Sunday, May 14, 2006

Prayer and why some need it, a first 'quick look' at human nature

I was watching the ABC news coverage of the rescue of the two Australian miners when a reporter approached a hooded woman praying on her knees at the mines fence. As the TV crew approached she would not show her face and screamed out ‘go away it’s our prayers they need not your pictures’. Nutter I thought obviously losing it a bit. A couple of days later on CNN I see a large African American filmed praying in the street for petrol prices to come down. This ‘god botherer’ is going a bit far I thought. As I live in a Muslim country five times a day I hear the faithful called to prayer (by a not so melodious voice) over a very loud p.a. system. What’s all this praying about I thought, whom does it help, what’s the motivation behind it?

Motivation principals and introduction

All individuals are motivated and knowing what motivates individuals (and why they may change behaviours due to their motivations) can be quite a complicated matter. Motivation can be defined as: “The emotional forces, wants, needs, urges or drive within us that influence our behaviour” or ‘a willingness to exert high levels of effort conditioned by the efforts ability to satisfy some individual need’.

Needs, Wants, Urges Defined

Needs, wants, urges (lets group them and call them “cravings”) ‘are internal states that make certain outcomes’ or results appear attractive. ‘When a craving is not satisfied tension is created within us which in turn stimulates an urge or drive causing us to seek a solution or attain a goal in an attempt to satisfy the craving and thus reduce our tension’. A vivid example of how this works is the craving smokers experience particularly when they are trying to quit.

Basic Maslow and the “Hierarchy of Needs”

Abraham Maslow felt that the basic human needs were arranged in a hierarchical order. He based his theory on healthy, creative people who used all their talents, potential, and capabilities. He defined two major groups of human needs: basic - including physiological, such as food, water, sex and sleep and psychological such as affection, security, and self-esteem. The basic needs are also called ‘deficiency needs’ because if an individual does not meet them, then that person will strive to make up the deficiency. The higher psychological needs are called ‘growth needs’. These include such things as justice, ‘goodness’, order, unity, glamour, status, beauty and self-fulfilment. Deficiency needs Maslow argued take priority over growth needs. People who lack food or water cannot attend to justice or beauty.

Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy
Self–actualisation (top of his pyramid of needs)
Growth, Achieving one’s potential, self-fulfilment
Self Esteem
Self Respect, Status, Recognition, Autonomy, Achievement
Belonging, Social Activities, Love, Affection, Acceptance, Friendship
Security, Protection from danger both physical and emotional
Physiological (base of the pyramid of needs)
Hunger, Thirst, Sleep, Shelter, Sex and other bodily needs

Maslow proposed that due to the immediacy of the need for such things as food and water that they are primary source and direction of a person's goal. A need higher in the hierarchy will only become a motive of behaviour if the needs below it have been satisfied. He therefore proposes that each level must be fully satisfied before a person can strive to reach the next level. Maslow also proposed that lower level needs where satisfied externally and those on higher levels internally.

Motivation Principles

All human motivation is basically selfish, i.e. people do things for their own reasons not for our or another’s reasons.

All people are motivated and will continually move either toward or away from propositions

You cannot motivate other people because all motivation comes from within i.e. personal cravings.

People’s motivation is constantly changing in response to their ever-changing personal priorities

Religious organisation inspire or “utilize others motivation”, to gather their adherents by finding out what individuals want (salvation?) and why they want it (fear of their own mortality?) and then go about convincing them (the helpless) that they are the best or only chance of getting it.

So why the prayers

Firstly prayer is a ritual and the value of ritual was once explained to me as something we can do in times of stress to help us cope in situations that we have little or no control over. Ritual in its simplest for can be demonstrated by the old “I’ll make a cup of tea” by the aunty at a funeral. It is the carrying out of a reaffirming well learned set of behaviours that show we can still function and at least retain some level of self-control that motivates us.

