Followers

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

MUSLIMS: SHOULD WE FOCUS ON CONVERTING OTHERS OR CORRECTING OURSELVES?



CLICK HERE

While some Muslims are all excited trying to convert Non-Muslims into Islam, many Muslims are busy killing innocent Muslims, including children.

Should we spend more energy in correcting ourselves? Should we deal with our Sunni-Syiah divide that have resulted in war, death and persecution?

Perhaps our preachers and televangelist can talk about commonalities or if you like comparative ‘religion’ between these two sects instead of paying attention to outside the Muslim milieu.

“As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou hast no part in them in the least: their affair is with God. He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did” - Quran 6:159

“And be not ye among Mushrikeen (those who join gods with God), - i.e., those who split up their Religion, and become Sects, - each party rejoicing in that which is with itself!” – Quran 30:31-32

“And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah's favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be guided.” Quran 3:103

Salam, anas



Saturday, September 7, 2019

THREE GOOD BOOKS - PART 3 - The Malays



‘The Malays: Their Problems and Future’ by Syed Husin Ali. ISBN: 978-983-9541-61-8

This book was first published over thirty years ago in 1978 when Prof. Syed Husin Ali was in detention under the ISA; and it was updated in 2008. Prof. Syed Husin Ali was then the deputy PKR president.
‘The Malays’ is a really good book, because it goes way back to the origin of the Malays, their history, religion, socio-economy and politics. It discusses the issue of Malay poverty, providing facts and data, not just specifically on the Malay community but also in comparison with other communities. The book also addresses the impacts of modernity and past policies on the development of the average Malay and emerging challenges that face them. It gives a good overview of the situation of the Malay community.
Can you share with us some parts of the book?
One should read the book in entirety to get the full picture, because just by reading this book would be a good start to help in understanding the Malays. Here is an excerpt from the beginning of the book on who the Malays are:
“Taking a wide social and cultural definition, the term refers not only to those who are settled in the Peninsular, but also includes those in the larger area of the Malay Archipelago, embracing the Malay Peninsular and thousands of islands which today form the Republic of Indonesia and the Philippines. Although they are divided into many sub-groups, and perhaps as many dialects, linguistic and cultural experts always consider them as belonging to the same stock, known as the Malays or Malayo-Indonesians.” (pg. 1)
“Quite often when we refer to the term Malay, we think only of those who are living in the Peninsular. Descendants of the Malays in the Philippines are now known as Filipinos, while those in the former Dutch territories are called Indonesians. Our eyes have been shaded by three separate political boundaries to such an extent that we lose sight of the similarities in ancestry, of culture and history which are the common heritage of all the inhabitants of the Malay Archipelago.” (pg. 2)
We have particularly seen a lot of this in recent years – people make comments, for example, to say someone is not really ‘Malay’ because his ancestry is Bugis. But based on this larger definition described by Prof. Syed, the Bugis are also Malay. We tend to think that the Malay only refers to those in Peninsular Malaysia, but this is a very myopic view point.
The book lays the foundation for understanding the definition of who is a Malay. As an ethnic group, the Malays are defined historically but have also been defined legally in our Constitution. Prof. Syed discusses the historical context for this as well as its implications. These basic definitions and the understanding of who a Malay is, are very important concepts all Malaysians need to learn and understand (more on this is discussed in Chapter 28).
The book also discusses the situation of the Malays in the time of Merdeka and post-Independence. It sheds light on the rise of Malay political organisations, especially the Unity that was found among the Malays when opposing the Malayan Union. Opposing the Malayan Union was described as ‘a life and death matter’ to the Malays, and the question about the survival of the Malays as a race was what caused the Malays to come together. (pg. 45)
Understanding this historical pattern may help us to understand why the call for ‘Malay Unity’ has been carried on even until today. After Independence, language and education became the rallying call. After that, and now we see, it is religion. Prof. Syed writes – “Whatever the issues – religion, race or culture – all are open to political manipulation and exploitation. But this does not deny the fact that there are some individuals and groups who are sincere in their intentions over these same issues.” (pg. 47)
The book also discusses whether our development policies have been a success or failure, providing a study of data and statistics. The May 13 incident was described as a reflection of socioeconomic problems. Prof. Syed writes “although the incident appeared to be a racial conflict, it was recognised that the root causes were some basic economic problems” (pg. 125).
According to Prof. Syed, the analysis of the root causes of poverty was not correctly done in order to lead to the right strategies to properly eradicate poverty. He suggests that the NEP needs to be “reviewed and replaced by a new economic plan that would ensure the wealth and resources of the country are not monopolised by only a small coterie of people who have already enjoyed power. Instead they should be distributed fairly and evenly to the majority of people comprising different ethnic groups.” (pg. 151)
He adds - “Although absolute poverty has been reduced, relative poverty widening of the socioeconomic gap has increased. NEP helps to sponsor Malay rich and has resulted in nepotism and cronyism.” (pg. 182)
With discussions like this, the book presents a good balance of information and opinions. In discussing multi-ethnic relations between Malays and other races in Malaysia, it addresses some of the historical issues that hinder the journey to Unity and integration. Prof. Syed stresses the importance of shared values –
“it is … necessary to disseminate universal values and attitudes, which can help people so that they do not succumb easily to racial or ethnic appeals. There is also a need to overcome ‘false consciousness’ caused by ethnicity. At the same time, the state should not be allowed to legitimise ethnic violence to perpetrate itself. Until racial and ethnic harmony comes naturally, it must be strived for.” (pg. 180)
I urge readers to go out and get these three books as a start to understand our Indian, Chinese and Malay brothers and sisters. Knowledge of the history, background and current situation of these three Malaysian communities will go a long way in helping us to really understand each other and nurture harmony amongst us.
Peace,
Anas Zubedy
Malaysian Movement for Moderates
Note : This article is the final entry for the topic is taken from my book The Middle Path, chapter 4.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

JANGAN BOIKOT, SOKONG PRODUK BUATAN MALAYSIA

Hari ini di SINAR HARIAN ms 6



Kami, sekumpulan rakyat Malaysia, mengajak kesemua rakyat membeli dan memberi keutamaan kepada produk buatan Malaysia.

Pada asalnya, rangsangan untuk mengutamakan pembelian produk Muslim sahaja atau memboikot produk buatan bukan-Muslim kemungkinan nampak sebagai suatu strategi yang amat baik. Namun demikian, jika ditinjau dan dikaji dengan lebih mendalam, ia mungkin suatu tindakan yang kurang bijak.

Kebanyakan syarikat-syarikat swasta mempunyai ramai pekerja dari kaum Melayu. Malahan dalam beberapa syarikat ini, kaum Melayu menjadi tenaga pekerja majoriti. Walaupun pada hakikatnya sesebuah syarikat itu dimiliki kaum bukan-Muslim, tetapi rangkaian ekonomi meliputi juga komuniti lain. Ia termasuk pengambilan bahan mentah, kepada pembekal barangan serta penghantaran kepada pembeli secara hubungan rangkaian perniagaan. Hubungan sebegini adalah hakikat sebenar ekonomi tempatan dan juga di peringkat global. Tambahan pula, semua syarikat yang mendapat keuntungan akan membayar cukai yang digunakan untuk belanjawan bagi manfaat seluruh masyarakat. Ia termasuk juga pembiayaan gaji dan elaun kakitangan kerajaan yang kebanyakan kita semua sedia maklum majoritinya adalah kaum Melayu. Wang cukai ini juga digunakan untuk pembangunan pendidikan, kesihatan dan lain-lain lagi.

Wang dapatan dari cukai syarikat-syarikat yang membuat untung juga digunakan untuk membiayai institusi Islam seperti JAKIM dan ini mendatangkan manfaat secara langsung kepada umat Islam sendiri. Maka itu, adalah suatu perkara yang malang jika mereka yang mewarwarkan kegiatan boikot ini kurang faham tentang prinsip dan dasar ekonomi ataupun mereka sengaja memainkan sentimen perkauman dan provokasi emosi orang Islam dengan agenda tersendiri.

Kami ingin juga mengingatkan bahawa ramai orang-orang Melayu dan Islam memegang saham dalam kebanyakan syarikat tersenarai awam dan nama-nama mereka pun terpapar sebagai ahli-ahli lembaga pengarah. Kebanyakan syarikat-syarikat di Malaysia juga telah melaburkan wang dalam usaha menjadikan produk dan kegiatan syarikat itu serasi dengan syariah dan mendapat pensijilan halal. Malaysia merupakan hub halal yang terbesar di dunia di atas usaha orang-orang Islam dan bukan Islam.

Jika ada apa-apa usaha memboikot, ia akan mendatangkan kesan bukan sahaja kepada orang bukan Islam tetapi pada orang Islam juga. Kita semua kena menyokong barangan jenama Malaysia supaya sama-sama dapat kita membangun ekonomi dan menjadikan ia lebih kukuh. Pemboikotan dalam suasana ekonomi masakini bukan sahaja sesuatu yang tidak praktikal ia juga sesuatu yang bersifat hipokrit memandangkan kita semua menggunakan barangan dari seluruh dunia. Segala barangan dari makanan, pakaian, teknologi dan pengangkutan, setiap satunya datang dari sumber pembekal, pengasas dan pembuat dari pelbagai kaum, bangsa dan agama. Begitulah hakikatnya ekonomi global dalam dunia masakini. Maka itu, bagaimana boleh kita mengatakan bahawa setiap barangan yang kita pakai atau makan datangnya khusus hanya dari satu kaum dan agama sahaja?

Sebagai rakyat Malaysia, hidup kita berangkai dengan semua kaum. Seorang Mak Cik menjual nasi lemak di depan kilang milik kaum Cina untuk menyara hidup anak-anaknya adalah suatu yang biasa kelihatan dalam negara yang mempunyai pelbagai kaum. Sama juga kelihatan seorang India menjual roti berniaga di kawasan kaum Melayu. Adakah kita impikan kehilangan ciri kepelbagaian ini hanya kerana hasutan beberapa individu berkepentingan?

Kami percaya bahawa kita semua harus mengeratkan integriti bangsa kita lebih daripada memecahbelahkan masyarakat dengan hasutan boikot sebegini. Matlamat akhir kita sepatutnya membantu perkembangan perniagaan, mempastikan harga barangan rendah, mempastikan kos sara hidup bersepadanan dengan barangan buatan Malaysia yang berkualiti serta harga berpatutan. Hanya dengan usaha dan sikap sebegini serta gandingan persefahaman masyarakat maka kita semua akan menikmati kejayaan bersama.

Kenyataan bersama :-

Tawfik Ismail
Tajuddin Rasdi
Syed Sadiq Albar
Shad Saleem Faruqi
Nurul Haqq Shahrir
Noor Farida Ariffin
Johan Jaafar
Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos
Hussamuddin Yaacub
Chun Wai, Wong
Chandra Muzaffar
Anas Zubedy

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

DON’T BOYCOTT, BUY MALAYSIAN PRODUCTS!




We, a group of concerned Malaysians would like to urge Malaysians to buy Malaysian-made products and brands first.

On the onset, the calls for buying Muslim products first or boycotting products made by non-Muslims may seem smart to some segments of the Muslim community. If they were to study this deeper, however, they will find such moves to be very unwise.  

Many non-Muslim companies have a significant number of Muslim staff. In fact, in many instances, they even form the majority. Even when a business is predominantly run by non-Muslims, economic activities form chain reactions that involve each and every community. This ranges from the sourcing of the raw materials, to producing and supplying the product to end customers. That is the fundamental basis of the economy, be it at the national or even global level. Furthermore, all profit-making companies, regardless of ownership, pay taxes that are then used towards the benefit of the Malaysian society as a whole. These include employing and sustaining our civil servants, building our national infrastructure and enhancing our public services such as healthcare, education and more. 

If anything, the taxes paid by all Malaysian-owned companies have also contributed to the betterment of Islam through the annual government budget allocation to JAKIM. Thus, it is indeed unfortunate that the few who are propagating this exclusionary approach either fail to understand the basics of economics or are simply attempting to spread an insidious agenda; all while playing with the emotions of the average Muslim.

We want to remind them that Malays and Muslims hold a substantial number of shares in most public-listed companies. They are also represented on the board of directors of these companies. Most Malaysian companies have also invested in ensuring that their products are halal-compliant and certified. Malaysia is now considered one of the top halal hubs in the world, thanks to the concerted efforts of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. 

Any boycott would only hurt fellow Malaysians, Muslims included. We must support all Malaysian brands and products in order to make our economy stronger. Boycotts along racial and religious lines are not only impractical but also hypocritical in the modern-day economy, given the fact that all of us use products from all over the world. From clothing to food, to technology and transportation, every item we use or consume could be traced back to producers, founders and manufacturers of various religions, ethnicities and even nationalities. Such is the nature of the globalised economy. So how can we then say with absolute certainty that we are only using or consuming goods from members of our own race and religion?

As Malaysians, our lives and livelihoods are significantly interconnected. A Malay makcik selling nasi lemak in front of a Chinese factory every morning to support her family is a common sight in a diverse and multi-ethnic country like ours. So is seeing an Indian roti seller plying his wares in a predominantly Malay-Muslim neighbourhood. Are we willing to let this uniqueness that define us disappear thanks to the divisive rhetoric of the select few?

We strongly believe that rather than boycotting and dividing ourselves further, we should enhance our integration and practice more diversity and inclusion in our daily living. Our goal should be helping Malaysian businesses to grow, to keep prices down, to curb the cost of living emphasizing affordable but quality Made in Malaysia products. In that way, we as Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or background will prosper and grow.

The statement was jointly signed by:-
Tawfik Ismail
Tajuddin Rasdi
Syed Sadiq Albar
Shad Saleem Faruqi
Nurul Haqq Shahrir
Noor Farida Ariffin
Johan Jaafar
Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos
Hussamuddin Yaacub
Chun Wai, Wong
Chandra Muzaffar
Anas Zubedy


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

HOW YOU CAN LIGHT UP A HOME IN SABAH WITH JUST RM350 (and it is tax deductible)





#LIGHTUPSOMETHINGNICE is a zubedy-mercy Malaysia partnership social project.
RM350 to Light Up their Lives (#LightUpSomethingNice) is a project to help the families in Sabah to have portable solar lights.
With donation of RM 350 per house they will receive a total of 2 portable solar light.
Why contribute for #LightUpSomethingNice?
• They can still be productive after night fall
• Children can study more and do homework
• They can cut down using candle, lamps and fire to improve
security and health
When and Where?
• This project started on 10th January and ends on 16th
September 2019
• We are aiming to help 100 houses in Terian (Penampang)
and Ranau.
• We call all Malaysia to unite individual or group of friends to
help us collect or donate for #LightUpSomethingNice
Donation made will be channeled through MERCY MALAYSIA’S account
To Donate (TAX DEDUCTIBLE):
• Reference/Tittle: #LightUpSomethingNice
• Account Number: 8000 7929 08
• Account Name: MERCY Malaysia 
• Bank: CIMB
For tax exemption please email to Farhana at farhana@zubedy.com the following details with subject #LightUpSomethingNice, Donation: Proof of payment / Full name / IC Number
Should you like to know more, kindly contact Hana at 019-9493720
Thanks, anas

Sunday, September 1, 2019

THREE GOOD BOOKS - PART 2 - The Chinese



'The Chinese Dilemma’ by Ye Lin-Sheng ISBN:978-097-5164-61-7

Why do you recommend this book?

This is a book written from the perspective of a business person; so maybe it is personal because I am a business person myself. It is written in a very pragmatic way. It looks at the country from both sides and takes in both the positive and negative aspects. It is very honest, very brave, and very direct. The author Ye Lin-Sheng’s parents were from China; he grew up in a middle-class family but made it big in Malaysia and became a successful businessman.

Ye offers the perspective of a Chinese Malaysian, mainly addressing issues of affirmative action and preferential treatment. It has been suggested that ‘The Chinese Dilemma’ could be as controversial as Tun Mahathir’s ‘The Malay Dilemma’ because in the same way it openly addresses many controversial issues that are on the minds of many Malaysians. But the author is pragmatic because he discusses it from a non-partisan angle, pointing out both the positive side and the negative effects of the NEP and other challenges faced by Chinese Malaysians in the bigger picture. At the same time he admits that his opinions may not be accepted by many other Chinese Malaysians.

What does ‘The Chinese Dilemma’ address?

Mainly, it addresses the attitudes of the Chinese, the Malays, and the Westerners towards the New Economic Policies. Ye Lin-Sheng’s position is that Malaysia found a viable solution to historical problems of race and economic division through the NEP, which to him has “delivered the goods” at “an acceptable price”. (pg. 38)

He compares the situation of the Chinese in Malaysia to Chinese Diasporas in other parts of the world.

“Think of those Boat People (many of them of Chinese origin) forced to flee Vietnam; think of Cambodia, where the Chinese were killed or driven away; think of Indonesia, with its persecution and expulsion of the Chinese; think of the Philippines, where for so long the Chinese were effectively denied citizenship. Of course there is Thailand, where the Chinese are said to suffer no discrimination, but that is because they are assimilated to Thai society and have in a way given up their Chinese identity.” (pg. 39)

He also extrapolates this comparison further out to the United States, Canada and Australia, where the Chinese has had to struggle against exclusion and victimisation. In these states, the Malaysian Chinese who migrated to these countries have had more difficulty achieving economic success because of “lack of opportunity, indirect discrimination, the so-called ‘glass ceiling’ and stiffer competition”. (pg. 39)

Ye Lin-Sheng steps out of the fold to present views which are not commonly spoken among non-Malays. To the author, what is missing is the sense of appreciation of how well the Chinese have been able to do even as minority migrants in Malaysia. At the same time, he feels there has also been a lack of sensitivity towards how galling it must be for the Bumiputera to see “the Chinese…putting our stamp all over their cities, how wounded they must have been in their pride”, even if it is not their nature to express their frustration (pg. 46).

The author argues that whatever the cost, because the NEP has helped to reduce the socioeconomic gap between communities, returned a level of autonomy to the Malays and allowed both the Malays and Chinese to increase wealth, its benefits are indisputable.

The book is balanced as it also addresses the grievances of the Chinese. In the same way that Tun Mahathir gave feedback on what is in the heart of the Malays in ‘The Malay Dilemma’, I see Ye Lin-Sheng does the same thing here for the Chinese. He airs out the apprehension of the Chinese towards losing the right to live in the country, which leads to their defensive posture. Another is their difficulty reconciling the idea that the Chinese position is ‘subsidiary’ to the position of the Malays. He brings out the question that is in the back of the minds of many Chinese - “How long must we continue to pay the price of citizenship?” (pg. 56)

“Rightly or wrongly, many Chinese are not reassured that the Malay will act in good faith. Can we trust them to be fair? In shifting the balance of advantage do they know where to stop? If we lower our defenses, will we find ourselves at the start of a slippery slope? If we don’t complain about the NEP, will they think it is not hurting us enough and prolong it indefinitely?” (pg.57)

At the same time, he also deals with the negative points of the NEP – among others, how Chinese-Malay relations is made worse by what he terms ‘Ugly Malays’, individuals who have exploited the NEP (pg. 62). Other negative impacts he points out are the demoralising effects on the beneficiaries of NEP, how it encouraged past victimisation and blaming the Chinese for the plight of the Malays; and how it has polarised race relations.

These are fair questions that are nagging at the back of the minds of the Chinese which often dictate their behaviour. It is fair and important that someone expresses how we Malaysians feel to help us understand each other better; and this book actually does that.

In the concluding chapters, the author brings the discussion to a bigger picture, comparing the experiences of Chinese Malaysians with other Chinese communities around the world.

“When we keep an open and skeptical mind, we may see that the non-Malays has not had a bad deal in Malaysia. To those who disagree with me, my rejoinder is just look around the world. The lesson is clear - peace and national cohesion is better than war and disintegration. I’m not saying that the non-Malays have no grounds for complaint - they have, as earlier chapters have made it clear. But in grievances as in all things, it’s best to have a sense of proportion.” (pg. 135)

I like this idea of a sense of proportion. Let’s have a sense of proportion and evaluate things in a balance. We need to look ahead. In his book, Ye does not deny that some Chinese may feel hurt by the NEP and it is hard to put the past behind, but he writes, “we Chinese have always been good at saying, Suan le (‘Forget it’ or, ‘let it be’) and getting on with the next task.” (pg. 192)

Ye ends the book by sharing a quote from a young black American from the book ‘Native Stranger’:

“Neither a black American or a white American says he has anywhere else to go now. He is here to stay, he must make it work or lose it all here.” (pg. 197)

Ye suggests that this also reflects the situation of the Chinese Malaysians – make it work or lose it all here.

