Good governance key to tackling Islamophobia, says Dr M

Radzi Razak
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a forum on Islamophobia in Kuala Lumpur November 11, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has suggested today for Muslim-majority countries to focus on good governance as a way to tackle religious terrorism and, in turn, Islamophobia.

He said although he understands that the acts of terrorism are caused by some frustrated Muslims and groups partly as a reaction to the formation of Israel, the act must be condemned and curbed by the countries.

“So what? You go and bomb yourself at the market and kill 80 people? How do Muslims progress after killing 80 people? Do you liberate Palestine? No. Do Muslims get stronger? No,” he said in a colloquium on “Demystifying Islamophobia” here.

“For 70 years we've been doing all these things, we get nothing. We do not actually make any progress. On the other hand, if we concentrate on good governance of our people; on not arresting people, but giving them fair treatment or the rights to overcome their poverty, all these things will make us strong.

“So the solution to Islamophobia is to forget about these terrible acts of terror,” he told the event held by the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim).

Dr Mahathir, a vocal critic of Israel, said such acts of terrorism are responsible for the rise of Islamophobia — a term which he claimed was coined by “enemies of Islam”.

He also asserted that suicide bombings in the name of Palestine and Islam is against Quranic teachings, saying the Muslim holy book asks adherents to instead seek knowledge and make allies.

“Not all Americans and Europeans supported Israel and some of them are sympathetic towards the Palestinian people. Unfortunately many people who went to support and help Palestinians have been killed by the Muslims.

“We need help and sympathy from the world to help Palestine and not kill them so then Israel can claim that Muslims are terrorists,” he said.

Dr Mahathir then added that Muslim countries should revisit history and learn what made ancient Islamic empires great, as many Muslim-majority countries have regressed since then.

“We need good governance. There is nothing like good governance to contribute in the development of a country.

“Muslim countries are rich. However, many migrate to other countries and we lose out because of the brain drain from Muslim countries to non-Muslim countries,” he said.

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