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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Mahathir: Saudi Arabia not appropriate partner to counter terrorism

The former prime minister says such alliances should be formed with countries that are not involved in any war.
Mahathir-Mohamad-terrorism-saudi-1KUALA LUMPUR: Saudi Arabia is not an appropriate partner for Malaysia in promoting moderation in the Muslim world and combatting terrorism, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
The former prime minister said such cooperation can only be established on condition that the other country is not involved in any war, and Riyadh has failed in this regard.
“Alliances should be formed with countries that are not involved in any war, but now we want to work together with a country that is clearly taking part in a war.
“That is not proper,” the Pakatan Harapan chairman said, alluding to the Saudi Arabian-led military intervention in Yemen against Houthi rebels who had in 2014 ousted the Saudi-backed central government there.
Over 10,000 civilians have died and more than three million people are reported to have been displaced due to the conflict.
Mahathir, who is also the Perdana Global Peace Foundation chairman, said this yesterday when asked to respond to the government’s decision to approve a 16ha piece of land in Putrajaya to build a new “centre for peace” named after present Saudi ruler King Salman.
FMT had recently reported that the Muslim World League (MWL), an organisation heavily funded by the Saudi government to prop up the kingdom’s Islamic image worldwide, is also involved in the new centre.
MWL has for decades acted as Riyadh’s chief mouthpiece through the publication of Islamic materials and the financing of mosques and Islamic centres from Asia to Europe.
A recent report by a British think-tank linked MWL to extremist ideologies behind militant groups such as Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Islamic State (IS).
It said MWL’s associate World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) “has had a long history of involvement with the promotion of violent Islamist extremism and the distribution of hateful literature”.
Putrajaya’s decision has also baffled a Washington-based terrorism expert.
Zachary Abuza, a professor at the National War College and an expert on Southeast Asian conflicts, said he failed to understand why Prime Minister Najib Razak had partnered with Riyadh.
He said Saudi Arabia is known for its spread of Wahhabism which he described as an “intolerant version of Islam”.
“Saudis have been spreading Wahhabism throughout the world, especially Southeast Asia, from a more tolerant brand of Shafiite Islam to a more austere version,” Abuza told FMT. -FMT

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