Source: Yahoo! News
Wire Service: AFP
On June 20, 2006 Agence France-Presse reported, "A conference of Muslim countries in Azerbaijan this week has decried growing Islamophobia in the West in the wake of a furore sparked by the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in several European newspapers. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) blamed anti-Muslim sentiment on 'the rising dominance of the extremist right wing in Europe' in a report obtained by AFP and addressed to Muslim diplomats. The document, which conference delegates are expected to approve as a resolution ahead of the close of the three-day meeting on Wednesday, described Islamophobia as 'spreading' through Western media. 'This phenomenon has been spreading in the impactful areas of information, education and art, which are fertile grounds for the dissemination of the open hostility to Islam and the entrenchment of hatred against it,' it said. The OIC chief described a 'pathological fear' of Islam caused by 'cases of total ignorance of Islam and its teachings' in Western public opinion stemming from rivalries between Christians and Muslims that have existed since the Crusades. In order to counter Islamophobia, Ihsanoglu called on OIC members to support Islamic non-governmental groups in Europe and strengthen ties with international bodies such as the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)."