Bibles with ‘Allah’ are Confiscated

 http://www.latimes. com/news/ nationworld/ world/la- fg-briefs30- 2009oct30, 0,7232083. story

 
October 30, 2009
 
MALAYSIA

Bibles with ‘Allah’ are confiscated

Malaysian authorities have confiscated more than 15,000 Bibles because they referred to “God” as “Allah,” a translation that has been banned in this Muslim-majority country, Christian church officials said.

The Rev. Hermen Shastri, general secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, said authorities seized a consignment of 10,000 copies sent from Jakarta, Indonesia, to Kuching, in Sarawak state, on Sept. 11 because the Indonesian-language Bibles contained the word “Allah.”

An additional 5,100 Bibles, also imported from Indonesia, were seized in March, said an official from the Bible Society of Malaysia.

A Home Ministry official said he was not aware of the seizures.

Church officials say “Allah” is not exclusive to Islam but is an Arabic word that predates Islam.

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Attack on Gaza:As Usual, U.S. Media (And Most Liberals) Silent –As Israeli Newspaper Raises Doubts

Attack on Gaza:
As Usual, U.S. Media (And Most Liberals) Silent —
As Israeli Newspaper Raises Doubts

By Greg Mitchell
December 30, 2008
http://www.opednews .com/populum/ print_friendly. php?ok=y& p=Attack- on-Gaza-As- Usual–by- Greg-Mitchell- 081230-602. html

In the usual process, the U.S. government, media here — and many of the leading liberal bloggers — are silent or playing down questions about whether Israel overreacted in its massive air strikes on Gaza, while the foreign press, and even Haaretz in Israel, carries more balanced accounts.

Anyone who cares should consult the respected Haaretz site often, if for no other reason than to learn that criticism of Israeli military actions are usually more heated inside that country than in the USA. The New York Times, for example, as of today (Monday), has not yet editorialized on the air assault. You may recall the lockstep support in the U.S. for Israeli’s invasion of southern Lebanon, which included the use of U.S.-made cluster bombs. That invasion turned out to be a genuine fiasco.

One Sunday analysis at Haaretz: “A million and a half human beings, most of them downcast and desperate refugees, live in the conditions of a giant jail, fertile ground for another round of bloodletting. The fact that Hamas may have gone too far with its rockets is not the justification of the Israeli policy for the past few decades, for which it justly merits an Iraqi shoe to the face.”

Another opinion piece in Haaretz — titled, “Neighborhood Bully Strikes Again” — by Gideon Levy: “Israel embarked yesterday on yet another unnecessary, ill-fated war. On July 16, 2006, four days after the start of the Second Lebanon War, I wrote: ‘Every neighborhood has one, a loud-mouthed bully who shouldn’t be provoked into anger… Not that the bully’s not right – someone did harm him. But the reaction, what a reaction!’ Two and a half years later, these words repeat themselves, to our horror, with chilling precision. Within the span of a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, the IDF sowed death and destruction on a scale that the Qassam rockets never approached in all their years, and Operation ‘Cast Lead’ is only in its infancy.”

Also from Haaretz, Zvi Barel writes: “Six months ago Israel asked and received a cease-fire from Hamas. It unilaterally violated it when it blew up a tunnel, while still asking Egypt to get the Islamic group to hold its fire.” Yet the U.S. media refers that only Hamas violated the ceasefire.

Another columnist there, Yossi Sarid, writes: “I can only hope that this time, for a change, we will know when to stop. This war must be described from the get-go as a war ‘to be on the safe side,’ rather than of necessity, and it is still unclear whether the last missile fired will be fired by us or by them.”

Amira Hass, the paper’s correspondent in Gaza, reports: “There are many corpses and wounded, every moment another casualty is added to the list of the dead, and there is no more room in the morgue. Relatives search among the bodies and the wounded in order to bring the dead quickly to burial. A mother whose three school-age children were killed, and are piled one on top of the other in the morgue, screams and then cries, screams again and then is silent.”

From the lead Haaretz editorial: “[T]he inherent desire for retribution does not necessarily have to blind us to the view from the day after….Israel’ s violation of the lull in November expedited the deterioration that gave birth to the war of yesterday. But even if this continues for many days and even weeks, it will end in an agreement, or at least an understanding similar to that reached last June.”

UPDATE: A McClatchy dispatch quotes Daniel Levy, a political analyst in Israel who once served as an adviser to Ehud Barak, who is leading the military campaign against Hamas: “I don’t see how this ends well, even if, in two weeks time, it looks like it ends well.”

Haaretz has just posted this from another columnist, Tom Segev: “[T]he assault on Gaza does not first and foremost demand moral condemnation – it demands a few historical reminders. Both the justification given for it and the chosen targets are a replay of the same basic assumptions that have proven wrong time after time. Yet Israel still pulls them out of its hat again and again, in one war after another.”

And this from another columnist, Akiva Eldar: “The tremendous population density in the Gaza Strip does not allow a “surgical operation” over an extended period that would minimize damage to civilian populations. The difficult images from the Strip will soon replace those of the damage inflicted by Qassam rockets in the western Negev. The scale of losses, which works in ‘favor’ of the Palestinians, will return Israel to the role of Goliath.”

The Monday editorial from the paper declares: “The current Israel Defense Forces operation in Gaza began with air strikes. In its first two days, there have been no reports of ground troops entering the Strip. But appetite is liable to overcome common sense and this tendency must be fought. Israel must adhere to the outline of Operation Cast Lead thus far, eschewing any major invasion that will end in occupation, a military administration and months (if not years) of fighting the local forces who will inevitably oppose the occupiers.”

The New York Times late Sunday reported, “At Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, women wailed as they searched for relatives among bodies that lay strewn on the hospital floor. One doctor said that given the dearth of facilities, not much could be done for the seriously wounded, and that it was ‘better to be brought in dead.'”

The Washington Post’s update: “By late Sunday night, the toll had reached 290 dead and as many as 1,300 wounded, Moawia Hassanain, a senior Palestinian Health Ministry official, said in an interview. The fatalities included 22 children younger than 16; more than 235 children were wounded, he said.”

———— ——— ——–

Featured
Barack Obama: “America’s First Jewish President”

By James Petras. Axis of Logic
Dec 13, 2008, 08:52
http://axisoflogic. com/artman/ publish/article_ 29031.shtml

“Obama asks Shimon Peres: “What can I do for Israel?”
– Haaretz November 17, 2008

“The UN Special Rappateur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories (Richard Falk) has said Israel’s policies there amount to a crime against humanity…He said the UN must act to protect the Palestinian population suffering what he called ‘collective punishment’…He said the International Criminal Court should also investigate whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law”

– BBC News  December 10, 2008

“We need to ratchet up tough but direct diplomacy with Iran, making very clear to them that their development of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable, that their funding of terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah, their threats against Israel are contrary to everything we believe in…We may have to tighten up those sanctions…and give them a clear choice…whether they want to do this the hard way or the easy way.”

President-Elect Obama on
NBC Meet the Press
December 7, 2008

Introduction

According to a nationally prominent Zionist spokesperson, former Congressman, Federal Judge, White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton and early backer of Obama, Abner Mikvner, “Barack Obama is the first Jewish President”.  Mikvner’s affirmation reflects both

Obama’s one-sided and longstanding commitment to the State of Israel and

loyalty to the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) in the United States, as well as

the long-term and successful effort of a network of financially and politically powerful Jewish Zionists to ‘embed’ Obama to their ‘Israel First’ political apparatus.

What is striking about the latter is the demeaning and arrogant claims made by some leading Jewish Zionist about their ‘central roles’ in the making of Obama’s professional and political careers – in effect denying the President-Elect any credit for his own academic or professional success.  (Historically this has been mirrored in the continuous claims of some American Jews to have fought and won the battle of Civil Rights in the 60’s on behalf of African Americans – essentially denying black Americans any independent political role in their own struggle.)  Even their personal flattery about his ‘wisdom’, ‘brilliance’ and ‘intellectual acuity’ is always linked with his unconditional support of the State of Israel.  One can envision how quickly his Zionist colleagues would replace their plaudits with crude insults regarding his intelligence if he suggested Israel end its starvation blockade of Gaza…  Needless to say the
Zionists know their man, as they confidently proclaim, he is a cautious and prudent politician, who measures power before he speaks, especially as he has filled the White House, economic councils and security apparatus with Zionist zealots.

The Making and Re-Making of Obama

The Chicago Jewish News, a nationally prominent Israel-First propaganda organ, published a lengthy article on ‘Obama and the Jews’ by Pauline Dubkin (October 24, 2008), which quotes approvingly a ‘long-time Jewish observer of the political scene’, who declared that, “Jews made him (Obama). Wherever you look there is a Jewish presence.”

