Church Bombings in Malaysia:  The Politics Behind the Dilemma
Posted Jan 12, 2010

Church Bombings in Malaysia:  The Politics Behind the Dilemma

by Dr. Robert D. Crane

  Domestic politics in both Malaysia and America are now turning the Church bombings in Malaysia into a global issue.  Marina binti Mahathir, who is the daughter and eldest child of the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Mahathir Mohammad, has a petition, hosted by, that now has more than 600 signatures.  (Note:  only Malaysian citizens can sign.) Her father, Tun Mahathir (one of only 17 living persons in Malaysia with the rank of “Tun”) had Anwar Ibrahim, who was then Finance Minister, imprisoned on trumped-up charges to get rid of a rival Islamist.  All informed Muslims in the world know this whole history and have followed it for more than a decade.

    Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, one of the world’s leading Islamists, is the grey eminence behind the leading opposition party, the People’s Justice Party (Parti Keadilan Rakyat - PKR).  Anwar is using the church fire-bombings as a high profile issue to blame them on the current ruling Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib al Razak.  Both Anwar and Najib face a dilemma in that the majority of Malaysians are Muslims and want to maintain ethnic dominance, yet the minorities, especially the Chinese, who are largely Christian, must also be wooed in order to win elections.  The trick is to blame the other for ethnic violence, failing which the only solution may be a coup, one from outside and one from inside, because each party is, in fact, split on this issue.

  As head of the governing party, the United Malays National Organization, Najib advocates communal power sharing under the slogan 1Malaysia to overcome ethnic rivalries and especially to prevent or lessen the exploitation of religion as a weapon to fan conflict.  Anwar calls this whole effort a fraud.  This boiling conflict heated up when the Malay-dominated parliament passed a law banning Christians from proselytising among Muslims by telling them that Christians also worship Allah.  The Supreme Court has now struck down that law as an unconstitutional denial of religious freedom.

  Unfortunately, Malays are formally designated as Muslim, just as were the Bosnians in old Yugoslavia, as discussed in my writings and public speeches in the early and mid-1990s, so ethnicity and religion cannot be separated.  This makes religion a powerful force that the unscrupulous can manipulate for political ends.

  Both of the two major competing parties are now damned if they do and damned if they don’t, but each would benefit by damning the other for the deepening hostilities.  The victims over the long run, of course, would be both of them equally as well as everyone in Malaysia. 

  This is now a global issue, no longer a local one, because Muslims all over the world will suffer from the church burnings, and whatever follows, as scapegoats in the Fourth World War against global terrorism, which Islamophobes everywhere, but especially in America, are attempting to wage in their own polytheistic pursuit of political power. 

  If Malaysia should collapse into the richest and most advanced failed state in the world, the next player in Southeast Asia might well be Al Qa’ida, though it is not clear which of the contending forces it would support, if any, nor what anybody could do about it.


Malaysia, Allah, and God, Sheila Musaji
Statement on Malaysian Church Bombings, Anwar Ibrahim