Thursday, October 23, 2003

Religion of Peace update

I’ve always admired Jeff Jacoby at the Boston Globe for his well-researched and forceful opinion columns. Today he recounts the long standing anti-Semitism of Malaysia’s PM Mahathir Mohamad (surprisingly, some of it predates the Bush administration!) Jacoby unflinchingly notes that Mahathir’s screed was warmly received at the Islamic conference:

The audience to whom Mahathir spoke -- the presidents, kings, and emirs of the nations that make up the Organization of the Islamic Conference -- rewarded him with a standing ovation.

But what about Islamic groups here in the U.S. of A.?

On Tuesday I asked six American Muslim organizations -- CAIR, the American Muslim Association, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Islamic Institute, the Islamic Society of North America, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council -- whether they had any reaction to Mahathir's words. Three never replied; two replied by saying they had no comment. Only MPAC condemned Mahathir for his "extremely offensive, anti-Semitic comments."

Jacoby reaches his conclusion:

The Muslim world suffers from many problems, but none is more crippling than its culture of intolerance. Rampant anti-semitism anywhere is always a sign of grave moral sickness. Until more Muslims are prepared to confront and conquer that sickness in their midst, the Muslim world will remain the benighted backwater that so many Muslims deplore.

I’d like to believe Condoleezza Rice’s comment that Mahathir’s comments were not “emblematic of the Muslim world” but the evidence continues to mount that the contrary is true.

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