By James M. Dorsey
Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, the sovereign of the Malaysian state of Johor, does not mince his words. His repeated verbal assaults on Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism that traces its roots to Saudi-inspired puritan interpretations of the faith constitute an anti-dote to supremacist attitudes in parts of the Islamic world that rival rising Islamophobia in the West. Sultan Ibrahim
statements are a response to a series of incidents in Johor and elsewhere in Malaysia. They also take on Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak
use of Islamization as a tool to bolster his standing in the wake of a multi-billion-dollar corruption scandal that is under investigation in several countries and in advance of possible early elections.
statements are equally applicable to other countries like Pakistan where the government is seeking to convince the United States that it is backing away from support of Islamic militants that has changed the social fabric of large parts of the country. Replace the word Muslims
with Westerners or Christians and Sultan Ibrahim’s remarks are equally valid for Western countries