This is not merely the usual arrogant self-aggrandizing boasts of a Zionist power broker, with which we are constantly bombarded on so many political topics, this reflects an important part of what Obama has become, especially in advancing his latter day political ambitions.  The Zionist self-promoters (ZSP), ever ready to take credit for any success (no matter how notorious and immoral) –

Wall Street speculators,

Ivy League professors,

Pentagon militarists,

cultural gurus, and

even the key patrons of art
forms like jazz and constantly rewrite history (or biography in the case of Obama) to maximize their self-importance in all aspects of American life.

The ZSP conveniently fail to mention in their articles that Obama’s white Gentile grandmother gave him the intellectual nurturing and encouragement and diligently petitioned for scholarships for him to attend elite private schools, which formed the basis for his intellectual skills to write, speak and reason as an educated man.  The ZSP exclude from their ‘revisionist and Judaized’ biography of Obama, the central importance of Reverend Jeremiah Wright who transformed Obama from an elite Ivy university graduate into an effective social activist.  Obama was able to participate and get involved in community organizing in Chicago’s African-American neighborhoods because of Wright’s endorsement and broad credibility.  If it were not for Rev. Wright, Obama would never have had a social base or organizational experience to engage in Chicago politics.  It is only after Obama had gained these skills and popular appeal that the Zionist politicos
noticed him and went to work on his ego and ambitions, recruiting him to their pro-Israel agenda and financing his political career.

The Zionist re-write of his biography has gone curiously unchallenged by Obama.  To suit his new mentors, the Israel-First ideologues and financial backers, he has willfully discarded and insulted his former mentors, as well as any current policy advisers and political colleagues who doesn’t adhere to the Zionist line of unconditional support for Israel.  Two cases come immediately to mind.  When leading Zionist ideologues objected to the presence of Zbigniew Brzezinski and Robert Malley, among Obama’s foreign policy advisors, the Zionists in Obama’s inner circle immediately marginalized them with his approval.  When the notorious torture-promoting Zionofascist Harvard Law Professor, Alan Dershowitz raised a howl about former US President Jimmy Carter (a principled critic of Israel’s apartheid policies) speaking at the Democratic Party Convention (following a century-long political tradition of honoring former presidents) the Zionist
operatives blatantly humiliated the elderly Carter by denying him even a five-minute speech – with Obama’s approval.  ‘Professor’ Dershowitz publicly crowed about his success and power over the Democratic nominee Obama in censoring the former President.

The conversion and promotion of Obama as an Israel-Firster is an excellent case study of the methods the ZPC has used to build a near invincible power base in the US political system.  The construction of the ZPC is not the result of a cabal with a preplanned centrally controlled operation.  Obama’s conversion began through

an ideologically diverse,

individual, family and community-based effort.

As Obama rose from local to national political office, Zionist promotion evolved from local into a nationally organized and concerted effort including campaign funding, business career appointments and paid propaganda and indoctrination junkets to Israel.

The ZPC offers positive inducements for the ‘recruitable’ and threats of retaliation and intimidation via media slanders and systematic public pillory through most Jewish communal organizations for the public political critics of Israel who remain recalcitrant and refuse to toe the Israel-First line.

Turning Obama into an Israel-Firster, according to the Chicago Jewish News article, began during his studies at Harvard Law School where he was ‘spotted’ by a Zionist professor, Martha Minow, as “smart, promising, and politically ambitious” and a likely recruit.  The professor proudly recounts how she contacted family members, including her father, a major Democratic powerbroker, and fellow Zionists who ran a law firm in Chicago and recommended they hire the Obama.  In brief, the first step in Zionist recruitment was using a prestigious academic post for initial contact, followed by a promise of career advancement through a professional network.

The next step was to introduce Obama to an association of ‘friends and neighbors’ in the Jewish Community including prominent Zionist financial supporters.  Obama’s early promoters played a key role in convincing him that his political future depended on Zionist allies and that support depended on his total commitment to an Israel-First agenda.  As Obama’s ties with his Zionist-liberal backers in the Democratic Party thickened, his links to black community organizing and his pastor and former mentor, the progressive African-American minister, Reverend Jeremiah Wright weakened.

By the end of the 1990’s, Obama was firmly embedded in the liberal Zionist Democratic Party network and through it he teamed up with two key Zionist figures who were crucial to his presidential campaign:  David Axelrod, Obama’s chief political strategist since 2002 and the chief architect and tactician of his presidential campaign in 2008 and Bettylu Salzman, daughter of Phillip Klutznick, a billionaire real estate developer, slumlord and zealous Israel-Firster.  Salzman/Klutznick admits she never would have bankrolled and promoted Obama simply because of ‘his smarts’ or liberal politics if he hadn’t pledged his commitment to Israel’s interests.  She states,
“Obviously I’m not going to support someone who is opposed to Israel and what it stands for.  He’s right on all the issues when it comes to Israel.  He is in exactly the same place (Hillary) Clinton is, maybe stronger.  He’s a clearer thinker.” (Chicago Jewish News, October 24, 2008)

While Obama served in the Illinois Senate, he shared an office with an Orthodox Jew and fanatical Israel-Firster, Ira Silverstein, who boasts of his role in ‘educating’ Obama about Jewish Orthodoxy and more important “shared pro-Israel feelings” to the point that … “When Silverstein sponsored numerous resolutions condemning PLO bombings Obama eagerly signed on as a co-sponsor.” (ibid)

Fully embedded in the Zionist Power Configuration of Chicago, Obama was advised by the Axelrods, Klutznicks and other key strategists to make the obligatory ritual pilgrimage to Israel and pay obeisance to its leaders in the course of his Senate campaign.  During his trip to Israel, two years later in 2006, Obama was accompanied and guided by the executive vice-president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Under Zionist guidance, Obama ‘connected’ with the Israeli state, totally ignoring the plight of the Palestinians who were being savagely repressed by the Israel Army and assaulted on a daily basis by Zion-Fascist settlers.  Obama returned a thoroughly committed Zionist African-American politician.

With the Israeli-ZPC certificate of approval, Obama’s financial base of support widened to include some of the wealthiest pro-Israel Jewish Americans in the Midwest including Lester Crown, whose son, James Crown headed Obama’s financial campaign in Illanois.  According to Crown (pater),
“From the time I met him, the times we talked about Israel and we talked about it several times, he has been an ardent backer of Israel’s defense position (sic), Israel’s security position.” (Ibid)

To those Zionfascists who demand that Israel annex all of Palestine and expel ‘the Arabs’ and were disturbed by Obama’s passing reference to a two-state solution, Crown assured them that Obama’s proposal was couched in such outrageously impossible demands for concessions from the Palestinians that it was a dead letter.

Not all Jews accept this view of a Zionist-embedded Obama: Some racists reject him as an untrustworthy and unqualified ‘Schvartze’ because of his ‘very close intimate relationship’ with Reverent Jeremiah Wright.  The Zionist-influenced mass media took their cue from the far-right and orchestrated a hate campaign against Reverend Wright and his links to Obama. The ‘liberal Zionists’, who strategized and ran Obama’s presidential campaign, easily convinced Obama to publicly dissociate himself from his former minister and mentor of the 1980’s.  Obama complied.  However, the alliance of the Republican Right and Zionfascists demanded Obama make a public denunciation of the Minister. The liberal Zionists prepared the script, which Obama recited, issuing a vicious condemnation of Rev. Wright and specifically listed Wright’s defense of the sovereignty and self-determination of the Palestinians as one of his ‘crimes’.

Obama had crossed the River Jordan. His capitulation to the Zionofascists was the inevitable consequence of his intimate and longstanding ties to his liberal-Zionist backers.

The public purging and scourging of a renowned African-American Christian theologian of the oppressed was only the beginning of the Zionist makeover of Obama as the first Jewish (or better Zionist) President of the United States.  It was followed by further purges of any ‘centrist’ or ‘realist’ establishment adviser, who might at any time in the past have issued the mildest criticism of Israel’s policies or even praised or associated with any other critic of Israel or the Jewish Lobby in the US.  It was ‘guilt by association’.

The Zionofascists soon pressed their campaign to force Obama’s liberal-Zionists to purge Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Cold Warrior National Security Adviser to former President Jimmy Carter, Samantha Power, author and lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and Robert Malley, a former Clinton adviser for their perceived crimes against Zionism.

Brzezinski was accused of advocating what he called “an even-handed Middle East policy”, something clearly ‘anti-Semitic’ in the eyes of the unconditional supporters of Israel who dominate the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations (PMAJO). Worse still he praised the Walt-Mearsheimer book critical of the Israel Lobby, a capital offense in the eyes of most of the Jewish political spectrum.  Power and Malley also transgressed the Israel-First line.  Although Brzezinski later recanted his praise of Professors Walt and Mearsheimers’ study, he and the other members of the ‘objectionable three’ foreign policy specialists were marginalized and excluded from having any input on policy issues related to Middle East.

