Last updated on October 19th, 2023 at 07:19 pm
In a world marked by black-and-white labels, Malaysia dances to its own tune when it comes to one of the most divisive groups on the planet. In the eyes of Israel and the West, Hamas is a terrorist organization, but in Malaysia, it’s a different story altogether.
A Mosque in Shambles, a Nation’s Resolve
Picture this: A mosque that once stood tall and proud, built with love and US$1.3 million in contributions from Malaysian Muslims, now reduced to rubble by an Israeli airstrike. It’s a heart-wrenching scene, but what emerges from the ashes is equally heartwarming.
Videos of the devastated Muhammad al-Amin mosque circulate, shared by the Gaza-based Muslim Care Malaysia Society. The footage touches the souls of Malaysians, and they respond in the most Malaysian way possible – with a collective promise to rebuild, reminding us that humanity knows no borders.
On social media, a Malaysian user on platform X (formerly Twitter) declares with unwavering spirit, “Don’t worry, we will contribute more and build a bigger mosque.” It’s a statement of unity and resilience that transcends oceans and miles.
Defying the Conventional Labels
In international politics, labels matter, and how you define a group can shape your perception of them. Hamas is a case in point. For Israel and the West, they’re terrorists. But in Malaysia, they’re seen through a different lens.
Accusations that Malaysia harbors an unofficial Hamas embassy cleverly disguised as a cultural office are met with a confident rebuttal. Malaysia simply doesn’t see Hamas as terrorists. To them, Hamas is fighting for the freedom of Palestine.
Tunku Mohar Mokhtar, a political analyst at the International Islamic University in Kuala Lumpur, succinctly puts it, “Malaysia does not see Hamas as a terrorist organization, rather it considers Hamas as fighting for the freedom of Palestine.” In Malaysia’s eyes, the line between Hamas and the internationally recognized Palestinian representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), gets blurred.
Solidarity in Discord
Amid global discord and diplomatic disputes, one thing remains unwavering – Malaysia’s solidarity with Palestine. It’s not just a statement; it’s a vibrant expression of unity.
Imagine this: Palestinian flags sway proudly in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, just within sight of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. Across the political spectrum, Malaysian leaders and parties put aside their differences to support a common cause. Even PAS, an Islamist party, set aside their animosity towards the Chinese-majority DAP party to contribute 1 million ringgit (US$212,000) to the Palestinian Authority.
A Rich Tapestry of Support
Within Malaysia’s diverse society, the unwavering support for Palestine transcends political divides. The government’s uncompromising anti-Israel stance even led to the banning of Israeli swimmers from a Paralympic championship.
But it’s not all clear-cut. The support for Palestine in Malaysia is a mosaic of opinions and sentiments. While some call for a stronger stance, others reflect Malaysia’s enduring bond with the Palestinian cause, a symbol of their foreign policy.
Malaysia’s history of hosting Hamas leaders, its commitment to the Palestinian struggle, and the presence of a Palestinian community all weave together a complex narrative. Malaysia’s stance on Palestine isn’t a diplomatic chess move; it’s a heartfelt, enduring melody in the nation’s foreign policy – one that showcases the nation’s compassionate spirit that knows no boundaries.