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Islam ´must help curb extremism´ (BBC) 01/27/05 13:30 GMT)Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4212223.stm BBC} BRITISH BROADCASTING COMPANY BBC} BRITISH BROADCASTING COMPANY Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 capital, Putrajaya.

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.

Jihad

Mr Abdullah said it was "most unfortunate" that the concept of jihad, or holy war, had been "narrowed down" to mean physical fighting.

"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 01/27/05)


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