Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has warned Muslims that they will suffer continuous oppression, and their religion will be denigrated as a religion of failure, oppression and terrorism if their current state of affairs persists.
In his keynote address at the Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit) 2019, he said Muslim nations were lagging behind in development and some were even known for being failed governments.
(KL Summit) 2019, he said Muslim nations were lagging behind in development and some were even known for being failed governments.
He said, at the same time, the ummah in several countries were involved in fratricidal wars, which had led Muslims to flee to non-Muslim nations.
He said when they were unable to defend themselves, they would need to rely on non-Muslim nations for arms and protection.
Even more pressing, he said, was the perception of Islam, as Muslims and Islam were no longer associated with civility.
He said the decline of the advanced Muslim civilisations of the past began in the 15th century of the Common Era, and from that point, Muslims gradually began to lose “the respect of the world”.
He said Muslims today were unable to return to the era when they were well-versed in all fields of knowledge, including science and engineering and manufacturing of goods.
“There were attempts to find the reasons for their (Muslims) decline. But discussions and scholarly writings have not resulted in the recovery of their past greatness.
“So, if the future remains as we are now, we will suffer continuous oppression. We will decline further and our great religion will be denigrated as a religion of failure, oppression and terrorism. “Muslims will be turned away from Muslim countries (leading them) to seek refuge in non-Muslim countries.
“The ummah will not be protected as enjoined by the Quran,” he told an audience of more than 500 delegates and representatives from 56 countries at the opening of the KL Summit yesterday.
The summit is themed “The Role of Development in Achieving National Sovereignty”.
Present were Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Dr Mahathir said in the past, Muslims adhered to the teachings of Islam as a religion of peace, while succeeding in infrastructure and governance.
“Muslims built great cities, sailed and mapped the seas, traded between the East and West along the Silk Road and many other things that boosted the reputation of Islam and Muslims.
“Their military strength was incomparable. Muslims and their countries were treated with respect.”
On Muslim nations, he said none was classified as developed despite the immense wealth in some of the sovereign states. Many of these nations, he said, were weak and incapable of protecting the ummah, which was their duty in Islam.
On Muslim nations, he said none was classified as developed despite the immense wealth in some of the sovereign states. Many of these nations, he said, were weak and incapable of protecting the ummah, which was their duty in Islam.
“In fact, although the Quran enjoins upon us to be prepared to protect the ummah, we are unable to do so because for a long time we cannot even equip ourselves with the means to ward off attacks by others. We depend on our detractors to supply us.
“We can accuse the non-Muslim world of being biased and unjust in their assessments.
“But we cannot deny the fact that there are fratricidal wars in several Muslim countries, that many are beholden to the powerful non-Muslim nations, and that Muslims are running away from their countries to seek refuge in non-Muslim countries.”
Dr Mahathir said many Muslim countries were occupied by European powers in the 18th to mid
20th century, but even after gaining independence, many of these nations regressed to the point of being once again dependent on their former colonial masters.
“If we care to honestly assess our situation, we must admit that we and our religion have become the subject of much vilification and defamation.
“Muslims and Islam have been equated with terrorism and failures of government, as well as irrationality and acts unworthy of civilised behaviour.
“Muslim countries are accused of authoritarianism and lacking concern for human rights.”
However, Dr Mahathir said, good governance was not impossible as governments in Muslim nations could achieve success if they always uphold the teachings of Islam in their policies.
He touched on the different sects in Islam, which he said occurred after Muslims began neglecting all acquisition of knowledge other than that of Islam. He said the disunity of the ummah occurred when Muslim scholars came up with differing interpretations, which gave birth to the differing sects.
At the same time, Muslims were divided based on their nations or states.
“We were one ummah before. But we have broken up into nation states with boundaries separating us from each other. And in different states, our religious practices differ.
“And this has broken our unity. We are no longer brothers in Islam. We no longer have a paramount ruler — the caliph or khalifah.” He said the infighting among sects, in which opposing sides often claimed that the other was not a true follower of the religion, reflected poorly on Muslims.
He said Islam’s detractors did not care about the different sects because they regarded all of them as Muslims and their differences were irrelevant.
Dr Mahathir warned Muslims against waging wars based on anger and frustration as nothing could be gained through indiscriminate violent acts.
“We can declare that Islam does not advocate such violence. But for as long as we act in anger, as long as we do things that frighten people, and worse still, if we proclaim that we are performing jihad, the fear of Muslims and Islam will not diminish.”
He said when Muslims killed each other in the name of jihad , it created a bad perception of Islam.
