Hindus versus Muslims versus Christians

Three and a half decades ago the elites of Southeast Asia and their western supporters were preoccupied by the threat posed by communist movements to established political orders.  Communism was seen as an alien ideology linked to foreign powers.

But during the 1970′s another threat emerged: the confrontation between three great religions, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam.  Not a few consider the threat posed by this confrontation to be no less worrying than that heretofore posed by the communist insurgents.  Though Muslims make up barely half the population of 14.8 million people, Islam is the official state religion.  Though freedom of worship is guaranteed – to Buddhism, Taoism and other faiths of the Chinese (about 35% of the population), to Hindus and Sikhs, and to the Christians – the situation had, in the following 15 years dramatically deteriorated.

As an example, in October, 2003 the Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, told a summit of Islamic leaders in Putrajaya, Malaysia that ”Jews rule the world by proxy” and that the 1.3 billion Muslims should unite, using non-violent means for a “final victory”.  He further stated that Jews “invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy” to avoid persecution and gain control of the most powerful countries, providing yet another example of the continuing trend towards the increasing overemphasis of religious differences.

Today the religious-based problems in Malaysia continue.

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