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Malaysian Puts Himself Outside Camp of 'True Muslim Reformers'

October 23, 2003

Re "Malaysian Premier Stands by Remarks," Oct. 18: I read the entire text of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's speech at the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and I did agree with much of what he said. His call for Muslim nations to revive themselves economically and intellectually is good advice. He also correctly pointed out that 50 years of opposition to Israel had not accomplished anything and, in fact, had made the situation worse. I agree with him that it is in Muslim self-interest to end this conflict on an equitable basis.

However, I would strongly criticize him on two grounds. His remarks about Jews, such as the odd claim that they invented democracy and human rights to further their own interests, are bizarre. It would come as a surprise to ancient Athens or 18th century Philadelphia to learn that neither of them are the source of democracy. But this conception of democracy and human rights dovetails with his complete lack of any comment on these issues to the OIC. This lack of basic human freedom is the single largest problem of the Muslim world, and if he were serious about fixing its ills, he would have brought them front and center. His cockeyed view of democracy puts him outside the camp of true Muslim reformers.

Nayyer Ali

Vice Chairman

Muslim Public

Affairs Council

Huntington Beach

*

The prime minister of Malaysia has made vile, anti-Semitic comments about world Jewry. I am still awaiting the outcry at the United Nations and other international bodies against his statements and calls for his resignation. I am awaiting his ostracism from the world community. Imagine if an American or an Israeli had made a similar remark about Chinese, Africans or Tibetan Buddhists.

David Schechter

Los Angeles

*

Between the public pronouncements and the actions of Jews, Muslims and Christians, for the moral, intelligent person, atheism is very much looking to be the way to go.

Richard Vidan

Lawndale

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