ISIL Q&A: Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad on West vs ISIL

Veteran politician blasts Western policy in the Middle East and warns air strikes risk worsening Syria crisis.

Kate Mayberry | 04 Dec 2015

Source: Al Jazeera

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (right) blames Western policies in the Middle East for the rise of ISIL [EPA]
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (right) blames Western policies in the Middle East for the rise of ISIL [EPA]

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Former Malaysian Prime Minister and elder statesman Mahathir Mohamad – a strident critic of Israel and Western policy in the Middle East while in office – has warned more air strikes on ISIL territory risk widening the conflict.

Known for his maverick style, Mahathir spoke to Al Jazeera about the Syria conflict and its effect on the world from his lakeside office in Putrajaya, Malaysia’s administrative capital.

Now aged 90, he retired in 2003 after 22 years in power, but maintains a punishing schedule of speaking engagements.

Mahathir said that the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has its roots in Western policy in the Middle East which has exacerbated tension and resentment in the region.

Mahathir Mohamad, former Malaysian prime minister

Al Jazeera: Western countries are stepping up air strikes on ISIL in Syria following last month’s Paris atrocity. What do you make of that decision?

Mahathir: It’s going to make things worse because other Arabs – innocent Arabs – are going to be killed. Since they can’t do anything, they sympathise with ISIL. In time, ISIL will come up with other horrible things, or there may be other groups. Frustrated, unable to defeat their enemies, they will do what they can do. And what they can do is described by us as terrorism. But to me bombing people from the air is also terrorism. Those who are waiting for the bombs to fall, they are also terrorised.

AJ: Do you worry about a wider war?

MM: It’s already spreading. I always say all this began when Palestinian land was seized and given to the Jews for Israel. Subsequently, the Jews occupied practically the whole of Palestine, building settlements, building roads, controlling movements of people and all that. Initially, the Arab countries tried to regain the land and failed because Europe and America supported Israel, and since then Israel has been committing all sorts of international crimes. This is very wrong.

What the Europeans and the Americans should do is to be impartial and listen to both sides. We can’t say one side is wrong all the time. The Israelis have blockaded illegally, stopped ships at sea… All of these, the West turns a blind eye. All they talk about is terrorism.

Israel’s reply is to out-terrorise the terrorists. This is their method of handling the situation. If you kill one Israeli, we’ll kill 10 of your people. If you kill 10 of our people, we’ll kill 100 of yours. We are going to punish you. This is what Israel is doing. The world knows this and the world tolerates this.

AJ: But surely the rise of ISIL is about more than the creation of Israel?

MM: It is more, but it is going to get worse, I think. Guerrilla warfare cannot be fought with conventional war; cannot be fought from the air. We have experience in Malaysia. When we had guerrillas, we set out to win the hearts and minds of the people so as not to support the guerrillas. That’s how we succeeded. We are not solving the problems of the Arabs. It is anger and frustration and not being able to do anything.

AJ: So are Western politicians repeating the mistakes of the past?

MM: Yes. If you kill ISIL here, there will be an ISIL coming up somewhere else. You spread the war. Even in Malaysia we have ISIL sympathisers. There will be extremists; people so angry that they will do all these things. It’s not in our culture and we are shocked to see Malaysians going there with their families, participating in what is un-Islamic. It’s against the teachings of Islam.

READ MORE: UK launches air strikes on ISIL targets in Syria

AJ: What would be a better policy?

MM: Revenge – you kill my people, I’ll kill your people – it’s not going to work. Find out why these people are doing all these terrible things… New acts of terror are being invented, being learned. Now they have come up with acts of terror in front of the television cameras. This is their new weapon. Now the whole world is horrified. Muslim countries are horrified. They don’t just kill soldiers, they kill anybody; innocent people slaughtered in front of the whole world.

AJ: And what of the humanitarian consequences of the deepening conflict?

MM: I think it’s the duty of everyone to help out. If we distribute these [refugees] among many countries the burden will not be so big for any one country. There are more than four million people running away, almost half the population of Syria. Every country needs to offer help. These people are not going to stay in these countries for ever. They want to go back.

