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Sunday, May 8, 2011

The biggest threat to Islam in Malaysia are the Muslims

Sulaiman Kamal | 2:37 PM | Best Blogger Tips

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The biggest threat to Islam in Malaysia are the Muslims
We’ve always known that Umno is desperate. Yesterday’s front-page headline of Utusan Malaysia, the Umno-owned Malay daily screamed out, ‘Malaysia Negara Kristian?' (Malaysia a Christian state?), is the proof.
Utusan’s seditious article was based on a couple of pro-Umno blogs Bigdog.com and Marahku.com.
The bloggers had charged the DAP of sedition for trying to change the country’s laws to enable a Christian to be prime minister. A grainy photograph in the article, purported to be a secret pact between the DAP and pastors at a hotel in Penang last Wednesday was produced.
As expected, other extremist groups took their cue from Utusan to create more fear and instability.
The NGO Muslim Organisation in Defence of Islam (Pembela) had the audacity to blame Christianity for being one of the biggest contributing factors to the alleged decline of Islam in Malaysia. It held a forum entitled ‘Islam Under Siege: What Can We Do?’
No. Pembela is wrong. The biggest threat to Islam in Malaysia are the Muslims.
First, it is the power-hungry Muslims who are the chief rabblerousers in Malaysia.
They are mostly found in Umno. They are the Muslims who are unable to lead properly and who cannot invigorate other Muslims/Malays with sound governance and vision, but find it expedient to use as their weapons, fear and insecurity to be spread within the Muslim fraternity.
Second on the list are the other Muslims, who are aware of what is going on but for one reason or another, refuse to voice their disapproval.
Is it apathy, fear or tribalism, which motivates them? Their silence is what gives the extremists the courage to continue and destroy the harmony among Malaysians.
Third are the Muslim clerics who stand by and do nothing and who fail to denounce the actions of these extremists.

Perhaps their actions are influenced thus, because some hope to piggy back on the actions of the rabble-rousers. Their own grasp of the religion is poor and when they find that they have failed to preach the beauty of the religion, their only hope of an increased congregation and following, is by instilling fear into the people.
Fourth, is the ignorant Muslim.
When one reads the Koran and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, there are constant references to learning, education, observation, and the use of reason. An appreciable number of Muslims in Malaysia prefer the line of least resistance and so remain intellectually challenged.
As for Utusan, this daily seems to have forgotten that it has a heavy responsibility towards the nation. What happened to professionalism and integrity? Did editors check the validity and the accuracy of the bloggers articles? What happened to credible journalism?
In an increasingly polarised nation, Malaysians are doing their best to build bridges with communities of different cultures and religion. Sadly, their efforts are thwarted by racists within the country’s institutions and government, including the media.
Malaysians have lived in perfect harmony until politicians started raking up certain issues to create divisions within the various communities.
So far, we have heard only one Muslim politician speaking against the scaremongering tactics of Utusan.
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was right to condemn Utusan Malaysia of lying and confusing the public in its report which claimed that the DAP and Christian leaders were conspiring to abolish Islam as the country’s official religion in a bid to take over Putrajaya.
Of the Umno Cabinet members, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s lame response to the vitriolic Utusan article was a tweet wondering if the reports about the pastor discussion were true.
The Home Minister should have sacked the editor of Utusan for publishing the article. This is not the first time that such a libelous article has been put out for the general public. Can the standards at the home ministry drop any lower?
Meanwhile, Information Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim's reaction was to reiterate that the nation’s official religion was Islam. His response suggests that he considered the seditious article to be true.
During the Pembela forum, one Muslim NGO said, “All Muslims must unite in defending Islam. If it is true that there is work to change the constitution to usurp the position of Islam by certain quarters, then we must react in equal measure”.
The weak leadership of our government has allowed this appalling escalation of events. It is to be expected because Umno is scared. The increasing strength of the opposition, Pakatan’s unprecedented gains in Sarawak and Umno’s failure to entice PAS into its fold have put Umno into a precarious position.
Thus Umno found that the only way to woo the Malay vote was to create confusion and fear. Umno found a way to manipulate the Muslims/Malay by fabricating talk of the DAP proposing Christianity as the official religion.
But the biggest threat to the Muslims in Malaysia today is not Christianity, but the Muslims.

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