Mr Lee refutes US cable leaked by WikiLeaks

Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew yesterday refuted a leaked United States Embassy cable which reported that he had described Islam as a "venomous religion".

In a statement issued by his press secretary, Ms Yeong Yoon Ying, he said: "This is false."

Mr Lee said that nowhere in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes "does it record me describing Islam as 'venomous', nor did I say anything which could have given that impression".

He was responding to a cable leaked by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks on a meeting with Mrs Hillary Clinton, who is now the United States Secretary of State, on July 5, 2005. The cable was released on Aug 30 this year.

The meeting with Mrs Clinton took place during her visit here from July 5 to July 7 that year for the 117th Olympic Committee Session to make New York's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

The cable also contained details of two other meetings she had with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and then Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, on July 5, covering topics such as the cross-strait relations between China and Taiwan and America's role in the region.

Some 700 leaked diplomatic cables from the United States Embassy in Singapore were published online last week, revealing confidential correspondence on a range of issues dating from 2003 to last year.

The cables covered political, economic and security developments, and were based on newspaper reports and conversations that embassy officials had with other diplomats, public servants, journalists as well as other sources.

Mr Lee's alleged description of Islam was made when he spoke about Singapore's experience in 2001 and 2002 in dealing with Jemaah Islamiah's (JI's) terrorist plots in Singapore.

In the statement, Mr Lee said he did talk about extremist terrorists like the JI group, and the jihadist preachers who brainwashed them.

He said: "They are implacable in wanting to put down all who do not agree with them. "So their Islam is a perverted version, which the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Singapore do not subscribe to."

He also stressed that Singapore Muslim leaders are rational.

"The ultimate solution to extremist terrorism was to give moderate Muslims the courage to stand up and speak out against radicals who have hijacked Islam to recruit volunteers for their violent ends," he added.


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