October 16, 2003


Annan warns Muslim leaders against western hostilities (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 10/17/03)

[T]he Malaysian Prime Minister urged Muslim leaders to close ranks in the face of the US-led war on terror and what he said were threats from the state of Israel.

Dr Mahathir identified Jews as an "enemy" of Islam and declared Muslims could only defeat them through the use of brains as well as brawn.

The Malaysian leader was addressing the opening of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in the administrative capital Putrajaya, the largest gathering of Muslim leaders since September 11.

In his speech, Dr Mahathir said it was time for Muslims to exploit what he termed the increasing arrogance of the Jewish people.

He called on the Islamic world to produce arms and defend themselves.

His comments are consistent with the general theme of the summit, that Muslim states believe the US-led "war on terrorism" is in fact a war on Islam.

If the goal of Islam is to defeat the Jews then it is at war with the West.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 16, 2003 3:23 PM

Or if it isn't.

Muhathir is probably the craziest head of a state since Bokassa I. That he is becoming more and more a leader of Islamic political thought just demonstrates what a madhouse it is.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 16, 2003 3:34 PM

Brains? Brawn? Do they have either?

Posted by: J.H. at October 16, 2003 3:44 PM

If the goal of Islam is to defeat the Jews then it is at war with the West.

It's also at war with reality. Like the old joke about the Israeli sniper and the Arab armored division.

Posted by: Chris at October 16, 2003 4:38 PM

I'll bite. What's the joke?

Posted by: Matt C at October 16, 2003 5:00 PM

An Arab armored division is on maneuvers out in the desert, in front of large, rocky outcroppings. Suddenly, a sniper shot tags the general at the head of the division, right between the eyes. He goes down. The division recognizes an Israeli army uniform, and a colonel orders one of his men to go back behind the outcroppings and clean the sniper out.

Ten minutes pass, and the colonel takes a bullet to the head. A major stands up and orders two of his men to go take down the Israeli. They rush, guns drawn, to the outcropping.

Ten more minutes pass, and the major is now with Allah. A captain orders a squad of fifty men to rush the outcropping and kill the sniper.

Ten more minutes pass, and the captain goes down. A lieutenant orders the whole division to charge the outcropping. Just as the division comes about, one of the fifty who went behind the outcropping minutes before rushes toward them, clothes torn and bloodied, and yells in terror, "Stop! It's a trap!

"There are two of them!"

Posted by: Chris at October 16, 2003 5:12 PM


Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at October 16, 2003 5:19 PM

Ali: Me or Mahathir? (Why not both?)

Posted by: Chris at October 16, 2003 5:27 PM

Mahathir of course.

You haven't done anything particularly nutty. Yet.

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at October 16, 2003 6:00 PM

Huntington has some Mahathir quotes circa 1985, when he was deputy prime minister,that indicate that he has been a nutjob for a long time.

His ascent to not only the top job in Malaysia but as a sort of Islamic third-force poohbah (his status reminds me of Sukarno in the heyday of faux-anticolonialism) is one of the reasons I am pessimistic about an Islam that wants to live with the rest of us.

Anyplace can throw up kooks -- we Americans have Sen. Murray -- but when they keep rising in public esteem, that says something.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 16, 2003 7:27 PM

Given the likely population of Jews in Malasyia, Mahathir's rantings are (fortunately) unlikely to have much long-term effect on the population of that country as a whole. He might as well be foaming at the mouth about the danger the Eskimo population poses to his nation.

But in the case of terrorism, it only takes a handful of loons who believe stuff like this to try and follow through on it sometime in the future and stage an attack on what they perceive as "evil Jewish interests" connected either to Israel or the United States. Given the target demo for "Muslim terrorist" is basically "young Arab male" as far as the done-but-not-spoken-about prfiling of potential threats goes, terrorists who believe Mahathir's tripe and are from Southeast Asia would have a better chance of getting under the security radar for at least one big terrorist action.

Posted by: John at October 16, 2003 7:28 PM

As though this kind of thing were something new.

(Still, it hammers home for the umpteenth thousandth time just what a "just solution to the crisis in the middle east" is all about).

Posted by: Barry Meislin at October 17, 2003 4:22 AM