KL sorry for 'misunderstanding' over PM's speech
Faced with furious criticism from the United States and Europe over Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's assertion that Jews rule the world, Malaysia apologised on Friday for any misunderstanding and claimed that no offence was intended.
"Y'r a liar and a thief and you kill babies. No offense, of course."
Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar struggled to contain the damage wrought by his blunt-spoken boss, who told a summit of Islamic leaders on Thursday that 'Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them'. Repeated assertions of Jewish dominance dotted the speech to buttress Dr Mahathir's analysis that Muslims needed to embrace modern knowledge and technology and overcome divisions over religious dogma that have left them weakened on the world stage.
So they can develop sophisticated weapons on their own to kill the Jews and Crusaders...
Mr Syed Hamid said: 'I'm sorry that they have misunderstood the whole thing. 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.' He said the world's Muslims were in a 'quagmire' and feeling 'sidelined or marginalised'.
It's my opinion they put themselves there. The longer they dwell in a world of insidious conspiracies and dark plots, the longer they'll stay there...
The perception is widespread in the Islamic world as the war on terrorism has evolved into US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and increased Israeli repression of the Palestinians. 'The ones who are facing all the problems at present are the Muslims,' the minister said. 'There are no feelings against any Jews. Why should we have feelings based on ethnicity?'
Then why claim they rule the world? Why identify them as the enemy?
On Thursday, Dr Mahathir, a respected leader in the developing world with a long history of making articulate, provocative comments, told leaders from 57 Islamic nations that 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,' the Premier 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.' He also 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'.
"Time enough for violence when we're in control..."
The speech drew a standing ovation from the assembled leaders, who included Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri. Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo were special guests because of their large Muslim minorities.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt 2003-10-17