October 24, 2003
THE ISLAMIC WORLD NEEDS UNITY, CHANGE
** The Islamic press
highlights the "frustration and despair" in the Islamic world.
** Mahathir's speech
provokes a "hue and cry" but Muslims say its message was
** Islamic dailies say
Muslims must "unite and increase their capabilities."
'Troubled times for the Muslim ummah'-- The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)
summit in Malaysia Oct.16-18 opened with the world's Muslim press expounding on
"the atmosphere of despair and despondency in the Arab and Islamic
world." The position of the Islamic
peoples "has never been so weak as it is now." The "frustrations and anger of Muslims
around the world were palpable" among OIC delegates, said Egypt's leading,
Bangladesh's English-language Daily Star spoke for many by
protesting that in addition to Muslims being afflicted by "poverty,
dispossession and oppression," Islam is also "vilified around the
world as a religion of terror."
Papers in Egypt, Syria, Turkey and Bangladesh complained the OIC
"has never played its role to the full potential" and said it needs
"restructuring and new policies that can answer today's problems."
Mahathir's speech 'distorted' by West-- European, Israeli and Latin dailies said
Malaysian PM Mahathir's "absurd" comment that "Jews rule the
world" were "dangerous and prejudicial" and the kind of
"poisoned language" that "fuels terrorism." Singapore's pro-government Straits Times
called it "a pity" that Mahathir's "needlessly provocative
rhetoric" distracted attention from the "groundbreaking"
elements of his address, which called upon Muslims "to shun violence"
in pursuit of their aims. The world's
Muslim press held that "most Western media conveniently ignored" that
Mahathir had said "Muslims should make peace" without violence in
Palestine and that the kernel of his message was that Muslims should emulate
the success of the Jewish people by "pulling together, working hard and
planning for the future." Some
outlets, like Pakistan's centrist national The News, claimed Mahathir's
comments on the Jews were "not a desecration, but a statement of historic fact."
Muslim writers see the need for a course
correction-- Analysts in the Islamic
press pointed to the need for "introspection" to find the path to
"modernize and provide economic, political and human rights to the Muslim
ummah." Too many OIC countries are
"dictatorships or despotisms" as well as "economic
backwaters." Providing for the
human and political rights of Muslims "is the OIC's historical
mission." Many dailies echoed
Mahathir's call to "emphasize education and science" to overcome the
Muslim world's "backwardness."
The Islamic community "must work very hard to grasp again the
glory" of its past, declared Jakarta's independent Media Indonesia. "This can only be done with high-quality
education, not with violence."
Moderate dailies in Saudi Arabia highlighted the need for Muslims to
"collectively and individually" fight terrorism, "which has
deformed the image of Islam."
EDITOR: Steven Wangsness
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 55 reports from 20 countries, October 16-23, 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
EGYPT: "Summit of
Attiyah Isawi commented in leading pro-government Al-Ahram
(10/20): If it were not for the tempest
resulting from the statements made by Mahatir Muhammad, the Malaysian prime
minister that Jews ruled the world by proxy and wanted people to kill and die
for them, humanity would have never even heard that the OIC summit was in
session. Many are the summits, meetings
and conferences held in the third world.
They convene and conclude uselessly.
Thus, people know in advance their outcome, and deep down wish that the
leaders saved the money spent on their participation. No sooner had Mahatir bitterly said, 'how can
1.3 billion Muslims stand helplessly vis-à-vis a few million Jews who rule the
world and want others to sacrifice their lives for them,' that America, Israel
and the EU hastened to accuse him of anti-Semitism. True to their habit, they
pounce on whoever dares to criticize Israel's behavior and that of its allies
in Washington and Europe.... It seems
that the man wanted to say what he said, which was largely true, not caring for
the Zionist reaction, because he will be stepping down voluntarily anyway,
after 20 years during which he made his country into one of the economic
"As expected, the summit hosted by his country ended with a
handful of rhetorical decisions, none of which carried a single position that
maintained Muslims' dignity, rights or reinforced economic relations between
their countries to reduce their reliance on the west, especially the United
States and sometimes Israel. Both attack
the rights and sovereignty of Islamic states and occupy their
territories.... To that extent, Islamic
states were unable to do anything to maintain their dignity, rights, and not
become the doormat that all nations use to wipe their feet, despite their great
numbers is like the scum rejected by the flood.
Why would they not try once to withdraw their ambassadors from Israel or
America in solidarity with the peoples of Palestine, Iraq or Afghanistan? Why did they not boycott the British, Israeli
and U.S. firms, expel the ambassadors of Israel or at least freeze cultural
relations? The answer may be that they
do not control their decision. Each
needs America and perhaps Israel, either to receive economic aid from them and
the international financing institutions controlled by Washington, to acquire
U.S. weapons or help their rulers stay in power. He, who cannot grow his own food, cannot
control his decision. Well said
"Turmoil Lies Ahead"
Leading pro-government Al-Ahram weekly
remarked (Internet version, 10/16):
"The frustrations and anger of Muslims around the world were
palpable as delegates at the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) summit
meeting in the new Malaysian capital Putrajaya complained that, in Kashmir,
Chechnya, Palestine and Iraq, Muslim people and territories are occupied,
sanctioned, threatened, and accused of sponsoring terror. This atmosphere of despair and despondency in
the Arab and Islamic world should not be permitted to linger long. It will only create more trouble, more
tension, and threaten international peace and political stability in the
"Mahathir's Charming Message"
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(10/19): "That anti-Semitism is
alive and well is no longer news.... It
is also no longer news that the evil that was created by medieval Christianity
and perfected by secular Europe now dominates the thinking not just of the Arab
world, but the Muslim one....
Fortunately for everyone, Mahathir's nasty reign ends this month, which
is about 22 years too late. Whether his
legacy of hysterical anti-Semitism and conspiracy-mongering survives him will
depend on his hand-picked successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Badawi should be asking himself whether he
wants to steer Malaysia in the direction of the Asian world or of the Muslim
one--that is, toward democracy, prosperity, and pluralism, or toward fascism,
poverty, and intolerance. One and
one-third billion Muslims live in relative poverty not because they are
shackled by a few million Jews, but because they think they are shackled. The sooner they free their minds from this
fantasy, the quicker the progress they'll make."
SAUDI ARABIA: "Who
Protects Ideology Of Hate?"
