Malaysia's leader on Monday made a plea for peace in the Islamic world, saying Muslims should strive to become united and progressive.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, whose country chairs the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, noted on the eve of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr that Islam encourages its followers to love each other and to cultivate friendship with people of other faiths.
Muslims should pursue solidarity to correct Western misperceptions that their religion promotes terrorism and backwardness, Abdullah said in a speech recorded for national television. Excerpts were released in advance through the national news agency, Bernama.
"What's happening now doesn't really give a good picture," Abdullah said. "We want the Muslim world to be peaceful and safe, and the Muslims to be a united and progressive people."