Islamic body seeks new role to fight "Islamophobia"

Islamic body seeks new role to fight "Islamophobia"

DAKAR (Reuters) - Facing "Islamophobia" in the West, the world's biggest Islamic body is seeking to rebrand itself this week as a forum for settling conflicts peacefully and for redistributing wealth to the world's poorest states.

At a summit on Thursday and Friday in Senegal, the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) will seek to agree on a modern charter that will give it a more active, influential role as the voice of Islam in a globalised world. [...]

OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu called for a concerted effort by the group to promote dialogue and mutual respect with the non-Muslim world to fight hatred and bigotry.

"Combating Islamophobia is and will continue to be one of the biggest challenges faced by the Muslim World," he told OIC foreign ministers meeting in Dakar.

With its members spanning the Middle East, Africa and Asia, differences of race, language and history, and even religious observance, have often prevented the world Islamic community -- known as the Ummah -- from acting as a unified, cohesive force. [...]

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