TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Leaders and senior representatives from some 20 Muslim nations flocked to the Malaysian capital on Wednesday to discuss key Muslim issues at a summit Saudi Arabia decided to snub, and Pakistan ducked out of attending.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan will be giving their views during the four-day summit, which begins with a welcome dinner on Wednesday and wraps up on Saturday.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan made a belated decision to skip the meeting.
Some Pakistani officials, unnamed because they are not authorized to speak to the media, said Khan pulled out under pressure from close ally Saudi Arabia, though media reports say his officials deny that was the reason why the world’s second largest Muslim country won’t be represented.
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamid Al-Thani, whose country has tense relations with Saudi Arabia, is also attending.
Explaining its decision to stay away, Saudi Arabia said the summit was the wrong forum for matters of importance to the world’s 1.75 billion Muslims, though some analysts suspected the Kingdom feared being diplomatically isolated by regional rivals Iran, Qatar and Turkey.
No agenda for the Kuala Lumpur Summit has been released, but it could address age-old disputes in Kashmir and the Middle East, the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, the plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority, and mounting outrage over China’s camps for Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang – a subject that will doubtless upset Beijing – as well as how to counter the spread of Islamophobia in the world.