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Muslim nations differ over suicide bombings

Muslim nations differ over suicide bombings

Publication: The Hindu
Date: May 7, 2002

Kuala Lumpur May 6. Muslim nations took different stances on Monday on suicide bombings in Israel, with Malaysia urging an end to them and Saudi Arabia calling Palestinian suicide bombers martyrs.

The differences at the meeting of Religious Affairs Ministers of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference showed lingering divisions among Muslim countries since a meeting in March, when Foreign Ministers were unable to define what constitutes terrorism.

The Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said holy war cannot be won with violence and suicide bombers, which achieved nothing by killing Israeli civilians except to bolster views that Palestinians are terrorists. He added building strong economies were more important in the fight against injustice.

But Saudi Arabia's Minister for Islam, Sheik Salleh Abdul Aziz Mohammed al-Sheik, differed at a news conference. ``The suicide bombings are permitted,'' he said.

``The victims are considered to have died a martyr's death.'' In a speech opening the three-day conference, Mr. Abdullah said Muslims should not ``allow Islam to be hijacked by those who have a flawed understanding of our faith and rally under the banner of militancy.''

He also urged Muslim countries to drop the widely held belief that the religion's tenet of jihad, or holy war, meant carrying out militant attacks.

Jihad must ``not be pursued with guns and bombs'' but should be translated into actions that would help to lift Muslims ``from the throes of poverty,'' he said. - AP

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