Malaysia links beheading to abuse of Iraqis
US President George W. Bush's attempt to separate the beheading of an American in Iraq from the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US troops cut no ice with Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Questioned about the grisly decapitation, Abdullah made it clear that he saw a link with the prison scandal.
US President George W. Bush's attempt to separate the beheading of an American in Iraq from the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US troops cut no ice with Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Thursday.
Questioned about the grisly decapitation at a news conference, Abdullah -- who currently chairs the 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) - made it clear that he saw a link with the prison scandal.
He said he was "very shocked" by pictures of both the abuse of Iraqis and the beheading of the American.
"Violence begets violence, that's what it's all about," he said. "We must find the root causes and stop all this violence."
Bush on Wednesday condemned the "barbaric" beheading of Nicholas Berg in Iraq and rejected any link between the execution and the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US troops.
A day after a video of Berg's death appeared on an Islamist Internet site, Bush flatly dismissed the claim by his killers that they were avenging the humiliation prisoners had suffered at the hands of US soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.
"There is no justification for the brutal execution of Nicholas Berg, no justification whatsoever," Bush told reporters.
Abdullah was speaking on the sidelines of a committee meeting of the 117-nation Non-Aligned Movement of developing countries which he chairs along with the OIC, the world's largest grouping of Muslim states.
Malaysia, which is considered by the US as an ally in the "war on terrrorism", strongly opposed the invasion of Iraq, saying it would lead to more terrorism.
Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar told a news conference later: "The treatment of the Iraqi prisoners is inexcusable but that does not justify the violence committed against individuals who are not involved in the war.
"We also deplore what has happened to the American who was beheaded. It is not the right way. We do not subscribe to that type of action."
Syed Hamid said he would investigate allegations that the website showing a video of Berg's beheading was based in Malaysia.
Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said in a statement Thursday that the website was allegedly traced to a company based in Cyberjaya, a purpose-built centre for IT companies.
The company belonged to MYLOCA Cyberjaya Network Infrastructure, owned by the government's Telekom Malaysia, Lim said, citing research published by a well-known Malaysian weblogger Jeff Ooi.
Other websites linked to Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda terror network have also allegedly been traced to Malaysia, said Lim, who heads the Democratic Action Party.
"It is imperative that the government act promptly and decisively to get to the bottom of the serious allegation that Malaysia is hosting a master network of international terrorist websites," he said.
Syed Hamid said, however: "There are so many terrorist organisations in Europe and the US, but that does not make the US or Europe a terrorist country."
Asked if any action would be taken if the allegations were proved correct, he said: "I don't want to speculate. But we do not support any terrorist activities."