HOYER CONDEMNS DIVISIVE COMMENTS BY MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER

For Immediate Release:

October 24, 2003

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement criticizing the anti-Semitic comments made by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad at the Organization of Islamic Conference on October 16.  Hoyer, Majority Whip Roy Blunt (MO) and Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) introduced a Resolution today condemning Prime Minister Mohammad’s comments:

“Prime Minister Mohammad reportedly said that ‘the Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million.  But today, the Jews rule the world by proxy.  They get others to fight and die for them.’  He added that ‘they [meaning Jews] have now gained control of the most powerful countries, and they, this tiny community, have become a world power.’  And throughout his remarks, he refers to Jews as ‘the enemy.’

“These anti-Semitic comments are not simply outrageous and untrue, they were truly toxic.  It is imperative that we publicly and strongly reject scurrilous, hateful comments such as these that have no basis in fact and that only serve to foment an unadulterated, destructive lie.

“What is perhaps more disturbing than one man’s malignant invective, and his ignorance of the Jewish people’s persecution today and throughout history, is the fact that he received a standing ovation from the leaders of many Muslim nations.  That is simply unacceptable.  As far as I’m concerned, agreeing with or acquiescing in such religious and ethnic bigotry is every bit as dangerous as an incitement to it.  And neither the incitement nor the acquiescence should go unchallenged in the civilized world.

“Intolerance based on one’s religious beliefs, ethnicity and race is a poison that has coursed throughout the body of human history – and it has caused untold suffering, pain and strife.  The elected representatives of the strongest and freest nation on earth have a responsibility to expose and combat such intolerance and prejudice wherever it rears its head.”

The resolution is expected to be debated on the House Floor on Tuesday, October 28.

###