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KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 ― Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has never spoken in support of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and maintains his position against all forms of extremism, a government statement said today.
The statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said Najib had not indicated support for ISIL in his speech at Umno’s Cheras branch 20th anniversary dinner earlier this week.
“ISIL was mentioned briefly and in passing, but it is important to note that the Prime Minister in no way indicated any support for ISIL. Any allegation to the contrary is completely false,” it said.
The comments attributed to Najib “by some websites” had been “taken out of all context”, emphasising Putrajaya’s position against terrorist organisations, it added.
The statement stressed that Malaysia classifies ISIL as a terrorist organisation and has arrested suspected ISIL members in the country.
“The Prime Minister’s strong stance over many years against violence and extremism is on record and remains undiminished.
“The Prime Minister has called for a Global Movement of the Moderates, rejecting extremism in all its forms, and he will continue to advocate for moderation,” the statement said.
On Tuesday , Najib, who is also Umno president, called on party members to emulate the bravery of ISIL militants, who defeated an Iraqi force outnumbering it nearly 30-to-one, if the nationalist party is to survive.
Listing virtues needed to keep the country’s largest political party in power, he said that those who dare to “fight to the death” are capable of beating the odds.
“As proof — whether we agree or not is another matter — the group ISIL with the strength of just 1,300 people, can defeat an Iraqi army of 30,000 soldiers, until four, five generals with three, four stars run for their lives, jump out the window at night. Why? Because they are afraid of those who are brave,” he told more than an audience of more than 1,000 Umno members.
ISIL, which is said to have Al Qaeda links, forcibly took control of several Iraqi cities over the past two weeks, shocking Iraqi and Western officials.
The Sunni-based group claims to want to restore an Islamic Caliphate to replace the rival Shiite-led Iraqi government.