Muslim Premiers Call for Increased Dialogue

By Siraj Wahab, Special to Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, 22 May 2006—The prime ministers of four Muslim countries have called on the Muslim world to improve communication with each other and to groups within their own countries.

The prime ministers of Turkey, Egypt, Malaysia and Lebanon conveyed their message yesterday in the session entitled “Enhancing Dialogue, Strengthening Cooperation” at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Mahmoud Nazif, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and Lebanese Prime Minster Fouad Siniora called on regional governments to embrace dialogue as a means of improving society and as a solution to ongoing conflicts.

Addressing the conference Siniora said, “Extremism makes news,” and stressed that “shared education” as a type of dialogue was a concept that needed to be adopted.

In his speech Nazif said that the media had a share of the blame in maintaining a problem of widespread ignorance of Islam and described the Islamic Worldís poor engagement with world media as a “failure in our system.”

In his message to the forum, Erdogan called on regional leaders to engage in more dialogue with Syria and made a point of Turkey’s moves toward creating a culture of dialogue with all of its neighbors.

Erdogan further called on a rigorous approach to dialogue. He said, “It is not simply talking—but a methodical way of communicating. We need to look at it as a mechanism and we need to know what it is we need to discuss.”

All four prime ministers concluded that the solution to the regionís difficult issues, from Palestine to the role of women in Islam, was dialogue.

The high-powered and lively session was chaired by Al Jazeera International anchor Riz Khan.


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