The writer of the website “rantsoflogic” expands the explanation of the need for prayer in the following paragraph (abridged and edited)…

‘Prayer acts like a release valve. It's like talking to a close friend who never interrupts and is more than willing to listen to us ramble on and on about our problems without batting a eye or looking at their watch and saying "I've really got to go". Even though there may be no one there, prayer has a beneficial effect. He goes on… ‘The same effects can be accomplished through activities such as meditating, talking to a close friend or a therapist, writing in a journal, listening to soothing music in a nice warm bath, taking a walk, visualizing a peaceful place, exercising, or even having sex. These are all methods of slowing down and getting in contact with ourself, focusing on ourself for a change and releasing unwanted pent-up stress so we can view our situation with a calmer, more logical mind. Vocalizing our fears, even to the bedroom walls, helps to lessen the vice-like grip that keeps us wound up. We are, in effect [when praying], shining light on the hulking things lurking in the shadows and changing them into less harmful beings or even into figments of our overwrought imagination. When praying ‘we may think we're talking to an all-loving deity, and if that makes us feel comfortable, so be it; this process helps you to reaffirm our sense of self and to recognize the fact that you are only human and cannot take on the worries of the entire world. In prayer, ‘ we acknowledge our weaknesses and actively confront our fears and apprehensions in a safe environment without fear of judgement or ridicule.’

So if the writer is correct and I think he/she is, prayer is the selfish act of satisfying one of our basic motivations and will be most likely be geared around where we are on Maslow’s hierarchy at the time we are praying.

Gandhi explains that prayer is a means of freeing us form excessive attachment to the material world (paraphrased):

‘[When] the sordid everyday world is too much with us the practice of complete withdrawal of the mind from all outward things, even though it might be only for a few minutes everyday, will be found to be of infinite use. Silent communion will help us to experience an undisturbed peace in the midst of turmoil, to curb anger and cultivate patience.’

Again the act of praying is undertaken for self-serving reasons.

Back to our lady at the fence and praying for others…

Duke University studies - MANTRA II study of 2005: Duke University reported on their third double blind study into remote healing in The Lancet magazine -- the leading British medical journal -- for 2005-AUG. The study involved 748 patients with heart problems. They were divided into four groups:

One were assigned people to pray for them

One received MIT (music, imagery and touch) therapy

One received both distance prayer and MIT therapy

One received no additional therapy

There was no significant difference among the four groups in terms of clinical outcomes.

Collins Cobuild English Dictionary – Harper Collins Publishers, 1995
The Pocket Oxford Dictionary (Fourth Edition- revised) –
F.G. & H.W. Fowler, Oxford University Press, 1946
A Theory of Human Motivation - A. H. Maslow (1943)
Originally Published in Psychological Review, 50, 370-396.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Reporters Without Borders - Unsavoury 'Anti Press Freedom' - Front Runners

Candidates for the caliibre “Trog” and “Chimp” awards!

From Reporters Without Borders – Predators List

Quote: “There are instigators and powerful people behind press freedom violations whose responsibility is not always apparent. Whether presidents, ministers, chiefs of staff, religious leaders or the heads of armed groups, these predators of press freedom have the power to censor, imprison, kidnap, torture and in the worst cases, murder journalists. To better expose them, Reporters Without Borders has produced these portraits.”

Go here… Go here… Predators Vote by commenting… “The Trog” award is for individuals and “The Chimp” is for groups! For a full explanation of the award system go HERE

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Power and Religion and How it all Works

It is interesting to watch the desperate attempt of Pope Benedict the 16th attempt to maintain his and the Vatican’s grip on power over the ‘Chinese Catholics’. I say maintain as he obviously has power over those on the mainland who worship in the underground Catholic Church. On the other hand the authoritarian self-appointed Chinese government wields its power over ‘their official Catholic flock’ and appoints bishops to reinforce their point and to gain leverage in their quest to demolish the Vatican’s relationship with the other Chinese powerbase, Taiwan. For me both organisations represent humanity at its grubbiest and the quicker both reform their civilization limiting doctrines, or idealistically disappear altogether, the better it will be for humanity.

