KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — For some Malaysians and the international community, Barisan Nasional MP Bung Moktar Radin’s tweet saluting Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler after Germany won a World Cup semi-final was their first exposure into the bizarre Hitler-worship that permeates the Malay community.
Although Bung had apologised after Prime Minister Najib Razak declared that the former did not speak for Malaysia, the reality on the ground is much different.
The reverence for Hitler is not only long-standing, but it seems to have escalated following the recent disproportionate attacks by the Israeli Defence Forces on the Gaza Strip.
On Friday, popular Malay singer Shila Amzah tweeted that she “just wish that Hitler is still alive”, before retracting and deleting her tweet following public outrage. She relented, but not before claiming that those who vilified her for supporting a mass murderer were mere “fanatics.”
On the same day, former information minister and ex-chief editor of Malay daily Utusan Malaysia Zainuddin Maidin also praised Bung with a “bravo” for saluting Hitler, saying it was apt considering the recent attacks.
A major reason behind this sick adulation for Hitler stems from the fact that he was regarded as the “greatest” exterminator of the Jews, eradicating millions of them in concentration camps during the Holocaust.
There is even a famous quote that is bandied about by many Muslims to prove how “right” Hitler was:
“I could have annihilated all the Jews in the world, but I left some of them alive so you would know why I was killing them.”
It was as if Hitler was only being “kind” when he spared some Jews after gleefully killing the other millions.
This quote has been circulated online for as long as the Internet is around, and was even featured on the front page of Utusan once.
This quote is also fake. There is no evidence to suggest that Hitler even uttered it. But of course none of this would stop those Muslims from sharing it, as it confirms their conviction against the Jews.
Some Muslims also believe that Hitler greatly admired Islam and its adherents.
Back in 2010, there was a chain letter titled “My tribute to a great man, Hitler” where it was said that Hitler frequently met Muslim scholars to learn about the faith, and how he treated his Muslim troops well.
The letter also alleged that Hitler was motivated to murder the Jews after he was inspired by the Quran, and included a pledge to Allah for his soldiers.
Similarly, none of this is remotely true. It still baffles me how such a sick and blatant example of history revisionism could have resonated with so many Malays and Muslims.
This love for Hitler is almost proportionate to how much the Malays unconditionally hate the Jews as a race.
In May, a survey by Jewish NGO Anti-Defamation League found that nearly two in three Malaysians admitted to anti-Semitic tendencies, far above the global average of 24 per cent as well as the 22 per cent across the rest of Asia. Malaysia is also 19th in a list of 102 countries, coming in behind the most fiercely anti-Semitic countries from the Middle East and North Africa. It is also the Asian country that is most prejudiced against the Jewish people.
Part of this hatred comes from the Muslims’ support for their Palestinian brethren in the never-ending conflict with Israel.
But as hard as they might try to deny it, a huge contributing factor to the anti-Semitism is because almost all Malays in the country were raised with the Jews as their bogeymen, the mortal enemies of the Muslims.
Reference to the Jews in the holy book of Quran was mostly negative, and it is very common to hear insults against Jews during the Muslim Friday sermon.
The Jews have become a too-easy scapegoat, blamed for almost everything from the moral decay of society through their alleged culture colonialism, to funding the Opposition in the country to overthrow the ruling administration.
When it comes to the Jews, some Malays just seem to throw their brains out of the window. Only pure hatred drives them.
Nobody can deny the atrocities committed by the Israeli forces against Palestinians, but I find scant comfort in knowing that my fellow Malays’ answer to the destruction of the Palestinians is the destruction of Israelis instead.
Not many people are interested in a two-state solution. Only complete annihilation of Israel would do it for them.
This was also reflected in the many responses I’ve come across following the attacks on the Gaza Strip. Many remarks were in the vein of “Yahudi laknatullah” (the Jews are damned by Allah) and praying for God to “destroy” the Jews.
There seems to be little differentiation between the Jews, Israelis, and Zionists. They are all conveniently lumped together as enemies who should be crushed, no matter that there are many Jews against the atrocities themselves.
Logic dictates that if one does not support the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Muslims, then one should similarly speak out against the persecution of the Jews. You cannot justify the murder of one by calling for the murder of the other.
But reason has no place when long-held hatred is in place. It is no surprise how this leads to some worshipping Hitler and wishing that he had wiped the Jews off the Earth, even when Hitler would have done the same to Muslims were he still alive.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.