||“The messenger of Allah said: “Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, to perform the prayers, to pay the zakat, to fast in Ramadan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to do so.” He said: ” You have spoken rightly”, Jebreel (Gabriel) from Number 2 of “Al-Nawawi’s Forty Hadiths.” 1
||“If anyone harms (others), God will harm him, and if anyone shows hostility to others, God will show hostility to him.” Sunan of Abu-Dawood, Hadith 1625.
||“Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians…and (all) who believe in God and the last day and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” The Qur’an, 2:62
||“Jim Jones, David Koresh and Meir Kahane do not typify Christianity and Judaism in the eyes of the civilized West, but those same eyes are prone to see Osama bin Laden and Mullah Muhammad Omar as typifying Islam,” Richard Bulliet 2
WEBMASTER’S NOTE ABOUT ATTRIBUTING GUILT AND RESPONSIBILITY:
One of the themes running through some holy books is that of “scapegoating.” 5 This is the concept that guilt and punishment can be transferred from those responsible for an evil act, to others who are innocent of that act. This theme is rarely — if ever — discussed in religious homilies or sermons. Yet it seems fundamentally unjust and evil according to every moral code that I have seen. By not holding perpretrators directly responsibility for their actions, innocent people become marginalized and denigrated.
- When some Muslims think of Christianity in America, they think of Pastor Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Center in Florida as a typical Christian. He burned a copy of the Qur’an.
- When some Christians think of Islam in the Middle East, they think of Bin Laden or Musab al-Zarqawi, leaders of Al-Qaeda, as typical Muslims.
They confuse the beliefs or practices of an individual or a small minority of believers for the entire religion. As one example, in the minds of many Americans, responsibility for 9/11 terrorist attack has spread from 19 radical, violent, fundamentalist Muslims and their Al-Qaida handlers to all 1.6 billion followers of Islam.
We ask our visitors to consider two items when reading this section of our website — and for that matter all of the other 6,000 essays:
- The irrationality of blaming innocent persons for the sins of a tiny minority within their group. One of this web site’s mottos is: “When some people deviate from reality, others are often hurt.”
- When one refers to any religion or faith group/tradition/denomination within a religion, we are generally referring to more than the beliefs and teachings of its founder. The culture in which the religion developed has generally had a major impact as well. So, for example, the four main versions of Sharia law are all based on the Qur’an — and to a lesser degree on the Hadith. However, they have been profoundly influenced by the cultures in which Islam grew.
Estimates of the total number of Muslims range from 0.7 to 1.8 billion worldwide and 1.1 to 7 million in the U.S. 3 We accept the best estimate as 1.57 billion, concluded by the Pew Forums. About 23% of all people on Earth follow Islam. The religion is currently in a period of rapid growth.
Christianity is currently the largest religion in the world. It is followed by about 33% of all people — a percentage that has remained stable for decades. If current trends continue, Islam will become the most popular world religion sometime in the mid-21st century.
Two days of drama and truckloads of politics later, the question comes up: what next? A bumbling government added the ingredients of panic and ineptness, making the already well written script of the drama even more entertaining Politicians of all hues and parties – refusing to understand that the movement is against them collectively, and not just against the ruling government – added their own comical situations to the drama. But now that all this is about to end, it brings us back to the starting point. How do we move ahead on ensuring a good anti-corruption law comes out? For the last few months one would be forgiven for believing that the lunatics have been running the asylum called the UMNO, so inconsistent and muddled their actions have been. But after yesterday, it is worth asking if even the lunatics are in charge. Enough has been said about the incomprehensible strangeness of the government’s actions, and in any case this level of mismanagement is so self-evident that additional comment is unnecessary. What is interesting however is to ask what would make a group of reasonably savvy, seasoned politicians used to exercising and staying in power act in such a self-defeating manner.
These talks about looking for winnable candidates is fast becoming into a self-righteous smug — as though mentioning it somehow distinguish the speakers from the rest and therefore, solves the actual and real problem — the search for winnable candidates is designed for what purpose?
It is first of all necessary to frame the question right — the search for winnable candidates is for what purpose — the answer that springs to mind, seems to be, search for winnable candidates is to create a winnable political party that can make this government a winnable government and therefore a winnable country. Just what are winnable candidates?
It can only mean one thing. It’s a search for leadership material which is committed to a plan into making this government into a good government with good governance.
