A conference called to seek new ways forward for Muslims remained preoccupied with a familiar theme: Islamic terrorism and how to challenge it. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani appealed Tuesday to clerics and scholars to sharpen their denunciations of "criminals" who wage violence in the name of Islam. Others looked toward Muslim communities in Europe and saw the French riots as part of worrying trajectory that includes the London bombings in July and last year's slaying of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. Their comments reflected how much the concerns about extremism dominate any discussions on Islam's future and how little consensus exists on how to respond. The conference has sought to sidestep direct political squabbles despite some clear differences, including an Iranian delegation led by former President Mohammad Khatami and a US presence directed by Daniel Fried, assistant US secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.