“The Al-Quran forbids killing, above all killing a fellow Muslim. But Muslims are killing each other indiscriminately. They are killing innocent people, including fellow Muslims. Is this a jihad for Islam? I think you will agree that killings and fratricidal wars are not the jihad advocated by Islam.”
He said there were some Muslims who committed violent acts and killed innocent victims as well as the sick and incapacitated because their countries were unable to provide security for them or as a form of retaliation when their land was seized.
“Frustrated and angry, they react violently without in any way achieving their objectives. They seek revenge, but all they succeed in doing is to bring disrepute to Islam.
“They have created fear by their actions and now Islamophobia, this unjustified fear of Islam, has denigrated our religion in the eyes of the world.”
Dr Mahathir said Muslims must know how this fear was generated and to determine whether it was the detractors’ propaganda.
He said such questions needed to be answered during the KL Summit, which was meant to discuss the critical state of Muslim affairs.
“Understanding problems and their causes may guide us in overcoming or mitigating disasters that have fallen upon the ummah. We have seen other countries devastated by World War 2 not only recovering, but growing strongly with development.
“But some Muslim countries seem incapable of being governed well, much less prosper.
“We have to deal with fratricidal wars, civil wars and catastrophes that have affected the ummah and Islam.
“Yes, Islam and Muslim countries are in a state of crisis and unworthy of this great religion, which is meant to be good for mankind. It is for these reasons that the summit was organised.”
Published in: The New Straits Times, Friday 20 December 2019
KUALA LUMPUR: Self-reliance among Muslim nations remains crucial as there is no sovereign state impervious to international sanctions.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that if Muslim nations cooperated, especially on ensuring mutual economic wellbeing, it could help tide over external challenges.
He said in the future, unilateral sanctions or boycotts currently imposed on Muslim countries such as Iran and Qatar may not be confined to these two states.
“Such sanctions and embargoes are not going to be exclusively for Iran and Qatar. With the world witnessing nations making unilateral decisions to impose such punitive measures, Malaysia and other nations must always bear in mind that it can be imposed on any of us.
“It is all the more reason for us to be self-reliant and work towards that with other Muslims nations to ensure that if and when such measures are imposed upon us, we are capable of facing it,” Dr Mahathir said in his closing remarks at the 5th Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit) 2019 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
More than 400 delegates from 56 Muslim countries attended the three-day summit themed “The Role of Development in Achieving National Sovereignty”.
Dr Mahathir said that the summit managed to gather the heads of state and government of Iran, Qatar, Turkey and Malaysia, who together with other leaders present, had agreed that the brotherhood shown by the participating nations should be further enhanced.
“It was pointed out that if Muslim countries are independent and capable of standing on their own feet, we will not be subjected to such treatments.
“Nevertheless, leaders of all four countries were especially heartened by the brotherly and friendly relations that have strengthened despite the complexities of the region.
“These, to us, are the very essence that will ensure the foundation that we want to build will be successful.”
When elaborating on what was highlighted during the summit, Dr Mahathir, who is the KL Summit chairman, said much of the current achievements of the Muslim world were also revealed by delegates during the event.
It includes the successes of Muslim nations to overcome adversity amidst external pressures from a world superpower and boycotts from their regional neighbours.
He pointed out that there was a silver lining in the sanctions that were imposed by the United States on Iran and the boycott by certain Gulf nations imposed on Qatar.
He said as what was related by their respective heads of state, who had attended the summit, Iran and Qatar were able to rise above the challenges before them and become self-sufficient with notable achievements in several fields.
“It is important for me to point out that Iran in particular, despite the years of sanctions, had been able to continue to progress and develop. It proudly stands as a nation with the fourth-highest number of engineers in the world.
“Qatar, too, has been subject to the embargo and like Iran, it has managed to rise above it and progressed impressively.”
He said when it comes to measures that could boost the economic standing of Muslim nations, a proposal highlighted by delegates to set up a common currency and consider new types of trade must be looked into.
“I have suggested that we re-visit the idea of trading using the gold dinar and barter trade among us. We are seriously looking into this and we hope that we will be able to find a mechanism to put it into effect.”
He said the purpose of the summit was for the participating nations to assess their strengths, weaknesses and their assets to benefit one another.
In this regard, Dr Mahathir said the more prosperous and stable Muslim nations needed to help weaker Muslim nations to get back on their feet, citing the possible economic or human capital collaborations.
“Simply put, if one of us has expertise in a particular area, we offer it to another or all the other participating countries and establish a realistic collaboration.”
He said he was extremely proud that after three days, the summit had witnessed 18 successful exchange of instruments in various fields including advanced hi-technology; media collaboration; the centre of excellence; food security and youth leadership and exchange programmes.
