Malaysia's Jewish Jibe Sparks Fury; Islam Has Never Advocated Being Anti Anybody, Including the Jews Syed Hamid Albar Malaysian Foreign Minister

The Birmingham Post (England), October 18, 2003 | Go to article overview

Malaysia's Jewish Jibe Sparks Fury; Islam Has Never Advocated Being Anti Anybody, Including the Jews Syed Hamid Albar Malaysian Foreign Minister


Byline: John Deane

Malaysia's top diplomat was summoned to the Foreign Office yesterday to hear a protest over his Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's outspoken comments about Jews. High Commissioner Dato Abdul Aziz Mohammed was called in to see Minister of State Mike O'Brien this morning to be told that the premier's remarks were 'unacceptable'.

The head of state told an Islamic summit in Malaysia on Thursday that Muslims should start using brains rather than brawn to defeat Israel, accused the Jewish people of increasing arrogance, and said this could be exploited to promote the cause of the Muslim people of the world.

'The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy,' he told his audience.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: 'At the Foreign Secretary's request, the Malaysian High Commissioner was summoned this morning so that Mike O'Brien (Minister of State) could raise our concerns directly.'

'It is unfortunate that Mahathir chose to make these remarks, which we regard as unacceptable,' he continued.

'It is particularly regrettable that some positive and welcome messages in Mahathir's speech, such as the emphasis on negotiation being the path to peace (in the Middle East) were obscured and overshadowed by racist remarks.'

Malaysia has voiced regret over the outcry prompted by Mahathir's remarks, arguing that they had been taken out of context.

'Islam has never advocated being anti anybody, including the Jews,' said Malaysian foreign minister Syed Hamid Albar.

'The only problem with the Jews is when the state of Israel was created,' he said.

The speech drew immediate international criticism and raised fears that it could fan violence against Jews. …

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