Muslim leaders call for introspection for solutionsJune 9th, 2008 - 1:27 pm ICT by IANS
Kuala Lumpur, June 9 (DPA) Muslim leaders Monday called on Islamic nations to stop claiming to be victims of the West and start solving their internal problems to begin bridging a rift with the rest of the world. Former Pakistani prime minister Shaukat Aziz said a growing distrust of Islam in the West is largely because of the failure of Muslim countries to project the correct view of Islam, which is that of peace and non-violence.
“The Islamic world is currently looked at in a very derogatory view,” Aziz told delegates at an Islamic conference held in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.
He said there was a “growing gap between faiths” and said Muslim nations needed to also take responsibility for the lack of proper dialogue with the West.
“In the Muslim world, we must stop acting like we are victims or are wronged,” Aziz said at the opening of the two-day conference, organized by the Malaysian government and the US-based Cordoba Initiative, a multi-faith organization working to heal the rift between the Islamic world and the United States.
“There needs to be an openness in admitting that there are also things in our own countries that need to be changed,” he said.
To bridge the gap between Islam and the West, Muslim nations need to “look at themselves and solve their problems before looking at others,” said Prince Turki al-Faisal, head of an Islamic studies institute in the United Arab Emirates.
Al-Faisal said Muslims and the West need to begin talking about issues that unite, not divide.
“We need to start to talk about things that bring us together, such as the fight against poverty, against illness, against disease and against double standards,” he said.
Earlier, Ekmeleddin Ihsanouglu, secretary general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said there was a need for a “strong and determined collective political will” to achieve great understanding with the West.
“It’s high time for concrete action to overtake the rhetoric,” Ihsanouglu said.
He said fear of Islam was setting in in the West and urged Western governments to take action against those bent on portraying Islam in a negative manner.
“Western governments should not be shy to publicly condemn Islamophobia,” he said.
The conference, which drew delegates from Islamic nations as well as the West, aims to come up with concrete steps that can be taken to bring the two civilizations closer together.