Control of Obama’s Middle East policy was taken over by Dennis Ross, a virulent Zionist advocate of Israel’s ultra-militaristic policies, including an armed preemptive attack on Iranian nuclear and military installations.  Ross is an unconditional supporter of the Israeli starvation siege of the 1.5 million residents of the Gaza Strip and fully backed Israel’s savage air attacks against civilian targets in Lebanon.  Obama’s appointment of Ross is the clearest guarantee to all Zionists, liberal, orthodox or fascist, that US policy in the Middle East will continue to be subordinated to the interests of the Israeli State and its military.

Obama’s purge of any and all moderate voices on Middle East policy, his placement of fanatical Israel-Firsters in most key positions in his campaign and new Administration reflects his long-term, deep immersion into the Zionist Power Configuration.  The result is a “Jewish President” – in the sense that most key White House, economic and security appointments reflect pre-election Zionist power in the making, indoctrination and scripting of the Obama candidacy.

The Configuration of the ‘Jewish President’

One of Obama’s longest supporters, Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf, provides a clue to Obama’s affinity for Zionist appointments.  According to Rabbi Wolf,  “Obama is embedded in the Jewish world.”  While the Rabbi is presumptuous to assume that all Jews subscribe to his own Israel-First views, he is absolutely correct if he is referring to the Jewish-Zionist world.

Nothing better explains Obama’s selection of demonstrably failed economists and security officials than his long-term, large-scale links to the ZPC.

Obama started with the appointments of dual US-Israeli citizen, Illinois Congressman Rahm Emmanuel and Zionist David Axelrod to top White House posts, as well as Lawrence Summers (long-time Harvard ally of the Judeo-fascist, torture advocate Alan Dershowitz) as chief White House economic adviser.  Summers is a life-time Israel-Firster, who used his presidency at Harvard University as a bully pulpit to attack a student-faculty group critical of Israeli policies in the Occupied Terrtories.  As the former Treasury Secretary under the Clinton regime he was a key architect of the speculator-dominate d financial system, which is currently in total collapse.  In line with the ‘Jewish Presidency’, Obama named one of the foremost, unconditional Israel-Firsters to be his key Middle East policymaker – Dennis Ross, a leading Zionist ideologue and co-author of a presidential position paper advocating pre-emptive war with Iran.  Ross is the pivotal Zionist
figure in Obama’s entourage and his appointment is the guarantee for the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations (PMAJO) that the Obama regime will follow and support with American guns and American tax-payer money every Israeli war crime, assault or invasion on its Arab and Parsi-speaking regional neighbors.

Ross, Axelrod, Summers, Emmanuel and their craven followers in Congress together with the AIPAC and the entire Zionist community-based network will ensure that Obama is inextricably ‘embedded’ in their agenda.  They will not allow the publication or support of any intelligence investigation, judicial inquiry or United Nations report, which challenges Israel’s occupation of Palestine and promotion of pre-emptive war with Iran based on the fabrication of data about its so-called nuclear threat.  Each and every recently appointed Zionists has condemned the United Nations and International Atomic Agency reports refuting Israel’s phony claims of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.   They will make sure that newly appointed National Security Adviser, General James Jones will never bring up or make public his highly critical internal report based his on-site investigation of Israel’s crimes against the civilian Palestinian population in the
Occupied Territories.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates are so deeply ‘embedded’ in the Zionist network and so deeply infused with the Israel-First ideology that ZPC ‘pressure’ will not be necessary.  The three are, in effect, Zionized Zombies, eager to fawn and truckle, even to grotesque excesses, at every wink and gesture, signaling military handouts, UN vetoes and repeated provocative acts of war against Iran.  They have even exceeded President Bush in their eagerness to please their Zionist mentors by recognizing Jerusalem as the ‘undivided’ capital of the Jews – effectively denying the rights of the Palestinian residents.

Nothing speaks to the dominance of the ZPC over US political life – domestic and foreign – than the election of their meticulously groomed first ‘Jewish President’ – and the subsequent takeover of strategic economic and security posts in his administration.

Conclusion

The ascent of a minority of ambitious power-driven political operatives acting first and
foremost for a militarist colonial power in a strategic region of the world economy represents the biggest threat to world peace and to US democratic values in recent history.

Think about it: Not only do the Zionists and their embedded clones rule the White House, they also have the political apparatus (left, liberal, center and right) to silence, insult, witch hunt and isolate any critic of their agenda, their organizations and of the State of Israel.  When confronted by a critic the entire apparatus brays in unison about ‘anti-Semitism’ and follows up with severe civil sanctions.  As Obama’s career under his Zionist handlers illustrates, they are capable of hurling repulsive denunciations against his former African-American mentor and spiritual councilor, Reverend Wright; capable of publicly humiliating and pushing aside a former President and Obama supporter, Jimmy Carter; capable of isolating and ‘sanitizing’ former top foreign policymakers from earlier Democratic Administration like Brzezinski, simply for pointing out Israeli crimes against humanity (although such observations are made daily in the European
press and political circles).

The apparatus combines the carrot (embedding and promoting Obama) and the stick (stigmatizing Carter):  It all depends on whether an individual, politician, academic, writer or journalist is ‘useful’ (i.e. an unconditional supporter) or ‘harmful’ (i.e. critical) to the State of Israel.

The Obama experience illustrates how a small, close knit, well-organized and well financed minority operating through prestigious professional posts and powerful economic enterprises can penetrate major political institutions, capture upwardly mobile politicians and ‘turn’ them into willing accomplices in promoting wars on behalf of a foreign colonial militarist power.  If in the past we have experienced Zionist thuggery mugging our freedom of speech in civil society, think of what we can expect when these thugs have complete control of the White House.  The ‘First Jewish President’ of the United States indeed!  Where does that leave the American people, their rights, their interests and their country’s independent foreign policy?

Epilogue

In early December 2008, Israel’s right wing party, Likud, under the leadership of ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu, met and nominated its slate of candidates for the upcoming national elections (February 12, 2009).  The majority of candidates nominated represent what most Israeli journalists call the ‘hard right’ or what might be accurately described as Zionfascism.  The Likud Party majority favors

the expulsion of all Palestinians (i.e. non-Jews) from Greater Israel,

the military seizure of Gaza,

the end of any pretense of peace negotiations and

the immediate bombing of Iran.

Currently Likud and its fascists have the support of a plurality of Israeli Jews.  If they win, it is a virtual certainty they will receive the automatic support of all the principal, respectable pro-Israel Jewish organizations in the US, who follow the line that: “It is not ours to question whom the Israelis vote for office.  It is our duty to back the State of Israel.”

The election of an Israeli-fascist regime will up the ante in Washington. Does Obama’s embedding in the Zionist apparatus include support for Jewish fascism, the total ethnic cleansing of Palestine and their unilateral decision to ‘nuke’ Iran?  Three weeks into his presidency Obama will face his biggest Middle East challenge, which will define the nature of US policy in the region.

Obama has recently suggested that Washington would nuke Iran to protect Israel –which has never yet signed a treaty with the US – to which the Bush Administration replied contemptuously that it would be very hard to convince American parents in Kansas that their sons should risk nuclear incineration for the sake of a small country in the Middle East.  Clearly Obama is a greater war monger on issues involving Israel then even Bush:  It comes with being a “Jewish President”.

Professor Kishore Mahbubani about Indonesia

Kamis, 31 Juli 2008

Lecture By Professor Kishore Mahbubani

Presidential Lecture, in State Palace

LECTURE BY PROFESSOR KISHORE MAHBUBANI,
DEAN OF THE LEE KUAN YEW SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY
AT THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE

AT THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE,
JAKARTA. 31st JULY 2OO8

Mr President
Distinguished Ministers
Excellencies
Ladies & Gentlemen

I am truly humbled by this request to address such a distinguished
audience. lt is an especially great honor because I come from one of the
smallest states in the world, Singapore. I didn’t realize how small
Singapore was unti lmy wife and I went on holiday on the island Samosir
in Indonesia. It is located in side a lake on the top of a volcanic
mountain, called Lake Toba. But this small island is about the size of
Singapore.

