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eggbeater
10-17-2003, 01:57 PM
Malaysian PM urges Muslims to unite against Jewish domination

SLOBODAN LEKIC
Associated Press


Friday, October 17, 2003


Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at the Islamic summit in Putrajaya, Malaysia. (AP/Achmad Ibrahim)


PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (AP) - In a blistering attack on Israel and hectoring criticism of the Islamic world, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told a summit of Muslim leaders Thursday that Jews ruled the world and recruited others "to fight and die for them."

"The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule the world by proxy," Mahathir, a widely respected statesman in Asia and the developing world, said in a speech as he became chairman of the 57-country Organization of the Islamic Conference.

" They get others to fight and die for them. (Read: US and British conquerors and occupiers) " he said.

The speech drew immediate criticism from Israel and Jewish organizations, which feared it could fan violence against Jews, but a standing ovation from the kings, presidents, sheiks and emirs, including key U.S. allies, gathered in Malaysia's sparkling new capital, Putrajaya.

Mahathir said the Islamic world had shone in science, arts and military power when Europe was in the Dark Ages, but weakened when religious infighting replaced practical learning.

The West pulled far ahead in the Industrial Revolution, Mahathir said, and Muslims still suffer from weak states, disputes over dogma, and a lack of scientific and technological expertise. They cannot move forward until they unite, get smarter and rethink their strategies, he said.

When asked their reaction, the leaders described his speech as "a good road map" and "an eye-opener." None specifically addressed his remarks on Jews.

The Islamic summit comes at a time when many Muslims feel under threat following the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Israeli treatment of the Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Mahathir said Muslims had achieved "nothing" in more than 50 years of fighting Israel. "They survived 2,000 years of pogroms not by hitting back but by thinking," Mahathir said.

"They invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so that they can enjoy equal rights with others."


<font color="red"> Mahathir said the world's 1.3 billion Muslims "cannot be defeated by a few million Jews," but suggested the use of political and economic tactics instead of violence to achieve a "final victory." </font color>

"In today's world, we wield a lot of political, economic and financial clout, enough to make up for our weaknesses in military terms," he said.

Mahathir, whose 22-year administration transformed Malaysia from a rubber- and tin-producing backwater into the world's 17th-largest trading country, has long been known for his blistering attacks on globalization, U.S. policy in the Middle East and Israel.

But Malaysia is seen by Washington as a reliable if prickly ally, co-operating in breaking terrorist networks in Southeast Asia. Mahathir visited the White House last year.

Still, he has remained a blunt opponent of the U.S.-led attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, and repeatedly warned that the war on terrorism is becoming a war against Muslims. Washington was angered by a speech he made in February in which he described the looming war against Iraq as racist.

Mahathir, 77, has always seen himself as a champion of oppressed Muslims outside his own country. During the 1992-95 war in Bosnia, he welcomed thousands of Bosnian Muslim refugees but expelled Christians who arrived with them, despite appeals by the secular government in Sarajevo.

U.S. allies at the conference said they agreed with Mahathir's assessment of the Muslim world's predicament, although they did not specifically address his comments on Jews.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said it was "a shrewd and very deep assessment."

"It is great to hear Prime Minister Mahathir speak so eloquently on the problems of the ummah (Muslim world) and ways to remedy them," added Afghan President Hamid Karzai. "His speech was an eye-opener to a lot of us and that is what the Islamic world should do."

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Mahathir had used allegations of Jewish dominance to buttress his chief point, that Muslims needed to embrace modern knowledge and technology and overcome divisions over religious dogma that have left them weakened on the world stage.

"I'm sorry that they have misunderstood the whole thing," Syed Hamid, the foreign minister, told The Associated Press. "The intention is not to create controversy. His intention is to show that if you ponder and sit down to think, you can be very powerful."

Syed Hamid said the world's Muslims were in a "quagmire" and feeling "sidelined or marginalized," reflecting a widespread perception in the Islamic world as the war on terrorism has evolved into U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Israeli has increased repression of the Palestinians.

Please forget about anti-Semitism," Syed Hamid told reporters.

He added that Mahathir's "message is to stop violence, which is not the answer for us to succeed in our struggle. People may not be very happy but this is the reality: the Jews are very powerful."

Syed Hamid noted that Malaysia has a state policy of religious harmony, in which the ethnic Malay Muslim majority lives alongside large non-Muslim Chinese and Indian minorities. The country is one of Southeast Asia's most modern and wealthy, and has jailed terror suspects without qualms.

"How can we be anti-Jew? It is far from the truth," Syed Hamid said.

Mahathir, a respected leader in the developing world with a long history of making articulate, provocative comments, is retiring Oct. 31 after 22 years in power. He told the Islamic leaders that Muslims had achieved "nothing" in more than 50 years of fighting Israel.

Mahathir said the world's "1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews," but suggested the use of political and economic tactics, not violence, to achieve a "final victory."

In their reactions to the speech, most of the leaders at the summit focused on the aspects that Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher called "a good road map" toward Muslim empowerment.

Asked by the AP whether he thought the speech was anti-Semitic, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said: "I don't think so." .

Cueless Joey
10-17-2003, 02:32 PM
This world is hopeless.