Riyadh's conservative, Al-Riyadh editorialized
(10/21): "If the West actually
wanted to create an atmosphere of (religious) tolerance it would set an example
by fighting statements which instigate terrorism. Comparing what Mahathir Mohammed said with
the remarks of an American official [General Boykin], who reflected an
irresponsible and barbaric attitude, we must ask how such an official keeps his
job in a government which has declared war on terrorism."
"Justifications For Attacking Mahathir"
Jeddah's moderate Al-Bilad argued (10/21): "President Bush went over the limit when
he criticized the Malaysian prime minister publicly and personally. [Bush] failed to justify his attack; he could
have ignored the remarks or dealt with them diplomatically, rather than in the
media. The campaign against Mahathir
shows that a storm of anger awaits any Muslim nation that tries to develop even
a moderate position."
"Muslims And Coexistence With The World"
Dammam's moderate Al-Yaum opined (10/20): "All of a sudden, Muslims who were well
known for their long history of tolerance, kind-heartedness and honesty among
human societies, have suddenly turned into killers and terrorists. This would never have happened if it were not
for the stupid, reckless and radical actions of those deviant groups.... The doctrine of Islamic nations stresses
security, stability and prosperity among all human communities with no
exceptions, all Islamic nations are required collectively but not individually
to fight this phenomenon."
"Re-Organizing The Islamic House"
Riyadh's moderate Al-Jazira editorialized (10/20): "The Islamic speech, which concentrated
on the importance of reorganizing the Islamic house as a necessary step towards
its effective participation with the others, is a vital matter to the
Kingdom.... The main concern for Muslim
countries is fighting terrorism, which has deformed the image of Islam,
considering that there are several terrorist groups proclaiming to be Muslims,
and speaking on behalf of Islam and that their actions come out of the Islamic
perspective. The problem is not Islam,
but those who pretend that they are Muslims and taking a path that diverges far
from Islam's instructions, because radicalism and exaggerations are not related
to Islam. Therefore, Islamic countries
have to sort out their religion from deviations that have nothing to do with
Islam or its objectives or means."
"The Will And The Price"
Jeddah's moderate, Okaz argued (10/18): "In light of the Crown Prince's
statement at the Islamic Conference we have two questions: First, do Islamic countries have the will to
deal with their citizens with complete transparency and without
deception--something that we have come to expect from them in the past? Second, are we ready to pay the price for the
remedy? The cure requires hefty
concessions that put the public good ahead of both regional and personal
interests. If we answer yes to both
these questions, then there may be a light at the end of the tunnel."
"Rooting Out Extremism"
Riyadh's English-language, moderate Riyadh Daily
editorialized (Internet version, 10/18):
"Extremists are today the worst enemies of the Muslim
world.... The Kingdom has time and again
spoken vociferously and acted promptly against people with extremist
ideology. This established fact was
brought to fore once again at the OIC summit... when the Crown Prince called
for stronger institutions to counter the bane of militancy stemming from
extremist thought. Muslim countries have
now accepted the reality that the name of Islam--which in truth is the religion
of peace--is constantly being linked to international terrorism. The OIC, which yesterday concluded its first
ever summit after the September 11 attacks, has addressed the issue with a
realistic approach regardless of how fair or how generalized the accusations of
terrorism against Muslims might be....
The Crown Prince directly addressed the problem by rooting this terror
image to the extremists within the fold....
The fight against extremism, of course, would have to begin at home
itself, within the Muslim world. In this
context, the Crown Prince has urged the OIC states to strengthen institutions
to tackle the growing trend of extremism among the youth. The Kingdom itself has been looking into its
educational institutes and theological discourses, to stem out any elements of
extremism, if any. The few black sheep
within the fold must not be let loose to tarnish the good name of Islam."
MOROCCO: "Look for the
Silver Lining and You Will Find It"
Palestinian Press Attaché at the Palestinian Embassy in Rabat,
Wassif Mansur, wrote on the front pate of government coalition Al Alam
(10/21): "In the end, it is
absolutely worth saying that the Palestinian people, throughout its long
history, can no longer rely on Arab, Islamic or international organizations'
official meetings, because not one clause from any of those organizations'
communiques is ever implemented. If the
Palestinian people feel a little optimism after the recent OIC summit, it is
only because the summit's condemnation of Israel represents a kind of a courage
that has been lost in Arab and Islamic countries since the events of September
11. The (OIC'S) courage has given the Palestinian people some optimism, even if
only lip service optimism."
SYRIA: "The Islamic
Summit And The Challenge Of The Media War"
Ahmad Hamadah opined in government-owned Al-Thawrah
(Internet version, 10/16): "The
Islamic summit...has to answer many questions, basically this one: will the Islamic countries adopt effective
resolutions to confront the state of frustration and despair from which the
Muslim people are suffering as a result of the Zionist campaign against them,
the accusation of terrorism against them, and the launching of wars on them
under this pretext, or will the summit serve only as a forum to deliver
speeches and establish follow-up and coordination committees that might not be
able to follow up anything? It is no
secret that the OIC, since its establishment in 1969, has played a positive
role in bringing the Islamic countries closer and unifying their positions over
many just causes, notably the Palestinian cause.... But it also has been noticed that after the
11 September events in the United States, the priorities of many Muslim
countries changed. Differences among the
Muslim countries deepened.... The card
of Islamic boycott of Israel also eroded....
Some Islamic countries went as far as taking the side of the camp that
threatens their independence, sovereignty, security, and culture. They were driven behind that camp's deception
campaigns that portrayed resistance as terrorism and terrorism as
resistance.... The Zionist trumpets and
media machine are releasing their venom, accusing Muslims of terrorism to
distorting their image in the West. They
have been telling the United States and its allies: Seize the opportunity to
strike at the Islamic countries (your new enemy after communism). This is the new threat that wants to
undermine your Western civilization.
This campaign, which invented the so-called 'Islamic extremism', found
responsive people in the West.... This
is due to the torrent of lies used and the absence of any Islamic role exposing
these lies, which went beyond every imagination and limit.... Will the Islamic summit note the seriousness
of these campaigns and lay out an information strategy to counter them?"