However, growing up in Singapore as a member of a minority group, I came
to realize that I had a special advantage in connecting with all corners
of Asia. My family were Hindu Sindhis. As a young child, I learn to
write Sindhi whichh as the same script as the Arabic script. I also soon
discovered that my name `Mahbubani`came from the Arabic word, Mehboob,
which means beloved. Hence, when I travelt o West Asia, I feel at home.
Similarly, when I traveli n Southh Asia, both in India and Pakistan, I f
eel at home as I can understand Hindi and Urdu. Indeed, I do all my
writing only by listening to the famous Hindi movie singer, Mohamad
Rafi. Equally significantly, through my Chinese friends in Singapore, I
have also developed a sensitivity to East Asia. My Indian origins also
enable me to connect with the Buddhist strains of the Chinese, Japanese
and Korean societies. As an ethnic Indian, I also remember what Presiden
Sukarno said: “ln the veins of every one of my people flows the blood of
Indian ancestors and the culture that we possess is steeped through with
Indian influences.” And of course, I grew up in South East Asia and
learnt Bahasa Melayu as a child.

It is this background whichh as emboldened me to write about the biggest
story we are going to see unfolding in the world: the relurn of Asia.
From the year 1 to the year 1820, the two largest economies were China
and India. Many other parts of Asia, including the legendary Sri Vijaya
and Majapahit empires, thrived together with China
and India. The last 200 years of Western domination of world history
have been a historical aberration, an aberation which is coming to an
end. Hence, Goldman Sachs predicts that by 2050, the four largest
economies will be China, India, USA and Japan. Indonesia will also rank
among the world’s largest economies then. The recent World Bank Growth
Commission Repot reported that 13 economies had grown by an average of
7% over 25 years. This list of super-performers also included Indonesia.

I have no doubts that Indonesia will be part of this great
transformation of Asia. Indeed, Indonesia has already played a heroic
role in the transformation of Asia. lt has successfully made one of the
most difficult transitions any society has to make: the transition to
full democracy. This is a remarkable story which has not been fully
understood by the world.

To describe how remarkable this transformation is, let me tell you what
I actually said when I spoke at a forum organized by Asia Society in San
Francisco on 2l February 2008. One of my fellow panelists was Larry
Diamond, the world-famous expert on democracy. This is what I told them.
The world’s beacon of freedom and democracy
is the United States of America. But in the last seven years, America
has been walking backwards in this area. If someone had told me ten
years a go that the first modern developed society to reintroduce
torture would be America. I would have said “Impossible” . But the
impossible has happen. Ms Irene Khan, the Head of Amnesty International,
has described Guantanamos as “a Gulag of our times”. She is right. In
addition, in a story that has not been fully told, America, the bastion
of civil liberties, has also been quietly retreating in this area. Many
of my American friends are also shocked but they say to me “Kishore, you
must understand, We were massively attacked on 9/11″. It is true that
America was attacked. But the fact that the beacon of freedom and
democracy could retreat in many areas of human rights after one attack
showed how fragile America’s commitment is to some key human rights
principles.

By contrast, the second country to be attacked after 9/1 1was Indonesia.
lt took place one year later on 12 October 2002 in Bali. Despite this,
Indonesia did not retreat. Indeed, even though Indonesia had gone
through a wrenching financial crisis in 1998 and 1999 which caused the
economy to shrink significaitly, and even though it had experienced a
lot of social and political turmoil as a result of this financial
crisis, Indonesia went steadily a head in its advance toward democracy.
Remarkably, less than 10 years after this huge financial crisis, Freedom
House declared in a global survey entitled ‘Freedom In the World” in
2005 that Indonesia’s status has moved from “partly free” to “free”
during President SBY`s term of office. President SBY deserves alot of
credit for this remarkable success. This is why two eminents cholars,
Andrew MacItyre and Douglas Ramage, have said that President SBY “is the
most capable, focused and internalionalist of the post-Soeharto
presidents” and that “his record of leadership is unlikely to be beaten
over the next decade or so”. America may also move forward again
together with Indonesia when it elects a president whose father was also
an lndonesian.

By the way, when I finished describing how A merica had gone backwards
and Indonesia had gone forward in freedom and democracy, I expected
Larry Diamond to disagree with me. Instead, he agreed with me.

To fully understand how remarkable Indonesia’s transformation has been,
imagine the members of the Chinese politburo having a discussion on how
China should make the eventual transition to democracy. I have no doubt
that they are aware that they will have to make this transition. They
also know how difficult this will be and that
even though China’s percapita GDP is higher than Indonesia’s. China is
not yet ready to make this leap into democracy. The Chinese leaders must
be amazed that lndonesia made this successful leap in a period of great
economic snd political uncertainty.

The big tragedy here is that Indonesia`s remarkable story has not fully
spread to the world. This is because the international media`s dominated
by the Western media, which cannot imagine that Asia can do better than
the West in many areas. This is why I chose to write my book on “The New
Asian Hemispherea” at this point in time: to provide a non-Western
perspective on the great transformation of Asia. Something remarkable is
happening in Asia, but the world does not really understand what is
happening. Indeed, many Asians are also not aware of how remarkable the
great Asian story is.

The best way to understand how remarkable Asia’s story is, is to compare
it with the story of Latin America. We all know that the first continent
to modernize was Europe. The second continent to modernize was North
America. The third continent that was supposed to modernize was Latin
America.

Why Latin America? At the beginning of the 20’century, Latin America was
seen as the land of promise for many reasons. Firstly, most of the Latin
American elites had come from Europe. They spoke European languages.
Hence, they were fully expected to replicate Europe’s success in Latin
America. Indeed, an American writer, David Gallagher (reviewing a book
by Michae Reid), described Latin America in that period as follows:

/Between 1850 and 1930, many Latin America countries had a very
successful run. Their economies were relatively open, exports thrived,
and in some countries, democracies looked like consolidating
successfully. By 1910, a century after independence, Argentina was, on
a per-capita income basis, one of the half dozen richest countries in the
world. Immigrants flocked there from all over Europe. Chile was also
thriving. German immigrant had colonized large tracts of the south and
Valparaiso was one of the world’s most prosperous ports”./

We know that the Germans, Spanish and ltalians have created very
successful economies in Europe. So why did these immigrants fail in
Latin America?

The failure of Latin America to develope despite these massive advantage
as hundred years ago is one big story. But there is another even more
amazing story of Latin A merica’s economic failure in the last 25 years.
The reason why this story is amazing is that many Latin American
economies adopted the right and not the wrong economic policies in this
period. Despite this, they failed. Please let me quote a few
distinguished authors who make this point.

Mark Weisbrot and David Rosnick, two American economists, wrote: ” Among
policy-makers and economists in the United States it has been widely
assume that the economic policy changes which began to be implemented in
Latin Americain the early 1980s would eventually bear fruit, and lead to
strong economic growth. A quarter century later, this has not yet
happened. lndeed, these two authors wrote that from the period 1980 to
1999, when Latin America implemented the right economic policies, the
result was that “this is the worst 20-year growth performancfe or more
than a century, even including the years of the Great Depression”.

Let me add that Latin America’s record of economic failure despite
Implementing the correct economic policies is also documented by Danny
Leipziger, a senior World Bank official, and Ricardo Hausmann, a Harvard
Professor. Their papers are cited in footnotes in my text
.
Now, let me come to the remarkable part of the Asian story. One major
Asian country also began to implement the correct economic policies
around the same time as Latin America. And it did so under very
unpromising circumstances. It had experienced 30 years of failed
centrally-planned communist economics. l.t also had a disastrous
experience with both the Great Leap Forward (1958-1960) and the Cultural
Revolution (1966-1976). Any observer watching both Latin America and
China implementing the right economic policies in the 1980s would have
confidently predicted that Latin America would succeed and that China
would fail.

Instead the exact opposite happened. China took off in an explosive way.
Ricardo Hausmann said “whichever way you measure it the events in China
are really remarkable. Chinese out put per worker grew annually at 7.8%
and is 2.8% faster than the second country”. In the same period, the per
capita growth in Latin America grew by 0.5% annually from 1980 to 1999
and actuallyf ell to 0.2% in the five years from1 999 to 2004.

What is the big lesson we should learn from this dramatic contrast
between the experiences of Latin America and China despite the fact that
both implemented the right economic policies? The big lesson is that
economic development is not a result of economic policies a lone. This
is indeed the biggest mistake made b y the Washington consensus: in
leading people to believe that only economic policies lead to economic
growth. Social and political policies play an equally important role.
However, when economic development fails, economists are reluctant to
speculate or assess which social and political policies may have
contributed to economic failures.

The big difference between China and Latin America is the nature of the
Social contract between the governing elites and the population they
governed. When Deng Xiaoping took over the leadership of China, his only
goal was to strengthen China. He knew that the only way to do that was
to unleash the energies of the Chinese. hina’s big advantage was that it
had removed the feudal classes and the feudal mentality with the
communist revolution. Hence, Deng Xiaoping carried out his policies with
the goal of helping all the people of china, and not just a small elite
or feudal group.

By contrast, the main disadvantage of many Latin American societies is
that they continue to have either feudal elites or a feudal mentality.
The ruling classes are more interested in preserving their special
privileges, not in helping the masses of the population. By focusing on
the interests of the ruling elites, not the interests of the population
as whole, the Latin American societies have not been able t o succeed.

