Thursday, November 23, 2006


The following article is part of a chapter in a book entitled The Muslim Renaissance: The Birth of a New Era, which was launched at the 2nd World Islamic Economic Forum organized by the Asian Strategic and Leadership Institute (ASLI) in Islamabad, Pakistan, from 5 to 7 November 2006.



Columnist (, Jakarta, Indonesia


This book and the 2nd World Islamic Economic Forum organized by the Asian Strategic and Leadership Institute in Islamabad, Pakistan, from 5 to 7 November could not have been timelier.

During a lecture at the University of Regensburg in Germany, where he was previously a professor of theology, Pope Benedict XVI quoted the 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, who said:

“Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

This quote has caused anger across the world, particularly among Muslim communities. From the Middle East to Asia, Muslims put out protests, burned churches, and attacked Christians in reaction to the Pope’s usage of the quote in his lecture, which was interpreted as a condemnation of, or an insult to, Islam.

On 1 October, Indonesia—the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation— commemorated the 2nd anniversary of the 2nd Bali bombing. Along with the first Bali bombing in 2002 and other terrorist attacks in Jakarta, the 2nd Bali bombing was the work of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), an Indonesian radical Islamic network with links and operations across Southeast Asia.

And amid the Iraq War and the Palestine-Israel conflict, Israel attacked Lebanon in August this year. The attack, which took place under a vacuous pretext that Israel needed to rescue two of its soldiers whom the Hezbollah had captured, killed thousands of civilians and destroyed several cities in Lebanon. It must be noted that the international community, except for the US and UK, condemned this attack, but Israel forged ahead with its plan and only stopped it when too much blood was shed in Lebanon.

Altogether, these wars, attacks, and conflicts raise several questions. Why do they happen to, or in, Muslim countries? Is terrorism the way for them to fight back? Or is there a smarter way to do it? But most importantly, how do Islamic nations—at one point in history an advanced civilization—rise against the rest of the world in today’s competitive environment?

This essay is a humble attempt to answer these questions. The first section lays out key challenges that the Islamic world faces. The second part shows why the Islamic World has been unable to overcome them. The third part suggests what the Islamic nations need to do to deal with its challenges and gain power in today’s competitive world. Finally, the article will conclude that the challenges facing the Islamic world are formidable, but they are not impossible to deal with; however, overcoming them will require some self-critical thinking and pragmatic actions.


If we take a good look at the Islamic world today and ask ourselves which countries that are peaceful, prosperous, and progressed, we can only name a few: Brunei, Malaysia, Qatar, and the United Emirates. As for the rest, some are either at war with a foreign country or in a civil war, e.g. Iraq, while others face the threat of terrorism that is masterminded and launched by homegrown radical Islamic groups, e.g. Indonesia.

Ironically, this is the Islamic world that is 1.3 billion strong and has the biggest oil reserve in the world, among a wealth of other natural resources. And, to be sure, this is the same Islamic world that was the most powerful, advanced, and enlightened civilization at one point in history. For this reason, many Muslims and scholars of Islam have started to question what has happened to Islam.

The Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis phrased this question as follows.

What went wrong? For a long time people in the Islamic world, especially but not exclusively in the Middle East, have been asking this question...There is indeed good reason for questioning and concern, even for anger. For many centuries the world of Islam was in the forefront of human civilization and achievement...In the Muslims’ own perception, Islam itself was indeed coterminous with civilization, and beyond its borders there were only barbarians and infidels.

The answer to this question, according to Lewis and some Muslims themselves, is the rise of the West, first on the battlefield and later in science and the marketplace. Along with technology, modernity, and economic growth that enabled the rising power of the West, particularly the US, came the concept of democracy, secularism and other values.

