KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, June 1 (UPI) -- Former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad has urged Muslims to build their own weapons rather than relying on Western imports, a news report said Thursday.
Mahathir argued that Muslims would be oppressed as long as they lacked homemade military might. He said that Muslims could not defend and protect themselves because "we have not mastered the knowledge of science," the Bangkok Post reported Thursday.
He said importing weapons from Western nations left a degree of vulnerability in the defense systems of the Muslim world.
"To enhance our own defense capabilities, we must build our own brand of sophisticated weapons," the report quoted him as saying. He said this was not because Muslims wanted to attack others, but that they needed to protect their own people.
Mahathir, who served as Malaysia's prime minister from 1981 to 2003 and has often voiced criticism of Western powers, was speaking to a group of mostly Muslim students at a gathering in the northern state of Kedah.