In my book, I speak of the seven pillars of Western wisdom that several
Asian societies have begun to implement. These seven pillars explain the
success of Asian societies. One of them is ‘meritocracy’ . The simplest
way of understanding the virtues of meritocracy is to ask this question:
why is Brazil a soccer superpower and an economic middle power? The
answer is that when it looks for soccer talent, it searches for it in
all sectors of the population, from the upper classes to the slums. A
boy from the slums is not discriminated against if he has soccer talent.
But in the economic field, Brazil looks for talent in a far smaller base
of the population, primarily the upper and middle classes.

Asia always had the world’s largest pool of brain power. But it also had
the world’s largest pool of unused brain power. The s imple reason why
Asia is taking off now is that the unused brain power is finally being
used. In my book, I look at the case of India, whichh as had the caste
system for thousands of years. For thousands of years, birth was
destiny. lf you were born untouchable (people below the lowest caste),
you lived untouchable and you died untouchable. To day, as a result of
several reform movements, India is changing. I describe the case of a
young man who was born untouchable, went to school as an untouchable and
sat separately in class and at mealtimes. However he did well in school,
got scholarships, went to Columbia University in New York to get a PhD
in economics. Today, he is the Chief Economist of the Reserve Bank of
lndia. His namei s Narendra J dhav.

China and India a resucceeding and taking off because they are finally
finding the right means of igniting the hundreds of millions of brains
that they always had. After China and India, the third largest pool of
brain poweirs in the ASEAN region, where w e have over 5 00 million
people. The success of ASEAN will be determined by whether we follow
China and India’s pattern and unleash the brain power of the masses or
whether we follow the Latin American path of nurturing the interests of
the elite classes.

Which way will the ASEAN countries go? The honest answer is that the
answeris not clear. One of the most telling comparisons I often take is
between South Korea and the Philippines. In the 1950s, the Philippines
was perceived to be one of the most promising economies in the world. It
had everything going for it: an educated elite, the strong support of
America. By contrast, South Korea was seen to be a basket case,
especially after it had suffered the ravages of the Korean War from
1950-1953. One important fact that I only recentlyl earned is how much
of South Korea was ravaged. Indeed, it almost lost the war. The South
Korean capital, Seoul, had fallen within days and within weeks, the
defending UN forces had been driven to the Southern tip of the Korean
peninsula.

Hence, in 1960, the GDP of the Philippine was US $6.9 billion while that
of South Korea was US$1.5 b illion. The GDP of Philippine was almost
five times larger.

By 2007, the respective figures were 144 billion US dollar and
969.billion US dollar. The South Korean GDP had become almost seven
times larger. What happened? Why did the Philippines fail to keep pace
with the growth of South Korea? The politically in correct answer is
that Philippines society has retained most of the feudal mentality that
continue to bedevil Latin American societies. By contrast, South Korea
managed to remove most trac es of its feudal mentality.

To understand the South Korean story, I would like to strongly
recommened to you a book by the distinguished Harvard Professor,
Professo Erzra Vogel, entitled /The Four Little Dragons: The Spread of
Industrializatiton East Asia. / He did a study to find oout why the
success oh Japan (which he also wrote about in his famous book “Japan is
Number One”), the next few Asian societies succeed were the four Asian
tigers: South Korea, Taiwan, Hongkong, and Singapore. Since these four
societies were very different, the wanted to find out whether there were
any common elements that explained their success.

One common element he found was the following: “concern for the overall
social order led officials to be sensitive to problems of inequality
early in the process of industrialization and to make efforts to spread
income opportunities to all parts of society”. What is remarkable here
is that, even though none of these four societies were Socialist and
even thought he governments of South Korea under Park Chung Hee, Taiwan
under Jiang Jing Guo, Hong Kong under British coionil rule were seen as
right-wing and not left-wing, all these governments focused on making
sure that the fruits and opportunities of development were shared
between all classes, from the top to the bottom, unlike the Latin
American societies, where the bottom never experienced the fruits of
economic growth. In 2007, the Gini coefficient for Brazil was close to
0.6 while that of South Korea and Taiwan w as barely over 0.3.

It is vital to emphasize here that Japan, China, India and the four
tigers did not invent the principle of meritocracy (which I describe as
the principle of looking for talent in all sectors of society).
Essentially, these Asian societies copied the best practices of the
Western developed societies, especially America, which remains the most
meritocratic society in the world. Two of the beste xamples of the
fruits of American meritocracy are the two speakers who preceded me in
this Presidential Lecture series: Shaukat Aziz and Bill Gates. Shaukat
Aziz arrived in America with no educationin any Western university. He
was educated entirely in Pakistani educational institutions. But through
sheer merit he rose to the highest levels of Citibank, part of the group
of seven that ran the bank. Bill Gates went to Harvard but dropped out.
Despite that he ended up as the richest man in the world by creating a
completely new industry.

In my lecture to day, I have only emphasized the virtues of meritocracy,
which is only one of the seven pillars of Western wisdom that I discuss
in my book. Let me briefly mention the other six but as I do so you will
find that they are all linked to the virtue of meritocracy.

The first pillar is free market economics. Free market economics does
not just enhance economic productivity through incentives for good
performance. Free market economic as l so leads to the continuous
creation of new elites and removal of old elites. Indeed one little
known fact is that the best description of the virtues of capitalism is
provided by Karl Marx. His essays explain well how capitalism destroys
feudal elites. The f eudal Latin American elites failed in their
economic reforms because they refuse to give up the “rent” income that
they could extract from their privileged positions. “Rent” income
distorts free markets. One quick way to promote economic growth is to
destroy “rent” income.

The second pillar is science and technology. An enormous shift is taking
place in Asia. The late Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Richard Smalley has
predicted that by 2OlO, 9% of all PhD holding scientists and engineers
will be living in Asia. The third pillar is meritocracy, which I have
spoken about. The fourth pillar is pragmatism. The best definition of
pragmatism is given by Deng Xiaoping when he said it did not matter
whether a cat is black or white; if it catches mice, it is a good cat.
He used this simple saying to explain to the Chinese people why China
had to switch from centrally planned economics to free market economics.

But Deng Xiaoping was not the first pragmatist in Asia. T he first
pragmatist were the Meiji reformers. After watching the total
colonization of India by the British in1 850s and the humiliation of
China in the Opium War of 1839-1842, the Japanese knew that they too
would be colonized or humiliated if they did not change. So the Japanese
Meiji reformers went out and copied the best practices of the West.

The big untold story of Asia is how so many Asians have successfully
copied this Japanese practice of adapting from the best. Earlier I had
praised the South Korean success in development. One little known secret
about the South Korean success is that South Koreans initiated their
success by copying the Japanese. The reason why this secret is so little
known is because the South Koreans get very angry if you suggest that
they had copied from the Japanese. I discovered this when I wrote an
essay in lime magazine mentioning this fact. The response was a flood of
angry emails from South Koreans denouncing me. Given this strong
Korean-Japanese rivalry, I thought it was a brilliant decision by Dr.
Mahathir to award the contract to build one tower each of the Petronas
Towers to rival Korean and Japanese teams. The result was spectacularly
successful.

The fifth pillar is the culture of peace. The remarkable thing about
East A sia is that even though the biggest wars since World War ll were
fought in East Asia (the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the
Sino-Vietnames War), the guns have been largely silent in our region
since 1980. The sixth pillar is the rule of law. No modern economyc an
function without an impartial and fair rule of law. Foreign investors
need this. So does international trade. This is why China is now
producing more new well traine djudges than any other country. But
China’s case also illustrates the enofmous difficulty of fully
implementing rule of law. Traditionally, most Asian societies have had
rule by law, but not rule of law. Hence, the emperor issues edicts but
is not bound by his edicts. China has a modern society but while in
theory the CCP members are subject to the same rule of law as ordinary
members, in practice they are often not. This is unlike America where
even the President and Senators can be indicted or impeached.

Fortunately, many Chinese CCP members are honest. lf they are not,
China’s economy could not have grown so fast. However, in the long run,
neither China nor any other Asian society can just rely on honesty. We
need to adopt the Western system of rule of law, not rule by law, if we
are to succeed. Andrew Mclntyre and Douglas Ramage have also said that
President SBY “has taken more of a leadership role than his predecessors
in the counter-corruption drive. His official approval and encouragement
have created something of a virtuous circle of reinforcement and
political probity.” This is one of the reasons why the rule of law is
needed: to prevent and eradicate corruption.

The seventh and final pillar is education but it is in some ways the
most important one. Without education -and I mean primary, secondary and
tertiary education- no society can succeed. One reason why China and
India are among the most successful Asian societies is that they have
the largest number of students studying in American universities. In
2006-2007, China had 68,000 students studying in the US and lndia had
83,000 students.

