Leaders of 50 Muslim countries urged to fight terrorism

Leaders and ministers of more than 50 Muslim countries urged their nations to fight terrorism and called for moderation within Islam as they opened a summit in a palace overlooking Islam's holiest shrine."We do not have the luxury of blaming others for our own problems. It is high time we addressed our national and regional problems with courage, sincerity and openness," said Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Turkish secretary-general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

We should fight terrorism by dealing with its roots and causes, whether committed by individuals, groups or states," Ihsanoglu said. "Terrorism is a crime that every Muslim should fight."While discussions during the two-day summit are expected to focus on terrorism, delegates will also seek to forge a plan to reform the 57-member organisation in a bid to give it more clout in international affairs.

"The future of humanity depends on this part of the world," Ihsanoglu said. "What is going on in the Islamic world has dire consequences elsewhere."

"Lack of moderation is one of the main sources of instability and chaos in the modern world," he said, stressing the need to combat poverty, illiteracy and corruption in the Muslim world.

"When these issues are not addressed properly by legitimate means, they are used as an excuse to push for extreme agendas," he said. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, speaking at the opening session, also called for moderation."Islamic unity can't be achieved by the spilling of blood, as deviant people claim by their dark ideas," he said.

The leaders of about 40 countries were participating in the meeting, with the remaining OIC members represented by ministers. Among noted absentees were Syrian President Bashar Assad, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, hospitalised in France, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog, reports the AP. I.L.

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