Hornbill Unleashed

June 12, 2017

What in God’s name is happening to Malaysia?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

In recent weeks, there have been several incidents that are threatening the delicate social harmony in our multi-ethnic country.

What is most disturbing is that many of these are ethno-religious in nature, committed to the defence of one’s race or worse, in the name of God.

What have rudeness, intolerance, intimidation and acts of violence to do with godliness? It would not be unreasonable to suspect that with the 14th General Election around the corner, many of these “jihadis” are driven by politics.

Just to name a few that grabbed the headlines in the last month:

  •  Muslim worshippers who attacked a motorist who honked incessantly when his path was blocked by indiscriminate parking outside a mosque in Johor Bahru during Friday prayer.
  • The slapping incident where the “comedian” Mat Over slapped filmmaker David Teoh in front of the Prime Minister on live TV.
  • Another slapping incident in front of a mosque in Penang by a protester who was offended by a question posed by Major (Rtd) Zaidi Ahmad, the information officer of the chief minister of Penang.
  • The accusation by UUM lecturer Kamarul Zaman Yusoff that Hannah Yeoh’s autobiography “Becoming Hannah: A Personal Journey “ is an attempt to proselytise Muslim readers because the book could influence him to admire the greatness of Hannah Yeoh’s God and that it was the Democratic Action Party’s (DAP) Christianisation agenda for Malaysia.
  • The barrage of police reports made by Muslim groups against The Star for its front page that inadvertently featured two most newsworthy items of the day – a picture of Muslims performing tarawih prayers on the first day of Ramadan under a bold headline “Malaysian Terrorist Leader”, a feature on the ongoing battle in Mindanao. The Star immediately apologised but two senior editors were suspended and the paper is being investigated under the Sedition Act but calls to shut down the paper continues.
  •  The threat of a massive protest against the Jerusalem Jubilee event in Malacca forcing the organisers to cancel the event and the deputy prime minister/home minister to “haram” (declare illegal) the Christian event that was to be held on the private ground. Wild allegations of a Zionist-Christian conspiracy against Muslim Malaysia surfaced and once again that it is linked to the opposition DAP.

The message is almost clear that – Malaysia is a Malay-Muslim state and you need to respect us or else we will deal with you.

Are these people who claim to be religious really God-fearing people? Could truly God-fearing people spew hateful, divisive, false and even racist statements? Could someone who claims to be a follower of a religion of peace be slapping and beating up others in God’s name, in front of their place of worship, no less? Are they the kind of poster boys for Islam that Muslims want? Or are these ravenous wolves wearing sheep’s clothing?

Aren’t there enough of a perception problem around the world with Muslim terrorists bombing innocent civilians including children, ramming trucks into crowds, stabbing and beheading in the name of God? Yes, you may say that it is justified because the West are doing the same, dropping bombs on civilians and children. No, it is not justified. No killings are justified or at least the killings of non-combatants in a war. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Before you start labelling me Islamophobic, let me say that I grew up believing that the Malay-Muslim people are some of the most wonderful people in this world. My memories of the Malays are a gracious, courteous, hospitable, kind and pious people, with strong family ties.

These are the kind of values I admire and yearn for as a person. Many of my Malay friends still exemplify such values but more and more these positive images are being replaced by Malays who are intolerant, disrespectful, greedy, hateful, easily offended, bullying and violent to others who don’t share the same beliefs as them and that includes other Muslims who are not Sunni and from the Shafi’i school of thought. They have no respect for anyone who does not see the world the way they see it. It’s their way or burn in hell.

No, rudeness, discrimination, bullying, hatred, violence and killings are just not acceptable in any society, let alone manifested in people who claim to be closer to God than others.

We, as members of the human race, regardless of religion, race or creed, must unite against these deviants of the human race who uses their religion as a justification for bad behaviour and violence. If Muslims truly believe theirs is a religion of peace and want to defend God, then defend Him by speaking up and acting against these blind zealots. Not rejecting their bigotry, hatred and violence is to be their accomplice and make nonsense of any claim to being a moderate and progressive Muslim.

How do we overcome hate, malice and violence? Certainly not with more of what we are trying to overcome. Doing so would just perpetuate and escalate this deadly cycle. We would all then be as guilty as the zealots who are destroying this nation.

No, we need to first suppress within us the temptation to hate and to generalise people, both Muslims and non-Muslims. Generalisation is another name for prejudice and prejudice is the father of racism and bigotry.

Not all Muslims are suicide bombers or like those who wear long religious robes, kopiah (caps) and turbans but spew hate and death to all infidels. No, these are deviants and blemishes and I believe – the minority. But if the majority remains silent, these ugly human beings would continue to claim they represent the majority. I choose to believe that the majority are decent, peace-loving, just and God-fearing. We not only need to believe that but also to know that.

How?

We cannot wait for our political leaders to open their mouth to stop this madness. They are too busy worrying about winning or losing votes. Let us make effort, special efforts, to reach out to each other wherever we are.

To know and understand each other’s beliefs, culture, lifestyle and worldview. In doing so, we may be humbled by the good we see in each other and be in awe by the diverseness and beauty of this world. If we believe in God, honour Him by honouring his creation, all of His creation. After all, didn’t God made us nations and tribes so that we may know one another?


Source : Malaysiakini by THOMAS FANN
THOMAS FANN is the chairman of ENGAGE, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to activating the Rakyat to play an active role in nation-building.


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