Egyptian preacher calls for reconciliation between West and Muslim world

A popular Egyptian preacher on Friday called for reconciliation between the West and the Muslim world at the start of a conference aimed at fostering religious dialogue following the uproar caused by the prophet cartoons.

"We feel there are forces of extremism which are aiming to light fires and transform Denmark from a peaceful country to a country which will suffer from conflicts," Amr Khaled said.

He said moderate forces on both sides must come together to build bridges and stop the "clash and conflict" the erupted after the cartoons were published in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and reprinted by other Western media.

"We have come to say that Islam is a giving religion, and Denmark can benefit from this religion," he said at the start of the one-day conference of Muslim and Christian religious leaders and scholars in Copenhagen.

He suggested a boycott against Danish goods in Arab countries would stop if Danish people and its government showed a gesture of goodwill toward the Muslim world.

Khaled, 38, has become wildly popular among young Muslims and women for his youthful style and his sermons applying Islam to day-to-day modern life. He has been criticized for heading to Denmark by some Muslim leaders who said there should be no dialogue before the Nordic country's government apologizes for the cartoons.

The Danish government has repeatedly said it cannot be held responsible for the actions of an independent newspaper.

The drawings were seen as an insult to Muhammad, depicting him as violent and primitive. Sunni Muslim tradition bans any image of the prophet, since depicting him risks insulting him or encouraging idolatry, reports the AP.

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