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March 21, 2004
The High-Water Mark for Islamists?

Islamists suffered an unexpected setback in Malaysia, where they wound up on the wrong end of an electoral landslide that put moderates firmly in control of the world's largest Muslim nation:

Malaysia's ruling moderates have won an unexpected landslide victory over the fundamentalist Islamic opposition in Sunday's elections.

The results are being seen as a personal endorsement for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and a setback for Islamic hardliners.

Voters were choosing 219 members of paliament and 505 state assembly members. Abdullah's National Party has so far taken almost 90 percent of parliament's seats giving the prime minister a mandate for change. Abdullah, who took over from longtime leader Mahathir Mohamad in October, was always expected to win, but the margin was a surprise.

While we hear the worries on the left that George Bush is radicalizing Muslims around the world, we're seeing the opposite: Iran negotiating compliance on non-proliferation, Libya surrendering its WMD programs, the Afghanis establishing their own democratic constitution, and now even the Malaysians have thoroughly rejected militant Islamism in favor of moderation, even cooperation on the war on terror, even if the former leader of the moderates, Mohammed Mahathir, is a moonbat anti-Semite.

Malyasians have given moderates a stunning mandate and Islamists an embarassing defeat. Now the question is whether the Islamists will attempt to wrest power with force from the moderates since they failed so miserably with the ballot.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 21, 2004 7:59 PM

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