- (AFP) - Islamic foreign ministers warned of "all-out
war" in the Middle East as any debate on the September 11 attacks
on the United States -- the original reason for bringing them together
-- was sidelined at a Muslim conference on terrorism here.
- "Israel's terrorist actions and aggressive
posing a threat to international peace and security and dragging the region
towards an all-out war, necessitate immediate action by the UN Security
Council to apply Chapter VII of the UN Charter," the ministers said
in a statement.
- Under a clause in that chapter, the UN Security Council
can order the use of force to maintain international peace and security
if all other means are deemed to have failed.
- The statement was made unanimously by the 53 members
of the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) represented
at a special three-day meeting on terrorism here.
- But they were less united over finding a definition for
- The conference was called in the wake of the September
11 terror attacks on New York and Washington, but concern over those
was mostly blown aside by Israel's latest actions in Palestinian
- The conference opened with the prime minister of the
host country Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, controversially including
suicide bombers in his simple definition of terrorists as people who attack
- Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Jassim reflected
the well-known sentiments of many of the countries at the meeting when
he told AFP later: "No. They are not terrorists. It is the Israelis
who are terrorists but not the Palestinians because they are fighting for
- The ministers' statement on the Middle East described
the Israeli action in Palestinian areas and against the headquarters of
Yasser Arafat as "a violation of all international norms and laws
and the culmination of state terrorism as practised by Israel".
- Mahathir's call for a globally acceptable definition
of terrorism as "attacks against civilians" -- and joint action
against it -- was soon swamped by condemnation of Israel.
- Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi told the conference
that Washington had "severely damaged this international momentum
against terrorism through a series of unilateral actions, short-sighted
policies and arrogant statements".
- Mahathir said, however, that Muslims had grievances which
were "real and truly unbearable, beyond mere understanding and
- He referred to the Palestinians and ideological, military
and economic dominance by developed countries as among the issues which
had created "a great deal of bitterness and anger among
- "The impotence of Muslim countries to do anything
to remedy the situation adds to this frustration and anger," he said,
leading some people to "commit terrible acts of terror".
- "The world must deal with these misguided people
not just by hunting them down but also by removing the causes of their
anger and frustration," he said.
- He went on to warn Israel: "The (Nazi) Holocaust
did not defeat the Jews. A second Holocaust with Arabs for victims will
not defeat the Arabs either."
- "The suicide bombers consider themselves already
dead and are on the way to heaven. They are not likely to be deterred by
the threat of death," Mahathir said.
- Copyright © 2002 AFP. All rights reserved. All
displayed in this section (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected
by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a
you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any
way commercially exploit any of the contents of this section without the
prior written consent of Agence France-Presses.