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MENAFN - Arab News - 05/08/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab News) A leading analyst and media figure says the forthcoming Islamic summit in Makkah is a great opportunity to unify the Muslim world.

Jamal Khashoggi added: "There is tremendous churning in the Arab world, in the heart of Islam.

"This requires a unified stand by all Muslims. (It) is a great opportunity to reconcile sectarian differences, meet challenges and benefit from opportunities. These are the reasons behind Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah's call for the summit in Makkah on Aug. 14-15."

Khashoggi is delighted at what he calls the introduction or the reintroduction of the term "Tadamun Al-Islam".

He added: "It means Islamic solidarity and it is a term that dates back to an era that we experienced in the Muslim world in the 1960s and 1970s, an era that was led by King Faisal.

"Tadamun Al-Islam aims at consensus based on minimum denominators all Muslims can agree on - that is what we need today."

The Makkah summit, he said, is an opportunity for the Iranians to convert their loss into a gain.

He added: "I am hoping that the Iranians will use this opportunity because of the seismic shift in the region, a shift that is going against them.
"They are losing a friendly regime in Syria. That will have a huge impact on Iran and its thinking."

According to Khashoggi, Iran is one of the biggest losers from the Arab Spring.

He said: "All the talk that you hear from their supreme leader (Ali Khamenei) that the Arab Spring countries are influenced by the spirit of Khomeini's revolution, all that is nonsense.

"The reality is that they are the ones who have lost the most from the Arab Spring."

He claimed he knew of many Iranians who said they would like to see a shift in their regime and its policies.

"I am sure what is happening in Syria will have a huge impact on Tehran and will lead to the Iranians reconsidering their position."

Responding to a question about the possible softening of Muslim attitude toward America, he said: "Some studies do suggest that, but the recent statements by US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will damage this budding relationship again.

"I am referring to Romney's racist statements about the Israeli culture being superior to the Palestinian culture. That, I think, is very bad American PR."
He said Muslims are becoming practical.

He added: "Yes, they don't like what the Russians and Chinese are doing in Syria.

"We are particularly unhappy with the Chinese position but we should understand their stance.

"I don't feel their stance is one that is against the people of Syria. They are behaving due to a certain principle.

"They are wary of foreign intervention in their own country and so they do not want to set a precedent."

According to him, the Americans should come to the aid of the Egyptian economy to improve its standing.

He added: "The people's struggle today is one of jobs. It is not Palestine anymore.

"We have to be frank about this. For a common Egyptian, a common Tunisian, a common Libyan, what he wants is prosperity in life.
"So it is an opportunity for the United States and the Western world to make up for the mistakes of the past and colonialism by helping out the Muslim world."


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