In short, the book is written very directly and pragmatically - not everybody will agree with what the author says, but it is a book worth reading to understand the feelings and position of the Chinese Malaysian community better.

End of Part 2

Peace,
Anas Zubedy
Malaysian Movement for Moderates

PART 3 will cover the Malays - ‘The Malays: Their Problems and Future’ by Syed Husin Ali. ISBN: 978-983-9541-61-8

Note : This article is taken from my book The Middle Path, chapter 4.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

PAKATAN HARAPAN AND THE MALAY POSITION - DR. CHANDRA MUZAFFAR



A lot of Malaysians are worried about the frequency with which ethnic controversies are erupting in the country.

Ethnic controversies by themselves which we have had to confront right through our history do not portend doom. It is the context in which they occur and how they are linked to power which matters.

UMNO’s ouster from power at the Federal level on the 9th of May 2018 has given rise to a perception within a segment of Malay society that the ethnic equation of authority has changed. It is felt that Malays no longer constitute the anchor of state power.

This is a gross misperception. It is being deliberately fuelled by a segment of the political opposition reinforced by a wide range of civil society groups. The purpose is obvious: it is to undermine the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

If the principal source of power and authority in a political system like ours is the Federal Cabinet, the majority of its members are Malays. The majority of members of Parliament are also Malay just as the majority of the Judiciary are from the same community. The civil and public services are largely Malay just as the police and armed forces are also mainly Malay. Of course, the nation’s constitutional monarchs are Malay.

What this shows is that regardless of whether UMNO is in power or not, the Malay presence and position in society is secure and stable. It is fallacious therefore to view UMNO as the guarantor of the Malay position. But for many Malays, UMNO is still the protector of the Malay position which is why in spite of all its wrongdoings it still managed to win 54 Parliamentary seats in the 14th General Election making it the largest single party in Parliament at that point.

There are many reasons that explain UMNO’s continuing --- though waning ---- grip upon the Malay mind. Apart from UMNO propaganda, there is no doubt that as the party at the helm of government for 61 years, it had succeeded to a great extent to eliminate poverty among the Malay masses, expand educational opportunities, enhance social mobility, create a sizeable middle class, and in general endow the community with a sense of accomplishment while ensuring that Islam and the Malay language remain at the core of the nation’s identity. It is all this that has helped to forge a bond between the party and the Malays.

PH has to address this bond if it wants to overcome the challenge posed by UMNO and its allies in the days ahead. How this bond expresses itself in various spheres and what its ramifications are should be at the crux of the PH’s concern.  This demands a clear understanding of the Malay position which UMNO claims to protect.

The Malay position is not only part and parcel of the Malaysian Constitution but is also a product of the evolution of Malaysian politics and society.  Its most salient features are i) the status of the Malay Rulers as constitutional monarchs ii) the Malay core of Malaysian politics iii) the Special Position of the Malays in the Constitution and the aspirations of the Malay economy as a whole iv) the role of Malay as the official and national language and v) the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation.

It is incumbent upon the PH and Malaysian society as a whole to understand and appreciate the emotional and psychological power behind the idea of the Malay Position. If Malays are deeply attached to the Malay Position it is mainly because it is the protective shield of sorts   that emerged in the wake of the tremendous changes that occurred as  a result of British colonial rule and colonial migration which impacted adversely upon the community. The Malay Sultanates from the early 12th century (Kedah 1136) logically should have coalesced into a Malay Federation, a Malay nation-state but it did not happen partly because of the massive accommodation of the huge recently domiciled Chinese and Indian communities. In a sense the Malays as a people who historically gave the land its name were relegated to a community among communities. 

The challenge now before PH is to articulate a vision of the Malay Position which is more just and equitable than what UMNO has hitherto offered. On the Rulers, for instance, it should commit itself totally to principles and practices that require them to adhere strictly to the rule of law and remain above politics and business. Similarly, Malay political leaders should be beacons of integrity and honesty fulfilling their trusts to the people. Working with their non-Malay and non-Muslim counterparts in pursuit of the larger good should be their central mission. It follows from this that emphasising justice that forefronts the needs of the weak and vulnerable while recognising and rewarding ability and excellence irrespective of ethnicity and religion should be PH’s agenda. The PH coalition should also strengthen and popularise Malay as a truly Malaysian language.  Its present endeavour to develop an inclusive, progressive understanding of Islam focused upon the substance of faith should be further enhanced and refined.          
             
