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Muslim nations mull trading in gold, through barter system to beat sanctions

The conference was attended by Iran, Qatar, Turkey and Malaysia among others [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 December, 2019

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Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Saturday proposed Muslim countries should trade using gold and a barter system.
Muslim countries including Iran, Malaysia, Turkey and Qatar could soon trade among themselves in gold and through a barter system in a bid to curtail future economic sanctions on them, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Saturday.

The Malaysian official suggested the proposal at the Islamic summit in Malaysia, where the Muslim world leaders discussed a range of topics including Islamophobia and Palestine, as well as "economic terrorism".

"With the world witnessing nations making unilateral decisions to impose such punitive measures, Malaysia and other nations must always bear in mind that it can be imposed on any of us," Mahathir said.

"I have suggested that we re-visit the idea of trading using the gold dinar and barter trade among us," Mahathir said, referring to the Islamic medieval gold coin.

"We are seriously looking into this and we hope that we will be able to find a mechanism to put it into effect."

The comments came as Mahathir praised Iran and Qatar for withstanding economic embargoes, urging for other nations to become self-reliant to prevent hardships that could come from future threats.

The leaders also agreed to push for further business and trades deal among themselves to boost their respective economies and currencies.

The summit was criticised by Saudi Arabia for undermining the bigger Saudi-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which represents 57 Muslim-majority nations.

Malaysia confirmed it had invited all OIC members to the Kuala Lumpur summit but only about 20 attended.

Mahathir said the summit, which ends on Saturday should address the world's perceptions of Islam, the rise of Islamophobia, the "decline of the Islamic civilisation" and reforms in governance needed by Muslim nations.

"We are not discriminating or isolating anyone," he said in his welcome speech, watched on by leaders including Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamid Al-Thani.

"We are attempting to start small and if these ideas, proposals and solutions are acceptable and proved workable, then we hope to take it up to the larger platform for consideration."

Erdogan struck a similar tone. "We will have the opportunity to talk freely about our issues, from Islamophobia to terrorism, divisions, internal fights ravaging our region, and sectarian and ethnic conflicts," he told the summit.

Meanwhile, Pakistan President Imran Khan is thought to have been pressured into giving the summit a miss by its Middle Eastern allies, Saudi Arabia and UAE, though official media reports deny any connection.

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