TUNISIA: "The Sword of
An editorial by senior editor Hajer Jeridi in independent
French-language daily newspaper Le Temps stated (10/20): “The Islamic and Arab position has never been
so weak as it is now.... Any observation
or criticism expressed by this ‘Evil Race’ is interpreted as an incitement to
hatred and as a racist act.... Being
unable to defend themselves...Arabs seem to be resigned to consider this fact
as a part of their reality. There is no
resistance, no policy, no well-planned communication to answer these
accusations.... The most recurrent
blame, the sword of Damocles, that weighs heavily on Arab-Muslim populations,
is the accusation of anti-Semitism....
It is an insidious policy aimed at isolating the Arab-Muslim world and
overwhelming it with charges so as to portray it as an area of outlaws.”
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
Blaming Others, OIC Should Consolidate"
Leading independent Kompas observed (Internet version,
10/19): "This year's summit was the
first since the attack on 11 September, 2001, and then the invasions of
Afghanistan and Iraq--two developments which put the Islamic world on the
defensive. As President Megawati
Soekarnoputri said in her speech at the summit, these cruel acts of terrorism
did not cause casualties and property damage alone, but brought about an
erroneous view of the Islamic way of life, which then took the image of a
religion smeared with violence and aggression.... In this regard, what [Malaysian Prime
Minister] Mahathir pointed out has also played a part in the declining image of
Islam. He said the Jews had oppressed
and humiliated the Islamic world through their influence in the West. Some of the above points have some truth in
them, [but] it is not enough for Muslim nations to blame others. That is why Mahathir also called on Muslim
nations to unite and increase their capabilities. He regretted that Islamic nations had made
few achievements in economic progress and in mastering technology [and]
rejected the view often put forward by fundamentalists that modern education,
technology, and progress are anathema to Islam.... Under 22 years of Mahathir's leadership,
Indonesia's neighbor has proved itself as a Muslim majority country that has
succeeded not only in economic development, but also in advancing political
stability.... Malaysia has a lot that
OIC nations could copy.... Muslim
nations first and foremost need to consolidate, close ranks, and to determine
priorities. First, of course, is the
effort to advance, at least to the level of the summit host nation. Next, they can forge a compact view, for
example, in declaring an attitude regarding Palestine. If Muslim nations can unite, they will not
only have a stronger voice, but greater wealth.
Therefore, a more appropriate stance is not simply to blame others, but
to use some introspection and consolidation to improve themselves first."
"OIC, A Scattered Power"
Independent Media Indonesia asserted
(Internet version, 10/18): "It is
not surprising that the OIC bargaining position is so weak in so many world
affairs. Take only Iraq and Palestine. The OIC seems to have lost its voice. The OIC is powerless to resist the aggression
of the United States and Britain, who now control Iraq. The OIC, too, could not hold back the push of
Jewish Zionism from swallowing up Palestine.
This is because Islam is a scattered force. Thus, Mahathir's call for OIC countries to unite
must be welcomed. For the foundation of
any organization, wherever it may be, is commonality. When commonality is no longer a cord that
binds, there is no longer anything of an organization to defend....
"With the rise in terrorism, the image of
violence has covered the Islamic community.
And Islam must answer that with intelligence and the high moral
ground.... That Islam is cool, tolerant,
incorruptible, clean and peace loving, choosing the path of dialogue.... Indonesia, for instance, as the largest
Muslim nation, is incapable of setting an example. Our education is increasingly on the ropes,
and the morality of our leaders at almost every level is extremely
poor.... Thus, what Mahathir says is a
call to make profound corrections to our course. The Islamic community must work very hard to
grasp again the glory of the seventh and eighth centuries, when Islam was the
greatest contributor to world civilization.
And this can only be done with high-quality education, not with
That The West Distorted"
Bunn Nagara wrote in the English-language Star
(10/18): "Malaysia's attempt to
rally members of the Organization of Islamic Conference...sought to rouse them
from various states of stupor, apathy and semi-paralysis. It had to be a kick-start to push an
otherwise disparate array of 57 nations to rise above their rut, torpor and
defeatism. Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir
Mohamad's opening speech was as usual expansive and provocative. It challenged OIC member states to rise to
the occasion, and that occasion was the politically weakened state of their
shared faith. The speech covered many
areas and topics, among which was the global dominance of Jewish entities. This was enough for much of the Western media
and some Western leaders to single out the point with which to denounce the
prime minister and his message. It would
have been better if all these critics had read the speech in its entirety,
rather than just responding to isolated 'statements' or reports of the comment. As it is, their urge to clamp down on Dr.
Mahathir's blunt comments sits oddly with their proclaimed adherence to free
speech.... The result is not unfamiliar:
condemnation of views taken out of context....
These self-righteous critics worry about hurtful words while turning a
blind eye and a deaf ear to the bullets and missiles destroying real lives of
multitudes of innocents. If this is not
sheer ignorance it must be gross hypocrisy, with vile duplicity to
match.... The speech also acknowledged
Jewish grit and savvy, without belittling Jewish capabilities in any way. The prime minister similarly pressed Muslims
to emulate the ways of Jewish people which have led to such success around the
world. Pulling together, working hard
and planning for the future were all better than pessimism, destruction and
"The West's Misconception Of Dr. Mahathir's Criticism"
Government-influenced Malay language Berita Harian had this
to day (Internet version, 10/18):
"The world has tried to distort the essence of Malaysian Prime
Minister Datuk Sri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad's speech at the opening of the 10th
Organization of Islamic Conference [OIC] Summit...just because he is sincere in
talking about the Jews' trickery.
Western countries cannot accept the facts of Dr. Mahathir's
statement.... All this time they have
been condemning Islam and treating Muslims like they have no dignity. Do the Jews and big powers supporting them
feel offended by Dr. Mahathir's statement when what he has said is no longer a
'secret?' Where can we hide the facts
about Palestinian land, Iraq, Afghanistan and several other Islamic nations
that have been devastated?.... The
statement...has sparked a political polemic because it comes from the leader of
an Islamic nation that has achieved progress.... Dr. Mahathir's speech focuses on the issues
of Islam, Islamic nations and the attitudes of Muslims. He has also openly criticized the attitudes of
Muslim leaders that led to Islam being humiliated. Not even one Muslim leader is angry or has
responded to the statement in an unsatisfactory manner. Instead, they regard Dr. Mahathir's statement
as a factual criticism in order to make Muslims realize the reality. To countries in the bloc that views Islam
with contempt, the portrayal of everything negative should be directed at
Muslims only. Muslims must be left to
suffer and continue to be weak. To them,
Dr. Mahathir's efforts to make other Islamic nations realize the need to build
up their strength, will pose a threat to their superiority.... Muslims, particularly the leaders of Islamic
nations, must be jerked with a bold statement because all this while they have
been afraid to say the truth. The
invasion of Islamic nations by Western powers, and without the a slightest humanitarian
feeling, has made all these nations' leaders bow to them. The Muslims' countries are ravaged, resources
monopolized, and leaders blamed by the people.