Surely this must be the foundation of a leadership committed to transforming the country. Barely what? — 2 years into his premiership, already the PM is hailed as the father of Transformation? What has been transformed other that a copious amount of announcements that don’t seem to subside, we haven’t seen transformation yet in the fundamentals — the leadership material for example.
The transformation must begin with the search for leadership material to achieve a quality of government with equally high standard of governance. It must never be the search of winnable candidates as in the artful party operative who can work the crowd into ecstasy or emotional convulsions. We have these duds running around by the dozen — those who prey upon ethnic insecurities and emotions and those who prey open the religiosity of the masses. These are never nor can ever be winnable candidates.
The search for winnable candidates must be part of the overall strategy- positioning of leadership committed to a plan to make a high quality government with high quality governance. Hence it must necessarily involve first, the search for the ablest and most dedicated and committed to the cause of the country.
I am gratified to hear one of the latest statements by the PM who says, We want WHOEVER rules this country to be elected according to the true wishes of the people,” he told a large crowd gathered for a buka puasa function at Pangsapuri Seri Perantau, an 11-block row of low-cost flats built by the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS).
The MCA announces also its plan to look for winnable candidates — although that announcement by the MCA president sounds like saying out loud of plans to phase out recalcitrant rivals in the party? As early as last year, the Umno president spoke of the same desire to filed winnable candidates. If he goes to the Umno ground, every incumbent ketua bahagian and sitting office bearers say, their areas are winnable provided it is they who stand as candidates.
Unless you come out with clear guidelines what the criteria of winnable candidates, the phrase just becomes an excuse for so many things by so many people not to work on the most important thing in our politics — finding the ablest and most dedicated to make this government, any government a high quality one with high quality governance.
Umno, not a constitutional amendment, will ensure a Malay prime minister, said Khairy Jamaluddin today.
The Umno Youth chief said that component parties in Barisan Nasional (BN) had full confidence in the Malay party leading the coalition and the government, therefore rendering any change to the Constitution unnecessary.
“We believe Umno is able to offer leadership to all Malaysians…even without constitutional amendment, Malaysians will support the concept of Malay leadership that is fair and just to all,” Khairy said during his speech at his party’s youth wing assembly here.
PKR youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mat Akin had dared Umno last week to amend the federal constitution to state that the prime minister must be Malay because “history shows Umno is willing to sell out everything.”
“To ensure that the last Malay stronghold, that is political power, is not traded away by Umno, we challenge Umno to amend the federal constitution to insert conditions and guarantees that the prime minister must be Malay.
“The excuse that the post is held by a Malay because Umno is in power cannot be accepted. To cover up their evil, those who question them are accused of betraying Malays,” he had said.
Khairy labelled PKR as “desperate” in response to Shamsul’s remarks.
“Perhaps PKR is beginning to realise that Malay support for them is on the wane, Malays are now aware that PKR is not able to fight for their interests and future,” he said.
Khairy said Umno’s appeal among voters was because of a “fear” that if Pakatan Rakyat took over Putrajaya, the PM will not be from PKR or PAS.
“PKR lacks self-esteem and identity so much that they have to turn to Umno to do their bidding,” he added.
PR defacto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has since moved to clarify that his coalition would not support any move by Umno to amend the Constitution to guarantee a Malay prime minister.
The PKR de facto leader explained that his party youth wing’s challenge Umno to do so was merely a part of PKR’s “strategy” and was neither a “Keadilan nor Pakatan Rakyat stand.”
Umno has repeatedly accused PR of selling out the Malays to Chinese and foreign interests, insisting that the Malays can only be protected if Barisan Nasional (BN) remains in power.
Since the landmark Election 2008 where PR denied BN its customary two-thirds majority of Parliament and five state governments, the Malays have swung back towards the ruling coalition even as Chinese support for the federal opposition has increased.
Racial tension has also heightened over the past few years especially with repeated allegations that Muslims are being proselytised.
Umno’s Utusan Malaysia accused the DAP earlier this year of conspiring with the church to turn Malaysia into a Christian state and install a Christian prime minister.
A coalition of Muslim NGOs known as Himpunan Sejuta Umat (Gathering of a Million Faithful) has also organised several gatherings around the country to “rise up to the challenge of Christianisation.”