The most important thing is to settle the Syrian civil war. Just bombing them from the air is not going to help. The problem is on the ground, not in the air. In the process, you won’t just hit ISIL, you are going to hit innocent people, destroy the whole country. 

Source: Al Jazeera


4 replies


    Assalamualaikum wrwb.

    As a good faith or Muslim, we should look at to the true guidance from Allah who knows everything, look at Al quran. If we listen to leaders around the world, eachf them has difference thought and opinion.Men can deceive people

    Based on Almight God, who All Knower, say in Al Quran;

    ” but when some ill happens to him, on account of the deeds which his hands have sent forth, truly then is man ungrateful! QS.42:48.

    Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allâh, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yours QS 4;79.

    What are happening in the Middle East today, because of their MISTAKES, not Allah ,and not others.

    I strongly believe that there is something wrong with Islamic teaching.
    Actually most Muslim Scholars believe in idols instead of Allah alone (Al Quran ).

    The book of Al Quran is the word of Allah, promote peace, compassion, love, tolerance, forgiveness, n prosperity.Those who follow al Quran
    will be a peaceful and loving Muslim.

    Conversely, The book of Hadith is the words of men create violence n poverty. Those who follow the book of Hadith will be deceived by the false Hadith.

    Please do not mix the truth with falsehood,

    Allah never mention even one verse in Al Quran to believe the book of Hadith, or to believe imam Muslim- Bukhari and other Narrators, whereas Allah said: do not believe human, he can make a mistake

    If we follow just one false hadith— we will go to the wrong direction.

    Allah warned in Bible.
    Do not trust in human leaders; no human being can save you. When they die,they return to the dust; on that day all their plans come to the end.Psalm 146:

    There is no one in this earth who does what is right all the time and never makes a mistake.Ecc.7:20

    It is better to trust in God,than depend on man.
    It is better to trust in God,than depend on human leaders.Psalm 118:8

    Allah also warned in Quran.
    They have taken their Scholars and their Rabbi as gods beside Allah,QS 9;31

    O humankind, follow what has been sent down to you from your Lord, and do not follow any masters ( i.e; the ancient scholars such as : imam Muslim, Imam Bukhari, Hurrairah, other narrators, imam Hanafi, Safie, Osma bin Laden, ISIS’s leader blindly etc. other than Him.( al Quran ) . Little you heed to advice! (How many a town We have destroyed! Our punishment came upon them at night or when they were having a nap at midday. QS 7;3-4.

    Because of that most Muslim in Arab Countries believe in the Book of Hadith or believe in IDOLS, Allah curse and punish them with civil war. Muslim killing other Muslim or Arab killing other Arab, look at Iraq, Syria n other Islam countries have bee destroyed.
    Very sad, pity, heart breaking n embarrassing.

    Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin most heinous indeed. QS 4;48

    Muslims should not believe in IDOLS or the ancient Scholars blindly through the book of Hadith.

    I am not anti-Hadith, what I am trying to tell you here that the book of Hadith has been defective n we Muslim have to purify the Book of Hadith from the violent Hadith.

    May Allah protect us all from sinful Syrik. Ameen.

    How to obey Allah n The Sunnah rightly n professionally

    Wassalamualaikum wr wb
    For You from My Heart.
    All those who read shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; O Allah, be my witness, that I have conveyed your message to your people.
    With all my love

  2. Muhammad said he left two things for his followers: the quran and his sunnah. Allah also calls Muhammad’s exampls the ‘best’. Where can these ‘best examples’ be found if not in the hadiths? Reading the quran alone will not give anyone Muhammad’s sunnah. Any ‘reform’ which excludes either the quran or the hadiths is a non starter.

  3. Dear my brother Namelee–again and again that the book of Hadith has been contaminated with some false Hadith,

    These hadith–“Muhammad said he left two things for his followers: the quran and his sunnah”—–is FALSE hadith.

    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never know about the book of Hadith, and never see that…the book of Hadith was written about 200 years after his death. Can you imagine that?

    READ more; How to follow the sunnah Rasulullah rightly in 21st Centuty.

    Hopefully, you can understand the true Islamic teaching and how to follow the the rule of CREATOR.

    With my love

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: