KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 — Popular religious scholar Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has waded into the Adolf Hitler controversy today, writing in an opinion piece that the Nazi dictator “might have been right” in exterminating the Jews.
Despite admitting that not all Jews are bad, the former Perlis mufti insisted that Jews in general have a bad record, as proven by their many trickeries and betrayals, including against Prophet Muhammad.
“We are not anti-certain races, or blindly anti-Semitic like Hitler or previous Europeans. But if we see the betrayals and wicked acts of the Israeli Jews, those are not a new or odd thing for them.
“There might be truth behind Hitler’s belief,” said Mohd Asri in his article on news portal Astro Awani.
Mohd Asri claimed that Hitler’s rhetoric against the Jews and move to exterminate the community were widely-supported at that time by the German public.
He also claimed that Hitler was not first to believe that the Jews were “destructive”, listing down German Protestant leader Martin Luther, the Spanish, the Portuguese, and the Catholic church as others who mistreated the Jews.
“Why did the Europeans unite in believing that the Jews were an evil race? The answer, is whether the belief was superstitious, or it was based on their experiences with the Jews,” suggested Mohd Asri.
“If the answer is the first, then the Jews were truly a persecuted race.
“[But] if the answer is the Jews had historically destroyed human lives until the Europeans feared them, then the cruel and brutal acts of Hitler had indirectly reduced the harm that the Jews pose to Europeans and the rest of the world, even if they were cruel and unacceptable.”
He claimed that the Christian Churches have long had their suspicion of Jews, which however ended with the establishment of anti-Semitic laws which granted the Jews “invincibility”.
Mohd Asri also listed down the times that Jews had betrayed the Prophet Muhammad, which finally led to them being exiled after plotting to overthrow Muhammad’s rule.
However, the scholar insisted that Islam does not declare wholesale that all Jews are evil, saying that one of Muhammad’s wives was a Jew, while one of his companions, Abd Allah Salam, was also a Jew who converted into Islam.
“Generally, the Jews have a bad record. But this does not deny the possibility that there are good people among the Jews. But the record of the Jews generally, is of course bad,” said Mohd Asri.
A check by The Malay Mail Online later showed that the article was originally written by Mohd Asri on 2009 before being republished by Awani today.
However, the religious scholar posted updates in a similar vein on his Facebook page today.
Last week, Barisan Nasional MP Datuk Bung Moktar Radin made waves in the international media for tweeting a salute to Hitler following a win by Germany in a World Cup semi-final match.
He later apologised after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak ordered him to retract the tweet.
Both Najib and German Ambassador Holger Michael had declared the remark “unacceptable”.
Austrian-born Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany between 1934 and 1945, and was at the centre of World War II.
Hitler was also behind the Holocaust, the mass extermination and execution of millions of European Jews in concentration camps.
Some Muslims worldwide, including in Malaysia, have publicly expressed their admiration for Hitler for executing the Jews.