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Guaranteed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 12:22 PM
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'Clash of civilizations' looms between Islam and West

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (AFP) - The world has been sucked into a dangerous "clash of civilizations" by the West's failure to understand Muslim grievances, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in an interview here.

Speaking exclusively to AFP ahead of a visit by French President Jacques Chirac, the veteran Southeast Asian Muslim leader defended his recent vilification of Westerners as greedy warmongers aiming to dominate the world.

And he stood by his call on Muslim nations to build up their military strength so as to fulfill a Koranic injunction to "strike fear into the hearts of their enemies".

When Chirac meets Mahathir here during a brief visit Tuesday, however, he can take comfort from the fact that he is considered "sane and normal" -- some of the time at least.

Chirac earned the accolade for his opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq (news - web sites), although Mahathir qualified this as simply the "exception that proves the rule".

"I don't believe anybody is one hundred percent bad. There will be people who are sane and normal and who understand these things are wrong and reject them.

"Yes, we see President Chirac is against (the Iraq war) and we appreciate that, but that is the exception that proves the rule -- the rule is this acquisitiveness, this desire to take what doesn't belong to you."
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