By Multatuli Murtadi
I am puzzled that UMNO’s promise of an Islamic State if they win 2/3 majority in parliament passed almost unnoticed.
I have no doubt that PAS will support UMNO; also the other All-Malay parties.
To be sure, Islamic NGOs will be working overtime for it.
To those with short memories, a reminder: Malaya gained independence in 1957 as a multi-racial, multi-cultural, secular nation. Sabah and Sarawak joined on this basis – a secular state. Surely this is one of the pillars of our nation – the promise which every citizen signed up to, including we Malays. Our fathers did not sign up for an Islamic State.
This is the sacred cow the Islamists want to slaughter. The fact that you have the numbers in parliament and can change the constitution does not give you the moral right to do so. It is a betrayal of what our forefathers fought for (including Malay leaders).
Is an Islamic State good for Malaysia?
Let’s examine the implications and consequences of being an Islamic State.
To Muslims it may sound great that our religion will be enshrined as THE religion of the country. Bragging rights aside, how will the lives of Malays change?
If existing Islamic States are examples, then Malaysia will be no different. Today we Muslims cannot discuss Islam outside the perimeters set by the religious establishment. We cannot question the official dogma. Those caught doing so have been punished. Those who insist on seeking their own truths have been sent to “correction camps”. In an Islamic State the consequences would be more terrible.
Islam is not the only religion that has punished so called “deviants”. The Roman Catholic Church took extreme measures to prevent “heretics” from deviating from its dogma.
By the way did you know the church sold tickets to heaven? How different is it from what we tell Muslims today. “If you vote for a Muslim (however corrupt he may be), against a non-Muslim candidate, you will go to heaven”. How many bribes has the government given us to vote in the name of Islam?
The Church tortured and killed other Christians who dared deviate from the prescribed doctrine. That was in the Dark Ages. Five hundred years later, we are doing the same thing.
Where is Pastor Raymond Koh, Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth Sitepu, and social activist Amri Che Mat. They disappeared between Nov. 2016 and Feb. 2017. Suhakam pointed its finger at the Special Branch. An unbiased reader of the accounts of the Pastor Koh’s disappearance (including the Special Branch’s explanation) cannot help but conclude that the State is behind this.
There have been other cases of torture and detention (e.g. the celebrated case of Jamaluddin) of people suspected of proselytizing to Muslims which can mean anything from sharing information about other religions with other Muslims. Surely everyone has a right to find out about other religions. Knowing about other religions does not mean one will convert. Thousands of Malays have passed through Mission Schools (including Najib and his brothers) yet they remain Muslims.
What about Lina Joy who left Islam despite attempts to dissuade her; but was not allowed to change her religious status on her I.C. It’s almost like Nazi Germany tattooing the Jews so that they can be identified. In Malaysia we “tattoo” everybody. Everyone has a label.
By the way, apostasy is not a crime, only proselytizing to a Muslim is against the law.
An Islamic State will lead to even more drastic measures to control us – both Malays and Non-Malays.
I remember the late Kassim Ahmad telling me how his granddaughters were harassed in school by their teachers and some of their friends for not wearing a tudung. That was just the beginning. We have regressed since; the religious strait jacket is even tighter now. If you think that is bad, imagine when the country officially becomes an Islamic State. The powers-that-be can decree that as an Islamic State and in the tradition of Islam (as interpreted by them) all women must wear the burkha. Everyman must be in the mosque on Friday by law (religious police will check every house). There will be no more ‘frivolous’ music on the public airwaves – only religious music. Islamic contents will make up most of RTM broadcast. Islam will be a major part of the school day. There will be a short talk on Islam at assembly before start of school. Doa will be said before the start of each class. Some of this is already happening in our schools but be prepared for a triple dose of religious indoctrination. Our children will learn even less that is useful in the wider world than what they are learning now. We complain that the private sector will not employ our young; you wonder why?
Is this what you want – another Afghanistan, Somalia? Going by PAS’ joy at the Taliban victory, I will not be surprised if we are Talibanised.
How will becoming an Islamic State affect the non-Muslims?
Today we can still depend on the Civil Courts to defend the rights of non-Muslims pertaining to conversions and other issues where Syriah impinges on the constitutional rights of non-Muslims. In an Islamic State, Syriah will override the Civil Courts even in matters concerning non-Muslims.
For the non-Muslims, an Islamic State will mean a dry state. Already the authorities have tried to forbid coffee shops from selling beer (a practice since before 1957). They have contemplated the end of the sale of alcoholic beverages in supermarkets. Certain areas have already been ‘cleaned up’ of the evil brew so that it cannot be bought in “Syriah compliant” or Malay majority suburbs.
“Muslims Only” Dental Clinics and laundry will sprout. Remember the “halal” supermarket trolleys suggestion by some fanatics? That will be a reality. There will be separate queues for men and women. Those failed attempts to forbid open Christmas celebrations and Beer Festival and to control the celebration of other religious festivals will have the full force of the law behind them.
Islamists are embedded in every level of government; they have their hands on every lever of control. They control what we watch or read or do vis a vis Islam.
The first victims of this new and constitutionally halal Islamisation will be the moderate Muslims who follow the teachings of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) but not the interpretations enforced by the state.
Even if we impose the State religious dogma on Muslims can we do that with non-Muslims? What about their right to religious freedom guaranteed in the constitution? That will go too I am afraid. In short, even non-believers have to submit to Syariah in an Islamic State – whatever they tell you now.
The Protectors of Islam will be rendered toothless.