First of all, here is a definition of power (source unknown)

“The ability of a person or group to influence the thoughts or behaviour of another person or group, so that he/she or they do something they would not otherwise do, assuming that the recipients of the power have some personal discretion over what they do.” Obviously the key is choice or discretion, if the governed have no ability to choose there is no exercise of power, purely it is just an exercise of dehumanizing oppression through force. I guess those who control or have power over mechanisms of oppression are powerful by default.

Power, if you study ‘human resource management’, is said to come from five basic areas or as some put we all have five points of power. Depending which book you read you will find the following groups of words to describe the various points:

Point 1) Legitimate, Authority, Position, Access to Formal Communication

Just think how well the Catholic Church or for that matter the Muslim Mullahs, Jewish Rabbi’s, Hindu Priests, Buddhist Monks and many other wacky ‘wise men’ play their power games using point one of the five. The Pope of course claims legitimate power from god and the mullahs quote the power handed down from their prophet. All religions and their bureaucracies insist that they are the only authority and therefore of course try to direct their hapless victims to understand that only through them is salvation assured. Likewise they always insist that only they and those they appoint to spread the word have the exclusive recognised formal communication channels to ‘the main man’ (or is it a women), God.

2) Expert, Task, Knowledge, Technical Superiority, Communication

When it comes to expert knowledge the religious speakers excel. Watch Muslim clerics going on with the never-ending interpretations of who said what and what it all means for their imperfect followers. They ramble on with childlike puerile so-called moral stories, anecdotes and analogies to the point that it would drive a thinking person to a state of boredom wrought insanity. Technical superiority on who in power said what and when in their dogma of expertise seems to make them believe hold the key to life’s substance and meaning. As in the case of corporations newer staff can spend months if not years coming to grips with the false technical know-how of the ‘corporate jargon’. Older members of staff in corporations love their jargon as it makes them needed as teachers and mentors of the new and the young. Just as it is a crass and an energy sucking waste of time in companies so it is for those trying to find their god in formal religious organisations. In most (or both) cases all they ever find is how to fit in with the ‘in group’, which I guess is enough for some… sad actually.

3) Coercive, Fear, Take Away, Negative Control of Resources or Information

Well what can I say; you would have to be “dead from the neck up” not to figure out what goes on here. Hell and damnation, the loss of seventy two virgins, stoning to death, apostate killings, jail and as the hapless Bishops of China are finding out excommunication… big deal, at least these days they won’t be put on the rack and burned at the stake I suppose. Poor Joan of Arc, the story still makes me angry. By the way a great fear factor… don’t mess around or AIDS will get you (that should scare the bejesus out of them), condoms no way… the Muslims are reproducing quicker than the Catholics. For some of course its, oh well want to mess around, how about four wives, or now in some Arab lands even temporary wives that have no legal status.

4) Referent, Personal Attractiveness, Relationship, Groups, Charisma, Sex

Churchmen of course know how to charm as well, charismatic leaders are always chosen and the love and cuddly warm stuff is on offer all the time. Just think of it, seventy-two virgins, lovely couches to lie on and beautiful liquids to drink, what an enticement for the Muslim faithful. I am not sure… are the virgins supposed to stay virgins or is that where the sex comes in? Come to church you Christian sinners and be entertained sing, let your hair down, feel safe and loved and even spill your guts to a priest and he will lovingly forgive you. The referent power, that’s the cruncher. Referent power means the leader is a close confidant of and holds favour with the ultimate power, (the bosses in corporations) and the almighty and most powerful in the church movements … the Gods. For Muslims I guess its being a friend of and perhaps even a direct descendent of the profit, or at least a descendant of one of his best friends or relatives.

