President Obama is in Asia and he recently spoke with the good people of Malaysia. On his little outing he made a few interesting and notable comments that give some reason for concern.
The most notable was President Obama’s decision to visit Malaysia’s most important mosque (fine) but not to visit with congregations from the persecuted Christian, Buddhist or Hindu minorities. Malaysia is about 60% Muslim and the minority religious communities often come under pressure from the majority Muslim population.
A spokesman for the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship chairman, Rev. Dr. Eu Hong Seng, said he welcomed the fact Obama chose to tour the National Mosque.
“Given the challenges and concerns for non-Muslim religions in Malaysia, especially Christianity, it would have been good for President Obama to also visit the places of religious worship of other religions,” he said. “This would help him better understand the issues facing non-Muslim religions in Malaysia.”
President Obama did take time in a speech he gave to speak up for the religious minorities within the nation, but even then he mis-stepped by making it sound as if the religious tension in Malaysia and the racial tension that may exist in the United States were somehow similar. This is a disgusting equivocation of two very different things. The racial issues we have experienced in our nation have much improved over the last hundred years, and every sane American believes that all men are created equal and should have access to the same fundamental rights and privileges. The religious intolerance in Malaysia is still a terrible problem and it does not seem to be getting better. In fact, throughout the Islamic world, Muslim oppression and persecution of religious minorities is only getting worse. (As we’ve documented over and over again here at Eagle Rising.)
Here in Malaysia, this is a majority Muslim country. So then, there are times where those who are non-Muslims find themselves perhaps being disadvantaged or experiencing hostility.
In the United States, obviously historically the biggest conflicts arose around race. And we had to fight a civil war and we had to have a civil rights movement over the course of generations until I could stand before you as a president of African descent.
But of course, the job is not done. There is still discrimination and prejudice and ethnic conflict inside the United States that we have to be vigilant against. So my point is all of us have within us biases and prejudices of people who are not like us or were not raised in the same faith or come from a different ethnic background.
Malaysia won’t succeed if non-Muslims don’t have opportunity. You should be proud of who you are and your background. And you should appreciate the differences in language and food. And how you worship God is going to be different, and those are things that you should be proud of. But it shouldn’t be a tool to look down on somebody else. It shouldn’t be a reason to discriminate.
Our situations are not the same, and while it may simply be an attempt to connect with his listeners… it’s a bridge too far. Those being persecuted don’t need the Presidents gentle conversation with their abusers… they need the leader of the Free World to stand up and denounce religious oppression! They needed to hear President Obama say that America stood with them in their pain and that the persecuted people of the world would always have a political ally in us. They needed our President to exert pressure on the Malaysian government to help the downtrodden minority. They needed our President to clearly call out the Muslim community for their immoral behavior. Instead, he visited their most important mosque and treated the oppressors as friendly hosts instead of brutal rulers.
The free people of the world may not realize it yet, but we can’t take much more of Barack Obama’s “leadership.”
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com