Anwar is playing with fire that he cannot control.
Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Middle East are smart – they know who their real enemies are in the region. Amid an escalating war between Israel and Hamas, in which more than 8,000 people have been killed so far, the kingdom did not choose sides – it condemns both Israel and Hamas. While it slammed Israel for its military action in Gaza, it also condemned Hamas for targeting civilians.
Why is that so? As far as the Gulf states are concerned, Hamas is another terrorist group, the same way the Arab League declared the Lebanese Shia Muslim movement Hezbollah a terrorist organization in 2016. Hamas is a spin-off of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which gave birth to the Arab Spring uprisings – threatening Saudi, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman monarchies.
Like a broken record, the Arab World led by Saudi will express its support for the Palestinian people whenever they are being hammered by the Israeli forces. They will donate some loose change like the recent US$2 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the wake of the Israel-Hamas War. But that’s about it. They won’t send military forces to fight the Jews.
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was much cleverer, or so he thought. He had no idea that Hamas and Palestinians are two different things altogether. When Israel declared war against Hamas and started pounding the Gaza Strip, he proudly told all and sundry about his good relationship with the terror group, bragging about his phone calls with Hamas political bureau head Ismail Haniyeh.
Anwar is the only state leader, besides the regime in Tehran, to publicly declare Hamas terrorists as brothers. Instead of condemning the slaughtering of Israeli women, children and babies by Hamas, he has instead defended the terrorism based on the argument that Hamas won the elections in Gaza, conveniently ignoring the fact that the last election there was in 2007.
Exactly where was Anwar when Saudi, leading a coalition of nine countries from West Asia and North Africa, launched attacks in Yemen, which has been ongoing since 2015 and killed over 150,000 people? And why did Anwar keep quiet when Iran fired cruise missiles on a Saudi oil facility? Ah, that’s because Anwar can’t find non-Muslims to blame in the conflicts involving Muslims slaughtering Muslims.
For 16 years, Hamas seized complete control of Gaza and has ruled without an election since 2007. The best part is while the people in the impoverished Strip face death in the new war provoked by Hamas, Anwar’s buddy Haniyeh lives a luxurious life some 2,000 kilometres away in Qatar. Haniyeh’s wealth was derived from his control of Gaza’s economy while serving in the Hamas government.
Senior Hamas leaders, including Haniyeh, reportedly levied a 20% tax on all trades passing through the tunnels built in Gaza. According to the Arab Weekly, the Hamas regime’s taxes on imports, exports, businesses and tobacco have been opposed by Palestinian civilians who complained that it adds to their misery, but the protests have been cracked down by Hamas security forces.
In 2010, Haniyeh purchased a plot of land for US$4 million on the Gazan beachfront near the Shati refugee camp, which he registered under his son-in-law’s name. He also owns dozens of apartments, villas and buildings in the Gaza Strip, registered under some of his 13 children’s names. Haniyeh’s son Maaz, known as “The Father of Real Estate” in Gaza, has a Turkish passport, allowing free travel abroad.
Condemning Israel’s “barbaric” acts in bombing Palestinians in Gaza, Anwar disagreed with Western countries to also condemn Hamas’ “barbaric” acts in butchering Israelis. Heck, to show he is a much bigger supporter of Palestinians, Anwar has pledged a whopping RM100 million, dwarfing Saudi’s US$2 million, in humanitarian aid for Gaza.
Globetrotting using taxpayers’ money, the Malaysian prime minister had travelled to Saudi Arabia for the ASEAN and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit, before jetting to UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Turkey seeking support from Arab leaders to stop Israel’s relentless assault on Gaza. Amusingly, while the Arabs support Palestinians, none of the Gulf states support Hamas.
To make it more dramatic, Anwar has claimed – without proof – during a gathering with 16,000 supporters to express solidarity with Palestine that he had been threatened by European politicians for speaking up for Palestinian human rights. As expected, he claims that he was not afraid of the pressure from Western powers, particularly the US and Europe.
Just when everyone thought it was the end of Anwar’s political stunt to impress upon Malay Muslims’ support, the premier’s favourite Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek unleashed a weeklong programme in schools nationwide to support the Palestinians. The “Palestine Solidarity Week” program, to be held from Oct 29 to Nov 3, claims to teach students about humanitarian values.