As the West became more dominant, Muslims started to retreat. What’s more, they started to perceive the West as a force that is incompatible with—if not antithetical to—Islam. This is part of what Harvard political science professor Samuel Huntington called The Clash of Civilizations:

Indeed, it is hard to find statements by any Muslims, whether politicians, officials, academics, businesspersons, or journalists, praising Western values and institutions. They instead stress the differences between their civilization and Western civilization, the superiority of their culture, and the need to maintain the integrity of that culture against Western onslaught. Muslims fear and resent Western power and the threat [that] this poses to their society and beliefs. They see Western culture as materialistic, corrupt, decadent, and immoral. They also see it as seductive, and hence stress all the more the need to resist its impact on their way of life. Increasingly, Muslims attack the West not for adhering to an imperfect, erroneous religion, which is nonetheless a “religion of the book,” but for not adhering to any religion at all. In Muslim eyes Western secularism, irreligiosity [sic], and hence immorality are worse evils than the Western Christianity that produced them.

In other words, the biggest problem that the Islamic world is facing today is that it is still living in the past in which it was once one the most superior civilization; it fails to realize that it is so far behind the West in every sphere; and, it is in denial of such issues as poverty, backwardness, and terrorism as their problems.

Thus, the Islamic world can only conclude that the West causes all their problems and, as such, the West is their enemy. As long as Muslims throughout the world keep thinking like this, they will never be able to solve their problems and rise again to be a leading civilization that they once were. Like the treatment of a patient of alcoholism, the first step for the Islamic World is to admit its problems—political, social, economic, or otherwise. Only then can they start to change the Islamic world for the better.


In addition to the dominance of the West in the world today, the overwhelming support of Israel from the US, and the UK, has worsened the anti-Western mentality and resentment among Muslim communities across the globe.

As a matter of fact, Muslims see the killings of Palestinians and the blatant US support of Israel as a direct attack against the Islamic world as a whole. The al-Qaida leader Osama bin Ladin, for instance, has cited the Palestinian struggle as one of the reasons why his organization has launched the 911 attacks in the US and the London bombing in July 2005.

To be sure, US foreign policy under the Bush Administration has fueled more anger from the Muslim world than any other previous one. Examples are plenty. For one thing, the US bypassed the United Nations and invaded Iraq under the false pretext that Baghdad had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). What is more, while the Bush Administration supported India’s development of nuclear programs, it opposes Iran’s. Why, Muslims worldwide ask. Is because Iran is a Muslim nation and India is not?

Thus, Muslims across the world have increasingly joined the Islamic struggle against the US and its allies, including Australia, India and the UK. In Asia, for instance, terrorist attacks continue to happen in Pakistan and India as of this writing, following the two bombings in the Indonesian island of Bali in 2002 and 2005 as well as those of the Marriott Hotel and the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in 2003 and 2004, respectively.

In what they see as their defense against the rise of the West and its anti-Islamic values and the unilateral US foreign policy, leaders of Muslim organizations have found no other way other than resigning themselves to terrorism. For them, this is a battle for Islam, or a jihad, which is often interpreted as a holy war. The religion expert Karen Armstrong wrote in The Battle for God:

Jihad (“struggle”) [in Arabic] was not a holy war to convert the infidel, as Westerners believed, nor was it purely a means of self-defense, as Abdu had argued. Mawdudi de.ned jihad as a revolutionary struggle to seize power for the good of all humanity...Mawdudi, who developed this idea in 1939, shared the same perspective as such militant ideologies as Marxism. Just as the Prophet had fought the jahiliyyah, the ignorance and barbarism of the pre-Islamic period, so all Muslims must use all means at their disposal to resist the modern jahiliyyah of the West. The jihad could take many forms. Some people would write

articles, others make speeches, but in the last resort, they must be prepared for armed struggle.

As justified as it is in the eyes of Muslim jihadists, terrorism cannot and will not help them win their battle against the US and its allies. To be sure, the 911 attacks have changed the world in many ways, but they have not defeated the US—still the world’s superpower – or stopped its support of Israel or foreign policy towards Muslim countries. Quite the contrary: The US is as aggressive and powerful as ever. The proof is its invasion of Iraq and its silent backing of Israel in the recent attack on Lebanon, not too long after its retaliation in Afghanistan to “wipe and smoke” the al-Qaida out of its caves.

