Moderate Malaysia and Turkey
Israel - Middle East
Friday, May 01, 2015
Malaysia and Turkey are often touted by Islam's apologists as being model examples of moderate Muslim majority nations operating under a democratic process.
Malaysia is geographically distant from the cauldron of the Middle East and it usually flies under most peoples' radar. However, it isn't always the preferred country of many devout Christians. Its treatment of non-Muslim citizens has seen Christian migration to Australia. Not many people realize this.
I wouldn't have either had I not once worked for a Malaysian Christian expatriate. Regrettably, I wasn't interested in his problems and didn't pay him the attention or sympathy he deserved. It was only much later that I discovered a speech by a former Malaysian prime minister, delivered to an Islamic Summit.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad held office for twenty two years. He is the longest-serving Prime Minister, with his political career spanning almost forty years. One might suppose the opposition parties were either consistently weak or the man was always too good to pass up.
How would Americans tolerate a George W. Bush or a Barack H. Obama in office for twenty years? I can imagine the responses. And I'm sure there are many who'd like the latter in power for at least another term. But that's another topic.
Anyway, "moderate" Mahathir Mohamad once complained to other Muslim leaders (who apparently agreed) that:
"The Europeans killed six million Jews out of twelve million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them."
He didn't incite terrorist acts yet he didn't inspire tolerance for Jews either. He viewed them as the enemy which had to be countered:
"They invented and successfully promoted socialism, communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so they may enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power. We cannot fight them through brawn alone; we must use our brains also."
Mahathir Mohamad has come and gone. One might argue that he was a dinosaur and non-representative of other Muslim democratic leaders. What about Turkey - how does it measure up in its tolerance to Christians and Jews?
President Tayyip Erdogan previously served as Prime Minister for eleven years. He comes from an Islamist background, yet has claimed to be a conservative democrat. On the subject of a moderate Islamic Turkey he has been quoted saying that:
"It is unacceptable for us to agree with such a definition. Turkey has never been a country to represent such a concept. Moreover, Islam cannot be classified as moderate or not."
If Erdogan isn't comfortable with the concept of a "moderate or not" Turkey then what is he comfortable with? I wonder if his Turkey aligns itself with Mr. Obama's ideological vision of Islam. That would be a concern.
Erdogan has this in common with Mahathir Mohamad - he doesn't like Israel or Jews and has blamed them for his country's woes. We've also seen that churches in Turkey are on the verge of Extinction.
Now, as Gatestone Institute reports, Erdogan is pointing to a "Mastermind" which is targeting Turkey's "existence, unity, peace, economy and independence." In a 2014 speech he declared:
"As I have said before, behind all these there is a Mastermind, which has now become part of our national conversation. Some ask me, 'Who is this mastermind?' and I say, 'It is for you to research this. And you do know what it is, you know who it is."
Of course you've guessed who that "Mastermind" is, right? No, it's not Emperor Palpatine.
According to a recent Turkish documentary produced by a pro-Erdogan television news channel, that Mastermind is Israel. The documentary hearkens back to Erdogan's 2014 speech and elaborates on it:
"The Mastermind, whose roots go back thousands of years, who rules, burns, destroys, starves the world, creates wars, organizes revolutions and coups, establishes states within states – this 'intellect' is not only Turkey's curse, but the curse of the entire world....This is not myth but fact. And we have to look for the mastermind in Jerusalem where the sons of Israel live."
Gatestone Institute's Burak Bekdil suggests that this is a calculated move by Erdogan and his "smart politicians" to win votes from an "inherently anti-Semitic, religiously devout Muslim population."
He is right. "Moderate" Turkey has a long history of anti-Jewish sentiment which precedes the existence of the Jewish state of Israel. Erdogan is capitalizing on that fact.
There are observers who believe Erdogan may be the next Putin. Creating a fictional-mastermind enemy is a convenient way for his AKP government to secure more power.
Human Rights Watch’s Emma Sinclair-Webb notes the AKP's successful push of a series of laws which empower police and intelligence agencies to detain and monitor any citizen they choose. The Human Rights Watch has documented an increasing number of prosecutions of individuals for simply insulting Erdogan and government officials.
Erdogan is undoubtedly spurred on by what is occurring in the region. The Islamic Caliphate is on his doorstep, as well as a revitalized Iran seeking to extend its empire. Like Putin and the aforementioned regimes, Erdogan has leadership aspirations for Turkey.
So we have several competitive Islamic regimes jockeying for dominance in the Middle East. Each of these sees Israel (including Jews and Christians) as an enemy. Will one party finally win and unify the others to battle this common enemy?
Israel cannot simply sit back and wait without some kind of pre-emptive action. What sort of immediate ramifications would such a response foster? How would the rest of the world be react - especially Europe, Russia and America?
One can only speculate on the different possible scenarios. We do know a horrific storm is brewing.
But we Christians have also been told the ultimate End Game and of a coming Ruling King:
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war...And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING of kings and LORD of Lords. Rev 19:11-16.
About Alf Cengia
Last week: On Killing Christians
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