ABU - ASALKAN BUKAN UMNO

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bah! Humbug! To Najib's religious acceptance, not tolerance

Sulaiman Kamal | 2:38 AM | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Najib must have thought he scored it big with an audience at the Vatican. A photo-op with the Pope, one of the most influential leaders on the global scene, was a tick on his Prime Minister to-do list. It was one-up on his predecessors and on par with Mahathir.
Make no mistake, the visit to the Vatican had nothing to do with mending the rift between Christians and the government of Malaysia, and though officially it was to establish diplomatic relations with the Vatican; it was all primarily a photo-op session with the Pope. A public relations stunt, so obviously unveiled when Najib presented a book to Pope Benedict XVI entitled “Najib”.
How pompous can you get? Najib the prime minister of Malaysia, presented a book on himself to the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics. The Pope, whom leaders of nations humbly visit, must have wondered what quality of leadership did Najib have that allowed him to be chosen as prime minister.

Humbug even at the Vatican
A few weeks after the visit to the Vatican, we have Najib delivering the “we must accept, not tolerate” speech. A call to accept our differences and move away from mere tolerance.
And this week? We have a JAIS and police raid at a multiracial dinner held in a hall in a building that houses a church. The reason for the raid? A complaint was received by JAIS and so, along with the police, they swooped down on surprised diners that included several Muslim guests in attendance. The contents of the complaint that spark the raid has till today remained a mystery - maybe it is filed under an OSA (Official Secrets Act) tag; and if so, it will never see the light of public scrutiny.
There are several things wrong with this picture.
Deliberate embarrassment
Firstly, the complaint or the complainer over-ruled all manner of common-sense and protocol of the JAIS department. JAIS discharged their rule book and went with the sole purpose of satisfying the wanton urges of a complainer to embarrass the Selangor state government.
Hasan Ali must have been irked at the thought that several members of the Muslim community was supporting a fund-raising dinner to help HIV sufferers, and it infuriated him even more, knowing that it was within the compounds of a church.
But when the time came to defend the JAIS department, Hasan Ali could only come up with a half-cooked reason. The words “Quran” and “Pray” were used at the dinner, thus the Christians were trying to convert the Muslim guests. Something that seems to be true to only Hasan Ali. The rest of Malaysia did not share his view.
It seems when it comes to religious matters, especially when dealing with Muslims, JAIS trusted hearsay more than the rule book or common sense.
Who gave the police permission to tag along
Secondly, the presense of the police is questionable and this proves the link to the federal government. The police answers to the Home Minister, and to have them raid a religious compound without a warrant is telling. Someone’s authorized them to follow along with the JAIS raiders and this person’s word was higher than protocols and the rule book.
Warrants are issued by a court judge and served by the police. JAIS must have thought that since this was a religious matter, their words super-ceded the authority of the court. No judge would have authorised a warrant based on hear-say.
If the police had come with a warrant, then the dinner would have been some suspected criminal offence and the hall a suspected crime scene. It would not be a religious matter. This is why there were no warrants, and we can summarize that the police was there for only one thing - to intimidate peaceful dinner goers.
The police have reduced themselves to mere thugs and bullies.
Place of worship
Thirdly, the wanton disregard to the sanctity of a place of worship of any religion by the raiders has soiled the idea of a multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia. It is incredible that none of the personnel involved in the raid had the common-sense to question their actions. None of those involved opted for the virtues of patience and calmness - something promoted by the month of Ramadan in the noble act of fasting.
Instead we had personnel, who out-stepped their authority and disregarded their public duties to satisfy the desires of a complainer. Hasan Ali should answer for his actions, as well as all those involved in the raid - both the JAIS personnel and the police officers.
Finally, the whole affair smells of an UMNO initiative to win back the state of Selangor. Hasan Ali, perhaps in his zeal to please his friends in UMNO, decided to act alone. The act was meant to smear the government of Selangor, and create a rift between the religious communities of the state. JAIS, though a local state entity, still takes orders from the federal government. The Sultan, as head of Muslims in the state, would never have condoned a raid into the compounds of a church.
Thus, the only persons who saw it fit to act would be Hasan Ali and the federal masters of JAIS.
Najib Razak, the promoter of moderation at the Vatican, is oddly silent. The opportunist that he is, he sees this as a chance to handicap the Pakatan-held state. Yet, Najib has faltered in his role as prime minister to all Malaysians, regardless of creed and religious beliefs. Najib has chosen to milk the incident for its political mileage and this is something we cannot accept.
In the face of it all, Malaysia is a fractured nation; where everything is drawn on the sides of a religious, political and racial rift. Common-sense and reasoning are thrown out the window, when the desperate need for political power and mileage come into the picture.
So, Bah! Humbug! To religious tolerance and acceptance! It was all rhetoric from the prime minister. Bah! Humbug!


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