The leaders of dozens of Islamic nations gathered in Senegal's capital Thursday for the opening of a two-day summit to study ways to improve Islam's image in the West and spur economic development in some of the Muslim world's poorest members.
The summit of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, the world's largest Muslim grouping, brings together Arab countries that set the price of oil with small African nations who struggle to provide their citizens with paved roads.
The meeting is returning to Africa for the first time in 14 years. Some 40-odd heads of state are attending, including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The signing of a peace deal between Chad and Sudan was delayed after Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, who was in Dakar, failed to show for late night talks organized by Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade on the eve of the summit.