Islamic leaders split over 'terrorism' definition


A major Islamic conference has failed to agree a definition of terrorism today following a split over the status of Palestinian suicide bombers.

The search for a definition was one of the main aims of the meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) foreign ministers in Malaysia.

The daughter of a Palestinian gunman who was killed recently during an attack on a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip, is dressed in a uniform with a handgranade during a rally of in Gaza City.

It became clear after the meeting opened yesterday that the question of whether Palestinian suicide bombers were terrorists or freedom fighters was contentious.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mr Mahathir Mohamad proposed a simple definition of terrorism as "attacks on civilians" in his opening address. He included Palestinian suicide bombers as "terrorists".

Mr Mahathir, who heads a Muslim majority country that supports the Palestinians against Israel, said: "We cannot hunt down terrorists until we agree who they are and we co-operate in the hunt".

But Lebanon's foreign ministry secretary general, Mr Mohammad Issa, said he did not agree with the inclusion of Palestinian suicide bombers as terrorists.