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AP World Politics
Malaysia lodges protest with United Nations over report linking government to al-Qaida
Thu Oct 17,11:59 PM ET
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia has protested to the United Nations (news - web sites) about a report that links Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's government to the al-Qaida terrorist network, reports said Friday.
Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said excerpts from a book on al-Qaida that were included in a U.N. monitoring group's report contained untruths about Malaysia, the news reports said.
In the book, "Inside al-Qaida: Global Network of Terror," Rohan Gunaratna, a research fellow at Scotland's University of St. Andrews, alleges that several Malaysian political groups have historical links with Muslim separatist groups in the Philippines, which in turn had ties with al-Qaida.
Mahathir's National Front coalition, which has ruled Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957, was one Malaysian group that had "ideological and political links" with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a Muslim rebel group which has been fighting for a separate homeland in the southern Philippines, the book claims.
Abdullah said the government had lodged a formal protest with the United Nations on Oct. 7 for including excepts from Gunaratna's book in a report to the U.N. Security Council.
"We are angry and condemn this untruthful and irresponsible allegation which has been passed on as a fact and is now being utilized in a U.N. report," Friday's New Straits Times newspaper quoted Abdullah as saying.
Abdullah said Gunaratna was "irresponsible and totally ignorant of the situation in Malaysia," it said.
Mahathir has been a key ally in the U.S.-led global campaign against terrorism, although he has criticized Washington over its threat to attack Iraq and for not doing more to end the conflict in the Middle East.
The government has detained more than 70 suspected Islamic militants since August 2001, including one who allowed senior al-Qaida operatives to use his apartment for a meeting in early 2000.
The government says it has long been opposed to any rebellion in the southern Philippines and is only trying to get the MILF to negotiate a peaceful solution with the Philippine government.