Saya sokong Dr Mahathir, at least with regards to his statement that Muslims should project the correct perception of Islam to gain respect from the non-Muslims instead of shouting and screaming that non-Muslims must respect Islam while threatening to murder all those who do not show respect to Islam.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Muslims Need To Project Actual Islamic Way Of Life To Gain Respect – Dr Mahathir
SHAH ALAM, June 24 (Bernama) — Muslims should play an important role in projecting the actual Islamic way of life to the world so that the religion would be respected by the other communities.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said by projecting the positive traits and fairness of the religion, “I am certain it will at least reduce opposition to the religion or fear among the non-Muslims against Muslims and Islam.”
“To the extent that we are regarded as terrorists who kill without mercy . We are accused of many things. As a result, we are attacked and oppressed. This is the fate of Muslims currently,” he said at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Malaysian Islamic Welfare Organisation Complex (Perkim) building for Selangor costing RM30 million, here today.
Dr Mahathir, who is also Perkim national president, said Muslims should always correct themselves so that they become successful people in the present world and hereafter.
For the Muslims in the country, who form the majority of the Malaysian population, they should implement and determine the system of administration according to the actual Islamic teachings which would bring justice and prosperity to everyone, he said.
Dr Mahathir said if the country’s administration did not provide justice to everyone as required by Islam, and denied the rights of others and oppressed them, it would give a bad impression on Islam.
Dr Mahathir said Muslims in the country must be united and avoid factionalism or enmity between one another. The Selangor Perkim Complex would be built on a 0.56-hectare site and would comprise two blocks with a main hall, office space, shop lots, surau, library, seminar rooms, lecture halls, hostel and a kitchen.
Now, now, now! Stop foaming at the mouth and start going berserk when I say that I agree with what Dr Mahathir said today. I certainly support what he said in that Muslims are Islam’s greatest enemy (at least he implied it) and that Muslims must be good Muslims for the non-Muslims to respect them and Islam.
And note that one of the charges of my ISA detention in 2008 was because I had said exactly what Dr Mahathir is saying (although I can bet my sweet ninny that the government is NOT going to detain Dr Mahathir for what he is saying).
Dr Mahathir said: Muslims should always correct themselves so that they become successful people in the present world and hereafter.
Dr Mahathir also said: Muslims in the country, who form the majority of the Malaysian population, should implement and determine the system of administration according to the actual Islamic teachings, which would bring justice and prosperity to everyone.
Dr Mahathir further said: if the country’s administration did not provide justice to everyone as required by Islam, and denied the rights of others and oppressed them, it would give a bad impression on Islam.
Okay, do you REALLY need me to explain what Dr Mahathir meant? I mean: have I not been talking about this same matter, over and over again, over the last 35 years since the mid-1970s? Are you not tired of hearing me harping on the same issue and sounding like a stuck record?
No, no need for me to add anything more to what Dr Mahathir has so eloquently espoused. Let me KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). The majority of Malaysians are Muslims, as Dr Mahathir said. And the majority of government leaders and civil servants are Muslims as well. And most of the incidences of abuse of power and corruption are perpetuated by the Muslims in the government and civil service.
So, need I say more? Need I explain how Muslims should demonstrate good Islamic values so that the non-Muslims will respect them and Islam?
KISS: keep it simple stupid.
Stop corruption. Stop abuse of power. Stop fraud and cheating. Stop robbing the rakyat of their right to a government of their choice through a free, fair and clean election. Stop racism and discrimination.
Stop! Stop! Stop! That’s all it takes for the non-Muslims to respect Muslims and Islam. It is so simple it makes me laugh. You don’t have to be a genius to figure it out.
And stop threatening and persecuting Malaysians who wish to march on 9th July 2001, which even the ex-Mufti of Perlis says is the correct Islamic thing to do.
Then, and only then, will the non-Muslims start respecting the Muslims and Islam.
Muslims who intend to participate in the July 9 illegal rallies are advised to repent because such rallies are prohibited in Islam as they bring more harm than good, says Islamic academicians.
According to these scholars, Islam is against violence and such rallies, even if they start peacefully, will end with violence as what happened during the Reformasi 1998 gathering and Bersih 1.0 gathering in 2007.
Dr Fadlan Mohd Othman, a lecturer at the Department of the Quran and Sunnah Studies, Faculty of Islamic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), said there was no proof or argument based on the verses of the Quran which allowed such a rally.
“Our advise to Muslims who have heard of the police warning (on the rallies), but still intend to go, abort it because of the risks.
“According to Feqah (law of Muslim theology), any road, with tendency to bring harm, has to be closed,” he told Bernama.
Fadlan said the statement by the police that such rallies could be dangerous should be taken into account.
“What is said by the police is something that has happened in illegal demonstrations held before,” he added.
He urged the organisers of the rallies to take into account the rights and safety of members of the public who did not want to be involved.
