Tuesday 20 Oct 2020 | 17:25 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 20 Oct 2020 | 17:25 | SYDNEY

KL hearts KSA


Rodger Shanahan


16 May 2011 11:37

If there is one way to endear oneself to the Saudis, it is to display Sunni Islamic solidarity in the face of external opposition. This must be the reason for Malaysia making the public offer to contribute peacekeeping troops to Bahrain in order to 'de-escalate tensions'. 

There is no mention of whether such an offer has been accepted, though there are obviously benefits in having an Asian face on an Arab problem. It is even better when that Asian face shares your view of the sectarian threat the Shi'a pose. And for all of its liberal social policies, Malaysia's Muslim character is very much a Sunni one. Shi'a proselytising is banned and, as this article shows, the sect faces ongoing challenges from Malaysian authorities. 

External Sunni Arab intervention in Bahrain has already increased the regional sectarian impact of Bahrain's political unrest. Adding troops from the Royal Malay Regiment (who accept only ethnic Sunni Malays) will simply serve to remind Bahraini Shi'a where they sit in the global Islamic pecking order.

Photo by Flickr user amrufm.