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World Islamic economic forum opens in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 (PNA/Bernama) - The third World Islamic Economic
Forum (WIEF) kicked off Tuesday here, bringing together participants from
more than 30 countries and regions for exchange of ideas and exploration
of business cooperation opportunities.

The forum, themed "Global Challenges: Innovative Partnerships" this year,
focuses on the forging of innovative partnerships among Muslim nations as
well as between Muslims and non-Muslims.

State leaders and distinguished guests attending the opening ceremony
include Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Indonesian
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Kuwait Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser
al-Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah and Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown
Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al-Khaimah of the United Arab Emirates.

In his official opening address, Badawi, who is also chairman of the
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), noted the challenges the
Muslim countries are facing in this globalized, increasingly competitive

"While the 57 OIC nations account for 21 percent of the global population
in 2005, they make up only 5 percent of global GDP ..... .50 percent of
the population of Islamic countries live on less than two U.S. dollars a
day," Badawi said at the Putra World Trade Center here.

Highlighting the importance of innovation and knowledge, Badawi called
upon the Muslim countries to take measures to enhance creativity as well
as innovation in their respective countries and to pool their resources to
jump-start entrepreneurship and innovation among the Muslim world.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian president, in a special keynote address, said
the Muslim countries have the capacity to "play a commensurate role in the
shaping of the world economic order."

"We in the OIC are all stakeholders in the making of a better world and we
have the capacity to protect and promote our stake. We can create wealth
and compete in the global market and still uphold and fulfill the values
that make us truly human," Susilo said in his speech titled "Islam and the
Challenges of Modernization." (PNA/Xinhua)


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