Thursday, 4 January 2007

A Challenge to Malaysian Muslims/Islamists and to PAS Leadership

From: No Holds Barred (Malaysia Today) -Raja Petra Kamarudin

Extracts from "Throwing the cat amongst the pigeons"


Raja Petra Kamarudin

"...... I have said this before and I will say it again: Malaysia Today is a political website.

Malaysian politics is centred on race and religion. Political parties are either race-based or religion-based. This is the stark reality and one just cannot run away from this fact.

PAS and UMNO - The Political Kingpins

Umno is a Malay party. Umno is the party in power, basically the kingpin of the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional.

PAS is a Malay party (though it does have a couple of Chinese Muslims in its ranks but too insignificant to have any impact). PAS can sort of also be regarded as the kingpin of the opposition -- considering it rules in one state (and twice before in two), plus is currently the only serious challenge to Umno.

But between Umno and PAS, Umno has a better chance of forming the government, mainly because it is seen as the leader of a multi-racial coalition (though Umno may be a Malay party) while PAS is seen as anti-non-Muslim and therefore a threat to those not of the Islamic faith (which means almost every non-Malay in Malaysia).

The trouble with PAS is that, while it may have quite a good ‘product’ to sell, it lacks salesmanship.

PAS just does NOT know how to package itself properly and market itself to the voters effectively.

Let us NOT even start talking about the non-Muslim voters. This is already a lost cause, a non-starter, an exercise in futility even before the word go.

PAS can’t even get the Malays, meaning Muslims, to stand behind it. If PAS cannot appeal to the Malays, how in heaven’s name can it appeal to the non-Malays?

Malaysian Muslims /Islamists and Their Reactions to Religion

Muslims have this idiosyncrasy of getting roused from their slumber the second the word ‘Islam’ is uttered. It is like the neighbourhood dog when it detects an unfamiliar smell.
They argue and they scream, and they threaten those ‘insulting’ their religion with death, and then kill themselves in the process.

I realise they are sincere in their efforts in defending Islam and that they really do love Islam and their Prophet.

And they engage all the critics of their religion with good intentions. Well, I have news for you, good intentions are not enough. The road to hell is paved with good intentions (and I am sure I too am walking along that same road even as we speak.....sigh).

I am going to keep tormenting these Islamists, Mujahideens, or whatever they imagine themselves to be, as long as it’s necessary. They must be dragged, screaming and kicking, into the new Millennium.

They want Malaysia Today to stop criticising Muslims or the conduct of Muslims.

Malaysia Today will not stop what they allege as ‘attacking Islam’ because:

  • first of all, we are not attacking Islam. We are attacking Muslims.

  • Furthermore, what we are propagating is merely the right to speak freely.

  • And we shall exercise this right to attack Muslims if their conduct warrants it so.

In case no one realised, Islam is ALREADY under attack, both literally and figure of speech. It is under attack in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, and soon in Iran as well. It is under attack in the west, in the media, in the movies, in the internet; everywhere and anywhere that you can think of.

Malaysia Today is NOT the problem. The problem is all over the world, in every nook and cranny. Malaysia Today cannot damage the image of Islam more than it is already damaged.

  • Muslims must be made to see what non-Muslims think of Islam.

  • Muslims must be made to realise the bad image that Islam has acquired.

  • Muslims must be made aware that Islam is a dirty word to the non-Muslims.

  • Muslims must be knocked hard on the head so that it drums into their thick skull that, since the fall and break-up of the USSR, Islam is the new Communism.

    Islam has been dragged into the public domain. The non-Muslims did NOT do this. The Muslims themselves did.

    The Challenge to PAS's Politics of Religion

    The instant you market PAS as an Islamic party and propagate the setting up of an Islamic state, then Islam becomes public property.

    Anyone and everyone now become concerned about Islam because if PAS rules this country and if PAS sets up an Islamic state, then everyone is affected.

