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June 14, 2004
OIC Officer: Islamic "Backwardness" Causes Extremism

The Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which consists of 57 member states, blasted members in an opening speech for creating the conditions for Islamic extremism, the BBC reports:

A top Muslim official has denounced what he called the extensive backwardness of the Islamic world. Abdelwahed Belkeziz - Secretary General of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) - made the stinging attack at meeting in Turkey. He blamed the rise of Muslim extremism on the feeling of "powerlessness" felt by members of the Islamic world. ...

Mr Belkeziz told the foreign ministers from the 57-member states that their countries had a poor record on issues ranging from education and health to economic development.

"The aggregate gross domestic product of all our member states remains lower than that of one single advanced country such as France or Britain," he said.

Mr. Belkeziz brought the meeting to the razor's edge of the basic problem -- autocratic and greedy rule by a small subset of Arabs over a vast region. The OIC may take that lesson as unspoken, as the speaker could only have been less subtle by referring to almost every member-state as a tyranny. Only a few of the members such as the OIC's host country this year, Turkey, has regular, multiparty elections; Indonesia may be the only other country. Otherwise, the national resources of almost every other representative's home country are controlled by dictatorships and proceeds funnelled into their pockets and those of their cronies and families, much the same as Saddam's oil-for-food profit machine, except without UN participation as a smoke screen.

Belkeziz is finishing his term as the OIC head and perhaps feels a bit more free to criticize than in years past. With Islamofascist terrorism peaking and the West finally responding forcefully in its own defense, more member states may be open to his message. Seeing an Islamic conference finally look inward for their problems instead of reflexively blaming Jews for all their ills gives some hope that the debate may finally turn towards productive topics, and eventually inspire real reform in the Muslim world.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 14, 2004 1:19 PM

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