5) Reward, Positive Control of Resources or Information, Money, Benefits

Ah… the charity boat arrives. Spend a little money help the poor unfortunates, reinforce your mission by creating psychological and physiological dependence… and tell them only what you want them to hear. The Muslim Clerics, particularly the Saudis, are very good at this; just learn the Koran stay poor and we will look after you. The money the Saudis have reportedly poured into South East Asia is one of the greatest threats to liberal democracy in the region today. For the Christians its, come confess you ‘real’, (rather than fake Chinese Catholics), donate part of your wealth, we will lift your guilt and send you to heaven. Remember however, you can only approach the gates of the ‘promised land’, heaven, nirvana or wherever…by adhering to our particular dogma.

Critical for power - dependency

‘The power receiver’s relationship to the holder/s of power is effected when the holder posses something that the receiver wants. The more dependant the receiver is the greater the power of the holder. Critical to dependency are; the importance of what is controlled, the scarcity of the resource and the potential for substitutes or alternatives.’ Now if the follower is crassly indoctrinated from an early age with the idea that freedom from guilt and self-loathing can only come by doing exactly what the priest or cleric says, what chance of escape? It amazes and pleases me at times that some actually do overcome the crap. Of course historically (and more so today), some of the church leaders get you to part with your hard earned dollars along the way. How much wealth does the Catholic Church have? An remember for the followers of Islam you must save all your pennies so you can do the hajj and ‘holiday’ in Mecca, your salvation is dependent on it.

Learned helplessness

I guess for most of us safety sensations where most real when we were protected by loving parents. Someone once said to me, ‘you don’t really become an adult until both your parents die.’ ‘Then and only then are you truly on your own.’ Because your parents are the only potential source of ‘real’ unconditional love you are ever likely to have, their loss can truly make you grow, or in some cases I guess, to crumble and seek a supportive crutch. We all go through a stage in our early development when we are truly helpless. I guess a religious father (or mother) substitute can represent a powerful source of security to us all. There is however an opportunity for a sinister force to be at work here if we as adults, become what is known as victims of ‘learned helplessness’. Many powerful organisations and leaders recognise and utilise learned helplessness to further their own power. If our attempts to grow, explore and diverge from the cultural norms we are subjected to when we are young are punished, we are likely as adults to have developed an attitude of submission to the power figures in our lives.

Arab cultural traditions lead many traditional Arab parents to instil shame in their children as a control or punishment technique for those that deliver less than what is expected in the performance of their duties. Another situation that demonstrates this facet of power and learned helplessness that amazes me is how some Arab women will still defend the need for the wearing of a Hijab or Burqa, nothing beats indoctrination from an early age I guess.

The Christians are also pretty good at teaching helplessness as any honest Catholic will attest. Here’s a couple of nasty examples; I’m not sure which brand of god botherers its from however:

“Bible Studies for Younger Youth:

Unit 1 – All In the Family, Unit Developmental Life Issue: Family Session 1: Look Out For Each Other Life Question: What are the benefits of being part of a family? Biblical Truth: Families are to be a place of protection and provision where the members look out for each other. Bible Passage: Exodus 1:15—2:10

Unit 3 – Influencing Others, Unit Developmental Life Issue: Influence Session 2: Take A Stand, Life Question: How can I influence others when everything seems to be working against me? Biblical Truth: As you worship and trust in God, He will provide for you, and your experience will influence others. Bible Passages: Daniel 3:1-30; Proverbs 3:5-6

Unit 5 – God’s Gifts for You, Session 2: God’s Gift: More Power, Life Question: How can I live like Christ desires? Biblical Truth: Through Christ you have everything you need to live a productive Christian life. Bible Passage: 2 Peter 1:3-11

Unit 6 – The Grateful Living Session 1: An Attitude of Gratitude, Life Question: What’s so important about gratitude? Biblical Truth: Being grateful to God is an acknowledgement of your helplessness apart from Him. Bible Passage: Psalm 30:1-12

More power to us all!