Moreover, Islamic militant and terrorist attacks don’t help Muslims win their battle against the US or the West; in fact, they are costly – in financial terms and otherwise. But most importantly, as Muslims spend more financial and other resources on jihad, they forgo the same resources that can be used to improve their economies, which in turn will translate into peace, prosperity, and power.

The former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, capture the problems facing the Islamic world very clearly in his speech at the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on October 16, 2003:

None of our countries are truly independent. We are under pressure to conform to our oppressors’ wishes about how we should behave, how we should govern our lands, how we should think even.

Today if they want to raid our country, kill our people, destroy our villages and towns, there is nothing substantial that we can do. Is it Islam which has caused all these? Or is it that we have failed to do our duty according to our religion?

Our only reaction is to become more and more angry. Angry people cannot think properly. And so we .nd some of our people reacting irrationally. They launch their own attacks, killing just about anybody including fellow Muslims to vent their anger and frustration. Their Governments can do nothing to stop
them. The enemy retaliates and puts more pressure on the Governments. And the Governments have no choice but to give in, to accept the directions of the enemy, literally to give up their independence of action.

There is a feeling of hopelessness among the Muslim countries and their people. They feel that they can do nothing right. They believe that things can only get worse... They will forever be poor, backward and weak. Some believe, this is the Will of Allah, that the proper state of the Muslims is to be poor and oppressed in this world.

But is it true that we should do and can do nothing for ourselves? Is it true that 1.3 billion people can exert no power to save themselves from the humiliation and oppression inflicted upon them by a much smaller enemy? Can they only lash back blindly in anger? Is there no other way than to ask our young people to blow themselves up and kill people and invite the massacre of more of our own people?

There is a way – there must be – for the Islamic world to deal with its many formidable challenges. But it is only possible if the world’s Muslim community starts to think instead of reacting in a state of anger.


As shown in the previous section of this essay, fundamentalism – as expressed by Muslims in the various forms of jihad, including terrorism – is not the way for the world’s Islamic community to solve its problems. As a matter of fact, it is counterproductive.

Thus, instead of fundamentalism, Muslims need to come together as one united community to assess their strengths and weaknesses, make good use of their wealth of oil and other resources, and think of strategies that will improve their economies and, thereby, enhance their national defense and power.

As they control 57 out of the 180 countries in the world, Muslims are a considerable group. Unfortunately, their voice in the international community is weak, however. For one thing, it is because most of them do not have the economic power that can make them be heard. But, more importantly, they are not united as a community. Thus, Muslim nations need a collective coordinating body to ensure that all members act in concert and, thereby, wield strength among them for the improvement of the Islamic world.

Working closely with such organizations as the League of Arab Nations, the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) can be used for that purpose. In addition to addressing challenges that the Islamic world faces, the WIEF is a place where delegates can share knowledge and skills, build networks of valuable contacts, and seize business opportunities worldwide.

But creating and participating in such forums as the WIEF is not enough to improve the knowledge or enhance the skills that Muslims need to compete in today’s global economy. If we take a close and honest look at the curriculum at schools across Muslim countries, we can see that it still focuses a little too much on the teachings of the Koran and not enough on computer science, math and natural sciences, writing and the English language, which enable students to be find jobs easily upon graduation and more competent at the workplace.

To be sure, students who read more than one book and study more than one discipline must be more knowledgeable and well-rounded than those who read only one book or study only theology. Upon graduation, the former will be able to contribute better and more to their jobs, organizations, families, communities, and societies than the latter. This is the reason why in the US there are many liberal arts colleges where students are required to take courses in all disciplines, aside from their majors or concentration.

