and between the Gulf countries and Iran, in line with bringing peace between contending brothers (al-Qur’an 49:10).