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Tuesday, September 21, 1999 Published at 04:59 GMT 05:59 UK

World: Middle East

Jordan: Stop attacking Islam

Jordan says Islam is under attack

Jordan has called on international leaders to help combat what it describes as world bias against Islam, or ''Islamophobia''.

"Islam is being subjected to a severe and unjustified attack," Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdel-Elah Khatib, told the United Nations General Assembly.

He said there were often intentional or unintentional attempts ''to make a linkage between Islam and those extremist movements which hurt Islam and Muslims by using religion as a tool".

"The international community must consider how to confront this phenomenon of Islamophobia in order to prevent its proliferation," he declared.

Alluding to the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Greece, he said that natural disasters "remind us of a basic fact: we all face phenomena and challenges that do not discriminate between us on the basis of race, religion, wealth or geographical location".

Algerian conflict

Mr Khatib said his country attached great importance to maintaining a dialogue between religions and civilisations.

He was speaking at the start of two weeks of speeches at the UN General Assembly by world leaders and foreign ministers.

In his address, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria said the reality of the war in his country had been distorted to portray it as a struggle against Islam.

The war had "allowed terrorism and extremism to exert violence against society, values, dignity and men's consciences," he added.

"My country is emerging, slowly, from these dramatic events, which have nothing to do with Islam.''

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