- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 6, 2001

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Malaysia, an influential member of an organization of Islamic countries, said yesterday it will lobby the group's 56 other nations to oppose military strikes against Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar also said that countries in the Organization of the Islamic Conference want the issue of violence between Israel and the Palestinians discussed as part of the U.S.-led fight against global terrorism.
Foreign ministers of the 57-nation group are due to meet in Qatar on Wednesday to discuss terrorism.
"The member countries feel the terrorism issue should be addressed within the context of the problems in the Middle East," Mr. Syed Hamid told reporters. Muslim anger over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been blamed for fueling anti-Americanism and extremism in the Middle East.
Islamic nations have condemned the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington, but their leaders cautioned against hasty U.S. retaliation against Afghanistan, whose Taliban rulers are shielding Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the attacks.
"Many of the OIC countries that we have consulted hold the view that war is not the answer," Mr. Syed Hamid said. "Many innocent Afghans will be killed. It doesn't ensure that terrorism can be wiped out."
Mr. Syed Hamid met Thursday with the new U.S. ambassador to Malaysia, Marie T. Huhtala, but did not receive a detailed briefing on the investigation into the terror attacks. President Bush and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed spoke this week by telephone.

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