Lee Kuan Yew (newshub)
Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew notes that while radical Muslims operate in terror groups worldwide, “at the moment, the moderate Muslims are keeping out of sight.” From The Star, with thanks to Nicolei:
IN an interview with the BBC’s East Asia Today programme, broadcast last night, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew addressed the issue of terrorism and spoke on the role of moderates within the Muslim community.
Speaking of his hopes and fears of the struggle to come, he said that if it becomes a clash or fight against Muslims, then, as he put it, “it’s a very stupid way to conduct this battle”.
“The problems are caused by an errant heretical group that wants to use the Muslim religion to turn it into a jihad, or a holy struggle, against the West,” Lee said during the interview, which took place at the Istana last Wednesday.
“Their objectives, well if you read Osama bin Laden – I don’t read him in the Arabic but I’ve read interpretations of what specialists think … of what he means by what he’s said – it’s really to get the Americans and the West out of the Middle East, control the oil and control the world.
“But the crux of the battle really, the core battle, is between moderate and extreme Muslims.
“At the moment, the moderate Muslims are keeping out of sight.”
So it has been the extreme Muslims against the Americans, the Israelis and the West, and all those who support the Americans, including Singapore, said Lee.
“But if Madrid, 9/11, Bali and so on keep going on and the moderates in the Muslim world keep silent, either condone or duck the issue, then there is a danger that the West may begin to feel, that really, there are no champions to counter these terrorists,” he said, referring to recent and previous acts of terrorism.
“That would become a very dangerous problem.”
Asked by the interviewer if he were to mean it was the moderates in the Islamic world, rather than the war against terror, that were exacerbating the situation, Lee replied “no”.
He explained it thus: “I am saying that moderates in the Muslim world, by not being able to take a stand and take the lead and start the argument with the extremists in the mosques, in the madrasah, they are ducking the issue and allowing the extremists to hijack, not just Islam, but the whole of the Muslim community.”
Indeed, moderate Muslims have yet to demonstrate to their fellow Muslims that the radicals have not “highjacked” the religion.
As for whether Lee thought the war against terror could widen the gulf between Islam and the West, he acknowledged there was that danger.
However, it was not necessarily inevitable – provided the Muslim moderates take a stand, he added.
Lee said: “Let’s take 9/11 or Madrid. If nobody except Europeans and Americans and those who are already committed condemn this – I mean if all Muslim countries stay silent, or Muslim groups stay silent – then there is the danger that the Europeans and Americans may come to the conclusion, ‘Look, there’s really nobody on the other side, that’s standing up against this evil.’
“I think that would be bad. I believe the vast majority have no interest in this terrorism. It is not going to win them the battle and they must know it.
“The question is: Who makes a stand? President Mubarak of Egypt, King Abdullah of Jordan, President Bouteflika of Algeria, President Musharraf of Pakistan?
The whole world is waiting for the appearance of this moderate Islam.