Mahathir, who steps down in October after 22 years in charge, choked and had tears in his eyes as he finished his opening address to his United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) annual general assembly.

   

But the emotion did not prevent the irrepressible 77-year-old, who has been a strident critic of the US-led invasion on Iraq, from attacking the West.

 

"The September 11 attack on America, which supported Israel, was made an excuse for the Anglo-Saxon Europeans to return to their violent old ways," the premier told his supporters.

 

Gameplan

   

"Their strategy to fight terrorism is through attacking Muslim countries and Muslims, whether they are guilty or not. America and Britain did not care about the condemnation of the world against their action. Opposition by their own people was ignored,” he said.

 

He attacked the European race, accusing them of warmongering, indiscriminate attacks on Muslims, greed and sexual deviancy.

  

Europeans, including "those who migrated and set up new nations in America, Australia and New Zealand", wanted "to control the world again", he said.

 

US invasion of Iraq part of
a plan to dominate world

In an obvious reference to the recent war on Iraq he said "they have demonstrated that they are ready to invent false allegations in order to go to war to kill children, old people, sick people", considering them "mere collaterals" who cannot stand in the way of their objectives.

  

Europeans had "begun to invade and rule certain countries, ostensibly for their security but in fact to exploit the wealth in these countries," he said.

  

Mahathir indicated that the September 11 attacks on the US could be traced back at least partly to its support for Israel against the Palestinians.

  

"The Europeans hated the Jews even before they embraced Christianity", he said. But after the Second World War "to force the Jews out of Europe they seized the territory of the Arab Palestinians to create the state of Israel", he added.

 

Cultural values

  

Mahathir said Europeans also wanted to impose their cultural values on the world, including "unlimited freedom for the individual" and "the practice of free sex including sodomy as a right."

  

"It is not my wish to create hatred for the Europeans," he said. “But it is very important that we know this race and their activities in the past because they will play a big role in our life and our race, our religion and our country," he added.

  

He said the Europeans' new slogan was "regime change", and warned the more than 2,000 delegates to the assembly, "Do not think we will not be targetted."

  

Mahathir is considered one of the most articulate and outspoken leaders in the Islamic and developing worlds. His deputy  Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will take over the leadership of Malaysia in four months.