Respect all races and faiths

Jeswan Kaur | July 21, 2013
Free Malaysia Today

With all the racial tension and unhappiness taking place, it is a wonder how Najib intends to pull off the national reconciliation agenda.


Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad keeps insulting the non-Malays all the time and not a word comes of concern comes out from the mouth of the country’s leading party, the Barisan Nasional alliance.

Likewise, Mahathir’s protege, Ibrahim Ali who founded the Maly extremist party Perkasa and his deputy Zulkifli Noordin who have little to fear each time they take pot-shots at the non-Muslims.

Then there are others in powerful positions who keep stirring racial tensions by warning the non-Malays to refrain from using the word ‘Allah’.

The word “Allah” has been used by the Sikhs and Christians for a long, long time or for that matter Arab Christians have been using the term “Allah” for over 600 years before the Muslims began doing so?

The word “Allah” is used 12 times in the Sikh holy scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, by Sheikh Farid, Guru Nanak and Guru Arjan Dev while Sant Kabeer has uttered the word 18 times.

Despite that, Umno continues to live by its fallacy that only Muslims have the right to use the word “Allah” despite the fact that the term has been used by the Sikhs and the Arabic-speaking Christians of Syria and the rest of the Middle East.

Now Kedah menteri besar Mukhriz Mahathir has decided to follow in the footsteps of the rest by barring the non-Malays there from using the word ‘Allah’.

National reconciliation not happening

The country’s Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak talks a great deal about unity and national reconciliation but when politicians like Kinabatangan MP Bung Mokhtar Radin accuses the non-Malays of causing trouble and violating the Federal Constitution when they use the word ‘Allah’, why does the premier not feel compelled to do the right thing i.e. defend the non-Malays?

And as long as insensitive and racist politicians like Ibrahim contine to enjoy ‘immunity’ and go unpunished for insulting the non-Malays, there is no hope for any national reconciliation.

Ibrahim had once publicly demand that Malay Bibles be burnt and yet there was nothing seditious about what he had said.

Just as worrying is the warped outlook displayed by Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria who last year said that non-Muslims who insist on using the word “Allah” to refer to their Gods should convert to Islam if they refused to accept that the word belongs only to Muslims.

The controversial cleric also went on to accuse the Christian community of intentionally provoking Muslims by pressing on with their demand to use “Allah” in their holy book.

Pressuring, threatening and intimidating the non-Malay communities of this country to accept that the word ‘Allah’ is exclusive only to the Muslims is definitely not helping as far as calling it a truce between Malaysians of diverse faith goes.

What is worrying is that there is no stopping the ultra-Malay politicians from pursuing their agenda of condemning the other faiths and portraying Islam as an antagonistic religion.

When bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee published a photograph in Facebook, greeting Muslims “Selamat Berbuka Puasa” by eating Bah Kut Teh ( a dish with pork serving), it was a case of ‘do or die’ for Umno, the country’s largest political party.

In the end, with pressure coming down hard on the couple, they were charged under Section 4 (1) (C) of the Sedition Act 1948 for allegedly insulting Islam and the holy month of Ramadan. Their bail was rejected and the two went sent off to jail, with Tan to the Sungai Buloh Prison and Lee to the Kajang Prision.

If found guilty, Tan and Lee could face a three year imprisonment or a fine, or both.

Maybe Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail found it “easier” to prosecute the young couple but not the nation’s real trouble makers, i.e. Ibrahim, Zulkifli etc for sowing racial discord?

Respect all races and faiths

The fact that Abdul Gani continues to overlook the racist and seditious remarks made by the likes of Ibrahim and Zulkifli recently prompted several Indian based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to lodge a police report against the AG.

The People’s Welfare and Rights Organisation (Power) president S Gobi Krishnan has accused Abdul Gani of practising selective prosecution by charging sex bloggers Tan and Lee in court but not Ibrahim and Zulkifli.

Looks like Abdul Gani is more worried about displeasing the ‘powers that be’, hence the quick action to drag Tan and Lee to court and then to jail.

If Tan and Lee have been accused of being insensitive, so too are Ibrahim and Zulkifli and also the Education Ministry when it rejected the application of a student who had secured a 3.8 CGPA in her foundation year in Universiti Malaya simply because the ministry found her name sounding “foreign and Christian”.

Because some Education Ministry official holds a grudge against the non-Malays, this student lost the chance to pursue medicine not only in UM but also other public universities.

So it looks like the problem is not all about Malays and Islam. But why then do leaders of this country not treat the other races with respect?

In September 2010, deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin was quoted as saying that no one would be spared prosecution for insulting any religion practised in the country.

He said the government viewed the matter seriously as it could incite anger in the people and disrupt racial harmony and security.

“We cannot allow anyone, whether the individual is a Muslim or non-Muslim, to belittle any religion,” he said then when asked to comment on an insult to Islam in an account of the Facebook social website.