In addition to education, the Muslim world needs to focus more on other requirements of economic development. A progressive educational system will produce a good labor force for their economies, but that, alone, is not enough for economic growth. For one thing, Muslim countries need to spend more on research and development (R&D) because it is where new ideas, inventions, and advancements come about. If we look at the US, it is a young nation compared with the Islamic world. But it is the strongest economy. How
is that possible? One of the reasons is, in addition to its first-rate educational system, it has a lot of think tanks, such as the Rand Corporation, where smart graduates get paid to think and come up with new ideas that are applied in business and daily life.

Furthermore, economic growth requires good infrastructures. These include roads, telecommunication systems, ports, and so on. Like bones and vessels in a human body, infrastructures facilitate business transactions and other economic activities. To be sure, a country with poor infrastructures cannot
have a strong economy, and it takes more time and costs more to do business in such an uncompetitive environment.

Finally, and most importantly, economic growth requires a country that is politically stable. If a Muslim nation does not like the idea of democracy as a form of government and would rather stick to a monarchy or sultanate system, that is a choice that others – especially the US – should respect. Nevertheless,
if such a country is constantly bombarded with terrorist attacks or conflicts caused by home-grown militant, radical Islamic groups, then it cannot blame investors, domestic and foreign alike, to close their businesses and move them somewhere else safer. So, if governments of Muslim nations want to enhance their economic growth by increasing the level of investment in their economies, they should work hard to provide security in their countries.

As for Muslim nations that are fighting wars that the US has started or supports, namely Iraq and Palestine, peace is still a dream. But there are things other than telling young Muslims to commit suicide attacks that their leaders can do to help stop the violence that has been shedding too much Muslim blood already. For one thing, as Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad suggested, they should work more closely with other Muslim nations and non-Muslim nations that sympathize with them to gain more support in the international community for
their causes. What’s more, use their own media – not Fox News, of course – to show the world the killings and sufferings of innocent civilian Muslims and that it is as wrong to kill a Muslim as it is to kill a Jew or anyone else, for that matter.
Until the world sees and acknowledges this, more Muslim blood will be shed.


As shown in this essay, the Islamic community has moved from being, for centuries, a most powerful civilization in the world to being one that is far behind the West. Today, the Islamic world is confronted with poverty, backwardness, and oppression, and that is sad – if not ironic – for a 1.3 billion community with
the largest oil reserve and a wealth of other national resources. This has made Muslims and Islam scholars question what has happened to, or gone wrong with, Islam. Some have pointed to the rise of the West and modernity as the causes of Islam’s turmoil, while others go back to Islamic fundamentalism, or jihad, as a solution.

To be sure, some Muslim nations are fighting wars that the US has started or supports, but the US and its allies cannot be blamed entirely for what has happened to the Islamic world. And terrorism, which is committed in the name of Islam, is not the way for Muslims to .ght these wars. Nor is it the way for the Islamic world to rise against the West and be the powerful civilization that it once was.

Rather, as suggested in this essay, the Islamic community needs to think collectively of how to deal with its challenges. While the challenges facing the Islamic world are formidable, they are not impossible to overcome. What the Muslim world needs to deal with its challenges effectively are unity, knowledge, and economic growth. Only when these requirements are met can the Islamic community gain peace, prosperity, and power and rise again in the world.

Thang D. Nguyen is a writer, editor, and communications consultant. He pens frequently on Indonesian and Asian affairs for international and major Asian newspapers. His publications include three books:
Indonesia Matters, The Malaysian Journey, and The Indonesian Dream. Prior to moving to Indonesia in 2003, Thang was a manager for Asian affairs at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Among his other credentials, he holds degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); Hobart College; and Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), USA.


Anonymous steve at the pub said...

If there is one group which this world would benefit from the total elimination of, it is Islam.

6:25 AM  
Anonymous An Australian Abroad said...


You're a bloody moron.

Apart from the incorrect syntax: 'Islam' is a religon, not a group. Perhaps you really mean 'Muslims'.

But mainly, they're not a single group. They come in all different shapes and sizes.

So which Muslims do you want to eliminate ? The whole 1.4-1.6 billion followers of Islam spread across North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia and even China ? Or just the 200 or so who conspired in the October 2002 Bali bombings ?

