Monday, 23 March 2015

Lee Kuan Yew: speaker of Hard Truths, even on Islam

Lee Kuan Yew died earlier today.  He was a truly great man, father of Singapore, polymath, tough politician, "ruthless pragmatist" as the BBC called him this morning.
He was in no way a bigot, and ruled a polyglot multicultural city-state. But he witnessed and experienced the increasing religiosity of his country's Muslims.  He'd grown up with many Malay Muslims, had many as close friends. He lamented how they became increasingly self-alienating, a result, he said, of Iran's revolution of 1979 and of Saudi Arabia, awash with petri-dollars, supporting Wahhabism throughout the world (and I think he's right on those primary causes of the current Islamic resurgence):
"The generation that worked with me - Othman Wok, Ramin Ishak -- that was before the wave came sweeping them; that generation integrated well.  We drank beer, we went canvassing, we went electioneering, we ate together.
"Now they say 'are the plates clean?' I said 'You know, same washing mating'. Halal, non-halal and so on.  I mean they are all division.  The are distinguishing me from you: 'I'm a believer, you are not'...
A few other select quotes from "Hard Truths" (p217-258):
"If, for instance, you put in a Malay officer who's very religions and who has family ties in Malaysa in change of a machine-gun unit, that's a very tricky business.  We've go to know his background.  I'm saying these things because they are real, and if I didn't think that, and I thin even if today the Prime Minster doesn't think careful about this, we could have a tragedy".  
[Brings to mind Nidal Hasan, doesn't it? But, of course, the US government couldn't acknowledge that 'Hard Truth']. (p222).
"Lee... does not see the difference between great piety and a desire for exclusivity" (p223)
"I would say today, we can integrate all religions and races except Islam." (p228).  And "Islam is exclusive." (p230) 
[Not that the host society won't integrate them, mind, but the Islam encourages its adherent not to integrate]

His greatest move was to ensure that Islamism would not imperil Singaporean society by ruling that there would be no foreign (read: Saudi) funding of mosques in Singapore and no funding of foreign "preachers".
"It's the surge of Wahhabism and the oil money that funds it [Islamism].  The Saudis have been building mosques all over the Muslim world and to the mosque, they send their preachers.  Here, we build our mosques and we don't need their preachers.  Our situation is less severe." (p234).
"We don't need their money or their preachers". (p236) 
 Should we not follow that example?  If we want a "less severe" situation?  After all, in Australia, we have a worrying number going off to join ISIS.  And in Hong Kong, we have reports of ISIS trying to recruit local Indonesian domestic helpers to their hideous ideology.  Ban all foreign funding of mosques and foreign imams.