This is the horrifying dream that is faced by Islamic nations when they
have the strength but are scared to use it."
"Post OIC Summit In Putrajaya"
Lokman Othman remarked in government-controlled Utusan Malaysia
(Internet version, 10/18): "Dr.
Mahathir called on Islamic nations to stop being emotional and not to use the
old approach in dealing with conflicts.
Instead, they must use knowledge to overcome them. The Jews have shown this and by using
knowledge for development, they have power now.
Although the process has taken a long time, the result is
effective. The Jews are strong
militarily and economically. But until
today the fate of Muslims is not only without improvement, but rather, the
situation is getting worse.... Dr.
Mahathir wanted Islamic nations to look to the past and emulate Prophet
Mohammed's leadership as useful examples.
The Muslims were then small in number and weak, but with wisdom and
intelligence God endowed them, they finally became successful in all
fields. However, the recipe failed to
defend the Muslims forever. Political
discord caused them to kill each other while other races continued to build
their individual strength. Dr. Mahathir
tried to make OIC member countries realize the reality that they are faced with
now.... Unfortunately, the foreign media
viewed Dr. Mahathir's speech from a negative perspective.... The voices of some of the foreign media that
are filled with contempt for Dr. Mahathir must be banned. To the foreign media, the truth that Dr.
Mahathir said must be concealed so that the Muslims would continue to be in the
dark, apart from being saddled with weaknesses and backwardness. If the Muslims feel that they are weak, they
must be developed in accordance with the big powers' wishes."
"Strength And Unity Become The Pillars"
Government-influenced Malay language Berita
Harian noted (Internet version, 10/17):
"Toward the last moments of his leadership as the prime minister of
a dynamic Islamic nation, Datuk Sri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, without any fear, has
continued to reproach all quarters--leaders, scholars or ulemas--for the
mistakes and failures committed by Muslims thus far. It is due to these factors that the 1.3 billion
Muslims throughout the world are still backward and not fairly defended. Without putting the blame on others except
Muslims themselves, Dr. Mahathir said that our attitudes have allowed us to be
divided into numerous groups, sects, and tarikats, each more concerned with
claiming to be the true Islam than our oneness as the Islamic Ummah. This has made it easier for our enemies to
humiliate and oppress us.... Dr.
Mahathir not only made a wise and deep evaluation of the situation hitting the
Islamic world now. Rather, he also
explained a program of action to overcome the problems. The program, regarded by several leaders as a
'peace plan,' must be adopted by all Islamic nations. By using strength and unity as the pillars,
it is hoped that the program of action can be implemented by leaders and
Islamic nations in handling issues faced by Muslims throughout the world."
"Uproar Drowns Mahathir's Real Message"
Brendan Pereira wrote in the pro-government Straits
Times (Internet version, 10/18):
"Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's controversial 'Jews
rule the world' speech should have gone down as a clarion call to Muslims to
shun violence and use their brains, not just brawn, to improve their lot. It was a speech rich with groundbreaking
elements: a call for Muslim countries to pause and try to resolve the
Palestinian issue through peaceful means, and a plea for Muslims not to
antagonize their detractors but to win them over. What a pity that Dr. Mahathir's needlessly
provocative rhetoric about the Jews distracted everyone and diluted the meat of
his address.... Not surprisingly, the
derision was immediate and widespread....
Here is the irony. If anyone should
have been angry...it should have been Hamas, Hizbollah and their ilk in the
Middle East, or some of the backward regimes that dot the Muslim world. He called for a different approach to
tackling the Palestinian issue, arguing that the policy of aggression had not
worked for 50 years. A better option was
to win the hearts and minds of people who were critical and suspicious of
Muslims.... This was the moderate view
that the Muslim world so badly needs to hear again and again. This was also the kind of view that the rest
of the world has wanted Muslim leaders to articulate. So it was a pity indeed that Dr. Mahathir
muddied the waters with his rhetoric."
"Mahathir Leaves A Malay Dilemma"
The lead editorial in top-circulation, moderately conservative,
English language Bangkok Post
read (10/21): “The OIC Summit
ended in a dilemma, however. Host and Malaysian
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, the patriarch of Southeast Asian politics and
two weeks from retirement, committed two giant gaffes. In his speech to the summit, Dr. Mahathir
made racist and offensive remarks about Jews around the world. Then, instead of retracting them or even
trying to claim he was speaking of the state of Israel, he defended and
repeated them. This so overshadowed the
actual accomplishments of the OIC that it created an actual dilemma. Dr. Mahathir at the very least appears guilty
of grandstanding, although many believe racism and bigotry decided his
words. Only he can know for sure. But if he wished to motivate Muslims, as he
claims, he had 100 methods to choose from.
Fellow political leaders from Islamic countries had no trouble to speak
to Muslim problems, and to offer both realistic and idealistic solutions.”
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer editorialized (Internet
version, 10/21): "The Organization
of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which has always tended to take a one-sided
and pro-Pakistan view of the situation in Jammu & Kashmir, broke all its
earlier records in partisanship.... Its
Secretary-General Abdelouahed Belkeziz's...call for India to allow an OIC
delegation to visit J&K and inspect the conditions there, reflects a
glaring inability to recognize reality.
The same applies to the demand for a 'plebiscite' in J&K and
condemnation of 'human rights violations' by India in the organization's
communiqué. If this has further
undermined its credibility with New Delhi, its unquestioning endorsement of
Pakistan's position on Kashmir and failure to condemn the latter's sponsorship
of cross-border terrorism which is the basic cause of the troubles in J&K,
have severely damaged such image as it has in the world.... Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir
Mohamed...sought to underline the need for change among Islamic countries which
he said, had to be stable, well-administered, economically and financially
strong, industrially competent and technologically advanced to disprove the
perception that Islam was a religion of backwardness and terror. This is doubtless a tall order given the
state of most of OIC's member countries, but even a beginning cannot be made
unless they recognize their own inadequacies.