It wasn't so long ago that Australian Catholics and Protestants were at each other's throats.

Comments like your last one just give ammunition to people who want to paint Australia as a nation of bigots and racists. Your friends on other blogs would be grateful.

12:23 AM  
Blogger Thang D. Nguyen said...

Steve -

Why am I not shocked that you made the comment that you did?

I'll let readers judge it for themselves. But, I just want to point out that your comment is worse than racism--I have yet to come up with an accurate word with which to describe it.

2:00 AM  
Blogger oigal said...

Despite our previous differences I found this to be a fairly good and well prepared article

7:58 AM  
Anonymous steve at the pub said...

Only moron you will see is in the mirror sunshine (to an australian abroad, & you should stay there)

I don't WANT to eliminate any particular muslims. Was just noting how much better place the world would be without them all, given their performance of recent years.

An excellent article. Agree,

Thang, my comment is not racism, but realism. You on the other hand have exhibted plenty of Australia-envy.

There is nothing shocking about printing what half the world is saying. And wouldn't a muslim-free world be peaceful?

8:32 AM  
Anonymous An Australian Abroad said...


It might be peaceful after the invasions, urban wars, giant refugee movements, and nuclear holocaust it would take to enact the genocide of 1.6 billion Muslims.

Half the world isn't saying that Steve: you're saying that. Jesus, I thought all the slurs on you on this blog were a joke.

Muslims' performance of recent years ? Do you watch anything but Fox News ?

Again * deep breath * now, Steve, let's break this down real simple.

-Terrorists are a tiny minority of Muslims.

- Christianity has plenty of its own terrorists.

- Christendom has quite a bloody history itself. (We won't talk about civilian 'collateral damage' in Iraq and Afghanistan).

If you're talking about Shar'ia or Islamic law and some of the features of conservative Islam, well that's a complicated topic. If you're recommending the same remedy that Adolf Hitler did for Jews, Armenians, Gypsies and others, it's doubtful you've got the state of mind needed to understand Islam's complex history or the diversity of modern Muslims.

At least do this: look up a bit about the Muslim caliphates in Andalusia to 1492. Muslims scholars helped to preserve ancient Greek teachings in the sciences and philosophy, the same teachings that underpinned the European enlightment, later industrial revolution and Western pre-eminence.

You've partly got them to thank for the computer in front of you now Steve. Modern Australia has cashed in on European knowledge and capital from day 1. Sure, cutting paddocks out of the bush, digging mines, and building a nation in the wilderness wasn't easy, but British capital, and science, and culture gave Australia a big leg up.

Steve, if you're not interested, then you really are a moron and in no place to be complaining about the likes of Jaya Subramaniam. Of course, something has happened to the Muslim world since Andalusia (see Bernard Lewis's What Went Wrong). But a guy who wants to deal with Muslims the same way he'd deal with a kitchen cockroach infestation isn't one for difficult questions.

Oigal, it's disappointing that Thang cops an earful for his claims about Australia, but you're silent when Steve at the Pub calls for a genocide of Muslims.

Finally Steve, it's amusing that you've given your critics exactly what they want.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous steve at the pub said...

Ozzi abroad, you have ready every word I wrote here. Please copy & paste where I "call" for "genocide" of muslims.

Written comprehension ain't your strong point.

I have merely stated the obvious truth that the world today, without muslims, would be a much better place.

The muslim component of the earth's population isn't likely to go up in a puff of smoke, & neither are they about to advance beyond the 1400's anytime soon.

So we are stuck with the narrow minded violent mysogynistic dickheads.

I am not complaining or anything else about "jaya subranaiam". Just another dull witted kid, there are plenty of them around, there always will be.

What is "fox news"? Is it an animal form of the vegetable news medium known as "the grapevine"? Or perhaps a ground based version of "a little birdie", who tells us all lots of stuff?

Christendom has a bloody history? So what? You write as if I have supported christianity somehow.

