World Muslim leaders hold emergency meet on Syria
MECCA, Saudi Arabia - Muslim leaders Tuesday began an emergency summit of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) with a proposal to suspend war-hit Syria, a move strongly opposed by Iran.
The OIC represents 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide and that it is holding a meeting Tuesday night, August 14, in Mecca, the holiest Islamic city, is of particular significance -- the 26th of the holy month of Ramadan is the night when the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed, according to Muslim tradition.
The meeting is being presided over by Saudi King Abdullah and is being held in the Al-Safa royal palace in Mecca.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose country has openly criticised the push to suspend Syria, is attending the extraordinary meeting.
The Saudi monarch proposed the suspension of Syria and is pushing to mobilise support for the rebels.
Tensions had been simmering for months between Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia and Shiite-dominated Iran, as both long-standing regional rivals had taken opposite stances on the uprising in Syria, which topped the summit's agenda.
Iran is the Syrian regime's biggest regional ally and has pledged its full support for embattled President Bashar al-Assad in his fight to remain in power, though it denies providing him with soldiers or arms. - Agence France-Presse