THESE are indeed turbulent times for the world of Islam. On the one hand, poverty and extremism loom large and on the other, a good part of the Ummah finds itself under invasion and pressure from outside. It was nonetheless a source of satisfaction to see Muslim leaders ponder these issues and a host of others from the platform of the Muslim World League in Makkah on Wednesday. While Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz urged the need for an inter-faith dialogue to remove misconceptions about Islam, former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani drove the point home by saying that it was indeed the Western world led by the US that had embarked on a crusade against the followers of Islam. But apart from that, he admitted that the Muslim world was, to a certain extent, responsible for the current situation and therefore must put its own house in order. He hit the nail on the head when he drew attention to several countries, particularly Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, which were engulfed in the flames of war because of disunity among leaders of these countries. Speakers at the forum have rightly pointed out the problems plaguing Muslims around the globe. Though critics like Bernard Lewis make mountain of a molehill and must be condemned, the fact remains that we have a lot of leeway to make up. Our intellectual bankruptcy, the refusal to embrace new knowledge, the failure to reconcile ourselves with the modern age while taking refuge in a fatalistic outlook and waiting for miracles to happen, the contempt for democracy and, last but not the least, the tendency to attribute all our ills to some conspiracy, are just a few causes of our downfall. It is only a Muslim renaissance, so to speak, which could avert the society from becoming an ill-piloted wreck. The MWL has done a great job by highlighting these issues. However, it is hoped that it would take some practical steps to address these concerns and not remain a mere debating club.