A moderate in his own special way

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad hasn’t mellowed with age:

Jews rule the world, getting others to fight and die for them, but will not be able to defeat the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has told a major Islamic summit.

“The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them,” Mahathir said, adding, “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews.”

He told the biggest gathering of Muslim leaders since the 2001 attacks on the United States that all Muslims were suffering “oppression and humiliation”, with their religion accused of promoting terrorism.

(Read the whole thing, it’s fascinating, in a horrifying kind of way).

This kind of insanity isn’t all that surprising coming from him. He is notorious for ranting about the evils of globalization and even his anti-Semitic screeching didn’t just come out of the blue. The man built his whole decades-long political career on the discrimination of ethnic Chinese, who serve as scapegoats for all problems in much of South East Asia (an obvious parallel to anti-Semitism). And Mahathir Mohamad wasn’t just an opportunist who went along, he was the driving force behind this policy.

Profiting from affirmative action at the expense of the more successful ethnic Chinese, few Malays complain (which would be illegal anyway). As long as Malays and Islam are securely on top in the country, the anti-Chinese riots of earlier decades won’t repeat themselves, but that is good news in a very qualified sense, for the Chinese effectively (if not formally) live in dhimmitude. Sharia law is gaining ground in the country and it looks like it might be extended to
the non-Muslim population, too.

Even so Malaysia is still pretty relaxed and tolerant for an Islamic country (at least for now), and Mahatir Mohamed is a moderate as Muslim leaders go. He’s set to retire now though, and his successor is likely to be worse. Add to this the problems of Indonesia and the Philippines to control their own Muslim extremists (not that they are always trying that hard) and the situation in the whole region looks increasingly likely to deteriorate. We might miss old Mahatir yet.

(When I posted I hadn’t noticed that Sylvain had put up an entry on the same speech a short while ago).


This is about one of Mahatir Mohamad’s possible successors:

Nik Abdul Aziz, the spiritual leader of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, was quoted by the Malay-language Mingguan Malaysia newspaper as saying that even women who wear Muslim headscarves can arouse men if they wear makeup and perfume too. The end result could be rape or molestation, the newspaper cited Nik Aziz as saying. Anwar Bakri, a senior adviser to Nik Aziz, confirmed he made the comments, but said they were reported out of context.

The fundamentalist Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party is the country’s largest opposition group, controlling two of the 13 states, where it has restricted alcohol sales and segregated Muslim men and women at supermarket counters.

It has tried to introduce criminal laws including punishments such as amputation, but these have been blocked by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s national government.

(Link via Reason)

7 thoughts on “A moderate in his own special way”

  1. In my first year in grad school I had a Chinese-Malaysian classmate, whose family was Christian. (As it says in the article, he had to come to the US for college.) He said when the British gave Malaysia its independence, they didn’t want a repeat of what happened in the US, where the newcomers slaughtered and oppressed all the natives. (At the time, I thought that was just his shorthand way of referring to it. Now, knowing what little others know of American history, I suspect he meant this literally.) So the British left Malaysia with a government which officially favored the native Malay at the expense of the Chinese and Indians.

    According to him, the Chinese and Indians were the merchants, and tended to be more prosperous than the Malay. At the time, I thought it sounded suspiciously like bigotry against the “money-grubbing” Jew.

    He also said it was difficult to get Bibles in Malaysia, and used to mail them to his family.

  2. So what ? We’re pals with Saudi and Pakistan too. In those parts, there is always a gap between the leaders’ public rhetoric aimed at their domestic audience, and their private dealing with others, specially the US. Syria and Iran were actually quite helpful after 9/11, even following the axis-of-evil speech. You wouldn’t tell that from the public rhetoric on either side at the time. But some of that was also for show for the public.

    As for Mahathir, he has definitely established his credentials as a looney toon. His pending retirement is probably also part of it. He doesn’t need to care what foreigners think as much, and his party’s main competitor is the Muslim PAS. There is domestic politics at work here as well.

    Still, given the time and place, his statements are gross, for lack of a better word.

  3. Sylvain,

    Indeed. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope the U.S. continues to work privately agains terrorism, even with less than desirable countires. However, this was not a “private” dealing between Bush and Mahathir. It was quite public. It was equally as public as Mahathir’s sentiments about Jews. I’m not saying Bush shouldn’t deal with Malaysia in ways that are good for the protection of Americans. I am highlighting the ironies of public foreign policy, and the uncomfortable results.

  4. Unavoidable. A necessary evil. Let’s not get distracted by fluff. Just because it is public doesn’t change its essential nature : PR fluff.

  5. Mahathir’s revealing truth about my people has made me feel great. Of course, I am Jewish (an Israeli citizen).
    Nothing better than waking up each morning knowing that 1.3 billion moslems are getting screwed, bloo’ed and tattoo’ed by a pityful 6 million of us Jews (by proxy, as it turns out…) .

  6. Except Bin Laden was born with a couple hundred millions attached to his name. So you guys did screw up after all, uh ?

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