03/14/2008, 00.00
ISLAM
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Islamic Conference: Islamophobia, a threat to world peace

The 57-member OIC states that the war against terrorism cannot be won without the support of Muslim countries. It slams the equation Muslims=terrorists which, among other things, drives people towards extremism and calls on the West to take steps against this attitude.

Dakar (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The “alarming” rise in Islamophobia, especially in Europe and the United States, is a threat to peace and security in the world, this according to a report presented to a meeting of the 57 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), currently underway in Dakar, Senegal.

Islamic leaders focused on perceptions in the West often linking Islam to terrorism, especially since the 11 September 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on the United States, stressing that such a vision contradicts the fact that “the war against terror cannot be successful without the support of Muslim countries” and that “many Muslim countries are themselves victims of terror and active partners of the international community in combating terror”. At the same time the same war is making Muslims more radical.

The OIC also slams the West for “discriminations” against Muslims and for attacks against “the most sacred symbols of Islam,” in particular the “sacred image of the Prophet Muhammad,” who is “defiled and denigrated in the most insulting, offensive and contemptuous manner to incite hatred and unrest in society.”

The implicit but clear reference to the Muhammad cartoons published  in Denmark and the “anti-Qur‘an” film by Dutch MP Geert Wilders is more clearly expressed in the OIC’s claim that “Islamophobes remain free to carry on their assaults due to the absence of legal measures necessary against the misusing or abusing (of) the right to freedom of expression.”

Lastly the OIC calls on Western countries to take steps to counter Islamophobia, urging the Muslim world to launch a campaign to show that it is a “moderate, peaceful and tolerant” religion.

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