Is the Malaysian government racist
Why Malaysia of all places? The Southeast Asian country announced a few days ago that Israeli athletes would not get visas for a competition in the run-up to the next Paralympic Games. Following sharp protests from the government in Jerusalem, the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad declared: "A country has the right to keep its borders closed to certain people"; Incidentally, he is not an anti-Semite. But that is exactly what the head of government is, as evidenced by numerous statements spread over many years. He called Jews "hook-nosed" and spoke of their "instinctive sense of money"; He has suggested conspiracy theory that freedom of expression is at an end on the subject of Israel. Apparently, Mahathir can count on widespread approval with such statements in his country: A study by the Anti Defamation League in 2014 found massive anti-Semitic prejudices in 61 percent of adult citizens in Malaysia. That was a higher rate than in neighboring Indonesia (48 percent) or Bangladesh (32 percent) - both also Asian countries with a Muslim majority, and even considerably larger. Why does Malaysia offer such fertile ground for hostility towards Jews?
Part of the answer certainly has to do with the now 93-year-old Prime Minister, who has played a central role in Malaysia for decades and obsessively cultivates anti-Semitic motives. As early as the 1980s, he had blamed the "Zionist press" for his country's economic problems; he associated the 1997 financial crisis with an "international Jewish conspiracy". Speaking to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a grouping of Muslim states, Mahathir stated in 2003: "The Europeans killed six out of twelve million Jews. But today the Jews rule this world through proxy. They make others fight for them and to die." The anti-Semitic tendency has repeatedly found expression in Malaysia's cultural policy - from the refusal to allow the New York Philharmonic to perform a work by the Jewish composer Ernst Bloch in Kuala Lumpur to the ban on Steven Spielberg's Holocaust film Schindlers List. In many Islamic countries the public can be approached for anti-Jewish slogans, in Malaysia the state and the leading statesman have unrestrainedly exploited and exploited this approachability.
But there may be another, deeper reason for the anti-Semitic tendency in Malaysia. That is the country's precarious nationalism. Malaysia is a multiethnic state: a good half of the population are Muslim Malay, alongside ethnic Indians and above all Chinese (with more than 20 percent) are strong minorities. In particular, the Chinese population group, which is traditionally very successful economically, is repeatedly the object of resentment and discrimination. Since the families of the citizens of Chinese origin mostly immigrated in the 19th and early 20th centuries, they do not really belong from the perspective of a Malay ethnic nationalism and remain half foreigners. The Muslim Malay people, on the other hand, are propagated and promoted as the real, real state people, as the real children of the land and soil. It is a political worldview with unmistakably racist features and dangers. Unfortunately, one can only imagine too well how it is turned against another allegedly rootless and alien group of people: the Jews.
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