Deep breath overseas ozzi, there are more than two superstitious belief systems in the world. And contempt for one particular belief system in no way confers membership of a rival group.

Critical thinker you sure ain't.

Civilian collateral damage in Afghanistan & Iraq? Why not talk about it. There are plenty of people being killed in both those countries, which religion do YOU think the killers are? News reports of jews strapping on suicide belts in Baghdad are unknown to me. If anybody but muslims are committing gratituous killing in either country, please provide detials...

I should thank muslims for developing the computer? Stretching it a bit now aren't we? However I CAN thank muslims for the lengthy delays at airports, the long security lines, having to remove my laptop & have it inspected, the intrusive explosives detection test before boarding aircraft, etc etc etc.

There are Christian (here you go again) & other terrorist groups? Please list the christian & other groups which have hijacked aircraft, killed thousands of workers going about their honest labour, exploded nightclubs full of revellers, & so on & so forth....

It is "disappointing" that Thang cops an earful for his claims about Australia? Why?

His claims are ill researched, biased, narrow minded and bigoted.

He can expect nothing but an earful.

I have given my critics what they want? I have critics? How I rise in importance. Indeed I do, but none of my critics are ever likely to read, or even know of, this blog.

Half the world isn't saying what I wrote just before? I confess to not having asked even half of my state. However, just because journalists are not printing such stuff, does not mean it isn't widely spoken over kitchen tables, & it has been for many years.

I have stated a simple truth... Subtext the same as Thang's article: It is about time the muslim world woke up to itself!

8:25 PM  
Anonymous An Australian Abroad said...


"If there is one group which this world would benefit from the total elimination of, it is Islam."

Logical inference = what should we do to make the world a better place ? Eliminate Muslims. A few breaths away from calling for a pogrom on Muslims.

"I have merely stated the obvious truth that the world today, without muslims, would be a much better place."

It's obvious to redneck bigots.

"So we are stuck with the narrow minded violent mysogynistic dickheads."

What do you call someone who at the very least implies that the elimination of 1.6 billion Muslims would be a good thing ?

"If anybody but muslims are committing gratituous killing in either country, please provide detials..."

Read the news, Pal. 'Clinical' attacks haven't been a big success. Alot of collateral damage from U.S., British and Australian-supported attacks.

"I should thank muslims for developing the computer?"

Have you heard of 'algebra' ? Astronomy ? Translation of Greek thinkers? Might want to look into the history of the sciences and see where the Muslims fit into it. You can check it out on Google. Basic argument is that scientific advances are really teamwork over time and at one point Muslim Caliphates led the Western world.

On the Christendom isn't any better question; I'm not saying you're Christian.

You've implied before that Australia is somehow better than the Muslim world. We might all be Church-goers, but we're part of the tradition and civilization of Christendom. Once again, see Google or Wikipedia.

On Christian terrorist groups:

There are Christian (here you go again) & other terrorist groups? Please list the christian & other groups which have hijacked aircraft, killed thousands of workers going about their honest labour, exploded nightclubs full of revellers, & so on & so forth....

- Spanish Conquistadors in South America (they did do it on behalf of J.C.), to name but one concrete example of 400 years of colonial rule.

Indeed, that was in the not-so-distant past. Then there was the:

- The Irish Republican Army (strong links with the Church, but admittedly were'nt doing it on behalf of J.C., but they sure did kill lots of revellers).

- I'd say there are quite a few Afghans and Iraqis who regard getting bombed randomly in the middle of the night to be a form of terrorist. Oh - that's right - we're doing it for 'democracy', 'homeland security'.

Half the world ISN'T calling for eliminating Muslims except in your little corner of it, with Alan Jones ranting away in the background.

Your basic problem is logic. The self-proclaimed Muslims attack on 9/11 and in Bali were TERRORISTS and SOCIOPATHS.

Most Muslims are neither. They're normal people who have a different faith and creed to you.

