World

Muslim clerics from 80 countries gather in Iran, plan how to counter extremism

  • Participants sit in an anti-extremism conference in the city of Qom, 78 miles (125 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. Shiite and Sunni clerics from about 80 countries gathered in Iran's holy city of Qom to develop a strategy to combat extremists including the Islamic State group that has captured large parts of Iraq and Syria. (AP Photo/Mehr News Agency, Zoheir Seidanloo)

    Participants sit in an anti-extremism conference in the city of Qom, 78 miles (125 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. Shiite and Sunni clerics from about 80 countries gathered in Iran's holy city of Qom to develop a strategy to combat extremists including the Islamic State group that has captured large parts of Iraq and Syria. (AP Photo/Mehr News Agency, Zoheir Seidanloo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Participants stand at attention as Iran's national anthem is played at the start of an anti-extremism conference in the city of Qom, 78 miles (125 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. Shiite and Sunni clerics from about 80 countries gathered in Iran's holy city of Qom to develop a strategy to combat extremists including the Islamic State group that has captured large parts of Iraq and Syria. (AP Photo/Mehr News Agency, Zoheir Seidanloo)

    Participants stand at attention as Iran's national anthem is played at the start of an anti-extremism conference in the city of Qom, 78 miles (125 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. Shiite and Sunni clerics from about 80 countries gathered in Iran's holy city of Qom to develop a strategy to combat extremists including the Islamic State group that has captured large parts of Iraq and Syria. (AP Photo/Mehr News Agency, Zoheir Seidanloo)  (The Associated Press)

Shiite and Sunni clerics from about 80 countries are gathering in Iran's holy city of Qom to develop a strategy to combat extremists including the Islamic State group that has captured large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, the chief organizer of the conference, appealed for consensus among Islam's two main branches, urging them to expose extremist ideology as absurd and to discredit groups espousing it.

Other speakers at the two-day conference blamed the U.S. and Israel for the creation of IS, saying it was formed to position "Islam against Islam."

IS is widely seen as a threat to Islam because it resorts to barbarism and brutal massacres in the name of the religion.