Nice sentiments. Now we wonder if the good king will abolish public flogging, as demanded by Amnesty International. Dec. 7:
MECCA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah appealed to Muslim leaders on Wednesday to unite and tackle extremists who he said have hijacked their religion.
At a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) — the world’s biggest Muslim body — in the holy city of Mecca, Abdullah said the world’s 1 billion Muslims were weak and divided, a description echoed by other leaders.
“It bleeds the heart of a believer to see how this glorious civilization has fallen from the height of glory to the ravine of frailty and how its thoughts were hijacked by devilish and criminal gangs that spread havoc on earth,” Abdullah said.
Saudi Arabia, home to 15 of the 19 al Qaeda hijackers who killed 3,000 people in the United States on September 11, 2001, is battling a wave of militant violence at home.
U.S. critics have blamed the kingdom’s strict Wahhabi school of Islam for fostering extremism but Saudi officials say they are tackling the militants through a tough security crackdown and a campaign to win over militant sympathizers.
Abdullah called for greater educational efforts to promote tolerance. “I look forward … to the spread of a moderation that embodies the tolerance of Islam,” he said.
The king was speaking at the start of a two-day summit in Mecca of the 57-member OIC, convened to address what he said were grave dangers facing the Muslim nation.
DISUNITY AND DISCORD
“We don’t have the luxury of blaming others for our own problems,” OIC Secretary-General Ekmelettin Ihsanoglu said in a speech which also portrayed the Muslim world confronting one of “the most critical eras of its history”.
“Helplessness dispossession, marginalisation, all of these lead to the growth and spread of extremist ideas,” he said.
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi also issued a solemn warning, saying Muslims across the world were in a state of “disunity and discord” worse than an any time in 14 centuries of Islamic history.