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Jordan's King Abdullah urges EU to fight 'Islamophobia'

Jordan's King Abdullah arrives in the plenary room of the European Parliament to address the assembly during a debate in Strasbourg, March 10, 2015. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

STRASBOURG (Reuters) - King Abdullah of Jordan urged Europeans on Tuesday to fight hostility toward Islam that he said was fuelling extremism among Muslims, including those drawn from Europe to fight in the Middle East.

Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Abdullah praised Europe’s “unbeatable courage” in responding to attacks such as those in Paris in January and likened Islamic State to Nazism -- “an expansionist ideology based on hatred”.

But in calling for cooperation to combat Islamist violence, the king, who attended commemorations for the slain French satirists of Charlie Hebdo but criticized the paper’s use of cartoons of the Prophet Mohmmad, said that European governments must promote “mutual respect” and an “inclusive society”.

“Insulting other peoples and their faiths and their convictions, this is no way forward,” he told a chamber that includes dozens of far-right members critical of Muslim immigration.

“Europe is an important partner in this effort, especially in helping to stop the global rise in Islamophobia.”

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by David Goodman