Malaysia urges US to do more to stop oppression on Muslims
Kuala Lumpur, Dec 21, IRNA -- Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir
Mohamad called upon the United States to do more to stop the
oppression of Muslims.
The premier late Friday drew the media's attention to an aspect
of human rights shown in the detention of hundreds Muslim men in the
US after they voluntarily presented themselves at Immigration offices
to register under new anti-terrorism rules.
'I read today...of Muslim men detained. When asked to register,
they went to register and they were detained. I don't know what kind
of law (they are enforcing),' he added.
The Reuters news service report from Los Angeles on Friday quoted
immigration lawyers as saying hundreds of Muslim men and boys are
being subjected to strip searches in freezing, standing room only
detention centres in southern California after being arrested for
routine visa irregularities.
They estimated that between 1,000 and 2,500 mostly Iranian
males, some as young as 16, have been locked up in what they called
inhumane conditions after voluntarily presenting themselves at
immigration offices to register under new anti-terrorism rules.
'When Muslims are oppressed, they feel they have to fight back.
So if you want peace you have to recognize that Muslim land has been
taken away from them and there is oppression of Muslims everywhere,'
he told newsmen after chairing his ruling United Malays National
Organization (UMNO) Supreme Council meeting.
Dr Mahathir urged countries at the forefront of the war on terror
to help stop Israeli attacks which, he said, were a root cause of
terrorism. He did not name the countries.
Mahathir said Israeli attacks have made Muslims angry, 'and
when people are angry it is very difficult for them to stop expressing
their anger in the only way they can, and, that is, by terrorist
Mahathir is widely viewed as a moderate Muslim voice. His
government supports the global fight against terrorism and has
arrested more than 70 suspected Muslim militants since last year.
But the prime minister has said the war on terror fails to
address the root causes, such as the Middle East conflict and the
plight of Palestinians.
He has often accused the George Bush administration of lending
too much support to Israel.
Dr Mahathir, who is also president UMNO, said Malaysia rejected
Australian Prime Minister John Howard's comments on the right to stage
pre-emptive strikes against terrorists in other countries.
Declaring that such strikes would breach a country's sovereignty,
he said that if the United Nations agreed to the proposal as part of
international law, then the freedom of countries would surely be
threatened by the major powers.
'We reject the idea and view the proposal very seriously because
if the UN agrees with the proposal to amend the international law to
accommodate this proposal, then nations will lose their independence
'This will provide ample room for superpower nations to violate
the freedom of others at ease,' Dr Mahathir said, adding that the
question of a protest note to the UN pertaining this matter would be
discussed by the government soon.
Howard recently drew widespread criticism from countries in the
region when he announced Australia's intention to embark on
pre-emptive attacks against terrorists in neighboring countries if
they planned attacks on Australia.
Howard said that the UN charter, among others, should be amended
to allow pre-emptive strikes against terrorists in other countries.
Dr Mahathir also said Malaysia wanted the United Nations to
expunge the report that linked its ruling 14-party coalition, the
Barisan Nasional (National Front), with Al-Qaeda.
'We are asking for the report to be cleansed of all mention
that links Barisan with Al-Qaeda,' he added.
Dr Mahathir said the UN must take necessary steps to clear
Malaysia's and Barisan Nasional's name which have been mistakenly
linked to the Al-Qaeda terror network.
He said that although the UN had revoked the allegations, which
were in the UN's monitoring groups' report for the Security Council,
the allegations still remained in print in the report.
'We want the report to be cleared of any mention that the BN
(Barisan Nasional) has links with the \al-Qaeda,' he said.
In October, a United Nations monitoring group's report for the
Security Council linked Barisan Nasional to the Al-Qaeda terrorist
The report was based on a book entitled 'Inside Al-Qaeda: Global
Network of Terror,' written by analyst Rohan Gunaratna.
On a US claim that Iraq was in 'material breach' of a UN
resolution to declare its weapons of mass destruction, Dr Mahathir
said he was informed that members of the Security Council had not
received the full report of the disclosure.
'So, we cannot make a stand yet because we need to know about the
submissions and omissions,' he said.
Iraq last week handed in a 12,000-page document in compliance
with a UN Security Council Resolution 1441 ordering it to declare
its weapons of mass destruction programs.
However, Washington said on Friday there were omissions and
inconsistencies in the document.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia also took note of the South Korean
people's election of a new president, and expressed hope that the new
president and his administration would improve its ties with North
Korea and reduce the tension in the Korean Peninsula.