Malesia Islamic Body Calls Jews "Main Enemy" / Alisha Hassan

4 April 2012
KUALA LUMPUR: At this young cafe, most of the Malaysians give little credence to statements being made by the government’s official Islamic body. They argue it has little to do with reality and is an attempt to get support from the Islamic world as a whole.

“We know what they want to be,” said Marin, a 22-year-old university student in the capital. “And they want to be seen and heard, that’s all.”

But on March 30, the government’s official national sermon that was aired at mosques across the country called Jews the “main enemy.”

For Marin’s girlfriend, an Arab-Malaysian Yousra, told, “we all don’t like the Israelis and what they do to Palestinians, but most Malaysians understand the difference and we don’t think all Jews are the enemy.”

The sermon, prepared and distributed by the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department and delivered on March 30, said that “Muslims must understand Jews are the main enemy to Muslims as proven by their egotistical behavior and murders performed by them.”

It also called on community leaders to increase the awareness and understanding of the importance of Jerusalem, referring to it by its Arabic name, al-Quds.

“The honor of al-Quds and the al-Aksa mosque must be defended by all Muslims, as it is holy land that must be blessed,” the sermon said.

The sermon “makes a mockery of Malaysia’s Constitution, which promises that religions other than Islam may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement published by most Jewish news agencies.

“Further, it puts to the lie the repeated calls in international bodies by Malaysia’s prime minister, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib, for religions to forsake intimidation and violence. It threatens the few Jews in Malaysia and millions beyond its borders.”

The following day, an officially sanctioned state seminar, “Strengthening the Faith, the Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianity towards Muslims. What is the Role of Teachers?” was convened by the Johor Education Department and the Johor Mufti Department, which required 55 schools to send two religious teachers each to deal with the “threat” of Christians to Malaysian Muslims.

For Marin and Yousra, the reality is that across the Muslim world tension is high. And they say it is understandable.

“I think it is odd that these sermons are written about in mainstream media, but when you think of all the horrible things said about Muslims, or done to Muslims, it is shocking and just shows that there are double standards,” Marin told

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