On the Islam-West divide

Malaysia's prime minister says a huge chasm has opened between the West and Islam, fuelled by Muslim frustrations over Western foreign policy.

Abdullah Badawi, seen as promoting a moderate form of Islam in largely Muslim Malaysia, said many Westerners saw Muslims as congenital terrorists.

Addressing an international conference intended to promote dialogue between Western and Islamic thinkers, Mr Abdullah said Islam and the West should stop demonising each other, and try to curb extremism and promote moderation.

He said mere talk and being nice to one another were not enough, and mutual respect should replace hegemony.

"They think Osama bin Laden speaks for the religion and its followers," he said, quoted by the Associated Press news agency.

"The demonisation of Islam and the vilification of Muslims, there is no denying, is widespread within mainstream Western society."

So, what were the demonstrators in Malaysia shouting?

"Long live Islam. Destroy Denmark. Destroy Israel. Destroy George Bush. Destroy America," protesters shouted as they marched to the Danish embassy in the rain from a nearby mosque.

Why would Westerns see all Muslims as terrorists?

Mr Badawi found it necessary to close down a newspaper which published the cartoons because their publication was "insensitive and irresponsible", but he does not see it fit to stop demonstrations where such slogans are being shouted.

Maybe because they're not insensitive and irresponsible?

Source: BBC (English)

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