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PM leaves for Mecca today
OIC summit to discuss crises facing Muslim world

          Prime Minister Khaleda Zia leaves the city Tuesday afternoon for Jeddah to attend the extraordinary summit of the 57-member OIC to be held in Mecca on December 7-8, report agencies
The Summit is being held at the initiative of Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud to examine the overall situation of the Muslim World and to explore the most effective solution and means to unify the ranks.
The objective of the summit is to free the Muslim Ummah from the current state of near paralysis and inaction.
The forthcoming Mecca Summit will be an important occasion to take stock of the challenges faced by the Muslim World as a body and to chart out ways and means of strengthening cooperation among the Muslim countries as well as the relations with the West.
Another report from Jiddah adds: Confronting crises plaguing the Islamic community, including the war in Iraq, and trying to restore confidence among the world's Muslims will be key topics discussed at next week's the OIC summit, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said Sunday.
Prince Saud said the Islamic community is "constantly on the defensive" and frustrated by a range of crises, including increasing oppression, poverty, epidemics and "deviant" thoughts, a term that the Saudi government normally uses to describe the extremist Islamic ideology followed by militant groups such as al-Qaida.
"The critical circumstances the Islamic community is going through are a result of the crises it is living in," Prince Saud told reporters at the Red Sea resort of Jiddah. His remarks were carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
Prince Saud did not elaborate but was apparently referring to the increase in Islamic militancy and ongoing conflicts in the Palestinian Territories, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The summit, expected to attract leaders from among the group's 56 member states, begins Wednesday in the holy city of Mecca and continues Thursday in Jiddah.
"The summit aims to regain self confidence within the Islamic community and rebuild the Islamic house in a way to maintain the interests of the community and enable it to face the dangers it faces," Prince Saud said.
Iraq will be discussed "in a way that will help the Iraqi government and push the efforts for peace and stability to prevail within the framework of national and territorial unity," he added.
The summit was called by Saudi's King Abdullah to study the affairs of the Islamic community and reinvigorate its role worldwide. The leaders are also expected to discuss plans to combat terrorism, which has targeted many members of the OIC, including Saudi Arabia.
The heads of most of the member-states are expected to attend the Summit. Prime Minister Khaleda will lead a 37-member Bangladesh delegation at the summit.
The Summit will consider a document titled "Draft OIC 10-year Programme of Action" to meet the challenges facing the Ummah in the 21st century, prepared on the basis of the recommendations of the preparatory forum of Muslim scholars and intellectuals held in Mecca from September 9-11 this year.
The scholars had intense and thorough deliberations in three panels -- political affairs and media; economy, science and technology; and Islamic thought, culture and education.
The forum produced analysis of the current challenges faced by the Muslim World, said the vision for the next decade and proposed specific action in each of these areas.
During her visit, the Prime Minister is expected to have bilateral meetings with some of her counterparts.
Meanwhile Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan left Dhaka Monday for Jeddah to attend the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the OIC, prior to the third `Extraordinary Islamic Summit'.
The meeting of the foreign minister's will be held in Jeddah Tuesday.


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