NOVEMBER 20 — On Facebook, there are comments saying ‘Stop challenging us (Malays), you don’t want the time of Nazi to recur here’ (While his cover photo is a Nazi army wearing a uniform with Nazi swastika) and ‘How great Malaysia would be if we are under the caliphate of Islamic States (Daesh)’.
Definitely not the first but at the Malaysia final cup this year, there was a Nazi flag flying in the middle of a massive crowd of spectators.
These instances have overwhelmingly proven Pew Research’s data on 11% of Malaysians are Daesh sympathizers and the VICE media’s shocking documentary on Malaysian neo-Nazis. It is such a despicable phenomenon online and offline how Malaysians casually quote and idolize Nazi or Daesh (Islamic State) in an open space with or without understanding that their hate speeches show that they are radicalized and can radicalize other people to act upon it. In other words, hate is ‘legitimately’ translatable into violence to make an ‘impact’ on targeted inferior groups or individuals to achieve the end goal whether it’s religio-political or fascist.
Daesh and Nazism
At this early juncture, it needs to be briefly explained why Daesh and neo-Nazism are strikingly similar and both are a security threat that must be combated from a scale of passive sympathizer to active member.
First, ideology of hate and violence that lead to atrocities. Hitler exterminated more than 7 million Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Serb civilians and homosexuals simply because they are wrong and different. Nowadays neo-Nazis in the US and all over Europe continue to target all migrants especially Muslims and Jews. Meanwhile, Daesh kill, enslave and attack the majority, among others; Muslims of different ethnic minorities that include Yazidis, Kurds and religious minorities like Ahmadis, Sufis, Shiites. What a dichotomy for so-called ‘Islamic statehood fighters’?
Second, recruitment and brainwashing strategies that victimize children, women and other minorities. Both use propaganda machinery like regimented position of power and controlled media to assert their fight for religion, nation or race - part of their military training is to watch live killings to instill cold boldiness. They recruit children to be part of armed fighters, make women as sex slaves and force other ethnic minorities to embrace their rigid values otherwise they will be barbarically punished.
So how can someone condone this dangerous and threatening ideology in democratic nonhomogenous Malaysia?
Malaysian Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) Model
The Malaysian authorities under the Ministry of Home Affairs should take this seriously and start reviewing their counter violent extremism (CVE) model.
For instance, the possession of Daesh flag, propaganda videos or other terror-related materials is illegal according to Penal Code (list of Section 130). But why only enforce Islamist militant-related cases? Isn’t this reinforcing a degrading stereotype that that terrorism equal to Islam. Apart from the inherent threats aforementioned, the CVE model shall criminalize neo-Nazism as it is originated from an ideology proclaimed to be a crime against humanity, war crime and genocide at the Nuremberg trial. Plus, the revival wave of neo-Nazism in this interconnected world does not just affect Europe but widespread to Malaysia to instigate fascism of racial supremacy.
More than 20 countries criminalise the promotion of Nazism. No other country abhors Nazism as much as Germany except in the contexts of "art, science, research or teaching". The perpetrators might end up in jail or be fined, and Germans might ‘spit’ on you on the street if Nazi flags, insignia, uniforms, slogans and forms of greeting are so promoted. Here we go in Malaysia, we take pride of Nazi’s brutality, cheer and chant Adolf Hitler - just because it is so resonates with our racial supremacy.
Moreover, our CVE model is very much lacking in the prevention part. Our definition of CVE from the official government reports only tackles post-radicalization. The whole radicalization process from internalizing and disseminating the hateful ideology, though nonviolent, is the root of the problem. That’s how Daesh and Nazi perpetrators start and then go extra mile. Thus, our CVE model must incorporate preventive measures such as peaceful conflict resolution and inclusive religious-moral education for our ill-informed society.
Clearly, Daesh and neo-Nazism are a security threat to the world and nation because it destroys peace and coexistence. It is not just some ‘pretentious labels’ but ideologies that are formed for many decades, organized and associated with hate and violence. Not to mention sympathizers are as much complicit in the destructive ideologies. Malaysian authorities should take stern action against them under our existing penal law before violence is inevitable.
* Aizat Shamsuddin is a human rights and counter-extremism advocate with Komuniti Muslim Universal (KMU) and fellow at the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Germany in 2017.
** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.