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Islam, Terrorism and Malaysia's Response

Islam is capable of coexisting with Judaism and Christianity if they are not oppressed. Indeed Islam is capable of coexisting with other religions too, including with those without any religion.

In Malaysia we have a truly incompatible mix of Hindus, Buddhists and Taoists, and Muslims, with a small Christian minority thrown in. Strictly speaking we cannot even sit at the same table to eat. Muslims violently object to pork, which the Chinese love, but Muslims love beef, which the Hindus do not eat. But we can and we do sit at the same table to eat because we are sensitive toward each other's sensitivities.

In Malaysia Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians live together, work together and play together. In 1969 there were so-called racial riots but the basic cause was economic rather than racial or religious. Once we reduce the economic disparities we were able to live in harmony with each other. Having a Muslim minority has not been a problem in Malaysia. Such is the harmony achieved by removing economic disparities that the recession, due to the financial crisis, failed to explode into religious or racial riots as happened in other countries.

Now there is an attempt by a small group of Muslim Malays to mount a violent struggle to take over the Government of the country. They are almost all young members of the opposition Pan Malaysia Islamic Party. These young people do not believe that democratic elections would ever bring their party to power so they can install their version of an Islamic country.

The majority of them are religious students who went to Pakistan ostensibly to study Islam. Instead they were taught that the Malaysian Government is not Islamic and it is their duty to overthrow it by violence. Trained by the Taliban and Osama's people they returned to Malaysia to carry out their revolution.

In Malaysia they killed a Christian State Assemblyman, tried to steal arms from a police station, robbed banks and exploded ineffectively a few bombs in odd places. But eventually they were tracked down and arrested.

We have dealt with the would-be Muslim terrorists with circumspection. The majority of the people of Malaysia, Muslims and non-Muslims, support the Government's action. We do not need foreign help or intervention. We are capable of dealing with any eventuality. The opposition Islamic Party knows this and they are unlikely to back violence. However if they break any of our laws, the fact that they are in the opposition will not prevent Government from enforcing the laws on them.