The Power Principle – Blaine Lee – Covey Leadership Centre;
Simon & Shuster, 1997

Monday, May 08, 2006

Email from an American Friend

Subject: Three cheers for Australia
Message (part only)


Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday [actually august 2005] to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown.

Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state and its laws were made by parliament. "If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you," he said on national television.

"I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia, one the Australian law and another the Islamic law, that is false. If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option," Costello said.

Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country. Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should "clear off".

"Basically, people who don't want to be Australians, and they don't want to live by Australian values and understand them, well then they can basically clear off," he said. Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques.


It goes on however this mail has become a bit of an ‘urban legend’ with the sentiments and quotes rated by “Snopes Com” as true…. to see the entire information deal go here:

Friday, May 05, 2006

America’s worrying ‘stronger links with God’

Madeleine Albright to USA Today - On conservative Christians in U.S. politics:

"Like the Islamic revolutionaries in Iran, (members of the Christian right) believe that they are being compelled to raise their children in surroundings hostile to their deepest beliefs."

Madeleine Albright to Time Magazine in answer to - "What is it that Americans don't fully understand about the role religion plays in U.S. foreign policy?

“When I began this book [The Mighty and the Almighty] I looked at President Bush as an anomaly. But in working on the book I found that all American Presidents in one way or another invoke God. If you look at U.S. history through religious history, there is very much a motif that shows the importance religion has played in the U.S. We're a very religious country and it affects the way we look at various political issues. President Bush is a little different because he's so sure about what religion is telling him.

Some eye opening statistics - The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

In a survey conducted on March 20, 2002 - “Nearly half of Americans (48%) think that the United States has had special protection from God for most of its history.” The perception that America has special status clearly links to religious beliefs. Seven-in-ten (71%) white evangelical Protestants believe this to be true.”

“Not only do many Americans believe that God protects the U.S., most see the religious belief of the American public as the basis for this country's success. Nearly six-in-ten Americans (58%) think the strength of American society is based on the religious faith of its people.”

”More than eight-in-ten (83%) white evangelical Protestants say religious faith is at the core of America's strength, compared with 57% and 58% of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics, respectively.”

'Of the various communities African-Americans (69%), whites (58%) and Hispanics (49%) say the nation's strength is based on the religious faith of its people. Hispanics with strong religious commitment are twice as likely as those with weaker ties to religion to see religious faith as an essential part of American society (64% to 31%).'

The national survey Released: August 30, 2005 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

“Deep religious and political differences over questions relating to evolution and the origins of life. Overall, about half the public (48%) says that humans and other living things have evolved over time, while 42% say that living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. Fully 70% of white evangelical Protestants say that life has existed in its present form since the beginning of time; fewer than half as many white mainline Protestants (32%) and white Catholics (31%) agree.”

“The public remains generally comfortable with politicians mentioning their religious faith; in fact, more continue to say there is too little expression of religious faith by political leaders (39%), not too much (26%). However, a growing minority feels President Bush mentions his faith and prayer too much. The percentage expressing this view has doubled from 14% to 28% over the past two years."

A Quote from theocracy watch

"Today's hard right seeks total dominion. It's packing the courts and rigging the rules. The target is not the Democrats but democracy itself. According to acclaimed journalist and television host Bill Moyers, “True, people of faith have always tried to bring their interpretation of the Bible to bear on American laws and morals ... it's the American way, encouraged and protected by the First Amendment. But what is unique today is that the radical religious right has succeeded in taking over one of America's great political parties [Republicans]. The country is not yet a theocracy but the Republican Party is and they are driving American politics, using God as a battering ram on almost every issue: crime and punishment, foreign policy, health care, taxation, energy, regulation, social services and so on.”

If what I have quoted above doesn’t raise your concerns about the worlds most powerful nation and the sometimes labelled “world’s policeman” you should spend some time here:


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Equity, Sovereignty and the failing Malaysian Multicultural Social Experiment

Malaysia has legislated racism incorporated into its constitution through its ‘Bumiputra protection laws’. These laws were initially enacted supposedly to assist the Malays obtain ‘an equal chance’ at controlling the countries economic wealth. Some notable Malaysian ‘Malay women’ are currently outraged that some more recent Muslim ‘sharia inspired’, or more rightly Arab culturally based, laws are creating an inequitable situation.

