Malaysia’s KL Summit is ‘first step’ to solving Muslim world’s problems: Mahathir Mohamad
- Turkey’s Erdogan, Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim, and Pakistan’s Imran Khan are among the leaders expected at the KL Summit next month
- The expulsion of Muslims from their homelands and the categorisation of Islam as the ‘religion of terrorism’ will be on the agenda
Dignitaries attending the KL Summit would include Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Mahathir said.
The Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will also take part in the summit, to be held from December 18 to 21, according to a draft programme seen by This Week in Asia.
The role of politics in development, food security, preserving national identity, and redistributing wealth are among the topics to be discussed.
Mahathir, 94, a firebrand champion of closer solidarity among the global ummah – or Muslim community – said the summit would be a meeting of minds that had the “same perception of Islam and the problems faced by the Muslims”.
The expulsion of Muslims from their homelands and the categorisation of Islam as the “religion of terrorism” were among the problems Mahathir identified.
He bemoaned that no Muslim country was fully developed, and that some Islamic nations were “failed states”.
“Why is there this problem? There must be a reason behind this. We can only know the reason if we get the thinkers, the scholars, and the leaders to give their observations and viewpoints,” he said.
“Perhaps we can take that first step … to help Muslims recover their past glories, or at least to help them avoid the kind of humiliation and oppression that we see around the world today.”
Malaysia’s Bernama news agency said the plan for the summit was hatched on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last year, when Mahathir met Pakistan’s Khan and Turkey’s Erdogan.
In recent weeks, the Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah and his deputy Marzuki Yahya have visited Muslim countries such as Iran and Oman to personally invite top leaders to the summit.
Since returning to power after last year’s shock election victory, Mahathir has stepped up his criticism of Israel for its occupation of Palestinian land. Mahathir is the architect of Malaysia’s hardline policy that refuses to recognise Israel.
Critics have accused Mahathir of not being tough enough on China for its treatment of ethnic Uygurs, large swathes of whom have been interred in “vocational training centres”. Mahathir in September said Muslim nations were silent on the issue “because China is a very powerful nation”.