Obama Slanders America Again
President Obama on Saturday compared the human rights situation in Malaysia, a country with corrupt elections, no freedom of the press, limited freedom of religion, and a censored Internet, to that of the United States. Answering a reporter’s question about why he didn’t meet with the imprisoned opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, or talk about human rights while in Malaysia, President Obama said that Malaysia has “some work” to do on these issues, “just like the United States, by the way, has some work to do on these issues.” It was yet another slam on our own country from abroad and a misguided example of the moral equivalency that plagues the American left.
According to a report on Malaysia by Obama’s own State Department, Sharia law is enforced in Malaysia and “Muslims may not legally convert to another religion… although members of other religions may convert to Islam.” The same report states that Sharia courts in Malaysia can send anyone who attempts to leave Islam to a reeducation camp lasting “approximately six months.”
Obama’s State Department also has some bad news for Muslim women in Malaysia – the ones who are not permitted to leave their religion. Not only does their testimony in court hold little weight, but also if they run afoul of Sharia law, the result is a swift caning. The Malaysian rules for caning women are quite specific: “Caning under Malaysian criminal law is carried out with a half-inch-thick wooden cane that could cause welts and scarring; under Sharia law, a smaller cane is used, the subject is fully covered with a robe, and the caning official cannot lift the cane above his shoulder, thus reducing the impact.”
Debates are ongoing in Malaysia about the illegal practice of khalwat, or being in close proximity to someone of the opposite sex who is not a family member. The current punishment is two years in prison, a fine, and several strokes of the cane. Additionally, while a little less than half of the country is non-Muslim, don’t expect the federal or local governments to approve permits to build or renovate non-Muslim places of worship in a reasonable amount of time. The State Department report says, “federal and state governments continued to delay, sometimes for years, permission to build or renovate non-Islamic places of worship, although they granted approvals to build mosques relatively quickly.” The report also states that those same mosques are used by the government to convey political messages to the Malaysian people.
It’s unlikely that any of these laws will change anytime soon. The Malaysian government has so far assured that Muslims, and thus Sharia law, will remain the majority in the country by denying visas to non-Muslims who wish to preach their religion while visiting.
According to a recent report from Reporters Without Borders, Malaysia ranks near the bottom of all the countries surveyed on freedom of the press. The government denies “press permits” to news organizations not toeing the party line. Freedom of the press has plummeted under the current Malaysian leader, Najib Razak, with whom President Obama stood while denouncing the United States’ human rights record.
The president has made it abundantly clear that he is embarrassed by America’s role in the world: our size, our power and our strength. His human rights comparison of Malaysia to the United States is not only bewildering, it is heartbreaking. He thinks our country is neither exceptional nor great, and that we have no business being moral leaders to others. We are not, in his eyes, a shining city on a hill. Many of us disagree with him, and are grateful that we will not be caned, fined, or imprisoned for our views. We look forward to a time when we once again have a president who is proud of our country.
Written by Phaedra Dugan.