A personal experience

While working in Malaysia I was part of an international organisation that provided management and staff training programs to members of a particular section of the services industry. A Malay female colleague and I were charged with the responsibility to negotiate the terms of reference of a large consultancy contract with a major customer. The colleague was our organizations sales manager and I was the project leader. This lady was well educated, travelled the world on her own negotiating contracts and quite wealthy and successful in her own right.

We pulled up into the customer’s car park in Jalan Ampang (KL) got out of her Mercedes and with briefcases in hand headed for the lifts. A car park attendant yelled at my colleague in Bahasa Melayu and my colleague asked me to get the lift while she sorted the matter out. Oops it thought, parked in someone’s reserved spot. After ten minutes I was getting anxious as she had not returned and I didn’t subscribe to the Malaysian concept of ‘rubber time’ which with the ‘traffic jam lah’ excuse is often used for being late to meetings.

“What’s the problem” I asked when I finally located her looking flustered and heading towards the lifts? “I have just been questioned for ten minutes by a religious, over zealous car park attendant about what I’m doing with you”. “Pardon”, I said in amazement! “The car park attendant doesn’t appreciate me being alone in a car with a white guy” she said “and he asked me why I wasn’t wearing a tudung (hijaab) and why was I driving ‘your’ Mercedes”. As I was younger then my temperature went up considerably and I headed off to sort him out. “No no” she replied hanging onto my sleeve, “I will get into big trouble, let it slide and lets get to the appointment”.

Another Personal Experience

My wife is Chinese however she is sometimes mistaken for a Malay, Thai or Phillipino. Sometime ago she was entertaining the wife a Dutch colleague who was holidaying in Kuala Lumpur from one of the Malaysian Islands where her husband worked. The lady is an Indonesian Christian. This couple have lived and worked in many places around the world and obviously have quite a broad outlook on life. “Lets go and enjoy some of Malaysia’s great ‘coffee shop’ (street) food for lunch,” my wife suggested, “no please, I can’t stand the stress” she responded. The response was prompted by the fact that the friend had experienced some hostility when trying to purchase a McDonalds meal, as the Malays around her including the McDonald’s staff had created some difficulty for her. It was Ramadan the fasting month and instead of respecting our friend’s “personal sovereignty” others thinking she was a local and as all Malays are born Muslim, they had assumed that she was breaking ‘the rules’. Breaking the rules or not if someone is able to act on their free will without harming others an enlightened society should respect that persons capacity to choose.

Mahathir's daughter [Marina] denounces Muslim 'apartheid' 16/03/06 by Jalil Hamid Reuters (Edited Excerpts)

"You have two sets of laws for citizens of the same country, one is more disadvantageous than the other. To me, this is like the situation in (old apartheid) South Africa," the 48-year-old Muslim said. ”Marina's outburst was sparked by recent amendments to Malaysia's Islamic family law that make it easier for Muslim men to take multiple wives, to divorce them and to take a share of their property.”

’Inevitably, there have been angry reactions, with one group, calling her ignorant’ and another saying she is ‘a bad Muslim as she does not wear a tudung’. Marina’s correct response… "I think, it's not for them to judge. What is a definition of a good Muslim? I try and do my best to help people, I don't make judgment on people...I don't lie, I don't cheat."
PAS, the Islamic party, condemned her. "The statement is very dangerous, giving the impression of the inability of sharia laws to settle cases involving Muslim women, which is not fair," PAS deputy chief Nasharuddin Mat Isa told Reuters. PAS’s traditional support comes from Malaysia’s more fundamental states of Kelantan and Terengganu. These two states plus a few provinces of southern Thailand I believe either are, or are potentially, the centre of the “Asiarabia” I mentioned in the previous post.