In conclusion, please let me summarize the implications of what I have
said for the future of ASEAN societies, including Indonesia and
Singapore. I would like to conclude with three specific prescriptions to
promote national development:

(l) The first prescription is to develop a win-win /social contract/
between the governing elites and the masses. This is why Japan, China,
India and the four tigers succeeded. Th e absence of such a social
contract is also why the Latin American societies are not succeeding. In
many Latin American societies, the elites want to cling on to their
“rent’ income to ensure that their privileged positions are not
challenged. Hence, no Shaukat Aziz or Bill Gates can emerge or succeed
in such a feudal setting.

The main point to emphasize here is that it is in the interest of the
ruling elites to also introduce meritocracy in the new social contract.
When hundreds of millions of new brains enter the market place, the
economy becomes bigger and the society more socially and politically
stable. When people at the bottom believe that their societies offer
opportunities for them to progress, you also get less crime. When I was
in Latin America, I was explicitly warned that I should stay far away
from the slums. But when I was in Mumbai, India earlier this month, my
youngest son and l wen on a guided tour through the biggest slum in the
city, the Dahravi slum. lt felt safe. People were busy working. The
children were studying in schools. And if the social contract works, the
people will be out of the slums in one lifetime.

(ll) The second prescription is to develop the belief that we can
succeed. As a child, I grew up in Singapore when it was under British
colonial rule. One of the most pernicious effects of colonial rule was
that our minds were colonized.

Hence we were led to believe that the Europeans were naturally superior
to the Asians. This mental belief in the supremacy of the Europeans
carried on long after political independence.

Today, we have a remarkable reversal. The most optimistic young people
in the world are young Indians. While many of them are still poor, they
are confident that their tomorrow will be better than their today. By
contrast, when I travel to Europe, many of the young people are not
confident that their tomorrow will be better than their today.

About a year ago, the International Herald Tribune correspondent in
Mumbai, Mr Anand Giridharadas, called me. He asked me whether there was
too much hype in India. I said that it was always better to have hype
than no hype. Just imagine how differently we would view the future of
Latin America and Africa, if we could generate the same hype in Latin
America and Africa as we have in India today. Hype is a sign of hope.

We should develop the same kind of hype in ASEAN. To do this, we have to
believe that we can succeed.

(III) The third prescription is to focus on the youth. Let me explain
why. There is an Arab proverb which says that he who speaks about the
future lies, even when he tells the truth. The proverb is right. We
cannot predict the future. But there is at least one respect in which we
can make confident predictions about the future: if we can measure the
amount of snow that has fallen in the Himalayas in any winter, we can
predict the future flood levels in the river Ganges because the snow
that has fallen will determine the future flood levels in six months.

In Asia, we see the demographic snow on the ground in the form of our
youth in our countries. If we can educate our youth and prepare them for
a very different world of tomorrow, we have good prospects of creating a
good future. But if we fail to educate our youth, we are guaranteeing
that there will be no improvement in our standard of living. Hence, if
we want a great future, we have to invest in our youth: education,
education, education. Here, Indonesia already has some success stories
worth mentioning. While only 76% of children complete primary school in
India, 91% complete it in Indonesia, even though India spends 7.2% of
its GNP on primary education, while Indonesia spends only 3.2%. In
short, Indonesia has laid some good foundations in this area.

Therefore, in conclusion, the three prescriptions are Social Contract,
Belief and Youth. Please remember these three prescriptions through the
acronym, SBY.

Thank you.

———— ——— ——— ——— ——-
/* Professor Kishore Mahbubani is Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of
Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He has recently
published/ The New Asian Hemisphere: the Irresistible Shift of Power to
the East.

Moderate groups under fire for silence over radicals

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta/Thu, 06/19/2008 9:59 AM

Moderate Muslim organizations and political parties have come under fire for failing to demonstrate their religious tolerance following a government decree against an Islamic minority sect.

As major moderate groups, the nation’s two largest Muslim organizations Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah should have prevented the issuance of a joint ministerial decree against Jamaah Ahmadiyah, say Muslim scholars and political observers.

They told The Jakarta Post the decree showed the NU and Muhammadiyah were powerless to counter extremist and conservative elements in their campaigns for Islamism.

The anti-Ahmadiyah decree was issued by the government earlier this month amid intense pressure from many extremist groups, including the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia.

The government-sanctioned Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) landed support for the decree.

“The NU and Muhammadiyah have so far been just too soft and too tolerant against small militant groups,” political expert Indra J. Pilliang of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies said.

He said the two organizations had given too much space for hard-line groups to take the public stage claiming to represent Indonesian Muslims.

Indra warned that a “culture of violence” against minority groups would rise more quickly thanks to the inaction of the NU, Muhammadiyah and moderate political parties to foster religious tolerance and pluralism in the country.

The issuance of the anti-Ahmadiyah decree and a recent attack by FPI members on pro-pluralism activists from the National Alliance for the Freedom of Religion and Faith (AKKBB), who were staging a rally for religious tolerance, were clear examples of the dysfunctionality of the two moderate Islamic groups and political parties, he added.

“They have to get tough against extremist groups and strongly condemn any attacks to avoid widespread violence that can turn into mass fascism,” Indra said.

Muslim scholar and Paramadina University rector Anies Baswedan said the NU and Muhammadiyah had failed to control the MUI with their pluralism mission.

The MUI is led by clerics from the NU and Muhammadiyah but the council has often issued extremist fatwa, banning pluralism, liberalism and secularism as well as branding Ahmadiyah a heretical sect.

“What happens is the MUI doesn’t represent the voice of Muslims as a whole,” he said.

Anies said the NU and Muhammadiyah should take the lead in preventing several Muslim individuals or groups from taking violent actions in the name of Islam.

Rafendi Jamin of the Human Rights Working Group blamed the political parties for only caring about their short-term political interests and neglecting their mission for the betterment of the country, including promoting religious pluralism and tolerance.

All the parties should work together to fix Indonesia’s international image by not tolerating violence and respecting human rights, he said.

Indra said the country’s political parties were trying to woo more voters ahead of the 2009 elections by giving support for the anti-Ahmadiyah decree or taking side with the majority Muslim groups.

Such a stance was more popular than acting otherwise, he added.

Anies warned the religious violence could increase due to the government’s failure to provide jobs for people.

Truth links directory for those seeking more information.

I hope this site will helpfull for anyone to seek truth information. I got it from mailinglist worldcitizen.

Truth links directory for those seeking more information.

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Christian Fundamentalism, the Global Crusade and Muslims

Christian Fundamentalism, the Global Crusade and Muslims

10-06-2008

By Yoginder Sikand

 

 

If Christian fundamentalists are to be believed, America’s invasion of Iraq and the consequent brutal slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians in that country are all part of a grand divine plan that will finally culminate in the ‘second coming’ of Jesus Christ.

Establishing an empire that will extend all over the globe, Christ will rule like a powerful monarch, saving those who believe in him and dispatching non-believers, all non-Christians and non-conformist Christians, to everlasting perdition in hell.

This is no childish nonsense for millions of Christian fundamentalists, who sincerely believe this to be predicted in the Bible.

Not surprisingly, American Christian fundamentalists are today among the most fanatic supporters of Bush’s global imperialist wars, in Iraq and elsewhere, which they see as in keeping with the divine mandate.

They are no eccentric or lunatic fringe elements, for today Christian fundamentalists exercise a powerful influence in American politics. Among them is George Bush himself, who insists that the American invasion of Iraq has been sanctioned by God, with whom he claims to be in personal communication.

While the Western press is awash with stories, real and exaggerated, about ‘Islamic fundamentalists’ , rarely is mention made about Christian fundamentalists, who, with their vast resources and close links with the current American administration, are a potentially more menacing threat than their Muslim counterparts.

According to newspaper reports more than a third of Americans are associated with one or the other Christian fundamentalist outfit, most of which are fiercely anti-communist, anti-Muslim and are passionate advocates of free-market capitalism, global American hegemony and the myth of the civilizing mission of white America. In recent years, these fundamentalist groups have been engaged in aggressive missionary work in other countries as well, including in the so-called ‘Third World’.

Fired by a passionate hatred for other religions, which they dismiss as ‘false’ and even ‘Satanic’, they are today among the most well-funded missionary groups in large parts of Asia and Africa.

Crusading for Christ, these fundamentalist groups are not simply out fishing for souls. Rather, for them Christianity is only part of the agenda, which also includes aggressively promoting American and Zionist interests. Today, these groups preach not only Christ but also Pax Americana and even American-led imperialist wars, which they bless as holy causes to usher in the final arrival of Jesus.

Texas-based author and preacher Michael Evans is one of the most notorious American Christian fundamentalist preachers today, a passionate advocate of war in the name of Christ.