Ahmad Fauzan Yahaya, head of the Islamic Studies Department, International Islamic College, said Muslims who intended to participate in the rallies should weigh the pros and cons of their action before doing so.
As Muslims, he said, they should look at something which could bring more good and to avoid anything could bring harm, including such rallies.
“These rallies, they do not have permit, people gather along the streets, there will be provocations and hurling of abuses, so the good is less than the bad.
“We cannot imagine what happens if there is a provocateur among them. Before, during Bersih 1.0, there was a Syiah group who raised the PAS flag and pictures of the Syiah leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, despite Syiah movement being banned in Malaysia,” he added.
Ahmad Fauzan said he could not understand why the organisers of one of the rallies accused the Election Commission of not being transparent.
“When they win, they say it is with God’s help. When they lose, they say it is a lesson from God, not that they feel the need to do soul-searching of themselves because they have to realise that in the government, everything belongs to God.
“God has the right to give and take away the power from anyone He wants,” he added.
The National Fatwa Council’s committee on Islamic Affairs also advised those intending to participate in the rallies against doing so.
Its chairman, Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor Husin, said Malaysia had strong economy and if there was anything that could jeopardise its growth or damage the country, like the rallies, then they (rallies) had to be stopped.
In the middle of the night a few years ago, Imam Mohamed Magid got a peculiar phone call from a young man who attended his Northern Virginia mosque. The man, who was in the car with a woman, wanted to know if the imam could perform a marriage “right now” in a parking lot so the man could wouldn’t feel bad if he had sex.
“I’m not 7-Eleven,” Magid shouted back.
Recently, another man came to the imam’s office crying because his wife was acting as a surrogate mother for a relative who could not carry a baby. The man couldn’t handle seeing his wife pregnant with a child that wasn’t his. He asked: Was the pregnancy allowed by Islam’s rules?
The imam didn’t know what to say. “Islamic scholars centuries ago never faced these issues,” said Magid. He started researching religious rulings on marriage and sex. Surrogacy is fine, he told the man, before adding that the man’s biological child could never marry the surrogate child. “Being an imam in America, it’s shocking sometimes,” he said, “but my first duty is to comfort others.”
For 14 years, Magid has been the imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, a Muslim congregation on the outskirts of the Washington, D.C., suburbs that has quickly grown from a high school gymnasium prayer site to a multimillion-dollar mosque and community center that serves 5,000 Muslims. It’s one of the largest Muslim congregations the United States.
Unlike many of the 1,500 mosques around the country, which often function for little more than Friday prayers, ADAMS has several full-time staffers and a gamut of activities and services. They range from badminton and basketball games in its prayer hall during off hours to Muslim Boy and Girl Scout troop meetings on its lawn, martial arts courses, health seminars, Arabic and Quranic recitation classes and a community garden. Magid is at the center of this network, which spans 10 buildings in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Magid, 45, was elected in September as president of the Islamic Society of North America, the largest Muslim group on the continent and one that will bring 40,000 Muslims to its annual national conference this weekend in Chicago. He has become known among Muslims-Americans — sometimes controversially — for forging relationships with people with whom the community has strained relations, from pundits and politicians to federal agents, and he has increasingly become a sought-after figure in spaces that are sacred and secular.
“To establish a better Muslim image, we need to actually talk to people,” said Magid. It’s a mission that has led Magid to many high-profile calls for understanding.
Recently, at the invitation of hip-hop mogul and Foundation for Ethnic Understandingchairman Russell Simmons, Magid found himself on the top floor of a midtown Manhattan skyscraper with Donald Trump, summoned to a meeting to soothe tensions and convince Trump to tone down anti-Islamic rhetoric. He described Trump as “friendly” but indicated that the businessman didn’t make any concessions about his words on Muslims. “Sometimes, we can be arrogant. We walk into situations thinking people don’t want to like us,” said Magid.
By definition, an imam leads Muslims in prayer, a function that can be fulfilled by any Muslim man that has memorized Islamic prayers. Increasingly, however, imams are playing broader roles akin to ministers and rabbis, even seeking professional training, as growing Muslim populations look for services such as Islamic relationship counseling, immigration assistance and help with Islamic financing.
“I never planned to be an imam,” says Magid, who was born to a well-known northern Sudanese family in Alrakabih, a village by the Nile River. Magid studied Islam from an early age under his father, one of the top Sunni scholars in the nation, and under his contemporaries. As a teenager, he aspired to be a professor and entertained the idea of teaching at his father’s alma mater, the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo.
Those plans were upended in 1987, when Magid moved to Washington with his ailing father, who needed a kidney transplant. With scant qualifications beyond his theological training, Magid had to find work.
