Malaysia to host major summit of Muslim leaders

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Malaysia this week will host a summit of Muslim leaders.

Leaders from Iran, Turkey, and Qatar will be among hundreds of delegates attending the three-day event set to discuss myriad challenges faced by Muslims.

The summit has been pushed by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has long championed greater solidarity among the world’s Islamic communities – and wants to boost his country’s standing on the international stage.

In a statement ahead of the forum, Mahathir’s office said the Muslim community was suffering due to “the incarceration of millions (who) are placed in detention camps, civil wars resulting in total destruction of cities… the rise of Islamophobia”.

Also present is Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

For 94-year-old Mahathir, the world’s oldest leader and in his second stint as premier, the most important outcome could be boosting Malaysia’s international reputation which suffered under a corruption-mired regime that was ousted last year.

The summit is “a vehicle to return (Mahathir) and Malaysia into a position of prominence in the Islamic world,” said analyst from Malaysian think-tank the Institute of Strategic and International Studies Shahriman Lockman.

File photo shows Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad receives an award during the opening session of the Doha Forum in the Qatari capital. PHOTO: AFP