Below is my letter to Malaysiakini titled Knowing who your true friends are.
I am quite tempted to say that Helen Ang's article Your children's future in an Islamic state has jackals snapping at her heels for nothing, but I won't [smile!].
But it's amazing that her quite factual essay has triggered off a few raves and rants accusing her of being an Islamophobe. I would like to know what or where Ang has written in her article to deserve such a wild accusation.
Ang made an astute observation that 'Malaysian involvement in the Gaza flotilla and Malaysia's response to the Israeli military operation against the pro-Palestinian activists both unite Umno, PAS and PKR in a cause beloved of the Muslim world' but by contrast there was an absence of similar outrage to atrocities witnessed in Myanmar, Sudan and Sri Lanka, a fact very few can deny.
Now, she made neither insult nor insinuation when she concluded that 'There is no mystery as it is quite natural that the Muslim brotherhood should be more concerned about the fate of their brethren. It is only the zealous proponents of universal brotherhood who mistakenly believe that this inclination of the ummah may be something unnatural.'
Talking about the Muslim brotherhood I'm going to leave Ang with her erudite and most observant article, and move on to highlight a few points about the ummah.
Following the Boxing Day tsunami, as the Western and Eastern world rallied to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the victim, with a small nation like Australia donating Australian $1 billion to mainly Muslim Indonesians, the parsimony of the Middle-East Arabs, particularly the Midas-rich Kuwaitis should be recalled to remind Malaysian Muslims who their real brothers in need have been.
Kuwait initially donated US$1 million to the tsunami victims, an amount equal to the gift from an American individual Sandra Bullock. Meanwhile the Saudi Croesus offered (initially) US$10 million to equal another individual's donation, German Michael Schumacher. That these two Arab countries subsequently raised it to $2 and 30 million respectively but then only after they were lambasted by the media of the Gulf countries should not hide their pathetic commitments to helping the ummah.
Not only that, those miserly Gulf Arab nations added insult to injury by claiming from their mosque pulpits that the tsunami victims were evil sinners. Yes, the Kuwaiti Parliament heard one of its members, Walid Tabtabai, claimed that Allah sent the tsunami to punish the immoral and unjust, in other words, a case of azab-e-Ilahi or the wrath of God for the sins of those tsunami victims.
So the poor Muslim farmers and fishermen in Aceh were immoral and unjust. As Tarek Fatah, a progressive Muslim leader and television host based in Toronto, commented in disgust: 'What sick mind could come up with this description? The Kuwaitis and Saudi Islamists lecturing the world about morality is an outrage.'
'Or is it that in the eyes of most Kuwaitis and Saudis, the dead belonged to the despised underclass who live as fourth class citizens in the Gulf States. Dark skinned Indian, Sri Lankan, Indonesian; truck drivers, cooks and maids; all children of a lesser God in the eyes of these Islamists of the Gulf.'
I recall dashing off a letter Asian victims children of a lesser God.
But whoa, when subsequently Katrina hit New Orleans, the Kuwait who offered the tsunami victims a miserly US$2 million (reminder: which it subsequently and grudgingly increased from 1 to 2 million only after much criticism from the Gulf press) become shockingly generous and immediately gave US$500 million, yes half a billion dollars, to the Americans.
Obviously to the Kuwaiti parliamentarians, mullahs and government, the American victims in New Orleans were less immoral and less unjust than Indonesians, and therefore more deserving and needier of their generous donations.
By the way, Qatar gave the tsunami relief $25 million but the victims of Katrina, $100 million. So much for Muslim brotherhood.
While I, too, have been one who criticised the Israelis for their atrocity against the Peace Flotilla, like some of my friends I wonder when the Malaysian Muslims will be criticising the Egypt government for its complicity in blockading Gaza.
Egypt's fratricidal backstabbing may be traced to the US's carte blanche imprimatur to Israel - Israel wants Gaza blockaded, US swiftly passes word to Egypt, and Egypt immediately complies. As reward for its obedience, US provides Egypt with arms (always inferior to what it gives Israel) and US$2 billion in aid annually.
To put it bluntly, while Palestine has been a victim to the Israeli rapist, Egypt has been a whore to the US godfather. I am beginning to wonder who's the Islamophobe.