“The mother of two said she was undeterred… "I've been reading letters of complaint from women about all their matrimonial problems, all of them are complaining the (sharia) courts do nothing for them."

Levels of ‘personal sovereignty’ and why Arab culture is a worry!

As the Indian female author Shobhaa De puts it, she in her works "wanted to show that women should have the same rights [as men] over their lives, bodies and sexuality." As BBC’s Michael Peschardt says in introducing her interview (roughly from memory) ‘she talks about the level of personal sovereignty one has over their own mind, body and spirit (soul)’, which is to my mind a major issue of today’s ‘clash of civilizations’. The Muslim/Arab outlook on women is major contributor to conflict particularly in the self-evident area of a growing war of the sexes. In many repressive societies, honour killings bear a revolting testimony to the plight of many women.

Arabic cultural norms expressed through what is proffered, as “god’s word” particularly by the Islamic males, are becoming an increasing affront to the rights of women worldwide. Malaysia unfortunately has apparently regressed, particularly in the areas of individual ‘rights’ and of ‘personal sovereignty’ as it seems to becoming more ‘dark age Arab’ in its outlook.

All power to Marina!

Full article and reader’s comments can be found at:

Monday, May 01, 2006

Is Malaysia becoming an Arab led “Crucible of Terror” and the Centre of the New Empire of “Asiarabia”?

According to Zachary Abuza’s 2003 report/article (see ref below) on whom some of this article’s assertions/facts are based, in Malaysia (and Indonesia for that matter) the government, unless it has recently changed its policies, apparently has no idea how many of its “privately funded” students are studying in Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, or elsewhere in the world. Quite a number of Malaysian and other S.E. Asian students have been attending both “Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, the foremost Islamic university in the world and Yemen’s Al Imam University, both of which teach rigid Wahhabi interpretations of Islam.” At Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, as at 2003 there were an estimated 6,000 Malaysian students. “Most of these students return and join the government’s Islamic bureaucracy,” with some unfortunately becoming committed to turning Malaysia and other parts of South east Asia into a sharia governed “Islamic state”, a form of government that does not recognize the liberal democratic principle of “the separation of powers”.

He also points out that even if students don’t go abroad the conservative (radical) forces are very well equipped to indoctrinate them at home as for example in ‘Malaysia’s Kelantan State, where there are some 40,000 students, of which 50 percent come from other states, enrolled in ninety-two madrasas.’

The conservative “Arabization” of Malaysia (and Indonesia) and its Emissaries

Abuza later says that ‘In Malaysia and Indonesia, there are distinct and sizeable Arab communities who constitute a powerful economic and social force. The fact that they came from the land of the Prophet accorded them special status: “As nominal countrymen of the prophet, Arabs came to be respected as scholars of the writ and as judicial authorities in matters of the Islamic faith.” He quotes a Peter H. Riddell, “Their influence as traders and authorities in the religious sphere should be seen as inextricably interlinked; it is likely that the authority accorded to them in the religious domain at times seemed to provide them with preferential trading circumstances.” And there continued to be considerable flows between the communities throughout the twentieth century. Riddell notes considerable Malay Arab and Singaporean Arab communities in Hadramaut and Mecca. The vast network of Yemenis in the region is not a tangential point. Bin Laden and Al-Qaida as an example, relies on personal networks and Yemen’s clan-based society transcends the oceans and has spread to Southeast Asia.’

The Where and How of the Money

Abuza again: ‘There are also considerable financial links between the [South East Asian] region and the Middle East to facilitate the thriving trade between the two. Malaysia is one of the world’s pre-eminent Islamic banking centres, with strong and deep financial ties to Middle Eastern businesses, banks, charities, and other financial institutions.’ It is also claimed that (at least in the past) that “Osama bin Laden, himself a former financier (though no longer a member of the Binladen Group), was cognizant of Malaysian financial institutions and banking regulations and had entered into many joint ventures with Malaysian and Yemeni businessmen.”