In terms of your critics, I was talking about the likes of Jaya and Achmad who painted you as an outback bigot. By saying the world would be a better place by eliminating Muslims, you're proving them right.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous steve at the pub said...

"Spanish Conquistadors in South America"

ROFL. How to take this person seriously? LOL

12:23 AM  
Anonymous An Australian Abroad said...


You just don't have the attention span for a serious conversation.

We're talking about why Christians - or Australians - aren't any better than Muslims. Something you might be able to relate to is Midnight Oil's "Short Memory". That gets the spirit of it. The Oils could bridge the gaps with the likes of you better than me.

Stick to pulling beers and throwing out yobs. You're just not up to the big leagues yet. Do some reading and maybe get a degree.

8:38 AM  
Blogger THE PENTONARC said...


Why does the Islamic world need unity? This is what the fanatics want. And why emphasize the “Islamic” world? Are, say, Hati, Australia, the US and the Philippines part of a successfully united Christian world? It’s this lack of secularism that is the problem.

As you point out; many Muslim countries, such as those in the Middle East and Indonesia, have vast natural resources, but they are governed by corrupt oligarchies or totalitarian theocracies and comprise of an elite minority; with obscene wealth who are usually connected to the rulers, and a vast majority; living in miserable poverty.

As for education; as you know; a decent education means teaching the questioning of the status quo and open mindedness; the antithesis of what most of these countries stand for and can only be taught and allowed to flourish in secular democracies.

Until the “Islamic” world stops seeing itself as that, and embraces secularism, democracy and a modern education system that embraces those things, the majority of people living in those countries are going to continue living a rock bottom existence.

8:41 AM  
Blogger oigal said...

Oigal, it's disappointing that Thang cops an earful for his claims about Australia, but you're silent when Steve at the Pub calls for a genocide of Muslims. ..

Gee glad you valued my opinion so much.. Whats the point, I happen to disagree with you both...and neithier have much to do with the article..

have fun

9:40 PM  
Anonymous An Australian Abroad said...


Then have the balls to say something. It's interesting that you prefer to speak out when a guy with a Vietnamese name knocks Australia based on historical facts while you're silent on an Aussie saying the world would 'benefit from the elimination of Muslims.'

You can't expect much more from Steve at the Pub, but you, at least, seemed to have half a brain. Or maybe that's all you have.

2:04 AM  
Blogger oigal said...

Australian Abroad,

I normally try and avoid responding to cowards that hide behind nicknames and like to accuse others of being morons or not having balls, something invariably they would not have the "balls" to do in real life. I prefer to attack the arguments presented however in your case that would like attacking an unarmed man. However as I have few minutes today, lets make an exception.

Personally my take on Steve's comment on Islam was he is suggesting that the world would be better off without the religion. Not really practical or realistic but not a totally unheard of view. I certainly did not read anywhere the call for genocide.

I will grant you in my humble opinion, the comment could have be phrased better as you have to allow for the xenophobes and terrorist apologists and other trolls trying to twist things to cater for their own lack of rational.

For myself, I can't really think of many redeeming features of any religion, but hey “to each his own”. As long as you respect my views and leave me and mine alone you can worship a tea cup for all I care.

As for your posts, once you take out the very brave, anonymous personal attacks there is not much substance at all.

The IRA, Spanish Conquistadors, Computers ..please..

There is a clash going on, but its not clash of Civilizations but a clash between moderate, rational Muslims and hard line nutters. There is little anyone on the outside of Islam can really do about that. It is a battle (of minds not bodies) the Muslims must decide for themselves.

As for writing off, the animals and self-proclaimed Muslims on 9/11 and in Bali as "TERRORISTS and SOCIOPATHS" that is a predictable and sad little cop out.

Yes they are sociopaths but they represent small and sick face of Islam. They by no means represent Islam as a whole but they are part of a major issue that moderate Islam needs to confront. To pretend they and their twisted beliefs don't have a following and their actions are not related in some perverse way to Islam is precisely the problem that must be addressed.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous steve at the pub said...