As the summit has shown, a critical one is their failure to be
"Islamic Countries Favor Pakistan"
Second-largest circulation Hindi daily Dainik Jagran
averred (10/20): "Indian Prime
Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has said that Pakistani President Pervez
Musharraf's statement in Malaysia demanding a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir
was ridiculous.... The OIC is
interfering in India's internal affairs by passing the proposal on Jammu and
Kashmir, which is objectionable. India
has strongly criticized the proposal but that is not enough. It is not an ordinary matter that 57 Islamic
countries under the OIC passed the proposal and demanded that the Kashmiris be
given the right to have a referendum.
Surprisingly, not a word on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir was mentioned in
the proposal. This is nothing short of
favoritism shown toward Pakistan by the Islamic countries.... This is not the first time that the OIC has
taken an inimical attitude toward India.
It appears that its members are intentionally overlooking the fact that
India has the second-largest Muslim population in the world, next to Indonesia. The Muslims here are living in a much better
situation than Muslims elsewhere in the world.
The OIC's pro-Pakistan policy has made the organization a suspect in the
eyes of the Indians.... If the OIC
values the goodwill of Indian Muslims, it should avoid becoming a tool of
Pakistan. India should not merely express
regret over the OIC resolution. The
country should make an effort to change the members' attitude if they want
cordial relations between India and the Muslim world to continue. Efforts should also be made to counter
Pakistan's false allegations against India before the Muslim countries."
The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (10/20): “The OIC would have done well to indulge in a
bit of self-introspection. Had it been
wise enough to do so, it would have found that the concept it is supposedly
looking for in Kashmir is absent in most Islamic countries, including Pakistan
whose warped vision it blindly endorsed.
Even the 'democracy' prevalent in Pakistan is not regarded as a genuine
one by, say, the Commonwealth.... No
less fatuous was the demand voiced by the OIC's secretary-general to allow a
delegation from the organization to ‘inspect conditions in the
Indian-controlled part’ of Kashmir....
If the OIC wants to help its member-countries, it should focus on ways
to break the stranglehold of retrogressive 'mullacracies' prevalent in the
Muslim world. A delegation can also
visit Kashmir to learn about democracy and pluralism.”
The centrist Times of India held (Internet version,
10/18): "Quite clearly, the
sponsors of terrorism had planned for the new phase of violence to coincide
with the sense of betrayal increasingly felt by the average Kashmiri.... Ironically, the outrage happened a day after
Washington traced Dawood Ibrahim's whereabouts to a Karachi address, and
announced that he in fact held a Pakistani passport. Belated as this American 'discovery' of
Dawood is, it nonetheless exposes Pakistan's lie about the D-company [Dawood
and his associates] and, by implication, the role of both sponsoring trouble in
India. It is a safe bet, of course, that
the general will be unfazed by this embarrassing turn of events. One indication of the course he is likely to
follow is suggested by his invitation to the OIC [Organization of The Islamic
Conference] countries to send their representatives to investigate the reality
of 'occupied' Kashmir. Rather than panic
at this, India should welcome the team so they can see the truth--including the
fidayeen attacks--for themselves.
Simultaneously, the Indian side could suggest that the OIC visit
Pakistan to ascertain both the general's popularity and the state of his terror
"Look First Within"
Pro-Congress Urdu-language Qaumi Awaz
stated (10/18): "The OIC has been
claiming to be the representative of Muslims worldwide, but the organization
has not paid any attention to solving the social, economic, and political
problems of the Muslim countries because it has been functioning under the
influence of the United States and the western countries. India, which has millions of Muslim
population, is kept out of the OIC membership.... The OIC has no legal or moral right to ask
for plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, the OIC's narrowmindedness encourages the terrorists.... The OIC should rise above its emotional links
with Pakistan and consider the situation....
The OIC should have asked Musharraf to respond positively to India's
peace initiative last year. The OIC
leaders should pay heed to the dangers of the extremists and anti-democracy
elements threatening the Islamic world.
The organization should consider how the western countries succeeded in
linking Islam with terrorism, and why in some Muslim countries, the powers were
vested in few hands.... In his inaugural
address, the new OIC chairman, Mahathir Muhammad, said that no Islamic country
was free in the true sense.... The OIC
countries should first look within. Only
then they should dare interfere in India's internal affairs."
"Mahatir’s Remarks: Protest
By Israeli Patron Crusader Bush"
An editorial in the second largest Urdu daily, Nawa-e-Waqt
read (10/22): "U.S. President
George W. Bush protested to Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahatir Muhammad over
his remarks regarding Jews.... Whatever
Prime Minister Mahatir said...was one hundred percent correct. Whatever Jews faced in Europe before the
inception of Israel was a result of their misdeeds.... The day President Bush was expressing his
love for Jews and Israel and registering his protest with Mahatir Muhammad,
Israeli aircraft were launching repeated attacks on Palestinians in Gaza."
"Israel’s State Terrorism:
Response To Dr. Mahatir Mohammad’s Statement?"
The Karachi-based pro-Taliban/Jihad Urdu daily, Islam
remarked (10/22): "U.S. President
Bush has yet again provided a proof of his pro-Zionist affiliations by
protesting to Dr. Mahatir Mohammad [over his statement] at the APEC
summit. Many believe that the recent
action by Israel against Palestinians is a direct Israeli reaction to this
The center-right national English daily, The Nation held
(10/22): "The hue and cry that Dr.
Mahatir's observations have provoked among the pro-Jewish circles in the world
is totally uncalled for....
Characterizing Jews as having been the victims of 2,000 years of pogrom,
which they fought 'not by hitting but by thinking,' he advised Muslims 'to
emulate their response'.... Dr. Mahatir
called those who 'lash back in anger' by killing themselves and others as
'people acting irrationally.' Plainly he
was urging the Muslim world to forsake violence and start thinking about an
honorable exit from the tricky situation they find themselves in.... One wonders with what face the U.S. president
could tell the Malaysian prime minister that his views were 'wrong and
divisive'. Should Jews, insignificant in
number compared to the overall global population, not be ruling by proxy, Mr.
Bush would not have jumped to their defense."
