Singapore`s Lee denies calling Islam `venomous`

Singapore`s outspoken former leader Lee Kuan Yew has denied calling Islam a "venomous religion" after leaked US diplomatic cables set off a furore in the multiracial city-state.

Singapore: Singapore`s outspoken former leader
Lee Kuan Yew has denied calling Islam a "venomous religion"
after leaked US diplomatic cables set off a furore in the
multiracial city-state.

One of hundreds of cables from the US embassy in Singapore
released last week by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks had
Lee as describing Islam as a "venomous religion" in a 2005
meeting with then senator Hillary Clinton.

"This is false," the 87-year-old Lee, Singapore`s founding
prime minister and elder statesman, said in a statement yesterday.

Lee said that he looked up a foreign ministry note of the
meeting, and "nowhere does it record me describing Islam as
`venomous`, nor did I say anything which could have given that
impression".

"I did talk about extremist terrorists like the (Southeast
Asian) Jemaah Islamiyah group, and the jihadist preachers who
brainwashed them. They are implacable in wanting to put down
all who do not agree with them," he said.

"So their Islam is a perverted version, which the
overwhelming majority of Muslims in Singapore do not subscribe
to."

During the meeting, another US lawmaker in Clinton`s party
had asked Lee about "how organised terrorists were
internationally", according to the leaked cable signed off by
then US ambassador to Singapore Frank Lavin.

It said Lee "responded that orthodox Islam was a powerful
force capable of recruiting volunteers for terrorist groups".

PTI

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