We hear so much about Malaysia as an Islamic country touted for its moderation. So often, Malaysia’s example serves as reasoning for how Islam and democracy can seamlessly merge, with diversity, tolerance, and equality centre- stage.
But these romanticized, idealistic notions about ‘moderate’ Malaysia, bare limited resemblance to the facts.
The distasteful reality; virtually unrecognizable to mainstream public discourse, recently reared its ugly head, as seen as Malaysia relinquished its rights to host the 2017 FIFA congress, due to the country refusing to issue visas to Israeli delegates.
Yes, Malaysia is so intolerant, so inherently hostile to the sole Jewish state, that it could not bare for Israeli’s to enter its country, even in a non- political setting. So concerned at the anticipated public backlash an Israeli presence could draw, the authorities cancelled the congress, in part due to ‘security fears’.
And yet, Donald Trump’s calls for a potential halt to Muslim immigration, and/or the more stringently vetting of Syrian refugees, have led to an avalanche of comparisons to Adolf Hitler. Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen are also punished for their anti- Islamic views, to the tune of similar slurs.
Surely then, the following question must be asked. If Hitler were alive today, which of the ensuing positions would he prefer? A country which boycotts citizens of the world’s only Jewish state, or Western countries and leaders who aim to limit the influence of militant Islam?
Considering his open admiration for Islam as a ‘religion that believed in spreading the faith by the sword and in subjugating all nations to that faith’ and thus being ‘a creed perfectly suited to the German temperament’, combined with his notorious anti- semitism, Hitler would likely share more in common, with the Malaysian approach.
However, there will be no Hitler, Nazi, or Fascist comparisons for the Malaysian government. No one will excoriate their country and attempt to instill some kind of guilt- laden shame.
As in the West, we hear nothing genuine about countries like Malaysia. These nations are all home to multi- faith utopias, abhor terrorism and the practices of Sharia law, while our countries are rife with racism, oppression, and Islamophobia. While the Muslim world falls victim to terrorism antithetical to Islam, the West furthers its cause through divisive language and rhetoric. Or so we are told.
I say enough of that. The West has tried long enough at appeasing the Islamic world, and avoiding avert criticism of its practices, which has come to no avail. We need to start getting real. So if Malaysia is supposed to be this exemplar of the Islamic faith, so important to understand and research so that we don’t ‘misunderstand Islam’, to refer to a famous Islamopologist catchline, surely its about time found a ‘broader brush’ to paint with.