False teachings have left Muslims at mercy of West, says Mahathir
KUALA LUMPUR: Muslims are easily oppressed and defeated in war because false religious teachings have made them backward, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Thursday.
He told an international conference of Islamic scholars that Muslims “all over the world prayed for Allah to save the Iraqi Muslims and their country. But their prayers have not been answered.”
This was not because Allah had abandoned the Muslims, but because they had not caught up with the developed world “in knowledge and the capacity to produce arms, to have disciplined and well-trained forces for their defence,” Mahathir said.
Palestinian suicide bombers were regarded by many Muslims as martyrs, but “no merit is accorded to the people who study science, mathematics, engineering etc which are essential for building the defence capabilities of Muslim countries.”
While criticising the West’s linking of Islam and terrorism, Mahathir said: “Our salvation will not be achieved by blindly killing innocent people. Rather we should plan and execute a long term development plan to excel in all fields.”
Mahathir, who has been in power in this rapidly-developing Southeast Asian nation for 22 years, told 800 delegates that some religious leaders had made today’s Muslims “very confused and divided” and unable to cope with changes in the world. “Some apparently believe that only by recreating the way of life 1,400 years ago (the time of the Prophet) can they become true Muslims.”
The past glories of Islamic civilisation in which there was major progress in the sciences had been lost because Muslim leaders “began to preach against this liberal attitude towards the study of non-religious subjects,” he said. “The only subjects that should be studied were those related to the religion of Islam.”
Now, “far from being a world power we, the one billion Muslims, are easily oppressed by the non-Muslims, easily defeated in war and are forced to accept foreign rule and foreign hegemony.”
“The only conclusion that we can make for the sad fate of the Muslims is that they are not practising the true teachings of Islam, that the Islam that they now practise is wrongly interpreted,” Mahathir said.
The conference, which ends Saturday, is expected to discuss setting up a permanent secretariat as a think tank for Muslim scholars worldwide. –—AFP