Magid soon became enamored with the region’s diversity. “My dad had two doctors. One was Jewish, the other was Muslim. It was the first time I had met a Jewish person,” he says. “I remember my dad saying, ‘look at the beauty of America, you can have these two men working side by side.’ ”
Leading prayers and teaching classes at the Islamic Center of Washington and at Howard University, he realized that Muslim Americans — many who were also immigrants — needed more than just a prayer leader. Magid enrolled in college courses in psychology and family counseling and, at one point, holed himself up at home to watch “Eyes on the Prize,” a 14-hour documentary on the civil rights movement. “I wanted to understand my place as an imam of color,” he explains.
Imam Mohamed Magid reads from the Quran on June 26, 2011, at Faith Shared, an interfaith event at the Washington National Cathedral organized by Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First.
When Magid talks about other religions, he often refers back to that first experience of a Jewish doctor treating his father and to his Catholic in-laws (his wife converted to Islam before they met) who live in Colorado.
“Today, many people claim that it’s their faith that drives them to dislike and wrong other people. They are misunderstanding,” he recently said in a sermon to hundreds of worshipers who packed ADAMS for Friday prayers. He told congregants to “be good neighbors” because “the more they get to know Muslims, Americans have better perspective of and views of them.”
Magid serves on several interfaith organizations and in recent years has rented two prayer spaces from synagogues for Friday prayers. He often peppers his sermons with praise of his “Jewish and Christian friends” and the discussions he has with them. Not long before this particular Friday, he had met with the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, D.C., to discuss the congressional budget. A group of Christian leaders had recently formed an alliance to call on the federal government to not cut social services to the poor, and the imam and bishop were initiating a similar multi-faith effort. “The budget is a moral document,” the imam kept saying, urging congregants to practice Zakat, an Islamic obligation to give to the poor.
“There are many mosques out there working with other houses of worship, but Imam Magid is out at the forefront,” says Rabbi Amy Schwartzman of Temple Rodef Shalom, a Reform congregation in Falls Church, Va., that has partnered with ADAMS on interfaith dialogue groups.
But beyond being motivated by personal experiences, the imam’s involvement in interfaith relations in his community is also a strategic move.
“I’m under a microscope,” Magid said recently while driving the 45-minute commute to ADAMS Center from Washington, D.C., where he had read the Quran from the pulpit as part of a national day of interfaith services. “As an imam, people are always watching what I do.”
Magid has spoken out loudly against Islamic radicalism. “The first thing God almighty will ask on the day of judgement,” he often tells congregants, “is about the taking of innocent life.” He also openly acts as a liaison to the government, reporting suspicious characters who enter the mosque to the FBI.
“If somebody is confused about their ideology, he says. “I want to show them the right way, but if somebody is determined to commit violence, it’s not my job to stop them, it’s the law enforcement. I have to report.”
Magid frequently meets with FBI and White House officials to brief them on radicalization and how to improve relations with Muslim communities. The relationship has put the imam in a precarious position with some Muslims, as the community has had a troubled relationship with law enforcement since 9/11. In parts of the country, Muslims filed lawsuits and lodged complaints that FBI officials have spied on congregants’ activities based on their religion.
“There is no doubt that you will have law enforcement individuals that will abuse their power to do the wrong things,” Magid said. “But those are the people that we have to report, too.”
Imam Mohamed Magid speaks alongside fellow religious leaders as part of “Shoulder to Shoulder,” in response to a series of hearings on radicalization in the American Muslim community by the Committee on Homeland Security on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, March 10, 2011.
Magid believes one of the best antidotes to radicalization is for Muslims to get involved in their communities.
“ADAMS understands that its not good to put artificial barriers between Muslims and their society. We’ve gotten so accustomed to people who think Islam is about saying ‘no,’ ” saidIngrid Mattson, who led the Islamic Society of North America before Magid and is a professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary.
Another anti-radicalization strategy ADAMS employs: helping young Muslims find mates.
“The imam is known far and wide as a marriage counselor,” says Yasmin Shafiq, an unmarried 25-year-old administrative assistant who has attended ADAMS since childhood. A list of 100 questions that Magid has prepared for couples who want to marry is often passed around at Muslim conferences and on matrimonial websites. Among them: “Do you want to practice polygamy?” and “Do you believe in abortion in your family?”
A few times a year, Magid and his wife host daylong retreats for singles who are looking to marry and want to find mates that match their cultural and religious customs. Dating is taboo among many Muslims and premarital sex is forbidden, but newer customs, such as Internet dating, are gaining popularity among devout young Muslims.
It’s an odd balance, he admits, to attempt to connect to younger generations while keeping to his own less technologically-inclined habits, which include unplugging from his iPhone and spending time at the library or rural Virginia farms with his wife and kids when he’s not working. That said, the imam does maintain a Facebook page.
After his May meeting with Trump, Magid uploaded a photo of him and the real estate mogul to the social networking site. Within days, it had gone viral among his congregants and online fans.
“Donald Trump is such a fake!” comment one Muslim woman in Georgia. “He hates arabs and muslims, why the Imam did this?” wrote another man.
A man posted in Arabic: “God’s forgiveness.”