Islam ´must help curb extremism´ (BBC) 01/27/05 13:30 GMT)
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Malaysia´s prime minister has urged Muslim nations and scholars to
speak out against Islamic extremism.
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is also chairman of the Organisation of
the Islamic Conference, said Muslims had to "close the great divide"
with the West.
He said Muslims were as much to blame as others for misinterpreting
Islam and seeing it as justifying violence.
Mr Abdullah was addressing a meeting in Malaysia bringing together
academics and diplomats from OIC nations.
"It is our duty to demonstrate, by word and by action, that a Muslim
country can be modern, democratic, tolerant and economically
competitive," he told the gathering in the country´s administrative
He said Muslims should work to correct the world´s "ignorant and
extremely damaging perception" that Islamic countries were
supporters of terrorism and militancy.
"In embarking on this crucial mission, we must guard against extreme
motivations or extremist elements," he said.
Mr Abdullah said it was "most unfortunate" that the concept of
jihad, or holy war, had been "narrowed down" to mean physical
"If Muslims themselves can make this mistake, what more can we
expect from others?" he asked.
The OIC meeting was called to discuss how Muslims should face the
challenges of the 21st Century and consider a possible restructuring
of the 57-member organisation.
Mr Abdullah´s sentiments were echoed by OIC Secretary General
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who called for "collective action by Islamic
countries to counter religious extremist fanaticism". (© BBC MMV
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