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Malaysian Leader Assails U.S. for Attacks on Muslims

June 20, 2003|From Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Thursday that the U.S.-led "war on terrorism" has become an excuse for the West to attack Muslims and accused America and its allies of wanting to control the world.

Mahathir said the Sept. 11 attacks allowed "Anglo-Saxon Europeans" -- a group he defined as including Americans, Australians and New Zealanders -- to return to "violent old ways" of colonialism.

"Their strategy to fight terrorism is through attacking Muslim countries and Muslims, whether they are guilty or not," he said in a televised speech.

"By making all kinds of baseless accusations, they launched attacks against Muslim countries, using their weapons of mass destruction, killing civilians and destroying the towns."

Malaysia, most of whose citizens are Muslim, has arrested scores of alleged Islamic militants in the past two years. But Mahathir remains an outspoken critic of the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. America and Britain "wish to show the world how powerful they are, and anyone challenging them would be attacked by their military forces," Mahathir said.

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