"What is going on in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and Basra, this is obviously seen as double standards," said OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu at a press conference in London, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
He was referring to the notorious US prisons in Cuba and Iraq, where prisoners have been tortured and sexually abused, according to US media reports and leaked photos. "This is a Western and European problem which should be addressed properly," he stressed, adding that global tensions could be eased if Western nations applied their professed values universally. "If we are talking about human rights as universal, how can one say there are islands on which human rights are not applied? We have a problem here," Ekmeleddin fumed.
He went on: "Their defense of freedom of expression and human rights were undermined by the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the US-led occupation of Iraq and Israel's occupation of Palestine."
Last year, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that the world must make progress on issues used by terrorists as a reason for violence such as the Middle East conflict, admitting that the Iraq war was used to recruit terrorists. David Clark, a former British government adviser, wrote in a Guardian piece that the world should take "legitimate" Arab grievances seriously if it wanted to defeat terrorism.
The chief of the pan-Muslim body said such double standards are fanning up extremism and help recruit terrorists, stressing that extremists did not represent the true nature of the Muslim faith.
"Why are some people supporting them? Because they tell them: 'There are double standards -- look what is taking place in Palestine, look what is taking place in Iraq'.
"They ask the people: 'Do you like this?' and they say 'No, we don't like it', and then they get the support, financial, spiritual and moral," he added.
Ekmeleddin, a Turk, further described as inexplicable the July 7 bomb attacks in London in which four presumed Muslims set off bombs on London Underground trains and a bus, killing themselves and 52 commuters.
He urged moderate Muslim leaders to speak out against radicals who praise the bombers, adding: "Nothing can justify this (attack) in the name of any religion, any ideology, any belief."
A statement issued by over forty leading mosque imams, muftis and scholars representing all sections of Muslims in Britain condemned the attacks and stressed that the four Muslim bombers can not consider themselves martyrs.
Ekmeleddin also criticized the European Union for what he described as an unsatisfactory response to the furor over the publication of Danish cartoons that lampooned Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him).
"We expected the EU to address the issue of cartoons in a more fair way," Reuters quoted Ihsanoglu as saying.
By simply regretting that Muslims found the cartoons offensive, EU foreign ministers had not gone far enough at their meeting in Brussels, he added.
"I must say that we are not satisfied with the result of last week's meeting in Brussels. The conclusion published by the European Union fell short of our expectations."
EU foreign ministers issued a strong condemnation of attacks on EU citizens and property.
Pundits said the statement was more critical of the Muslim reaction than of the cartoons themselves.
The 12 cartoons, which Ihsanoglu described as "insulting, ugly and uncivilized", were first published by a Danish newspaper and then reprinted by papers across Europe.
The furor exposed a gulf of misunderstanding between the West, which defended the publication by citing the right of free speech, and Muslims who saw it as an attack on their beliefs.
Muslim scholars and preachers demanded the Danish government anew on Friday, March 10, at a Copenhagen conference apologize for the publication of the cartoons and renewed calls for an international law banning blasphemy.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and European External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner in Salzburg, Austria, suggested on Friday in a joint paper that the EU and the OIC could draft a joint resolution at the United Nations promoting religious tolerance.
Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller, however, told reporters he was not sure EU and OIC countries could agree on a joint text.
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