    If you want non-Muslims to keep their hands off Islam, then PAS must first keep Islam out of the public domain.

    Once you drag it into the public domain, then Islam becomes public property.
  • You cannot have it both ways.

  • So, you want to take over the administration of this country.

  • So, you want to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state.

  • So, you want to form the next government, an Islamic government.
  • Well, then you had better learn how to market yourself. And if you don’t know how to, then it is your own bloody fault and no one else’s.

  • Show that Islam is compatible with democracy.

  • Demonstrate that Islam is tolerant with dissenting and opposing views.

  • Prove that Islam is prepared to listen.

  • But never, I repeat, never shout that Islam will not allow free speech and anything that is perceived as an insult to Islam or the Prophet will be dealt with severely, with bloodshed if necessary.
  • Thus far, none of the Islamists have been able to debate maturely and intelligently.

    • Pasting verses from the Quran as ‘proof’ that anyone who insults Islam can be punished is NOT debating.

    • Pasting sayings of the Prophet (Hadith) to prove that Muslims who insult Islam are apostates and apostates can be put to death is NOT debating.

    What it only proves is that Islam is so intolerant and violent and if Malaysia ever does become an Islamic state under PAS , this would be the end of the life that we know today.

    Putting yourself in others' shoes

    If you are a Muslim would you want to listen to a Christian who quotes from the Bible? Why should you?

    In that same spirit, why then would a non-Muslim be interested to read your verses from the Quran or quotations from Prophet Muhammad?

    While you refuse to listen to a Christian quoting from his Holy Book, you in turn expect non-Muslims to listen to your quotes from the Quran.

    How in heaven’s name does this make sense? What gives you the right to force non-Muslims to listen to the Quran while you would not tolerate any Christian quoting from the Bible?

    In fact, if a Christian were to hand you a Bible, in particular in Bahasa Malaysia, you would make a police report and have him arrested.

    But it is absolutely okay for you to hand a non-Muslim a Quran in Chinese, English, Urdu, Malay, or whatever.

  • If you were that Christian would this not upset you?

  • Would you not despise Islam?
  • Would you not fear the religion that PAS is trying to introduce to this country as the law of the land?

    And don’t tell me you would not because you will.

    The Challenge to Malaysian Muslims/Islamists

  • Muslims must be taught how to engage.

  • Muslims must be prodded to not silence what they do not like to hear.

  • Learn how to sell Islam the correct way.

  • Learn how to convince non-Muslims that Islam is, as you say, a religion of peace.

  • Learn how to win the hearts and minds of non-Muslims.

  • Thus far the opposite is what is happening.

    The more you open your mouth, the more you convince non-Muslims that Islam is dangerous, violent, intolerant, uncompromising, outdated, and much more.

    If you fail to engage non-Muslims in Malaysia Today, how can you succeed in a bigger market?

    Most of Malaysia Today’s readers are thinking people. They can reason out. They can analyse. They also can compromise if compromise is warranted. But they can never be pushed around or fooled with rhetoric.

    But they can never be forced at the point of a sword to accept anything that does not appeal to them. Those are the characteristics of Malaysia Today’s readers.
    • So let’s see how you sell Islam.

    • Let’s see how you convince non-Muslims that Islam is all that you say it is.
    And if you can succeed in Malaysia Today, then maybe, a very BIG maybe, you can then sell PAS and Islam to the voters out there who have never even heard of Malaysia Today.

    Oh, and one more thing, non-Muslims will judge you not by what you say (and Muslims certainly do have a lot to say -- in fact, they talk too much) but by what you do.

    It is your actions and not your words which will be the test of the pudding.

    So far, however, the actions do not match the words. And this is the main failure in the selling of Islam.

    Tolerant, religion of peace, and much more are catch words the Islamists use. But one would be hard-pressed to find all these things in the Islam they are demonstrating. ..."

    - Raja Petra Kamarudin

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