This letter was published in the New Straits Times today.
Malaysia has managed to escape the ravages to governance that has now struck a number of Muslim countries, most lately in what is being called the “Arab Spring“. The problems being face are related to the western plunder of earth resources, such as oil and natural gas that are vital to maintaining the vaunted western “style of life”.
The victors after World War One drew the borders of the modern world (sometimes on the backs of envelopes) in such a way that dissimilar racial or cultural groups would be forced to live together in countries they had no voice in creating.
In order to hold these disparate countries together, the victorious West (with special help from America’s CIA) imposed monarchies, oligarchies, and defective governing documents on these resource-rich countries in order to facilitate the subsequent “divide-and-conquer” hegemony that has perpetuated resource plunder even after the chimera of various revolutions of independence from former colonizing powers.
Some scholars have pointed out that the first “Arab Spring” was carefully engineered by the British (with “Lawrence of Arabia” in a starring role) a hundred years ago. By deposing the Ottoman Caliph Abdul Hamid in 1924, Saudi Arabia with its control of the Muslim holy cities (Mecca and Medina) would become a de facto player in the western game of secular nation-states, in spite of royal control.
Such was the British agenda in 1924, when the first “Arab Spring” was placed into effect. This western hegemony is now the greatest danger facing Muslims as the United Nations, NATO, George Soros, Anwar Ibrahim, and others, trumpet western democratization and liberal secular human rights as the only noble and hoped-for result of Muslim unrest.
The United Nations was the bulwark of the western bogus concept of “sovereignty” that has been strictly enforced by means of post-World War borders that could only be considered illegitimate by various Muslim communities. Muslims who were being forced to adopt western “multi-cultural pluralism” by those of their own people such as Anwar Ibrahim, who cannot see any other outcome to the 21st Century “Arab Spring”, end up supporting the trashing of the Muslim public order in favor of western democratization and individual freedoms.
Now, David Fromkin, a noted author, lawyer, and historian, best known for his historical account on the Middle East, A Peace to End All Peace (1989), in which he recounts the role European powers played between 1914 and 1922 in creating the modern Middle East – has delineated the “Arab Spring” dilemma in this classic account of the way Europe carved up the Middle East in the early 20th Century. He writes, “…the characteristic feature of the region’s politics… is that there is no sense of legitimacy – no agreement on rules of the game – and no belief universally shared in the region that, within whatever boundaries, the entities that call themselves countries or the men who claim to be rulers are entitled to recognition as such.”
An Egyptian diplomat has derided the rest of the countries in the Arab world as “tribes with flags”. The latest issue of Newsweek magazine (which is now going digital) warns that… “…the Middle East, howsoever, continues to flirt with the apocalypse. The revolutions, conflagrations, and confrontations now underway from the Sahara to the Hindu Kush are weakening national governments and calling into question borders that have lingered since European powers carved up the region after World War One.” Referring to another influential scholar and sociologist, the inevitable logic of Samuel Huntington’s “clash of cultures” leads to a re-structuring of the United Nations itself.
The United Nations, instead of defending-to-the-death those early 20th century borders, must accommodate peaceful border-change, rather than characterizing unhappy Muslims as terrorists or seditious criminals. However, the severity of the western addiction to oil can only produce an unwilling “cold turkey” (drug withdrawal) as the whole world tries to reclaim their resource rights and re-write their constitutions.
What the appropriate Muslim model of governance might be to chart a course other than fascism, terrorism, or secularism, is now being carefully considered by such a nascent opposition party to the Malaysian one-party monarchical democracy as it now stands. Clearly, any fair definition of cultural sovereignty is being severely tested by voices in Malaysia who bring western wealth and influence into the country in the name of democratization.
There is one and only one protection for the Muslim Ummah in Malaysia, which lies in the constitutional article most excoriated by foreign secular power as well as domestic minority fears. That article was written into the Malaysian Federal Constitution by majority vote of the Founding Fathers that Islam shall be the religion of the country, with other religions allowed to be practiced in peace and harmony.
That being the case, the absolute freedom of religion which permits apostasy, and other “rights” such as sexual and social deviance (popularly known as LGBT rights) now being projected into the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which really does not imply such tolerance for deviance if read according to the English usage extant at the time of its writing), cannot be supported by the Malaysian government, even under the secular pressure now being exercised by the United Nations Human Rights Council via its unique mechanism, in which Malaysia will undergo its second cycle review expected to take place at the 17th Session of the Universal Periodic Review in October this year.
This hyper-liberalized interpretation of the Universal Declaration must be resisted by all means available to Muslim countries, including resistance to domestic support now purporting to represent the Malaysian community’s political opposition.
How the Muslim world can wrest control of the addicting resources from the West, instead of knuckling under to the shrill cries for such unbridled freedoms as apostasy and same-sex marriage, remains to be seen.
Surely, the Muslims themselves must not raise any further hue- and-cry for globalization along the lines of “MacWorld”, or the Revelation and what it really stands for may be lost, and, as scholars are trying to warn us, the human experiment must surely be closed down.
AZRIL MOHD AMIN is vice president, Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Malaysia.