“There are several more in the pipeline which is being worked out resulting from discussions during this Summit. These are tangible outcomes from the Summit as to how we had envisaged when we embarked on this programme.”
He said the summit’s focus was mainly on the economy, science and technology as well as the defence industry.
“But the most important aspect of all the focus is the need to be able to produce and create new indigenous technologies.
“For as long as we are dependent on the technology created by the enemies of Islam, they will forever be able to circumvent, dictate and control our efforts to improve our technologies and defence system in particular.”
Dr Mahathir said many Muslim leaders expressed the need to have a more proportionate Muslim representation in all fields globally because the 1.8 billion Muslim population worldwide represented almost a quarter of the total world population.
He said that leaders at the summit had described the disproportionate representation of Muslims in the fields of science, technology and humanities as something “pitiful”.
He also addressed the criticism which had been levelled against the KL Summit ahead of its opening and said that some people may have misunderstood the purpose of the event.
“Admittedly, some had misunderstood our intentions, intentionally or otherwise, some had felt slighted while a few were suspicious. By now, I am sure it is obvious that the negative opinions were misplaced and not justified.
“We are not here to replace any other Muslim platforms, neither are we intending to create different categories or classes of Muslim nations nor to undermine others.
“It is a congregation of a few Muslim nations of which some of the leaders wanted to get together and discuss some areas that are possible for us to establish collaborations that will first benefit the nations involved and then taken onto a bigger platform and collaboration to benefit the Muslim world as a whole.”
He believed that while he may not be able to allay the suspicions and opposition raised against the summit, he was elated that the participants remained steadfast in using the platform to focus on seven pillars of discussion - development and sovereignty; integrity and good governance; culture and identity; justice and freedom; peace, security and defence; trade and investment; and technology and internet governance.
Despite the summit being apolitical and non-religious, Dr Mahathir said that such issues could not be avoided during the event as certain communities were now faced with persecution due to their religion or ethnicity.
“There is also concern that Muslims in non-Muslim countries are forced to undergo assimilation. We support integration, but assimilation to the extent of shedding our religion is unacceptable.”
Dr Mahathir also urged Muslims to acquire knowledge as it was the only hope in preventing them from continuously being bullied and mistreated by their enemies.
“We hope from this point onwards, our other Muslim brethren will see for themselves that what we intend to do is to unite the ummah on strategic and advanced technologies.”
Published in: The New Straits Times, Saturday 21 December 2019
KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit) 2019 can potentially take cooperation between Muslim nations to new heights, ultimately reviving the spirit of the Muslim world.
In his message to the participants on the event website, klsummit.my, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad highlights the challenges faced by Muslim nations.
Among them are abuse of power, corruption and being accused of becoming a breeding ground for terrorism.
Due to those reasons and others, Dr Mahathir said the most important task was to turn the decisions taken at the summit into reality.
“We proclaim that all Muslims are brothers and yet, our nations are involved in endless civil wars, sectarian wars, wars with our Muslim neighbours and inviting non-Muslim nations to assist us in our wars with fellow Muslims.
“For far too long we have been associated with bad governance, endemic corruption and a breeding place for terrorism,” wrote the prime minister, who is also the chairman of the summit.
The summit is scheduled to take place from Wednesday to Saturday.
Dr Mahathir also addressed the issue of terrorism.
“We can keep on shouting that such labels, especially being breeders of terrorism, as callous anti-Islam propaganda.
“We know that it is really true but our weakness and disunity have given credence to this propaganda.
“Such is the state of affairs among our nations that Muslims end up on the shores of nations governed by those from other faiths and our brethren’s fate rests solely on their mercy.
“It is against these backdrops that the KL Summit was hatched and it is earnest in wanting to contribute in the improvement of the state of affairs among Muslims and the Muslim nations.
“We have always reflected on how great, enriching and powerful the Islamic civilisation was. It is a chapter in history and we yearn for its return. It will remain a yearning unless we do something about it.
“The KL Summit, which gathers Muslim leaders, intellectuals and scholars, was conceived with the noble objectives of identifying the problems afflicting the Muslim world and finding solutions to them.
“But, no matter how many brilliant ideas the KL Summit hatches, without the support of leaders and governments of the Muslim nations, these ideas will remain ideas.
“It is my fervent hope that participants at this KL Summit will take this challenge of turning all our declarations and decisions into realities.”
Among the most recognisable Islamic leaders who are expected to attend the summit are Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Early indications are positive with more than 50 countries confirming their presence.
There will be 400 participants, half of them from abroad.
