Dr Mustafa K Anuar is assistant secretary of Aliran, an NGO dedicated to justice, freedom and solidarity, and he writes here about the worry that the voice of the lunatic fringe is getting way too much media attention, giving it more credence than it deserves.
Walski’s material source clarification note: This opinion piece was first published on Aliran's website, and later picked up by The Malaysian Insider, where some of you may have already read it.
Walski has mixed feelings about this view. He agrees, on the one hand, but thinks that these fascist voices need to be heard so that we know just how rotten their agenda for power is.
And after all, it is power that is the end-game in the minds of these vocal "protectors" of race and faith. That, too, needs to be realized.
Mainstreaming the lunatic fringe?
In the recent past, middle-ground Malaysia has borne witness to a series of disturbing public expressions by certain groups and individuals that border on ethnic slurring, slander and rabid racism.
And many a time, these public expressions have without exception insulted the intelligence of the average Malaysians, irrespective of ethnic and religious backgrounds.
What’s equally disturbing is that such articulation has caused hurt, pain and even outrage among the people who have been subjected to these irrational outbursts from the lunatic fringe. ‘Lunatic fringe’ here refers to the fanatical, extremist or irrational members of society who seem to be on the rise lately. Perkasa and other groups of similar disposition come to mind immediately.
This political posturing of the lunatic fringe could possibly pose a threat to our ethnic relations as well as national security.
And yet de facto law minister Nazri Aziz insists irrationally that Malaysia’s political landscape has changed so drastically that what was taboo or “sensitive” a few years ago is now acceptable to Malaysians.
“Sensitive matters are now being discussed in the open,” he told The Malaysian Insider (20 May 2011) recently. He added, “When something is mentioned all the time, it becomes less sensitive and this is a good thing because then things can be mentioned but people will not take offence of it.”
Read more at aliran.com
Nazri’s statement was made in the context of the recent claim by certain blogs and subsequently quoted by the irrepressible and irresponsible Utusan Malaysia that the Christian community in Malaysia was involved in a conspiracy to replace Islam with Christianity as the official religion of the federation. This matter, as it turned out, became easy fodder for groups such as Perkasa to publicly express their dismay and disgust and to agitate – although armed with no iota of evidence!