Egyptian President Says Muslims Share Responsibility for Negative Image of Islam

Muslims are facing cruel and false accusations about their faith but must bear some responsibility for the wrong impressions, President Hosni Mubarak said.

The Egyptian leader's comments came in a speech Thursday to senior officials and Muslim clerics marking the holy month of Ramadan.

"Shouldn't we Muslims shoulder part of the responsibility of these wrong ideas about Islam? Have we fulfilled our duty in correcting the image of Islam and the Muslims? What did we do to face a terrorism that wears Islam's cloak and targets the lives of the people," Mubarak said in the remarks that were televised live.

Many Muslims are angry about drawings in the West mocking the prophet and about accusations that Islam encourages terrorism.

"We don't accept insulting our sanctities in the name of freedom of opinion or press, because disrespecting our beliefs inflames angry emotions, extremism and takes us toward grave paths," Mubarak said.

He cautioned against mixing religion and politics in international relations and tying Islam to "blind terrorism that knows no home or religion."

Muslims have strayed from the essence of Islam and need to return to its principles of "forgiveness, righteousness and reform," he said.