Fri, 20 Jun 2003

Malaysia's Mahathir lashes European race

By Lawrence Bartlett

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday vilified the European race, warned his party that it could lose power and wept as he described himself as Allah's "insignificant slave" at the last party assembly before his retirement.
Many in the audience of more than 2000 delegates were also in tears as they listened to the swansong of the man who has led this rapidly-developing Southeast Asian nation for 22 years and has pledged to step down in October.
In what must rank as one of the most astonishingly undiplomatic speeches by the leader of a nation with strong economic, political and military links to the West, Mahathir accused the European race of warmongering, indiscriminate attacks on Muslims, greed and sexual deviancy.
The 77-year-old medical doctor, who has attained almost mythical status in this former British colony, predicted that he would be condemned as a racist, but said he needed to warn his people that the Europeans wanted "to control the world again."
Spelling it out so there would be no mistaking his racial profiling, he said Europeans included "those who migrated and set up new nations in America, Australia and New Zealand."
At the same time he insisted: "I am not anti-European. I have many friends and acquaintances who are Europeans.
"They are very clever, brave and have an insatiable curiosity."
But "unfortunately they are also very greedy and like to take forcibly the territories and rights of other people."
In an obvious reference to the recent war on Iraq he said "they have demonstrated that they are ready to invent false allegations in order to go to war to kill children, old people, sick people" to achieve their objectives.
Europeans had "begun to invade and rule certain countries, ostensibly for their security but in fact to exploit the wealth in these countries," he said.
Mahathir, who heads a moderate Muslim government, said the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States were "an excuse for the Anglo Saxon Europeans to return to their old violent ways.
"Their strategy to fight terrorism is through attacking Muslim countries and Muslims, whether they are guilty or not."
Just over a year ago Mahathir was invited to the White House to be thanked personally by President George W. Bush for his support in the war on terrorism, but his strong opposition to the war in Iraq has seen relations sour.
Mahathir said Europeans also wanted to impose their cultural values on the world, including "unlimited freedom for the individual" and "the practice of free sex including sodomy as a right."
"Marriage between male and male, between female and female are officially recognised by them. What we call incest is not regarded as serious by them."
He said he was "embarrassed" to criticise Europeans, knowing that friendly countries would feel hurt, "but it is very important that we know this race ... because they will play a big role in our life and our race, our religion and our country."
He said the Europeans' new slogan was "regime change," and warned delegates to the assembly of his United Malays National Organisation (UMNO): "Do not think we will not be targeted."
Calling for unity, he said power struggles after he steps down in favour of Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi could see the ousting of the party which has run the country since independence in 1957.
He pointed particularly to the threat posed by the Islamic Party (PAS), a hardline religious group which wants to turn Malaysia into a theocratic state complete with amputations for theft and stoning to death for adultery.
In an emotional closing, Mahathir sought forgiveness for mistakes he made during his tenure and wept as he thanked Allah for giving "His insignificant slave" the opportunity to lead the party.