"What Is Free May Not Be Fair"
The Karachi-based center-left independent national English daily, Dawn
noted (10/22): "While one can empathize
with what the Malaysian leader has said about what is fair and what is not in
the context of free trade, it is not possible to agree with him fully on the
matter of poorer countries' right to protect their 'little businesses until
they can compete with the giants' or that the developing countries be allowed
to take pride in their national industries, even if they are producing
match-sticks and cigarettes rather than automobiles and aircraft."
"The Emperor Comes Calling"
Mahir Ali editorialized in the Karachi-based center-left
independent national English daily Dawn (10/22): "What caused most alarm was not the
veteran Malaysian leader's words but the fact that he received a standing
ovation. However, the opportunity for a
Washington-led anti-Mahatir tirade was undermined somewhat by reports that a
leading U.S. general, William G. Boykin, who is the Deputy Under-Secretary of
Defense for Intelligence, has in his utterances been alluding to a Christian
crusade against Islam."
"Re-Creating The OIC"
An op-ed by Hans B. Bremer in the centrist national English daily,
The News judged (10/22):
"One need only quote Dr. Mahatir’s own reaction to his western
critics: 'They think while it is proper to criticize Muslims and Arabs, it is
not proper to criticize Europeans and Jews.'
Of course, most western media conveniently ignored the fact that Dr.
Mahatir had also said Muslims should make peace as they could not win the
Palestinian conflict through violence....
Don’t expect any big thank you from Uncle Sam. What was it again that Dr. Mahatir said about
the Jews ruling the world by proxy? So
where do we go from here? It is
imperative that the momentum coming out of Putrajaya be kept up. Time is of the essence. When OIC leaders meet
again before the end of next year, they must have some considerable progress to
report, and the commission now being set up on the advice of President
Musharraf must give them something concrete to work on. In addition, why don’t Mahatir Mohammad and
Pervez Musharraf embark on a joint PR offensive? Take two or three weeks off and travel
together around the globe to lay out in detail the OIC’s vision for itself and
for its relations with the non-Muslim world."
"Mahatir's Swan Song"
Burhanuddin Hasan commented in the centrist national English
daily, The News (10/22): "A
storm of protest has arisen predictably against the bold and truthful remarks
of Mahatir Mohammad in Israel, U.S. and European Union countries. Israeli foreign ministry has issued a
statement saying that Mahatir’s reference to the Holocaust was 'desecration of
the memory of six million innocent victims of anti-Semitism.' It was not a desecration, but a statement of
a historic fact. It is amazing that
Israel has ignored the tribute paid by Mahatir to Jews for inventing socialism,
communism, human rights and democracy.
This swan song of Dr. Mahatir Mohammad was the best that came out of the
"Foreign Minister's Suggestions"
The second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt observed
(10/19): "Foreign Minister Khurshid
Kasuri has said that Mahatir Muhammad's remarks (regarding Jews) were taken out
of context, and that 'I myself know lots of broadminded Jews'.... In his inaugural address, Malaysian PM
Mahatir Muhammad had said that the Jews are ruling the world by proxy, and
other countries are fighting and dying for them. Mr. Kasuri's observation on the Malaysian
PM's remarks exceed his status, more so because all Muslim leaders talked about
Jewish conspiracies against the Muslim Ummah and considered it to be a valid
issue. But our foreign minister came up
with a clarification that even Mr. Muhammad would not have found
acceptable.... Is this what we have come
to: that our foreign minister takes it upon himself to issue clarifications and
"Muslim Leadership's Responsibility"
Lahore-based independent Urdu daily Din argued
(10/18): "By citing the Jews'
example, Dr. Mahatir Muhammad has tried to explain that a durable power
structure cannot be formed without planning, deliberation and thought. He has explained how Europe eliminated half
of the Jewish population, but Jews could not be put down because they do
everything after giving it much thought....
No one can disagree with Dr. Mahatir's observation, and will concede
that even Muslims--who constitute one-sixth of the world's population--can
attain an important place in the world if they adopt this (Jewish) strategy
rather than being swept away by emotions."
Reflection, Unity And Best Defense Capability"
An editorial in the second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt
contended (10/18): "As far as Dr.
Mahatir Muhammad's views on Jews are concerned, they are hundred percent
correct.... At present Muslims face the
greatest threat from the U.S.-Indian-Israeli axis of evil. Russia, too, is cooperating with these
countries. Therefore, the Islamic world
must unite against them and take concrete measures so that Jewish conspiracies
can be countered."
"Putrajaya And Enlightened Moderation"
The centrist national English daily, The News wrote
(10/21): "Besides rhetoric, the
Summit addressed the crucial issues of working together to face the odds. Prime Minister Mahatir of Malaysia did not
mince words when he analyzed the causes of Muslims' backwardness and how only through
education, science, technology, modernization, putting our own houses in order
and closing ranks, could we find a respectable place in the world. His reference to the power of the Jews was
well taken although it irked the West."
"The Real Success Of The Islamic Summit"
Centrist Urdu daily Pakistan declared (10/18): "The Islamic world must heed Dr.
Mahatir's words (about the Jews) and avoid becoming a toy in the hands of a
"OIC Disappoints Again"
Mushahid Hussain commented in the center-right national English
daily, The Nation (10/21):
"[Mahatir's] remarks regarding Jews being a 'world power' whose
strength and influence is disproportionate to its numerical size is something
that almost all Muslims fervently believe but few say so publicly. And it is now no secret that the Iraq war was
largely pushed by the pro-Israeli neo-conservative cabal now dominant in
Washington. These remarks, therefore, are
certainly not synonymous with 'anti-Semitism'.
However, where Dr. Mahatir was wrong both factually and in his
historical narrative was to link 'socialism, communism, human rights and
democracy' as something 'invented and successfully promoted' by the Jews. That is giving 'credit' where it does not
belong and this falls within the realm of conspiracy theories, not any
"Leader Of The Islamic World:
Abdul Karim Abid judged in the center-right Urdu daily Pakistan
(10/21): "Although the time has not
yet come when someone can be appointed a caliph of the Muslims, but Mahatir
Muhammad has certainly become a leader of the Muslims. If nothing else, he can at least be termed as
a bold and courageous spokesman of the Muslim world.... However, it would have been better if Dr.
Mahatir Muhammad had used the term 'Zionist' or 'Zionism' instead of 'Jews' as
not all people belonging to a race or nation are alike. Even among Jews, there are lots of
conscientious people who are against Israeli and Zionist ambitions. The ordinary Jew is not a capitalist, he
belongs to the poor or middle class, and although his mind might have been
poisoned, he does not belong to the Zionist movement."
