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Islamic Leaders Gather For Summit Group To Issue Declaration That Claims Media Bias Toward Islam

SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 1997

Islamic leaders arriving in the Pakistani capital Saturday for an Organization of Islamic Conference meeting will tackle problems facing the Muslim world, including its poor image in the Western media.

“Islam is getting a bad name in the international media,” said Inam-ul Haq, a spokesman for the one-day summit being held to mark the 50th anniversary of Pakistan’s creation as a homeland for Muslims of the Indian subcontinent.

The declaration to be adopted at the end of the one-day summit today will address ways to correct the “misrepresentation we are a victim of, particularly in the Western press,” he said.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said Saturday he would ask the conference to discuss Washington’s veto Friday of a U.N. Security Council resolution criticizing the construction of a Jewish neighborhood in Arab east Jerusalem.

Haq also said Pakistan refused to accede to a demand Saturday by Afghanistan’s Taliban government for membership in the 54-nation conference.

Representatives of the Taliban, which has imposed its strict version of Islam throughout the two-thirds of Afghanistan it controls, have been invited to attend the summit, but only as observers.

Haq said Pakistan would follow a decision made last year by the conference’s foreign ministers to keep the Afghan seat vacant until the bitter civil war that has ravaged that country comes to an end.


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