Article 153 of the constitution grants the Agong di-Pertuan Agong responsibility to “safeguard the special position of the Malays” and has been interpreted by Malay rights groups to justify special privileges in the economy, religion and education.
Khairy Jamaluddin admitted today the remarks made by “one or two” Umno Youth delegates were “inappropriate,” in reference to some leaders use of foul language to attack Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
The Umno Youth chief(picture) said, however, the context of the delegates’ speeches needed to be looked at in its “totality”, saying that he was impressed with the overall quality of the issues raised by his members.
“One or two things were a bit inappropriate, but if you look at it in totality, it was quite good,” he told reporters here.
PR bashing served as a focal point in today’s Umno Youth assembly, with delegates resorting to the use of foul language and insults to get their points across.
Umno state youth chiefs took turns attacking PR parties with a specific focus on DAP, accusing the party of systematically eroding the rights of Malays in states like Penang and Kedah.
One leader, Shaik Hussein Mydin, claimed that Malays and Islam were at risk in Penang, and said that PKR and PAS had “no power” to stop the repression of the Malay community there.
“PKR and PAS are ‘bapok’ (transvestites) and ‘pondan’ (effeminate) as these days they have no power to challenge DAP.
“A vote for DAP is a vote for the destruction of Islam,” said the Penang Umno Youth chief to loud applause and shouts of “PKR, PAS tak ada telur!”
Honing in on the island’s PAS state chief Datuk Salleh Man and state executive councillor in charge of religious affairs Abdul Malik Kassim (PKR), Shaik Hussin repeatedly called them “pondan” and “bapok.”
He accused DAP of being an “enemy of Islam” and Malays in general, alleging that under Lim Guan Eng’s administration, Malay food stalls had been demolished and Malay businesses affected.
Responding to this, Khairy said merely attacking the opposition was “not enough” and that Umno needed to do more.
He told delegates that Umno Youth needed to fight PR based on policies, and to promote BN’s policies instead.
“What’s important now is victory. Everyone needs to work together.”
Our commitment to secularism will remain hollow as long as anti-Muslim prejudice exists
By Abdul Khaliq
Last week, that inveterate hate-monger Praveen Togadia made an impassioned plea for a new Indian Constitution that allows for “anyone who converts Hindus to be beheaded”. He went on to assert that “we Hindus should include Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains because their line of thinking is no different from Hindus, except for a few small habits”. Is this isolated fundamentalist ranting or the indication of a trend towards increase in the forces of hatred and division in our society?
The preamble to the Constitution is the most noble advertisement of our commitment to secular humanism. It spells out our resolve to be a humane society that will secure justice, liberty, equality for its citizens and promote fraternity. Of these cherished values, the greatest and the most neglected is fraternity, perhaps because it is least amenable to political action. As a wise man once said, the State can prevent me from coveting my neighbour’s property but it cannot oblige me, by law, to love my neighbour. And yet, the success of our pursuit to be a strong, united and civilised country ultimately depends on whether we love one another as brothers. Our prescient Constitution- makers, knowing the importance, underlined fraternity as a key ingredient for building a vibrant democracy.
We have failed dismally in this endeavour. The country today is the hotbed of a million mutinies. Our prime minister has spoken of terrorism as the biggest threat to the nation. Others believe that the long shadow of Maoists over the heartland is our Achilles’ heel. However, there is another insidious, omnipresent and all-consuming poison that is eating into the vitals of the nation — religious prejudice and intolerance.
When a bomb explodes and kills innocents, cold fear grips the Muslim community. It knows, from bitter experience, that although terrorism claims affinity to a host of faiths and ideologies, the invariable reaction to a terrorist act is to blame it on some Islamic terrorist group. The grim reality is that only Muslims are made to feel that they have to answer for the perverted deeds of their co-religionists, whereas an equally heinous crime by Norwegian Anders Breivik is rationalised as a case of individual madness that has nothing to do with Christian fundamentalism. Similarly, the terrorist acts of the right-wing Hindu extremists are seen as an aberration. The fact that so-called Islamic terrorism claims many more Muslim victims than others is studiously ignored because it vitiates a neat argument.
