KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia:
A Muslim political leader urged Western governments Monday to hit out more strongly against acts that are offensive to Islam.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, warned there seemed to be a growing "campaign of hate and discrimination" against Muslims by a small number of individuals and organizations.
In a speech to a conference in Kuala Lumpur on improving ties between Muslims and the West, Ihsanoglu praised Western nations for criticizing acts such as the recent release of an anti-Quran film by a Dutch lawmaker, but said more should have been done.
"Mere condemnation or distancing from the acts of the perpetrators of Islamophobia will not resolve the issue, as long as they remain free to carry on with their campaign of incitement and provocation on the plea of freedom of expression," Ihsanoglu said.
Earlier this year, the release of the film "Fitna" by Dutch politician Geert Wilders sparked protests by Muslims for showing images of terror attacks interspersed with text from the Quran.
Ihsanoglu also urged the media to reject "proponents of hatred and intolerance totally," citing other incidents such as the republishing in Denmark of cartoons considered an insult to the Prophet Muhammad.
"It requires a strong and determined collective political will to address the challenge," Ihsanoglu said. "It is now high time for concrete actions to stem the rot before it aggravates (the situation) any further."
Ihsanoglu did not suggest what action should be taken.
At the conference, Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi appealed to world leaders to work together to nurture "common grounds in the interest of our common agenda of peace."
"This biased view (of Islam) in the West persists, and, I must admit, it is not helped by the misguided actions of a discredited few from the Muslim side," Abdullah said.