Anonymous Ozzy, put this in your pipe and smoke it:

I aware there is a rock group named Midnight Oil, however I have never heard a single track by Midnight Oil, have absolutely no idea what they might sound like, and not the faintest clue what the lyrics to any of their work may even look like.

Projection is a tricky thing isn't it?.. You have listened to Midnight Oil, & assumed that I would have also.

5:41 AM  
Anonymous steve at the pub said...

Come off it anonymous Ozzy.

I am not remotely interested in killing off all muslims. Killing on that scale is the province of mao tse tung, stalin & others of that political creed.

I ain't got that much clout.

Besides, I would lose too many big spending regulars.

5:43 AM  
Anonymous Jaya Subramaniam said...

Steve and Oigal, My dear old chaps,

Oigal, it is getting increasing difficult to depict you as a bigoted ignoramus given that the facts suggest otherwise, but I'd like to try. I'm loth to give up one of my favourite hobbies. So here goes.

With this latest missive, you've established yourself as nothing but imbecile of the highest order. Add to that nincompoop, cretin, and silly person.

Actually, you have made a worthwile contribution: illustrating my points about Australians earlier on. Thanks Oigal, keep it coming.

Steve, it is clear from your silence that you are a fan of Achmad's fiction !

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Oigal said...

Gee J.S.

You really should not play on the computer without mom and dad's permission you only embarrass yourself.

Sorry I don't dedicate enough time to keeping track of the trolls..Which one were you again. the one from the non-existent University or the sad, little Xenophobe?

1:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree!.
Without Islam the world would be a much better place. The West without muslims would be an infinitely better place!. So I propose we start there..ridding the West of the muslim scourge. Islam truly is a cancer on Western society. The chappie that goes by the name of "An Australian Abroad" (clearly a homosexual judging by his previous posts) is one of the many deluded, apologist hand-wringers desperately trying to appease his Asian/muslim hosts. What lady-boy bar do you reside in 'Aussie Abroad'??

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Marsha said...

people, just want to remind each other not to use simplifications and react in fear when forming opinions...

(please stay on topic and well off accusing each other's characteristics, thank you.)

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Sudogiman said...


You clearly join the ranks of Steve-at-the-Pub as a moron of absolutely unparalled dimensions.

I visualize you both, knuckle-dragging, crawling, strings of drool trailing on the floor, eyes bloodshot and haggard, as you scratch ferociously trying to dislodge the fleas from your pubic region.

You also join the ranks of The Oigal, a confused and deranged man, who dwells, rag-clad and Gollum-like, amidst the slime and shadows of Jalan Felatehan, a seedy, semi-redlight street in this city.

Your sociopathy isn't worthy of comment. What you do need is a solid injection of horse tranquilizer and a night at the RSPCA impoundment pen. With luck, you'd be of use to society for scientific experiments.


7:26 PM  
Anonymous An Australian Abroad said...


Though I'd distance myself from the unpleasant comments from Sudogiman above, I'm happy to deal with yours. Hey mate, heard of 'netiquette' ?

To Anonymous, from what you've written, you just don't seem to read or think very much. So please, go ahead, have your say; you're just airing the opinions of an ignoramus.

But how's this: why don't you tell us how to the rid the world of 'the Muslim scourge' ? You might want to consider that over 70 % of the world's hydrocarbon reserves are in the Middle East or Muslim-majority countries, by the way.

To Oigal - as for pseudonyms and cowardice - are you telling us that's your real name ?

7:39 PM  
Blogger Thang D. Nguyen said...


Thank you for your post. It was well-put, indeed!

1:55 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Anh Thang oi,
Xin loi nan tin cho anh bang blog anh nhung toi la nguoi My dang o Jakarta va toi muon gap nguoi viet nam o day...anh co biet o dau toi duoc gap nguoi viet nam khong? Neu anh muon gap lien lac bang email toi: hay goi dt toi 081806861156

1:13 AM  
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7:48 PM  

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