"Hue And Cry Over Mahatir's Address"
Abbas Athar commented in the second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt
(10/18): "Australia, Britain and
the U.S. are crying the loudest at Dr. Mahatir's statement. A Protestant Britain laid the foundation of
Israel and a Protestant-dominated U.S. turned this pygmy into a giant. Even today, Australia, the U.S. and Britain
are most active in promoting this monster.
If, by some miracle, the Arab countries attack Israel and subjugate it,
all of Europe will remain silent but these three will not waste a moment in
attacking these Arab states."
Kabul Radio Afghanistan in Pashto commented (10/21): "The participation of His Excellency
Mr. Hamed Karzai in the annual conference of the Islamic countries
[Organization of Islamic Conferences] after no representation of Afghanistan in
this conference for six years, has made Afghanistan better known
internationally. It has also given
Afghanistan its Islamic identity among other Islamic countries. The head of state, Mr. Hamed Karzai, stated
at the conference that Afghanistan is the center of civilizations and asked the
world for further cooperation."
BANGLADESH: "A Call to
Action: Time For The OIC To Fulfill Its
Independent English Daily Star editorialized (10/19): "These are troubled times for the Muslim
ummah. In addition to the poverty,
dispossession, and oppression that millions of Muslims endure, Islam is today
vilified around the world as a religion of terror. The OIC is thus right to take a strong stand
rejecting the imputation of any nexus between Islam and terrorism. The OIC is also right to reject selectivity
and duplicity in the fight against terrorism and the notion that only Muslims
are terrorists. In short, the OIC has
done a decent job outlining the grievances of the Muslim world and insisting
that the world recognize that Muslims feel aggrieved and under siege. However, the principal crisis that Islam
faces is internal, not external. Too
many of the OIC member states are dictatorships or despotisms that deny their
citizens basic political and human rights and too many are impoverished
economic backwaters that deny their citizens basic economic and social
rights. Muslim countries need to
modernize and provide economic, political and human rights to the Muslim
ummah. Helping to provide these rights
and opportunities is the OIC’s historical mission and it is this mission that
must be fulfilled for the OIC to be a relevant and effective body today."
"OIC Summit: Muslim
Nations Receive New Direction"
Independent Bangla language newspaper Prothom Alo commented
(10/19): "The summit of the
57-nation OIC was uniquely significant.
The need to strengthen the organization received importance in the
summit to meet the challenges of a changed global reality. The adoption of a 12-point plan of action was
one of the significant aspects of the summit.
We must accept that the time has come to emphasize education and
science. We think that the people of the
Muslim world will be able to acquire effective strength with the practice of
science and knowledge. We can be
optimistic that positive results will be found since such thoughts have emerged
in the Muslim world. We think that the
conference has been able to provide Muslim nations with a positive
"OIC Makes No Headway"
Independent English Bangladesh Observer observed
(10/19): "The OIC, the only
organization of states based on the primary criterion of religion, has never
played its role to the full potential.
This time again, it has shown how spineless it is when it came to the
important resolution on Iraq. Although
it has tried to be as supportive as it could to the Palestinian cause and as
critical as possible to Israel, its resolution has been euphemistically worded
rather than making concrete suggestions....
It appears that the organization is under the spell of a bogey power out
to disrupt the international order.
There is hardly any difference between the Bush-Blair doctrine and the
one propagated by Hitler on the racial line known as anti-Semitism. Branding Islam as a dangerous threat to
security of the U.S. or any other country is simply nonsensical. The OIC needed to say point blank that much
of the problems the U.S. has on its hands in the Middle East are of its own
making. Islam has nothing to do with
this. If the U.S.-UK come to their
senses and try to mend their ways, peace can still be the order of the day in
that region, if not in the entire world."
Abolhassan Sobhani wrote in Keyhan International,
English-language daily affiliated with the conservative Keyhan group
(10/18): "OIC member states
expressed concern about the situation in the Islamic countries with a resolve
to make every effort to enhance the OIC role in the international affairs
commensurate with the strength, human and natural resources and contribution to
international peace and security.... The decision to 'revitalize' an economic
boycott of Israel in retaliation for its 'aggressions' against Palestinians and
other Arabs is considered as an important one by political analysts.... It is a pity that the OIC communique did not
call for an increased UN role and a set timetable for U.S.-led forces to pull
out of Iraq.... Let's hope the OIC, a
major world body, continues asserting itself and attains the status it deserves
at international arena."
ITALY: "The End Of A
Elite, classical liberal Il Foglio
commented (10/23): “[The UN vote on the
Israeli Security fence] reflects the worst European diplomatic tradition, full
as it is of moral equivalencies and accomplice silence.... What is new with this resolution is its
context. It was approved right after the
speech of Malaysian Premier Mohammed Mahatir at the Conference of Islamic
countries.... The speech did not receive
clear-cut condemnation in Europe.... The
Europeans’ choice to play down what happened and to instead condemn Israel for
the building of the wall, is taken to mean by many observers as the fall of a
taboo, a creepy legitimization of the anti-Zionist version of anti-Semitism.”
Reformist Izvestiya editorialized (10/18): "If Mahathir had not said some foul
things about Jews at the Islamic summit in Malaysia he would not have been his
own self. This man's image does not
allow him to restrain his tongue while speaking about the 'worst enemies of the
Islamic world,' moreover, in front of such a responsive audience. The audience met Mahathir's words about the
'Jews ruling the world' with a storm of applause. What else could we expect? For us, the most significant aspect of the
anti-Semitic scandal during the Malaysian summit is that Vladimir Putin was
among the audience during Mahathir's speech....
Putin found himself in an embarrassing situation. He was a guest invited to the Islamic summit
for the first time and therefore, could not argue with the host publicly,
speaking from the podium. Having said
that, he could not ignore Mahathir's escapade either..... Putin found an elegant way to express his
attitude to Mahathir's words without provoking a public conflict.... While speaking before journalists, the
Russian president stated that 'some speakers at the forum expressed 'extreme
views.' Putin did not mention any names,
but it was clear anyway whom he referred to....