Three years later, Mahathir, Ibrahim, Zulkifli, Harussani, Bung Mokhtar and many others continue to deride the non-Malays. Can Muhyiddin tell the rakyat why BN refuses to prosecute these people and continues to indulge in selective persecution?

Until then, with all the racial tension and unhappiness taking place, it is a wonder how Najib intends to pull off the national reconciliation agenda.

The truth however is that the rakyat knows the national reconciliation is yet another ‘all talk no action” gimmick coming from the BN government.

  1. #1 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Monday, 22 July 2013 - 8:26 am

    But umno is the GOD of all gods and the grand master of the universe.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Monday, 22 July 2013 - 8:27 am

    The real tragedy is that UMNO/BN, specifically Mahathir’s UMNO, created this need for ‘reconciliation’ in the first place. They systematically created and encouraged the growth of this group of corrupt zealots that did really did not even exist before.

    Their logical excuse for a while now to the rest of the world for these groups is that its needed to as a counter to ideological Islam specifically PAS. Its not beyond them the irony that now PAS is seen as less a threat to everyone else than they themselves. Their excuse now appear now invalid and hence they are left with no choice but to keep pushing the lie and excuse they have used for so long.

    The bottom line is this, they created this monster, why do everyone else have to help them clean it up? Because we have little choice? If that is so, then what is to stop UMNO/BN from creating more monster as excuses for them to hold us hostage and ransom again and again?

    This thing was created by them. They have to fix it themselves. Otherwise, we take matters in our own hand, not negotiate with UMNO/BN..

  3. #3 by bennylohstocks on Monday, 22 July 2013 - 9:21 am

  4. #4 by Di Shi Jiu on Monday, 22 July 2013 - 11:17 am

    Jeswan Kaur,

    Recent news report that Zulkifli Noordin has no case to answer regading his insult of Hindu beliefs is a clear indication of the one-sided justice system in Malaysia.

    I am beginning to feel sorry for the Alvivi duo for the heavy-handed way in which they have been treated.

    Why? It is no longer becoming an issue of insulting a religion but rather a case where they are simply being persecuted beyond what is reasonable for their actions.

    In fact, I would go as far as to ask if one could wish Muslims “Selamat Berbuka Puasa” if I had a glass of beer in my hand, or if I have just had a ham sandwich for lunch.

    In the mad rush to demonstrate one’s piousness in the Alvivi saga, some Malaysian Muslims seem to have forgotten what Ramadan is about – a time to reflect on what Islam is and isn’t.

  5. #5 by sheriff singh on Monday, 22 July 2013 - 12:03 pm

    Mahathir, Ibrahim, Zulkifli, Harussani, Bung Mokhtar are heroes, defenders of the faith and religion. How can anyone take action against them?

    With a ‘elegantly silent’ PM and administration in place, the country is now in a mess where the likes of these people get to do as they like. Is it any wonder why the non- Muslim population is now at unease? How long can this sad state of affairs be allowed to fester and deteriorate? ‘Little Napoleons’ have emerged everywhere to do as they please. 1Malaysia is no longer being mentioned or promoted.

  6. #6 by fed-up on Monday, 22 July 2013 - 12:14 pm

    I am living in Egypt and there is no problem using the word “Allah” here or anywhere in the Middle East. Where did some Malaysian Muslims get the idea that the word is exclusive for them? I had some discussions over this with some of my Muslim friends in Egypt and they were puzzled and ask why are non Muslims in Malaysia not allowed to use the word “Allah”?

  7. #7 by pulau_sibu on Monday, 22 July 2013 - 12:38 pm

    Bahasa Malaysia failed the people, because it cannot integrate the God under one language.

  8. #8 by bryanbb on Monday, 22 July 2013 - 2:59 pm

    BN has been using Institutionalized brainwashing insidiously ever since they have been in power.Every tool they have at their disposal , education , religion, media , politics. And they are still attempting to social manipulate on a vast scale. We need to ask ourselves, how susceptible are we to propaganda ? Children are easy to brainwash. Adults ? not that hard!

  9. #9 by tuahpekkong on Monday, 22 July 2013 - 10:11 pm

    Respect is supposed to be mutual but UMNO and its cahoots generally do not respect others. Taking action against the idiotic and lecherous couple while sparing the others like Dr M, Katak Ali, Zulkifli Noordin, Abdul Rahman Dahlan and a retired judge is proof that the non-Malays do not get the respect that they deserve. With frequent insults being levelled against the non-Malays and no action taken against the culprits, I wonder how many of them still believe in 1Malaysia.

  10. #10 by ringthetill on Thursday, 25 July 2013 - 6:44 am

    The Malaysian inter-communal spirit was destroyed during this Mahathir’s rule, and he is still preaching evil. With our system of PM selection by one dominant party I do think this destroyer of Malaysian spirit can be arrested and put to trial. Only god can.

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