Fri, Oct 17, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Mahathir airs virulent anti-Semitism

AFP , PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA

PHOTO: REUTERS

Jews rule the world, getting others to fight and die for them, but will not be able to defeat the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told a major Islamic summit yesterday.

"The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them," Mahathir said, adding, "1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews."

The veteran Malaysian premier, who has become notorious for his controversial speeches during his 22 years as leader of his moderate Muslim country, was addressing the opening session of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) summit.

He told the biggest gathering of Muslim leaders since the 2001 attacks on the US that all Muslims were suffering "oppression and humiliation," with their religion accused of promoting terrorism.

Acknowledging weakness and division in the organization's ranks, Mahathir said they could at least take a common stand on the Palestinian struggle against Israel and it was time to plan a "counter-attack" against the enemies of Islam who treated Muslims with "contempt and dishonor."

He called on Muslims to emulate the Jewish response to oppression, saying the Jews had "survived 2,000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking."

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

"With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power.

"We cannot fight them through brawn alone, we must use our brains also," he said.

"Of late because of their power and their apparent success they have become arrogant. And arrogant people like angry people will make mistakes, will forget to think.

"They are already beginning to make mistakes. And they will make more mistakes. There may be windows of opportunity for us now and in the future. We must seize these opportunities."

Mahathir, however, who has in the past condemned Palestinian suicide bombers as "terrorists," appeared to suggest that it was time for an end to violence against the Israelis.

"Over the past 50 years of fighting in Palestine we have not achieved any result. We have in fact worsened our situation," he said.

He said the Koran "tells us that when the enemy sues for peace we must react positively. True the treaty offered is not favorable to us. But we can negotiate."

He said he was aware that this proposal might not be popular and its opponents "would want to send more young men and women to make the supreme sacrifice. But where will all these lead to? Certainly not victory."

However, he did call on Muslims to match their studies of religion with attention to science and mathematics because "we need guns and rockets, bombs and warplanes, tanks and warships for our defense."

This was apparently a reference to what he sees as a broader assault on Muslims by the Western world in the guise of the war on terrorism. He said enemies of Islam "attack and kill us, invade our lands, bring down our governments."

Among the more than 30 Muslim leaders present for the summit are Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia and Megawati Sukarnoputri, the president of the world's largest Muslim country, Indonesia.

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