September 9, 2002

Mahathir Slams War-Waging West for Encouraging Terrorism

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Sunday slammed western powers for being "bent on revenge" which would further alienate the Muslim world, a report said.
He said their acts of waging war would only serve to encourage terrorism.
"Everything is being done to alienate them (Muslims) further, to anger and frustrate them," Mahathir said, according to the AFP. "This selfish move will only ensure that there will be a constant and probably increasing supply of recruits to terrorism."
The West did not care about finding and removing the root causes of terrorism, and also chose to ignore global objections to their actions, he was quoted as saying by the Bernama News Agency.
"The powerful are bent on revenge rather than solutions. and so there will be no end to muslim terrorism," he said.
"The answer does not lie in confrontation, in force, in a war to end all wars.
"The answer lies in justice and fair-play, in being sensitive, in being willing to step back and to admit mistakes and banish the idea that any one race has a monopoly of the right values, the right systems and the right solutions to all the human ailments," he said.
The veteran Asian leader also slammed sanctions against Iraq, Iran, Libya and Sudan, which he noted were all muslim countries, adding that the killings of Palestinians made Muslims worldwide feel oppressed and angry.
He said these nations could only retaliate in the form of terror acts, "hitting out blindly at the innocent as well as the guilty", adding that for normalcy to be restored, the West had to "stop thinking of revenge, and begin to think of justice and fair play".
The criticism comes a day after Mahathir condemned U.S.-British air raids on Iraq, which were launched Thursday, as stifling global cooperation against terrorism.
Washington, which fears that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is accumulating weapons of mass destruction, had earlier declared that an attack on Iraq would be the next step in its unilaterally declared "war on terror".
Mahathir has in the past opposed US military action against Iraq as "undemocratic", saying it would only provoke greater hatred and dent the Islamic World's efforts to show the "moderate face of Islam".
Mahathir, a moderate Muslim who has cracked down on local Islamic militants since the September 11 attacks, has won praise from the US following his pledge to back the war on terror, but has maintained his criticism on president George W. Bush's policies on Iraq.