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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Tyranny, Inc.

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Muslims, particularly the more vocal Malay ones in this country, are very easily riled. It doesn't take a lot to piss them off.

Image hosting by PhotobucketHeadline reads "Demonstration: Gerakan given one week"
(click on image for full report, in Bahasa Malaysia)

Update: A translation and commentary of a related Harakah article above can be read here (hat-tip to Malaysia-Today)

This latest rage-fest is a result of a purported resolution made by Federal Territory Gerakan during their convention last weekend. Yesterday, however, the Star printed a retraction, and stated that the call, made by Federal Territory Gerakan chairman Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong, was done in a personal capacity during a press conference, following the Federal Territory Gerakan Convention on Sunday, April 1. Originally, the Star had reported that the call was a resolution made during the convention. This morning, the Star reported that Datuk Dr. Tan has issued an apology over his remarks.

So, what next from PAS and their supporters? And why is it that they get pissed off so easily? And is this anger a symptom of a more nefarious bigger picture? Apart, of course, from PAS consolidating their political position, taking advantage of already bruised and easily riled Muslim sentiments.

One of the nice side-effects of attending the innaugural National Alliance of Bloggers meeting last Thursday is that Walski got to meet Haris Ibrahim, a law practitioner and the force behind the ACCIN-BADAI Lies website.

He's just published a very interesting (albeit long) article, entitled ‘Islam-as I say-tion’: The Slide Into Tyranny? It is an intriguing, but disturbing read.

Why disturbing? Because it appears that there is a very real movement to undermine Malaysia as we know and love.
(Islam-as I say-tion, and more, in the full post)

The article starts off by making reference to a Malaysiakini article from July 24, 2006, which makes reference to a statement made by Azmi Abdul Hamid of Teras (emphasis by myAsylum).

We have every right to seek the continuation of this process of Islamisation

Continuation? Which brings up the question of "when did it begin?" And what exactly is the "process of Islamisation"? The article attempts to answer these questions, and one more important question: is all this "Islamisation" in line with the teachings in the Holy Quran? And finally - who is really behind this continued Islamisation?

The answer to this, as the article shows, is that it's not just the likes of PAS, ACCIN, BADAI, and the lot. And it is this that Walski finds most disturbing. That the forces behind this move are also comprised from people in government and other public institutions of power. The combined forces of which Walski calls Tyranny, Inc.

Now, just about everybody knows that PAS, and those individuals and organizations supporting this party, have one primary aim: to establish Malaysia as an Islamic state. But according to which model? Saudi Arabia? Iran? Pakistan? And what model is something that PAS has not been able to convincingly tell us, apart from being based on the Syariah. Then another question: whose version of the Syariah?

To consolidate support, they use fear - planting the idea that Islam is under threat. And any opportunity to reinforce this point of view is used to the fullest. Logically, it would truly boggle the mind why a mere mortal - Government employee, at that - like Harussani, is revered to the extent that he cannot do any wrong. And logically, the latest "outrage" is nothing but an opportunity that Gerakan (or individuals within it) provided on a silver platter.

But maybe the adulation given to folks like Harussani is not really a big mystery after all, based on another recent article in Harakah, the mouthpiece of PAS.

Image hosting by PhotobucketWhy Muslims revere the Ulama so... they are the inheritors of the Prophets

You see, the traditional view of Muslims is that the religious leaders (ulama) are the "inheritors of the prophets" - a view propogated a long time ago, via a hadith. Implying that what the ulama say must be followed.

And the "Quranic justification" for the hadith of Muhammad as authority to formulate religious law, is derived from what some feel are verses from the holy Quran taken out of context, such as Surah 59 Verse 7 or, Surah 53 Verse 3, to imply that whatever comes from Muhammad is revelation. Whereas even in the prophet's own lifetime, he prohibited transcribing of what he said, UNLESS it was Quranic revelation.

The logic therefore, is that because the Ulama are the inheritors of the prophets, and whatever the prophet (in the case of Islam, Prophet Muhammad, specifically) had to say, ex-Quran, has also to be taken as law, the Ulama must be held in the highest esteem, and cannot be challenged.

And of the Ulama - which Ulama? The word Ulama, in Arabic actuall means those with knowledge, or the knowledgeable ones. This of course could refer to any knowledge. But over the centuries, the common understanding is that Ulama refer specifically to those with religious knowledge.

And it has become the case that whatever dictates come from these religious Ulama (to differentiate them from the turbomachinery Ulama, or nuclear physics Ulama), are pretty much taken unchallenged. So much so that standing up in support of PAS' Kelantan government can even become a "religious responsibility of ALL Muslims" (i.e. Fardhu 'Ain).

Image hosting by PhotobucketWhat the Ulama opine MUST be followed unquestioned

Would most traditionalist Muslims even dare question the legitimacy of statements such as these? It did, after all, come from the mouth of someone considered a religious Ulama. To any other thinking person, statements such as this are nothing but political propaganda, using "Islam" as the justification.

But then again, who said that the majority of Muslims can even think critically anymore? That capability was abdicated a long time ago, in favor of blind acceptance.

It is the cummulative effect of this blind acceptance, coupled with political propaganda in sheep's clothing, and a deep-seated anger in the psyche of many Malay/Muslims, as a result of an equally deep-seated inferiority complex, that has the potential of changing the face of Malaysia.

And not necessarily for the betterment of Malaysia, or Malaysians as a whole.