The bogus perception of Islam has unfortunately seeped into the law-enforcement apparatus. Time and again, the nation is confronted with the unacceptable injustices perpetrated on members of the minority community in the guise of fighting terrorism. After the 2006 Malegaon blasts, 115 Muslims were picked up and all, barring nine, were released after years of incarceration and torture. These nine innocents remained behind bars until last week, despite Swami Asimananda’s confession that it was the handiwork of Hindu extremists. Earlier this year, 63 Muslims who had languished in jail for nine years for alleged involvement in the Godhra train massacre of 2002 were released for want of evidence. The Godhra verdict itself threw up a major paradox. The court on the one hand adjudged that this horrific incident was the result of a criminal conspiracy and on the other came out with the astonishing contradictory ruling letting off the main conspirators who were allegedly instrumental in mobilising the mob on that fateful day. The judge apparently does not subscribe to the dictum that a case is only as strong as its weakest link. Full of loose ends and imponderables, the judgment has done little to inspire confidence and finally clear the air.
So acute is the discrimination that Muslims wonder whether they have equal citizenship rights under the law
In July, 12 Muslim youth, who were implicated for the Haren Pandya murder, were set free after five years as there was no evidence against them. More recently, 21 Muslims who had been implicated for the Mecca Masjid blasts of 2008 were released because they were innocent. Not surprisingly the advocate commissioner who had been appointed by the State Minorities Commission to investigate allegations of police abuse not only confirmed torture but the report also added that the detainees believed that they had been picked up and tortured “because they belong to a particular community”.
What the years of torture, unfair defamation and separation from their families have done to these broken spirits is impossible to express in words. So acute is the discrimination that Muslims wonder whether they have equal citizenship rights under the law. The most tragic irony is that scores of innocents are behind bars because of their religious affiliations, whereas there are thousands of murderers — the perpetrators of the Sikh killings of 1984, the Mumbai blasts of 1992, the subsequent Mumbai pogrom of 1993, the Godhra train massacre of 2002 and the subsequent Gujarat riots — who are roaming free. This is the chilling reality of life in our country today, which can be ignored only at our own peril. These hate-mongers would need little provocation to kill again.
Former Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju recently berated the media for accentuating the false perception about Muslims. He is convinced that the media often twists facts and creates the impression that Muslims are terrorists. Observers have noted that the media is muted and guarded in exposing the atrocities committed by other right-wing extremists. It is significant that the mainstream media ignored the recent revelations by a special director of the Intelligence Bureau at the conference of the State Police Chiefs that Hindu extremists have either been suspected or are under investigation in 16 incidents of bomb blasts, which makes Hindutva terror a much bigger phenomenon than previously envisaged. The media, however, continues to portray the Muslim as the archetypal terrorist. Fuelled by prejudice and intolerance, our public discourse has degenerated to the lowest possible level. The most inflammatory and divisive rhetoric has become commonplace. We are all aware of the scurrilous remarks about Muslims made by Subramanian Swamy, who has called for disenfranchisement of Muslims if they did not proudly acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus. Even the once respected Justice VR Krishna Iyer made this scandalous observation: “I do suspect their loyalty. If every Muslim in India feels India to be his motherland and wants to defend it, the police will easily get information about the secret manoeuvres of hostile Muslim elements.” Can hate and prejudice get more absurd and hurtful than this? With such deviant thought processes in the public domain, our founding fathers’ cherished dream of universal brotherhood lies in tatters.
In this mind-numbing environment of hostility and prejudice, one would have thought that the political leadership would help to redress this grave situation with courage and humanity. But far from trying to rectify matters, they have only added fuel to fire. Who can forget Rajiv Gandhi’s statement about the inevitable effect of the falling of a big tree? Or Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s heartless comment following the Gujarat riots that Muslims did not condemn the Godhra carnage loudly enough. Then we had Narendra Modi’s infamous Newtonian observation justifying the Gujarat riots as reaction to an action.
Today, the woes of the ordinary Muslim seem never ending. Living as he is on the margins of society, discriminated against in education and the job market, even when looking for accommodation, he is also burdened with the awful stigma of being in tacit collusion with terrorists. In communal conflicts, he is not only pitted against the other group but has to contend with the clearly partisan actions of the State as demonstrated in the Gopalgarh incident in Rajasthan where only the Muslims were gunned down by the police. And despite his intolerable travails, he is considered the main beneficiary of “minority appeasement”. Is it any wonder then if many believe that our secular democracy exists only in the statute books?