The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has suspended Syria’s membership Wednesday, a statement issued at the end of an OIC summit meeting in the Saudi city of Mecca said.
The statement added that participants had agreed on "the need to end immediately the acts of violence in Syria and to suspend that country from the OIC."
It stated there had been "deep concern at the massacres and inhuman acts suffered by the Syrian people."
OIC chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told a news conference the decision sent "a strong message from the Muslim world to the Syrian regime."
It was "also a message to the international community stating that the Muslim world backs a peaceful solution (in Syria), wants an end to the bloodshed and refuses to let the problem degenerate into a religious conflict and spill over" into the wider region," Ihsanoglu said.
The emergency summit of the world's largest Islamic bloc opened late Tuesday with the suspension proposal put forward by a preparatory meeting of foreign ministers.
Syria was suspended from the Arab League last year over the crisis, but the suspension had no impact on Syria’s role in the region.
Saudi King Abdullah has presided over the meeting, attended by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad whose country has openly criticized the push to suspend Syria.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi said Thursday morning that suspending Syria's membership in the OIC was an unjust move.
Speaking to reporters at the Mecca Airport, the Iranian minister said, "Iran opposed suspending Syria's membership as it was against the Charter of the OIC."
Before making any decisions, Syria should have been invited to the summit to discuss and defend its position," Salehi said.
For its part, the U.S. administration commended Muslim states for suspending Syria's membership in the OIC, saying it sent a "strong message" to President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
"Today's action underscores the Assad regime's increasing international isolation and the widespread support for the Syrian people and their struggle for a democratic state that represents their aspirations and respects their human rights," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.