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    Muslim leaders from 54 countries are attending a three-week meeting of the Islamic Conference being held in Cairo.

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    Muslim leaders from 54 countries are attending a three-week meeting of the Islamic Conference being held in Cairo. It is one of man significant meetings organised by the Conference sine its establishment six years ago, and, at this one, economic and religious affairs of the Islamic world were set down as the main topics of discussion.

    SYNOPSIS: The meeting began on Saturday (15 October) with an address by Egyptian Vice-President Hosni Mubarak, seen arriving at the venue. Mr. Mubarak called on Muslim countries to mobilise their resources to liberate the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem from what he called "evil Zionist forces". The mosque is an important Muslim shrine.

    Sheikh Muhammad Abdel Rahman Al-Bakr spoke for the United Arab Emirates, of which he is Minister for Islamic Affairs. At a conference of Muslim leaders earlier this year the idea of forming a kind of Islamic common market was put forward. It was suggested Muslim oil producing countries should use their surplus funds in the Muslim world, giving greater economic independence. There were also signs that surplus wealth countries would be increasingly urged by poor Islamic states to share their oil wealth more widely.

    Egypt's Islamic leader President of the Conference Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Dr. Abdul Halim Mahmound, spoke to delegates during the opening ceremony. He said their main talks during the three-week meeting would centre on ways of spreading the Islamic religion, and on using the Islamic world's resources to liberate occupied Arab territories.

    The Islamic Conference was set up to promote solidarity and co-operation among its 40 member states. One major aim is to support the people of Palestine, and to help them regain what supporters declare to be their "rights" and to "liberate" their land. The negotiations going on for a reconvened Middle East peace conference were potentially a major discussion point at this Islamic Conference meeting.

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