Marina Mahathir is a Malaysian social activist and writer. And you may recognize her last name: she is also the oldest daughter of a certain Malaysian former prime minister, the man who is in many ways responsible for the ongoing Islamization of Malaysia, Doctor Mahathir bin Mohamad. In case you forgot, he is infamous for his virulent brand of antisemitism and his remark as Malaysia’s prime minister during a 2003 Organization of the Islamic Conference meeting: that Jews “…run the world by proxy.” Marina has largely inherited his particular political outlook; she is always ready to utter any amount of cognitive dissonance in the service of Islam. From “Irrational Fears Abound”, by Marina Mahathir, The Star, 9 November 2011:
TEN years ago the world turned a decidedly nastier place for Muslims. Although Islamophobia already existed before Sept 11, the events that day ratcheted it up several notches. Suddenly Muslims in the United States and all over the world found themselves under intense scrutiny, much of it hostile.
What happened on September 11, 2001? Three thousand people, the vast majority of whom were non-Muslims, were murdered en masse, not by ‘Islamophobes’, but by Muslim jihadists in explicit accordance with Islamic teachings. And Marina has the typically Islamic chutzpah to proclaim Muslims are the real victims. It’s like a teenager murdering his own mother and father, and then petitioning the court for leniency during his murder trial because he’s an orphan.
Stereotypes abounded. Although Islam is a religion of peace, all Muslims were branded terrorists, undemocratic, violent, oppressors of women.
The only images seen in the media were of angry bearded men wielding weapons and shouting threats to the West. Only Muslim women covered head to toe in dour black, were seen. It did not help that some Muslims themselves provided fodder for these images.
Tales of aggression against Muslims abounded. Headscarves were pulled off, insults hurled and, at airports, anyone with the slightest tinge of an Arabic name was pulled out for special inspection. Some people suffered even more violence, resulting in injury and even death.
These ‘tales of aggression’ are precisely that—largely fictional tales, consisting almost entirely of disinformation and victimization fantasies. Documented cases of actual violence against Muslims in western countries by non-Muslims are exceedingly rare, while the copious amounts of legalized discrimination, official oppression, and documented violence directed against non-Muslims by Muslims (especially in Muslim-ruled lands like Malaysia) are almost always conveniently ignored by Muslim apologists like Marina Mahathir.
Fear ruled and with it came prejudice and discrimination, much of it fuelled by the media. Most of it stemmed from ignorance about the world of Islam, which is not only large but also diverse.
This diversity does not at all mean that there is no agreement in the Islamic world on the eventual objective for Islam to implement sharia around the globe, and the use of Jihad, violent or otherwise, as a legitimate means towards this goal.
A Muslim in the Middle East is culturally different from a Muslim in Asia, but that was not appreciated in much of the West. Indeed Middle Eastern Muslims comprise only 15% of the entire Muslim world. Furthermore there are many Western Muslims who look and act no different from their fellow citizens.
Meanwhile, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq only angered Muslims, who then reacted in ways that ingrained the stereotypes about them.
See, all that terrorism committed by Muslims is really the fault of their victims. Are Muslims ever responsible for any acts of violence, Marina?
The early post-Sept 11 Islamophobic madness only lessened when much better information and knowledge about Islam and Muslims became available. This took two forms.
One, many Muslims took it upon themselves to educate non-Muslims about Islam, and in particular reached out to other faith communities to talk about their commonalities, rather than differences.
And two, thousands of students flocked to universities to learn more about Islam. Both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars of Islam did much to teach students about the real religion, rather than the one perpetuated by the media.
Ten years later, although it cannot be said that Islamophobia has disappeared, Western perspectives on Islam have become more measured and based on better knowledge. One of the biggest boosts to the image of Islam and Muslims has been the Arab Spring.
Suddenly the images of Muslims were young, modern, and protesting not about the West but about their own corrupt leaders. Although they did not explicitly talk about religion, in 2011 the Middle East became associated with the yearning for freedom and democracy, one not too different from what developed countries enjoyed.
Women were seen at the forefront of the revolution, both head-scarved and not, and changed the image of the oppressed Muslim woman.
We know that the ‘Arab Spring’ has been, at the very least, vastly oversold by the very same Western media that Marina happily bashes. This so-called ‘spring’, rather than being the birth of Jeffersonian freedoms, is proving to be a season for old tyrants to be replaced, sometimes violently, by more 'Islamist', sharia-compliant ones.
As for the oppression of Muslim women, who is oppressing them, and why? Would that have anything to do with Islamic scripture that devalues women, renders them effectively as minors and forever places men as their superiors? Or is this oppression yet again somehow the fault of the infidels? Don’t hold your collective breath waiting for Ms. Marina to answer that.
It just goes to show that prejudice and discrimination, both rooted in fear of the unknown, can always be dispelled with better knowledge, at least in those willing to learn. There are of course many who simply refuse to open their hearts and minds to such enlightenment, but progress has been made in incremental steps.
It is also clear that very often those who steadfastly refuse to eliminate their prejudices do so because they think it is politically profitable to them. The loudest Islamophobes always seem to be politicians trying to win the populist vote. And the only way they maintain those votes is by keeping people ignorant. Hence, their refusal to engage at all with Muslims.
See, it is the fault of infidels for refusing to bend over backwards to accommodate (i.e. ‘engage’) the Muslims.
Every phobia about groups of people who are different from us works in the same way. They rely on stereotypes and on the fear that allowing these minority people the same basic rights as others would mean that they would demand more.
Thus, although no Muslim ever asked for it, some people in the US insist that there are plans to impose syariah law there. The media stokes the hysteria and stigmatisation. Unjust accusations and calls for depriving them of citizenship becomes the norm.
The way Marina writes, you might think ‘syariah’ (sharia) law is something bad that might cause harm to Americans. Why would she suggest that—is she herself an Islamophobe? Regardless, the historical record does not lie—Muslims everywhere always move to implement Sharia law, or parts thereof, as soon as their numbers and influence in a given jurisdiction make it politically feasible to do so. Are Muslims in the US going to be any different? Plainly, as even a cursory examination of the facts reveals, the answer is almost certainly 'no'.
Although those baying for blood are small in number, they still make innocent people suffer. People who have never harmed anyone else suffer distrust and hostility from their former neighbours. Violence against them is justified, sometimes with religious backing. The entire atmosphere is poisoned by hate.
Muslims never hate anyone, it seems—only ‘Islamophobes’ spread ‘hate’ by reporting on the actions of Muslims and the ideology that they follow.
This past week, where some people seem to be proudly picking on the powerless, has reminded me of that Islamophobic hysteria. I fear for our country and where we are heading.
Where is Malaysia heading? The truth is likely not to unduly worry the likes of Marina Mahathir or her father, but Malaysia’s future, in short, is more Muslims and more sharia. In other words, Malaysia’s future is firmly in the hands of not ‘Islamophobes’, but of Islamic supremacists.