But Anwar overplays his hand. It’s one thing to issue chest-thumping pro-Palestine rhetoric while whining, moaning and bitching till foaming at the mouth about the Jewish brutality. It’s another thing altogether to bring the geopolitical crisis into schools where teachers and innocent students carry firearms, albeit toy guns, while wrapping Palestinian keffiyeh scarf around their heads like militants.
Students at other schools believed to be national-type schools, were seen wearing green bandanas printed with the words “Save Palestine” while also carrying toy guns. It was absolutely horrible to see young students being led into a school assembly by a man armed with protective gear and a mask, along with a fake assault rifle – resembling a terrorist.
Among the teachers, some proudly displayed Palestinian flags or even held toy automatic rifles. National schools, which have become “religious schools” after the curriculum was changed to suit the spread of Islamic extremism, should be the last place for politicians to further radicalize the students. Are we training Jihadists or suicide bombers in schools now?
The fact that some students happily brandished guns – mirroring how Hamas or ISIS trained their children to become terrorists – is both disturbing and sickening. From the beginning, it was an incredible mistake to use local schools as a platform to teach humanitarian values based on the Israel-Palestine conflict. What happened to the Moral education? What about the rights of other refugees or war victims?
Clearly, Anwar’s selfish political agenda in milking the Israel-Hamas conflict has backfired. But the most shameful episode was his reaction after the schools stunningly became a breeding ground for terrorists. When grilled by news media, the irresponsible prime minister said that his government would not force any schools to participate in the programme and would tighten controls on it.
Unless the half-baked programme is scrapped entirely, there’s no way to control the elements of extremism, radicalism and terrorism in it. School children, too immature to understand the conflict in the Middle East, will be brainwashed to think that the only solution is through violence and war because bloodshed has been the marketing campaign by both Hamas and Israel.
Equally shameful was the useless Education Minister Fadhlina’s effort to wash her hands after the programme triggered criticisms. While her boss tried to divert the blame to the Cabinet for collectively approving the programme, Fadhlina has blamed the school for starting the programme outside the period set for the Palestine Solidarity Week and not adhering to the guidelines set by the ministry.
The issue isn’t about guidelines or the eagerness of certain schools to demonstrate support for Palestine. The biggest problem is the existence of “extremism and terrorism” among teachers. And Anwar has just given them a licence to radicalize students from the youngest age to potentially become terrorists by encouraging them to participate in a conflict heavily influenced by race and religion.
However, not everyone agrees with the dangerous programme. Both Borneo states – Sabah and Sarawak – have lectured the premier who is obsessed with Hamas that students should focus on their education instead. In fact, lawmaker Willie Mongin, the Puncak Borneo MP, has accused the Education Ministry of failing to show good governance, when it should build unity and national development.
It was not a coincidence that the incompetent Fadhlina Sidek was appointed as education minister. She is the daughter of the late Dr Siddiq Fadzil, former president of ABIM, a radical movement co-founded by a young Anwar Ibrahim in the 1970s. As the president of ABIM (Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia) for eight years (1974-1982), Anwar was the same radical Islamist who used Islam as a platform to achieve his political ambition.
Crucially, ABIM was inspired and influenced by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood doctrines, the same organization that hatched the Hamas terror group. Now, do you understand why PM Anwar is such a strong supporter of Hamas and Ismail Haniyeh? In fact, religious extremist PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang too was one of ABIM’s leaders, who now competes with Anwar for power.
Hamas must be so proud of Anwar’s excellent job that it should give him the “Best Salesman of the Year” award. Once children are radicalized, it’s impossible to control them as they can be easily manipulated with hatred against other races and religions. The premier has miscalculated the impact of involving schools in his personal agenda, which appears to be spiralling out of control.
There’s a fine line between teaching humanitarian and promoting terrorism when the Ministry of Education tries to politicize the nation’s schools over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Past prime ministers, including Mahathir Mohamad known for his hatred of the Jewish people, had never involved schools in anti-Israel campaigns. Anwar is playing with fire that he cannot control. – Finance Twitter