Putin can speak more sharply and specifically after his return to
Moscow, where he should meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Incidentally, the scandalous event in
Malaysia gives a new angle to the idea of Russia's entry into OIC recently
expressed by the Kremlin. The observer
status is fine. However, are we ready to
become a full-fledged member of an organization whose leaders meet those kinds
of odious speeches with ovations?"
"Playing Games On Thin Ice"
Aleksandr Budberg mused in reformist youth-oriented Moskovskiy
Komsomolets (10/20): "As Moscow
is trying to act the part of a 'truce envoy,' it needs to be very careful and
tough not to slide smoothly into the habitual anti-Western ways that are still
popular in the world and among the military.
In that sense, the Mahathir-stirred row is useful in reminding Putin of
the thin ice he is walking on. Truce
envoys are known to have drawn fire from all sides sometimes."
"Do We Need All This?"
Arkadiy Dubnov reported from Putrajaya for reformist Vremya
Novostey (10/17): "The enemies
of Islam were a high and even scandalous point in the Mahathir statement. Attending the ICO summit, Vladimir Putin
learned that the Jews and Europeans rule the world.... It remains to be seen what Putin will do now,
after he offered the ICO his services in arranging a dialogue with other faiths. Does the world's Muslim elite need his help
and must Russia get involved, seeking the status of an observer with the
ICO? With Europeans and Jews in our
midst, we may some day be listed among the 'enemies,' too."
"Putting Together The Incompatible"
Vladislav Vorobyov of official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta
noted (10/17): "The leaders of
Muslim countries yesterday tried to put together incompatible things: peace
talks and a victory over enemies."
Leopold Unger commented in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza
(10/21): “You can get quite far with a
lie, but it is a road of no return.
Malaysian Prime Minster Mohathir Mohamad said to the leaders of more
than a billion Muslims [convened at the Organization of Islamic Conference in
Malaysia’s capital] that ‘Europeans killed six out of twelve million Jews, but
today the Jews govern the world through their representatives.’… Mahathir’s
rhetoric justifies the worst suicidal policy, which keeps the huge Islamic
world in stagnation. This kind of
thinking blames the backwardness of the region not on dictatorial, obscurant,
and corrupt governance, but on the ‘convenient’ global Jewish conspiracy. Mahathir claims that he is against violence,
and that he proposes peaceful measures in the struggle against Jews. In fact, with his poisoned language he calls
for pogroms...and fuels terrorism.”
Messages From Gul"
Sami Kohen wrote in mass-appeal Milliyet (Internet version,
10/21): "Foreign Minister Abdullah
Gul's address at the OIC...sent significant messages... The points Gul underscored at the Forum can
be summarized as follows: --Islam and
modernization are not antithetical concepts.... --Muslim communities have failed to achieve
high standards in the areas of democracy, equality, and social rights.... --The problems of Muslim societies can be
repaired, their hardships can be overcome, and their institutions can be
restructured.... Gul's address in
Malaysia was a remanifestation of the candor, courage, and common sense he
demonstrated earlier at the conference in Tehran. The Minister's call [in May] on Islamic
countries to change their posture on democracy, human rights and freedoms,
political participation, and social reforms and to 'put their own houses in
order' had generated surprise but also interest and acclaim. His talk in Malaysia which contained similar
advice and calls has attracted the attention of the leaders and prominent
officials of 57 countries.... Another
interesting point is that Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad of the host
country claimed at some point in his lengthy opening speech that the Jews
control the world. These remarks,
considered to be anti-Semitic, have generated controversy and have been
condemned by several world leaders including presidents Bush and Putin. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer also said in his
address...that the Islamic world is in need of a serious renewal and reform
process and that courageous decisions need to be taken in this direction. When Sezer's and Gul's speeches are appraised
together with recent statements by Religious Affairs Director Ali Bardakoglu,
Turkey's concept and vision of the link between Islam and reform and
modernization becomes evident. Turkey's
experience in this area sets a genuine example for the Islamic world. It is obvious that the OIC, which represents
the large Islamic world, also needs restructuring and new policies that can
answer today's problems and requirements.
Several speakers articulated this need during the summit. Unfortunately the result that has emerged
from this summit cannot be considered very encouraging on this issue."
"Islamic Countries Ignored The Iraq Reality"
Ferai Tinc commented in mass appeal Hurriyet (10/20): “The OIC summit has missed an important
chance to shape a policy line on Iraq.
Short-sighted assessments and individual ambitions overshadowed the
discussion of Iraq. Therefore, the
summit failed to design an alternate plan for Iraq’s reconstruction or to
establish a joint action plan. Turkey
and Pakistan worked together for a joint Islamic peacekeeping force, yet
failed.... The overall majority of the
OIC countries signify a fact: the leaderships are preserving their reign under
the disguise of ‘sacred religion.’ And
those leaderships have just abandoned Iraq to its destiny.”
"Islam and Modernism"
Seyfi Sahin held in nationalist Ortadogu (10/18): "The Islamic countries must engage in
introspection. They must ask
themselves: 'Why do we allow our people
to go hungry, poor, without food, and without jobs? Why can we not boost industrialization and
production in our countries? Why do we let
our earnings go into the Westerners' pockets as part of their interest
policy? Why are we poor while they are
rich? Why is there bloodshed and
slaughter in our countries while their countries live in peace and
tranquillity? Why do we like the Westerners
but not the Muslims? Why do we fight
each other? Why do we give away the
natural blessings of our countries? Why
have we lost our self-confidence and why are we weighed down by a sense of
inferiority?' The leaders of a Islamic
countries, including Turkey, must give honest answers to these questions. The discussion of these issues in the OIC is
beneficial for the Islamic countries as well as the world public in
general. At a minimum these countries
are able to hear [Malaysian Prime Minister] Mahathir's warnings and give
consideration to [Turkish President] Sezer's call for introspection. Even if a decision is not reached at the end,
such discussions produce nice feelings of unity that are imprinted in minds. These feelings may become the beginning of
the unity, compassion, and brotherhood Islam preaches."
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (10/20): "Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir
Mohamad's statements at the Organization of the Islamic Conference decrying
'the Jewish domination of the world' have left no doubts about his
anti-Semitism.... Mahathir's words would
be simply absurd if they were not dangerous and prejudicial.... Feeding the notion of expelling the Jews from
Israel (as some Muslim militants want) is not the most intelligent way out of
the conflict in the Mideast. The
situation requires effort from the parties involved and the international
community so that a commitment to peace may be made."