Malaysia criticizes Russian president's comment on Islam

Posted: Friday, November 22, 2002

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Malaysia accused Russia's President Vladimir Putin of insulting Muslims in answering a journalist's question about the war in Chechnya.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar called Putin's remarks, made at a European Union news conference in Belgium, a ''nauseating'' mockery of Islam.

A French reporter questioned Russian troops' use of heavy weapons against civilians in predominantly Muslim Chechnya.

''If you want to become an Islamic radical and have yourself circumcised, I invite you to come to Moscow,'' Putin responded. ''I would recommend that he who does the surgery does it so you'll have nothing growing back afterward.''

Syed Hamid also urged the United States to prevent conservative Protestants like the Revs. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell from making remarks on Islam that he said could aid terrorists and trigger religious clashes.

Malaysia takes over chairmanship of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference next year.

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