Call to Bridge West-Muslim Divide

November 13, 2006

Source: BBC News

A cross-cultural group of 20 prominent world figures has called for urgent efforts to heal the growing divide between Muslim and Western societies.

The chief causes of the rift are not religion or history, they say, but recent political developments, notably the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Their findings were presented to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at a ceremony in Istanbul on Monday.

No other dispute had such a symbolic or emotional impact on people, he said.

"We may wish to think of the Arab -Israeli conflict as just one regional conflict among many. But it is not," Mr Annan said.