'Misperceptions on Islam must be corrected'
General Pervez Musharraf said that the Muslim world must correct Western misperceptions created by "semi-literate clerics" about Islam.india Updated: Nov 06, 2006 14:26 IST
The Muslim world must correct Western misperceptions created by "semi-literate clerics" about Islam as a religion that fosters militant extremism, Pakistan's President Gen Pervez Musharraf said on Monday.
"We need to inform the world of the reality of Islam," Musharraf told a meeting of the World Islamic Economic Forum.
"Semiliterate clerics who hold sway over the masses (have contributed) to the rise of extremism in the Muslim world as opposed to moderation," he said.
"This is the unfortunate reality because this is the critical malaise which spawns terrorism."
"These radical clerics reinforce the Western misperception that Islam as a religion believes in militancy and intolerance," Musharraf said.
In a wide-ranging speech, Musharraf painted a bleak picture of the economic prospects facing the world's 57 Muslim nations, pointing out that their combined gross national products were less than the GNP of a single European nation, Germany.
He said this was partially due to the low levels of education in the Muslim world.
"This is a major failure in the knowledge-driven world of today," Musharraf told delegates.
"We are an agrarian society." He also urged Muslim nations to fight corruption, set up good governance and empower women in order to achieve economic development.