The Looming Problem

Even if the Malaysian Government can, through effective policing, stamp out the terror potential of some of the countries more fundamental young citizens, the rush to a very troubled and ultra conservative society seems inevitable. Those who have lived there and those that revisit can see the change merely by looking at the ‘imposed’ dress standards that have become more evident over recent years. It would be interesting to gather photographs of Kuala Lumpur street scenes from the last 20 or so years as I am sure they would provide interesting pictorial evidence of a sadly disappearing “Malay Culture”.

A Few of the Malaysian Radicals Produced “So Far”

BIN ABAS, Sulaiman; BIN HUSIN, Azahari; BIN MANSOUR, Amran; HIR, Zulkifli Bin Abdul; KASMURI, Abdul Manaf; MARZUKI, Zulkifli; SUFAAT, Yazid TOP, Noordin Mohamed; WAN MIN, Wan Mat; ZAKARIA, Zaini.

Lets not forget the Women

An article excerpt from ‘slatedotcom; ‘Paridah BINTI ABAS; She and five of her six children are Malaysian, however Bali Bomber husband Mukhlas is Indonesian. “If one family can be credited with building the dynasty known as Jemaah Islamiyah, it is Paridah's. Her father, Abas bin Yusuf, was an early associate of the organization's founders. Her brothers Hashim bin Abas and Nasir bin Abas and her brother-in-law Shamsul Bahri were jailed for their roles in multiple bombings. Two of her husband's brothers—Amrozi bin Nurhasyim and Ali Imron bin Nurhasyim, both of whom studied at an Islamic boarding school in Paridah's home village have been jailed as members of JI. A quote from her: "An Islamic state must be the goal of all people," and "Once that has been achieved, we will live together in peace." She readily admitted that her husband helped "lead the jihad" in Bali and that even her children were proud of what Mukhlas did.’

What about a “Less Violent” Arabic trend that would fit well with the Suadis

“Skipping Friday prayers is a major sin for Muslims and it is punishable under the state’s Syariah laws, said Kelantan (Malaysian state) Bar Committee chairman Datuk Wan Harun Shukri Noordin. Therefore, Muslims in the state must remember that Friday prayers are compulsory, otherwise they can be jailed or fined by the religious authorities.” (The Star 27/04/06)

Marriage, Women and ‘Easy Divorce’… another ‘Arab Cultural Trend’

Some words from an online petition to the Malaysian Government: “Over the last two decades, the trend of amendments to our Islamic family laws have systematically undermined women’s position in marriage by creating unfair conditions regarding polygamy, divorce, maintenance and child custody that benefit men and disadvantage women. The recent passing of the [Malaysian] Islamic Family Law Bill (Federal Territories) (Amendments) Bill 2005 by the Senate is the latest in a series of alarming trends that are damaging to women. With this Bill, men now have even more power to divorce their wives, to contract polygamous marriages and also to freeze the assets of their wife/wives to claim matrimonial property, while women are denied effective remedies.” Sounds an like an ‘Arabic Cultural Injection’ to me.

According to “the wikipedia” “Eurabia is a term used by Bat Ye'or to describe an alleged process of political and cultural incorporation of Europe into the Islamic world, accompanied by a demographic change from a predominantly white Christian population embodying ‘Western Civilization’ to a predominantly ‘Semitic Islamic’ population. The term has come into popular use, and has been used by major media outlets such as FOX, CBS, ABC and NBC to describe the future of a Europe with a young, rapidly growing Muslim population, unwilling to assimillate into European countries.”

Perhaps its time to add a new term to the dictionary “Asiarabia” and perhaps Kuala Lumpur who was happy to change its previous English street names could become “Kuriyadh Lumecca”.

Refs:You can go to for a full excerpt from Zachary Abuza’s book “Militant Islam in Southeast Asia - Crucible of Terror”, Lynne Rienner Pub., Copyright © 2003