The event will give a chance not only to Muslim leaders but also intellectuals and scholars to discuss and exchange ideas. The aim is to produce new, creative and viable solutions to the problems facing Muslims.
The summit will focus on seven areas, or “pillars”, including development and sovereignty, integrity and good governance, culture and identity, justice and freedom, peace, security and defence, trade and investment and lastly, technology and Internet governance.
Published in: The New Straits Times, Monday 16 December 2019
At long last international arrest warrants may be headed the way of Myanmar’s top military and political leaders, including the country’s de facto prime minister, Aung San Suu Kyi, for crimes against Rohingya Muslims.
Neither the Nobel peace prize nor her Oxford PPE (politics, philosophy and economics) degree will be able to save the state counsellor if the Argentinian court, where the lawsuit was filed on Wednesday by human rights groups, has its way.
Argentina — whose law allows its court to exercise universal jurisdiction — has in the past heard cases involving Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and the Falun Gong movement in China. Earlier on Monday, Gambia filed a genocide case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.
Unlike the Argentinian case, the Gambian genocide case filed at ICJ is a novelty. At best, it might end up being a verdict on how badly the world is tackling genocide and other crimes against humanity.
Gambia and other Organisation of Islamic Cooperation countries that filed the case, citing the little-used 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, just want to pass the message to the world how miserably the United Nations and its courts — especially the International Criminal Court (ICC) — have failed humanity.
Take the case of the UN. The Rwandan genocide is a good place to start. There, in one estimate, between 800,000 and one million Tutsis and Hutus were killed under the watch of UN peacekeepers. It was an abject failure for the world body.But slow learning UN remains a slow learner.
Other genocides and crimes against humanity have come and gone. So have UN secretaries-general. But all we get is pontifications from the podium in New York.
To be fair, the secretary-general is manacled by the permanent five of the Security Council. So shackled, the UN is headed down the road of irrelevance.
So is the ICC. There are two reasons for this. One, the ICC does not do enough. Two, if it does, it goes after the meek and weak. Most of the ICC’s war criminals seem to come out of Africa. The atrocities committed by the permanent five appear not to be within the ICC’s ken.
Where the ICC failed, Malaysia has stepped in with its tribunals, finding the likes of United States’s George Bush and Britain’s Tony Blair guilty of genocide. This is a telling verdict on ICC’s let-down as an institution.
The US — and its allies — are happy to see the ICC fail. From Bill Clinton, who signed the Rome Treaty, through Bush, who unsigned it, to President Donald Trump, all have worked tirelessly to keep the ICC away from American war criminals.
Last year, when ICC judges moved to charge Americans who served in Afghanistan with war crimes, the then White House national security adviser John Bolton threatened them thus: we will sanction you if you come after us, Israel or our allies. Rule of law for the rest and rule of the jungle for the US and its allies. Bigotry never had a better clime.
Malaysia, Gambia and Argentina’s efforts may end up being a mere paper victory, but they do echo what Leon Uris wrote in his bestselling Exodus: international law is one which the evil ignore and the righteous refuse to enforce.
Published in: The New Straits Times, Saturday 16 November 2019
LETTERS: Joint declaration on Kashmir and Palestine for freedom and self determination
COGNIZANT of the fact that Kashmiris and Palestinians have had to endure more than 70 years of occupation, oppression and denial of human rights by the occupiers – India and Israel; and the close collaboration developing between them to the level of military cooperation,
And knowing well that this cooperation is also tied to their mutually shared extremist, militant ideologies of Hindutva and Zionism which in turn are geared towards the destruction of Kashmiri and Palestinian religion and culture
Fully aware that the UN has passed resolutions that affirm the status of both Kashmir and Palestine as occupied and disputed lands, hence the Kashmiri and Palestinian struggles against occupation are legitimate and supported by the international community as evidenced by the growing solidarity expressed from many countries and communities around the world
Reasserting the Kashmiri right to self-determination and the Palestinians’ right to their own state, despite the growing India-Israel alliance to continue occupying the territories where such occupations have been always extremely brutal and have brought untold suffering to the Kashmiris as it has to the Palestinians,
Demand that all Indian troops withdraw from Kashmir and return the territory to normalcy and reinstate Article 370; end the security lockdown and restore the right to free movement.
Condemn the savage response of the Indian state to the popular people's movement by using pellet guns, banned in other countries that has blinded and maimed hundreds, from a year-old child to the elderly, while the numbers of the dead and injured continue to rise on a daily basis.
Strongly demand that India immediately end the torture, rape, sexual violence, enforced disappearances, and extra-judicial killings in Kashmir.
Demand all political detainees including 13,000 youth be released immediately.
