‘China wants oil, not regime change’

Chandra MuzaffarKUALA LUMPUR: International Movement for a Just World (JUST) President Chandra Muzaffar has drawn a contrast between China’s and the the United States’ international interests, saying Beijing was interested only in access to oil while America seemed bent on controlling the commodity.

He said this was why the US was interested in regime change “but you don’t see the Chinese seeking regime change.”

Chandra was speaking yesterday at a round-table discussion on “Responding to extremism and sectarianism in the Muslim world”.

He alleged that the West was propagating Islamophobia through the media and was doing so to gain control of the main sources of oil. He pointed out that the biggest exporters of oil were Muslim countries in West Asia and North Africa.

“Oil is the lifeblood of industrial civilization, and America is largely an industrial civilization,” he said. “It wants to control these arteries of oil.”

He alleged that the Western media displayed a bias against Islam in reporting on religious fanaticism, emphasising “Islamic extremism” and playing down the religious aspects of the extremism of others.

He cited the genocide of the Rohingya people by Buddhists in Myanmar as an example and claimed that right-wing American evangelists largely supported the war on Iraq with some even joining the US army.

He said the term “Islamic terrorist” was coined by the Western media and noted that no other form of religious terrorism in the world had a religion’s name attached to it.

He said that apart from controlling oil, Western powers also wanted to control sea routes, adding that eight of the ten most strategic of these routes were connected to the Muslim world.

According to Chandra, another reason for the West’s animosity towards Muslims is that Islam happens to be the only non-Western civilization in the world that has presented a challenge to it.

He said this challenge, historically, came in the form of Islam’s advancements in the sciences, such as physics, mathematics and medicine.

“The West just couldn’t take this,” he said. “For 600 years the main medical text used had been written by Ibn Sina.”

However, he expressed disappointment that some Muslims were reacting to the West’s animosity in a backward manner.

He said: “I am not trying to exonerate Muslims who have committed acts of extremism. These acts should be condemned. It is unfortunate that some Muslims are reacting to this mission to distort Islam’s image in a stupid way.”

G25 founding member Redzuan Kushairi also spoke at the forum. He said many of the problems facing contemporary Muslims were the result of their own close mindedness.

“We have been discouraged from using reason and logic,” he said. “Reasoning needs to be revived. Peace and moderation need to be revived. These are missing in many current Islamic discourses.”