PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia: Many parts of the Islamic world are in "deep crisis" with Muslims suffering more from militancy and terrorism than others, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday.
"There are many challenges that we need to overcome. In many parts of our world, we are in deep crisis," Abdullah told some 50 participants from 15 member countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
"The OIC landscape is a distressing one. Darfur is a humanitarian disaster, two of us are occupied - Iraq completely and Palestine partially," said Badawi, who currently chairs the OIC.
"Some of the OIC countries are rich and their people affluent.
"But they are too few and far between. The OIC landscape is littered with nations that are poor and people that are hungry.
"They are largely at the mercy of developed nations and of forces beyond their control."
Nearly 50 scholars and diplomats from Burkina Faso, Egypt, Iran, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sudan, Turkey, and Yemen are attending the three-day meeting of the OIC Commission of Eminent Persons in Malaysia's administrative capital Putrajaya.
"Uppermost in the commission's agenda must surely be the question of how to strengthen the prospects for peace, security and stability in Muslim countries, and between Muslim countries and others," Badawi said.
"Equally high in the commission's agenda would be the question of how poverty and illiteracy in the Muslim world can be eradicated."
Reacting to a statement by President George W Bush in which he refused to rule out military action unless Iran abandoned a nuclear energy programme, he said Tehran would not be intimidated.