Salute and stand in solidarity with Kashmiris in their protest against the Indian state, and we fully recognize the political sovereignty and call for Azadi (freedom) for Kashmiris.
On Palestine, we:
Demand that the right of return for all Palestinians be rendered unconditionally and all Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails be released.
Demand that the Zionist settlements on all Palestinian lands be dismantled and the lands returned to the Palestinians as well as all destroyed properties compensated.
Insist that after decades of oppression under former Israeli leaders and now Benjamin Netanyahu, be held responsible and accountable for the destruction of Gaza, the oppression in the occupied West Bank , intrusions and violence on the Al Aqsa mosque and for the atrocities committed on the Palestinians.
Strongly resist and condemn the agenda to Judaize Baitul Maqdis and Masjid Al Aqsa by Zionist Israel, and we call upon all Muslim countries to unite to oppose this agenda. All Israeli troops in the Al Aqsa mosque compound and in East Jerusalem must be withdrawn immediately.
Denounce the Deal of the Century by the US as a peace deal for the Palestinians. There can be no compromise on the right of return for Palestinians.
Demand that East Jerusalem be declared the capital of a future Palestinian state and no foreign mission to the Israeli regime be established in Jerusalem as confirmed by UN resolutions.
Demand specifically, the siege on Gaza be immediately removed and the necessary resources including financial needs to rehabilitate and rebuild Gaza guaranteed.
Recommend that the UN Inquiry team firmly lay the charge of war crimes on Israel in line with the laws on human rights and crimes against humanity.
Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organization
Alliance of World Mosques In Defence of Al Aqsa
Secretariate for the Assembly of Ulama Asia
Palestine Cultural Organization of Malaysia
Malaysian Kashmir Youth Forum
Muslim Minority Affairs Center
Justice and Development Organization of Cambodia
Al Aqsa Working Group Indonesia
Council for Humanitarian Network Syekhul Islam Thailand
Oct 14, 2019
Published in: The New Straits Times, Thursday 24 October 2019
July 5, 2009 is a day that the Uighur Muslims would like to forget. On that fateful day, ethnic violence erupted between Uighurs and Han Chinese. The riot began as a result of the killing of two Uighurs following a brawl on the factory floors of far away Guangdong.
The Guardian of the United Kingdom said 196 people died in the violence, while Al Jazeera reported 200 deaths. The narrative was different then. Ten years on, the narrative continues to reflect different realities.
But since then, the noise around the world has grown louder, demanding the truth to be made known. It was not about what happened during the riots, but about what is being visited on Uighur Muslims following the riots.
There is a Chinese version. And there is the rest of the world’s version. Navigating the narratives is not easy.
On Saturday, the New Straits Times carried an Op-ed piece by human rights writer Nadia Zaifulizan calling for the record on China’s Uighur narrative to be set straight. We think this to be a just call.
Labelling the world’s version as fake news only complicates the matter. Things such as this cannot be branded away. Because Nadia’s wasn’t the only voice. The United Nations, Western governments and human rights groups are also adding their discontent to the plight of the Uighurs.
Christian Shepherd, writing on July 6 from Beijing for the FTWeekend, talked about Muslim families being “forcibly” separated. In the English newspaper’s account, about 1.5 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other mostly Muslim minorities are being held in re-education camps.
China explains this off by saying that it is an essential tool in fighting terrorism. But questions continue. If so, why place young children in de facto orphanages, is one such making the media rounds.
FTWeekend calls in aid a research conducted by Adrian Zenz of the European School of Culture and Theology and commissioned by the BBC to support its claim.
Islamophobia may have something to do with what is going on in Xinjiang. Islam is much misunderstood and maligned. Especially after Sept 11, 2001, a disaster that has divided the world into “them” and “us”.
Even after 1,440 years on and two billion Muslims later, Islam is, for some strange reason, viewed with fear. This is not the right way of seeing. The Russian communists had a similar jaundiced view.
Like Karl Marx came to say it, many today view religion — not only Islam — as the opium of the people. And the post-9/11 world has added its own complications.
Secularists, by some clever design, have forged religion and terror into an artificial wedlock. Like inseparable twins. This-world centred beings seek to find evidence of the twain, but finding none, invent one.
We may disagree on how we originated. Or even on how long we have been around on Earth. But we cannot disagree that we come in different shapes, sizes and hues. Because our eyes bear witness to our varied skin colours: yellow, brown, black and white and every other colour in between.
Granted, for convenience of rule and reign, we have carved up the planet into sovereign territories. But such divisions must accommodate, not exclude.
Published in: (NST Leader) New Straits Times, Tuesday 09 July 2019
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