In a recently published book, titled Beyond Iraq: The Next Move-Ancient Prophecy and Modern-Day Conspiracy Collide (Whitestone Books, Florida, 2003), he spells out a grand design for American global hegemony, blessed in the guise of a holy global war. Key players in this ‘divine’ plot include the CIA, the American government and army, and Israel, besides various Christian fundamentalist outfits.

The book is dedicated, among others, to what Evans describes as ‘two old friends’, Ehud Olmert, former Israeli Vice President, and the former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Equally revealingly, the book begins with a quotation which graces the lobby of the original headquarters of the CIA.

Evans is no petty crank who claims to be God-possessed, although his writings might seem to suggest that. The jacket of the book describes him as a ‘TIME magazine best-selling author’, who has appeared on the BBC and on American television channels and who has written for such papers as the Wall Street Journal and the Jerusalem Post.

He hobnobs with the highest of American and Israeli politicians and religious leaders, and is evidently taken very seriously in Christian fundamentalist circles. That Evans is also a passionate Bush-backer is amply evident in his clam that, ‘I know, from a first hand, personal interview with him that Bush is a man of faith who believes in the Bible’.

Evans is the founder of the ‘Jerusalem Prayer Team’, which, he says, he established after having been visited by God in a vision.

Among those who participated in the inauguration of his outfit were such names as Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, all notorious American Christian fundamentalist leaders, Governor Dick Perry and Representative Dick Armey, and Benjamin Netanyahu, former Israeli Prime Minister.

Thousands of others in America and elsewhere, so he claims, have joined his movement in the aftermath of 11 September, 2001. His ultimate aim, he writes, is to have one million ‘intercessors praying daily for the peace of Jesus and God’s protection for Israel’ so that ‘demonic powers will be defeated by holy angels in a battle that cannot be seen with the natural eye’.

A fierce Christian Zionist, Evans has close links with the Israeli establishment. The book’s jacket states that he received the ‘Ambassador Award’ from the government of Israel and relates that he has been ‘a confidante to most of Israel’s prime ministers and to both of Jerusalem’s mayors’. The jacket quotes Benjamin Netanyahu as praising Evans for having ‘consistently demonstrated the moral clarity that is necessary to defend Israel from the lies and distortions of its enemies’.

This is no empty boast: the book contains pictures of Evans with Menachem Begin endorsing his first book, ‘Israel: America’s Key To Survival’, praying with Shimon Peres, comforting Jewish victims of a bomb blast in Israel, launching the ‘Jerusalem Prayer Team’ along with Jerusalem’s mayor, pledging support to Israel before Yitzhak Shamir along with half a million signatures of fellow Christians, championing Israel’s cause at the royal palace in Madrid and keeping company with American soldiers in Lebanon and Somalia. *

Christianity, War and the ‘Defence’ of Israel

For Evans, and numerous other rabid Christian fundamentalist preachers of hate like him, one of the most crucial purposes of America’s invasion of Iraq is the ‘defence’ of Israel, which he regards as a solemn Christian duty. If till recently Jews were routinely reviled by the Church as ‘Christ-killers’ , and, accordingly, hounded by Christian authorities, many of today’s Christian fundamentalists, like Evans, are passionate advocates of the state of Israel. This does not, however, represent any shift in their fervent belief, intrinsic to mainstream Christianity, that non-Christians, Jews included, are destined for Hell. Rather, it is part of a wider conversion agenda.

Jesus, they believe, will return to the world to rule only once the Jews have ‘returned’ to Palestine and have rebuilt the temple of David that was destroyed almost two thousand years ago.

After this momentous event, many Jews will convert to Christianity and those who refuse to will be sent to hell.

Till then, Christian fundamentalists argue, the Jews and their state must be passionately defended from their ‘enemies’, who are invariably identified as Arabs and Muslims.

The ‘defence’ of Israel, a central point in the Christian fundamentalist agenda, is typically argued in racist terms. Israel, Christian fundamentalists believe, are God’s ‘chosen people’, and they quote the Bible as making this claim, suggesting, therefore, that non-Jewish peoples are somehow lesser beings.

Evans, too, makes this point and argues that according to the Bible ‘God will bless those who bless Israel’ and will ‘curse those who curse it’. ‘History records’, he says, ‘that God deals with nations in accordance with how those nations deal with Israel’. Hence, in the ‘defence’ of Israel, Christians, Evans argues, have no choice. If they are true to their faith, he says, they must join hands with America in its war for ‘defending’ Israel, and must ‘support Israel in every possible way’.

‘We must either choose Mount Zion [Jerusalem] and be among those who obey the voice of the Spirit of the Lord’, he writes, ‘or we will be left to the passions of our flesh, drinking the wine of her [Bablyon’s or Iraq’s] fornication’ .

The invasion of Iraq, and the broader American ‘war on terror’, is, Evans says, is akin to ‘divine light [.] proclaiming like a trumpet a spiritual battle of monumental proportions’ , pitting Babylon, the Biblical Iraq, the ‘spiritual centre of darkness’, against Jerusalem or contemporary Israel, the ‘spiritual centre of light’.

But so that this ‘divine light’ should spread beyond the confines of Babylon, Evans pleads for America to extend its war all over the globe, to every country that dares to challenge American supremacy and the state of Israel. This war, he says, should aim at the elimination of all ‘terrorists’ , defined as those who refuse to support Israeli and American interests. In this, the invasion and occupation of Iraq is of vital importance, Evans says, because it will ‘become a US base’ to destroy ‘terrorist’ networks elsewhere in the Middle East and eventually to usher in what he calls ‘the apocalyptic battle’ of Armageddon, ‘the final battles of the ages’ as allegedly ‘prophesied in Daniel, Jeremiah and Revelations’ , chapters of the Bible.

America, as Evans sees it, must be ready to sacrifice itself to protect Israel, because that, he says, is precisely what the Christian God wants. Hence, Palestinians resisting the illegal occupation of their land and all those who opposed to Israel and its imperialist and expansionist policies must be crushed with the might of American arms, he insists.

The Christian God does not brook any peace with such people, he argues. The Bible, he announces, says that those who fight against Israel, God’s supposedly chosen people and recipients of His ‘special blessing’, would be destroyed by God Himself. He quotes the Bible as declaring: ‘And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet. Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets. And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths’.

Given this supposed divine backing, Evans exhorts America to invade and subjugate all countries opposed to Israel, specifically naming Lebanon, Syria and Iran.

The ultimate agenda, he says, is to destroy these countries and establish what Zionists call Eretz or Greater Israel, extending to and including Iraq. This is because, Evans quotes the Bible as saying, God allegedly gave this vast stretch of land, from the Nile to the Euphrates, to Abraham and his son Isaac and his descendants, ancestors of the Jews, as a covenant and as their ‘everlasting possession’.

Echoing hardliner Zionists, Evans insists that there can be no peace with the Palestinians at any cost, because, he claims, the Christian God is opposed to this. If Israel and America are to faithfully abide by the Christian God’s will, he says, they must not let anything get in the way of the establishment of Eretz Israel. Thus, various peace proposals that involve any territorial concessions on the part of Israel are ruled out.

This is because, as Evans alleges, God has given the entire territory to the Jews till eternity.

Christianity and the New Anti-Muslim Crusade

As for the Arabs and Muslims more generally, Evans seems to suggest that the Christian God desires that they be humiliated, subjugated and crushed.

Thus, he quotes the Bible as saying that while God specially blessed Isaac and his descendants, the Jews, he had a different plan in mind for the Arabs, descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s other son.

Referring to Ishmael Evans quotes the Bible as saying, ‘He will be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man and every man’s hand against him’.

This racist stereotype, so deeply rooted in traditional Christian discourse about Muslims, is held by Evans to be what he calls ‘a fitting description of the Arab terrorist’ and, presumably, as justifying the annihilation of the Arab people, as well as other Muslims.

Evans goes so far in vilifying Arabs and Muslims as to call Muhammad a proto-terrorist, alleging that he had banished and killed Jews for not believing in him.

‘Terrorism’, he claims, is a logical consequence of Islam, and he argues that ‘Muhammad set a sordid example for his present-day disciples, the Qadafis, Khomeinis, Arafats and bin Ladens and Husseins of this world’. Claiming knowledge of the unseen, he even announces that Islam is ‘a malevolent manifestation of a religion conceived in the pit of hell’.

Evans thus equates Islam with the forces of the ‘Anti-Christ’ , against whom he appeals to Christians to marshal all the resources at their command. Ironically, while spewing hatred and calling for a global war, he presents Christianity as peace-loving, contrasting it with Islam, which he equates with ‘terrorism’.