Today, it is the sultans who are the Head of Islam in their respective states – according to the constitution. If the Islamists have the 2/3 majority who can stop them from changing this part of our constitution also. The sultans will be stripped of their powers as the Head of Islam in their states. I am not so sure that even the sultanate as an institution will survive. Remember Persia and her Shah? Today it is called The Islamic Republic of Iran – a theocracy.
The Islamic Republic of Malaysia – how does that sound?
What is wrong with the way we were prior to this “Islamic radicalism”.
We were more tolerant and accepting of our differences. We followed the rules (not to proselytise to Muslims, etc). Malays studied in Christian schools without being converted – and we received a well-rounded education.
We drink with our non-Muslim friends in coffeeshops. We visit them at their homes and celebrate their festivals with them as they with us. Through all this we remained Muslims.
We only need to compare the “tolerant Islam” of yesterday and the “radical -holier-than-thou Islam” of today.
What happened to the “live and let live” philosophy of the Tunku?
Today we have an ex-prime minister who is a convicted felon. How many times has he been on the pilgrimage? There are those who go on the haj multiple times but come back just as corrupt. We have Hajis who steal from the savings of those poor folk who saved with Tabung Haji so that they can do the pilgrimage just once. Yet these are the people who will be seen in the front row in the mosque every Friday. These are the ones calling for an Islamic State.
They make rules about drinking. A young girl drinking a glass of beer is whipped in public but how many of our leaders drink in private or when they travel abroad? The religious police dare not touch them. Munafik!
The religious establishment and the politicians work hand in glove. They scratch each other’s backs. We have Jakim and other departments all dedicated to protecting Islam (from what?). The officers are paid handsome salaries and perks, in return they shut their eyes to the corruption and haram behaviour of their paymasters. These are the people who want an Islamic State.
We Malays are too gullible. We give too much credit to the clerics, foolishly believing that as guardians of Islam they will do the right thing. Ask them why they have not spoken out against the corruption by our leaders. Their mouths are stuffed with ringgit that’s why. Munafik!
You expect Malays to follow your dictates when you don’t walk the talk?
We forbid liberal Muslim speakers from abroad to come here but we fete a fugitive preacher who is wanted in India for questioning for alleged crimes. The difference is, Zakir Naik sing the same tune as our religious charlatans and politicians. Liberal Islamic preachers encourage questions from their congregation. They teach a more inclusive and tolerant Islam that does not fit in with the religious establishment here. Why are they afraid to let different ideas compete? As a Muslim I want to find out about the many opinions of Islam so that I can make up my own mind what is good for me. I don’t need the imam to point me to syurga, I have my own moral compass.
Religion is a powerful political tool
Religion is one of the tools used by our leaders to scare us into voting for them. Malays in general are quite conservative and we try to follow the Koran without question. Imagine when on Friday they preach to you that to vote for a kaffir is haram. Or that if the Opposition win they will convert everyone to Christianity.
Faced with the wrath of Allah as misrepresented by the clerics, most of us especially the simple kampung folk, will vote UMNO, PAS or any thief masquerading as a good Muslim.
Malays will not be saved by making Malaysia an Islamic State.
Malays will be saved by good Muslims who follow the true spirit of the Koran, not by munafiks.
Malays will be saved by good leaders with a vision and who can deliver to the rakyat a more prosperous and progressive Malaysia; not by corrupt politicians (abetted by the imams). We don’t need ritual Muslims but spiritual ones.
Malaysia will be saved by Malay leaders who are inclusive, fair and just like what the Koran teaches.
The Straw That Breaks the Camel’s Back
Sudan broke up when the Muslim North tried to impose syriah on the Christian South. It is not inconceivable that if an Islamic State is declared, East and West Malaysia will separate. Lots of “religious refugees” from the Peninsula will head to Borneo or to other countries.
We may see a repeat of the “Singapore Story” where an initially undeveloped state governed by competent and honest leaders eventually thrives and prosper, while the other, racked by corruption, incompetence, racial discrimination and radicalised by religious fanatics becomes a failed state.
How many radical Islamic States have progressed and prospered? Sudan? Egypt? Somalia? Mauritania? Afghanistan? Pakistan? Add Malaysia to the list if we become an Islamic State.
As GE15 nears, Malaysians must decide for ourselves what is best for us and for our future generation.
Ask yourself this: If an Islamic State is so great how is it that millions of Muslims have sought refuge in “kaffir” countries? Surely they should be going to Islamic States but instead they are running away from them.
Our future is best determined by informed Malays who will question and challenge the political and religious orthodoxy, not by kaki bodeks and kaki rasuah who will do anything at a price.
Don’t let them use Islam as a tool to get your vote, by doing that they have abused the religion and you are an unwitting accomplice.
Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world. Yet it has not declared itself an Islamic State. Ask yourself why. Secularism is enshrined in their constitution and is practised – not just lip service. Led by a competent and honest president (Joko Widodo) it is thriving. Increasingly more and more international companies are relocating to Indonesia. On the contrary, they are fleeing Malaysia. One is a moderate Muslim majority state where all citizens are Bangsa Indonesia, the other a divided nation of Bumiputras and Non-Bumiputras, a corrupt and increasingly radicalised state with ambitions to become an Islamic State. One is progressive and prosperous; the other regressive and overtaken by countries which were economically behind them only a decade ago.
You want an Islamic State? Be careful what you wish for.
Vote wisely in GE15
(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)
By Multatuli Murtadi, Kelantan
Three Malaysians – Malay, Chinese, Indian – in hot soup