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OIC says Middle East Peace Key to Ending Terrorism


During a visit to Indonesia, the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Conference says a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Middle East is the key to ending terrorism and Islamic extremism, and says Jakarta should use its seat on the United Nations Security Council to push for a peaceful resolution to the Middle East crisis. VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins in Jakarta has more.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, head of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Conference, or OIC, told VOA terrorism and Muslim extremism will only cease after a just and lasting solution is found to the troubled countries of the Middle East, particularly in Palestine.

"The solution of the Palestinian issue is the key to the solution of many issues and it will be the key to peace in the Middle East," he noted. "Once we have a key in the Middle East, with the progress of democracy, with the progress of welfare, social progress, economic progress, extremism will diminish as is the case in other societies."

Ihsanoglu says Muslim scholars grouped under the OIC's International Academy of Islamic Jurisprudence are working to fight against terrorism through poverty alleviation programs and education in the Muslim world.

The OIC head says he discussed the conflicts in Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon with Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during a meeting Monday.

Ihsanoglu says he asked the Indonesian president to voice the concerns of the Muslim world to the United Nations when the U.N. Security Council meets in New York this week.

"Indonesia, being the biggest Muslim country with the biggest population and the biggest democracy in the Muslim world … and also Indonesia became a member, a non-permanent member in the Security Council and that would also help in voicing the interests of the Muslim world in the Security Council and I find that the Indonesian diplomacy has a good experience of solving problems and dealing with management of crisis. I think they can be of help," he said.

Indonesia, a secular democratic nation with the world's largest Muslim population, won a non-permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council last year.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf also recently visited Indonesia to ask for support for a new Muslim Middle East peace initiative.

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