‘Christianity differs from Islam as day differs from night’, he claims, completely unmindful of the sordid and blood-soaked history of the faith he claims to champion. In the same breath as he issues a general summons to Christians to wage war in the name of their faith he refers to the Bible as instructing Christians to ‘turn the other cheek’ when slapped, in order to argue that, unlike Christianity, Islam is an inherently vile religion, equating it with what he terms ‘the law of the bullet, militancy, treachery, terrorism and violence’.

Christianity, America and Oil

Christian fundamentalists are ardent advocates of free-market capitalism, having played a key role in America’s war against communism during the Cold War. Christ, capitalism and American supremacy go together, Evans believes, and so, while announcing that an American-spearheade d global war is precisely what Christ mandates, he approvingly quotes Isser Harel, founder of the Israeli secret services’ organization Mossad, who speaks of the ‘terror’ threat to America’s ‘freedom’, ‘capitalism’ and ‘power’, and exhorts America to take appropriate defence measures.

Evans goes so far as to advise the America to capture all the oil wealth in Arab lands in order to prevent ‘terrorists’ from using oil wealth to target Israel, home to God’s supposedly ‘special people’. A more ingenuous excuse to justify American greed could hardly be devised!

Since Muslims, especially the Arabs, are branded virtually as agents of the Devil, Evans argues that America, as self-appointed agent of Christ, should have no qualms about invading oil-rich Arab lands. This would, he says, break America’s dependence on Muslim countries for oil which.

If America seizes all Arab oil-fields, it would, he says, sharply reduce oil prices, forcing Muslim countries ‘to their knees’, giving them only two options: ‘cooperate with the war on terror or go bankrupt’.

At the same time as he exhorts America to invade and occupy all the countries, no matter what the human cost, Evans warns that it should not be serious about its rhetoric of exporting ‘democracy’ to the Middle East, for, he argues, it would lead to anti-American and anti-Israeli Islamists taking over.

Invasion of Iraq and the Ushering in of Global Christendom and Pax-Americana

Evans sees America’s invasion and occupation of Iraq as the unfolding of a divine plan for the world. It is not nothing less than what he calls a grand ‘spiritual battle’, between Christianity and Satanic forces and ‘demons’, as represented by Muslims and other non-Christians.

Accordingly, he fervently welcomes America’s invasion of Iraq and pleads that America should expand the theatre of war by invading various other, mostly Muslim, countries.

The murder and destruction that America has wrought in Iraq is nothing to grieve about, Evans seems to suggest. It is a price, he argues, that God is supposedly exacting from Muslims for having been ‘coerced’
by Satan to ‘loathe’ the Jews, ‘God’s Chosen People’.

It is also a divine punishment, he says, for Iraq having allegedly possessing ‘deadly chemical, biological or nuclear weapons’, echoing the bogus claim made by Bush, Blair and their henchmen which they used to justify their invasion of that country.

Weak-hearted Christians who might disagree are advised to all in line, for, Evans says, this is precisely what the Bible predicts and what God mandates. ‘I will raise against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country, for she has sinned against God’, the Jewish prophet Jeremiah is said to have announced, and Evans takes this as evidence of his claim that the American invasion of Iraq is demanded by God and that all America is doing is to faithfully follow God’s will.

Iraq, the Biblical Babylon, Evans insists, represents the forces of Satan, and hence deserves to be crushed by America, God’s agent, through invasion and war. ‘Babylon is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication’ , he quotes the Bible as saying. ‘I will rise up against them [.] I will cut off from Babylon her name and survivors, her offspring and descendants [.] I will turn her into a place for owls and into swampland. I will sweep her with the broom of destruction’ , Evans quotes the Biblical God as having declared. He marshals other Biblical verses to press the argument about Iraq being allegedly inherently ‘evil’ and hence deserving harsh repression at American hands.

Eve and Adam are said to have committed the ‘first sin’ there; it was in Iraq that occult and astrology were invented; Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of Babylon, conquered Israel and enslaved the Jews; the Babylonians built the Tower of Babel, thereby defying God by trying to reach heaven without His permission; and the Bible describes Babylon as the ‘seat’ of the Anti-Christ and the ‘Beast’, the ‘seat of Satan’s evil’, in contrast to Jerusalem, the ‘seat of God’s righteousness’ , against whom it is destined to be pitted in the final battle that will usher in Jesus’ ‘second coming’.

In all, then, Evan argues, America is simply acting as the Christian God’s handmaiden in wreaking destruction and death in Iraq.

Instead of being blamed or castigated for this, he argues, it should be praised.

This destruction is Biblically mandated, he repeats, for the Bible has announced that, ‘Babylon, the great, has fallen and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird [.] Therefore, her plague will come in one day-death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire [.]

Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down and shall not be found anymore’.

But this terrible destruction in Iraq is only the beginning of a bloody trail of events mandated by a supposedly blood-thirsty and vengeful God. According to Evans’ reading of the Bible, the American invasion of Iraq is what he calls ‘the dress-rehearsal’ for the grand global battle of Armageddon between the forces of Christ and Satan.

Prior to this battle, he quotes the Bible as saying, ‘demons and spirits’ bound up in the Euphrates in Iraq will be released, and, with an army of 200 million, will kill off a third of the world’s total inhabitants through nuclear war. This grand battle, Evans writes, is not far off.

Hence, he appeals to Christians to ‘put on the armour of God’ and ‘engage in spiritual battle’. Now, is the time, he says, to prepare for the impending return of Christ. Presumably, after Iraq is destroyed through the agency of the Americans, Christ will suddenly appear in Jerusalem and establish his global empire, ushering in the end of the world as we know it.

Horrendous as Evans’ views are, they do find a powerful echo in Christian fundamentalist circles today, more so given their growing influence in policy-making circles in the West, particularly in America.

If the world is to be saved from the Armageddon that Evans and his ilk are bent on calling down from the heavens it is imperative that Western imperialism and Christian fundamentalism be interrogated, challenged and opposed, particularly by sincere Christians themselves.


Sukhia Sab Sansar Khaye Aur Soye
Dukhia Das Kabir Jagey Aur Roye

The world is ‘happy’, eating and sleeping The forlorn Kabir Das is awake and weeping


Sukhia Sab Sansar Khaye Aur Soye
Dukhia Das Kabir Jagey Aur Roye

The world is ‘happy’, eating and sleeping The forlorn Kabir Das is awake and weeping


 

The Muslim News
http://www.muslimne ws.co.uk/ news/news. php?article= 14403

RI a factor in Malaysia results: Analysts

Tony Hotland ,  The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Wed, 03/12/2008 1:34 AM  |  Headlines

 Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/node/163505

The unprecedented results of Malaysia’s polls over the weekend may have been inspired by reform and democracy in Indonesia, analysts said.

Malaysia’s ruling coalition party lost its two-third majority in parliament, the first time in five decades, but on Monday party leader Abdullah Ahmad Badawi retained his premiership for a second term.

Long-term observer of Malaysian politics Des Alwi said reform in Indonesia might have stoked the rebellion against the party leader.

Abdullah has been criticized for his administration’s poor handling of the economy, corruption and racial issues.

“We went down that road first and I think the wind of reform has blown in their direction,” Des said Tuesday.

“That’s our greatest swing to Malaysia.”

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), which has been for a long time opposed to former authoritarian Soeharto’s Golkar Party, gained votes in the 1999 general elections after Soeharto was toppled a year earlier.

A reform movement then swept the nation.

Golkar had held the majority in the House of Representatives for more than three decades.

Des was one of Indonesia’s negotiators during the confrontation with Malaysia in the early 1960s and was a friend then of Malaysian leaders.

He said many Malaysians had been tired of restrictions and the flourishing corruption in their country.

The resurgence of the opposition figure and former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim was greeted immediately.

Anwar was convicted in 1998 on sex and graft charges, but he maintained the charges were politically motivated. The sex charge was later quashed.

Anwar led his Keadilan party to win 31 parliament seats from just one in the previous election.

“Their eyes were opened because of information coming from outside Malaysia on news wires and websites.

“They have matured,” Alwi said.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla, also Golkar chairman, said Tuesday the victory of the opposition parties was “a common part of a growing democracy, which in Malaysia was thanks to access to information”.

“Although the press is restricted in Malaysia, there are short massaging service (on cell phones) and the Internet allows wide public access to information,” he told Antara news agency.

Lawmaker Abdillah Toha of the House’s Commission I that deals with foreign affairs said the election results were “a start of a new era toward democracy”.

Also a National Mandate Party (PAN) leader, Abdillah said, “I’ve dealt with Malaysian lawmakers and they basically did not function”.

“They just did what the government said.

“Anwar Ibrahim is a strong figure and I personally think we’d have better relations if he was the prime minister.

“The results are a good lesson the Malaysian government must take seriously because their people showed they did not want to be ruled by a poorly-run administration anymore.”