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Terror tips from Israel

New Delhi, Sept. 10: Israel’s deputy Prime Minister Yosef Lapid today warned of Islamic terrorism and the danger it poses to the civilised world.

“Arab Muslim terrorism has become a poisonous factor threatening the entire world,” he said, speaking on the global war against terror at the Indian Council of World Affairs as Indian diplomats squirmed. India has the second largest Muslim population in the world.

Lapid said both India and Israel are facing the “same roots” of terror.

“We both have Muslim minorities, most of whom are good and decent citizens. But we are both facing the terror of fanatic Islam which wants to destroy civilisation as we know it.”

The Israeli leader was dismissive of democracy in Islamic countries. “There are more than 40 Muslim governments in the world but there is no democracy in most, except in Indonesia and Turkey,” he said, adding that there was no way to gauge that Arab governments reflected the will of the common man.

Lapid spoke of Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilisations and how the 21st century would see the great fight between the western and Islamic civilisation. “In every sense I can think of India representing the western ideals of civilisation,” he said.

He added that he saw Israel, the US and India at the forefront of the war against Islamic terrorism.

The Israeli leader felt time was running out and the world should wake up to the dangers. “The moment a terrorist group has a nuclear weapon, the face of the world will change. This fear is behind US President George Bush’s war against terrorist regimes,” he said.

“Have a look at Iran. It is ruled by hardcore Ayatollahs and it is very close to acquiring nuclear capability,” he told the audience, echoing America’s worries about Iran and the impression gaining ground that after Iraq, Washington will turn its attention on the regime in Tehran.

Lapid recalled that senior Iranian leaders like former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani have openly said one atomic bomb is enough for Israel to be destroyed.“You don’t even need ballistic missiles for delivery of nuclear warheads…. We have reached a situation when a travelling salesman can carry nuclear material and check into a hotel and leave it behind in a room to destroy an entire people. It is becoming that easy now,” he said.

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