March 14, 2008 / 7:55 PM / 12 years ago

Muslim leaders urge dialogue with Christian world

DAKAR (Reuters) - World Muslim leaders on Friday condemned extremism and terrorism as incompatible with Islam and proposed a high-level international meeting to promote a dialogue with the Christian world.

Leaders of the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which represents 1.5 billion Muslims from across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, called for the “dialogue of civilizations” after a summit in Senegal.

“We continue to strongly condemn all forms of extremism and dogmatism which are incompatible with Islam, a religion of moderation and peaceful coexistence,” the OIC said in a declaration issued at the end of the two-day meeting.

“We believe that it is important to plan along such lines a preparatory phase by organizing a major international gathering on Islamic-Christian dialogue that involves governments among other players,” said the “Dakar Declaration”.

The Muslim body condemned terrorism, saying it was not related to any religion, race, color or country.

But, in an apparent reference to the Palestinian fight against Israel, it said terrorism should be differentiated from “legitimate resistance against foreign occupation”.

“We the Kings and heads of state and governments of the OIC renew our pledge to work harder to make sure that Islam’s true image is better projected the world over,” it said.

(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: africa.reuters.com/ )

Reporting by Daniel Flynn and Lamine Ghanmi; Writing by Nick Tattersall

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