By articulating such a vision of the Malay Position, the contrast between PH and UMNO would be highlighted vis-à-vis a goal that both seek to protect. In more specific terms, Malays would realise that UMNO’s notion of a Malay leadership core is mere attachment to ethnicity devoid of any genuine commitment to ethical practices. They would realise that its protection of the economic well-being of the community has in fact led to a widening gap between the ‘have-a-lot’ and the ‘have-a-little’ accompanied by abuse of opportunities by the well-connected. Malays and Muslims would hopefully become aware that glorification of form and symbol in the name of religion does not do justice to the essence of Islam.

When the Malay Position is understood and implemented in an enlightened manner, it would synchronise with PH’s reform agenda, elements of which have already become reality such as the food bank programme for the needy and the declaration of assets and liabilities by legislators. Indeed, an alternative approach to the Malay Position will strengthen just, ethical   governance as a whole. In the process, the Malay Position itself will be transformed for the well-being of the community and the nation.


Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is a political scientist who has authored a number of books on Malaysian politics.


Kuala Lumpur. 
26 August 2019.              

Saturday, August 24, 2019

THREE GOOD BOOKS about MIC - Malays, Indians and Chinese :) in Malaysia (PART 1 - The Indians)



Why do you recommend reading books to understand each other better?
We need to continually get to know each other better and there are many ways to do this. The best way is to live and work together, but reading can facilitate easier and quicker understanding. When we are better informed, we are less likely to be hoodwinked by anyone, whether politicians, business-people or anyone else.
Here I would like to propose three books that I have found helpful – The Malaysian Indians: History, Problems and Future by Muzafar Desmond Tate; The Chinese Dilemma by Ye Lin-Sheng; and The Malays: Their Problems and Future by Syed Husin Ali. There are many other books that are available in the market, but I suggest these three as a good start. And of course, someday we hope to see a good, balanced book on Malaysians as a whole
i) ‘The Malaysian Indians: History, Problems and Future’ by Muzafar Desmond Tate ISBN: 978-983-3782-54-3
Can you tell us a bit about the book on the Malaysian Indians?
Among the three books I am proposing, this is the most balanced one. Muzafar Desmond Tate was specifically commissioned to write the book to provide a balanced perspective as a distinguished educationist and historian. Unfortunately, Muzafar Desmond Tate passed away before he could see the published work.
It is a good book, very balanced and scholarly yet written in an easy to read manner. We are fortunate to have this book on the Malaysian Indians available to us. It is a wide-ranging view of the background of the Malaysian Indian community, their economic and political contributions, and the divisions and problems that exist among them, many of which have not changed much until today.
The book is most useful in helping us to understand the diverse Malaysian Indian community, including its poor and marginalised sections.
Can you share some important points from the book?
Let’s start from the origins of the Malaysian Indians. The book explains that the Malaysian Indian community had arrived in this land in various batches. The earlier travelers were Buddhist and upper-caste Hindus, very different in character from the Tamils who arrived during the British colonial period. These were from the lowest ranks of Tamil society, recruited under the contract system to be labourers for tin mines, agricultural estates, railway construction and public work departments. To pay off their costs of passage would take them almost their whole term of service.
At the same time, alongside this mass migration of Tamil labourers, there was a small group of upper-class Tamils who came on their own accord as merchants, traders and money-lenders, the Tamil Muslim merchants and Tamil Chettiars among them.
These groups eventually became absorbed into the Malay community. The book also explains in detail about the communities of other Indians, including the Telugu, Malayalee, Sikhs and other Punjabis, and the Bengalis.
The composition of the Malaysian Indian community was highly fragmented in many ways. At one point, there were 150 Indian societies and associations with their own communal and sectarian agenda; most were directly influenced by similar movements in India. Apart from ethnic or political fragmentation, there were fragmentation of religion between the Hindus and Muslims; as well as divisions between social class. To make matters worst, there was very little social mobilisation.
Tate writes:
“In a community where, in great contrast to its Chinese counterpart, social mobility hardly existed, Malaysian Indians were, by and large, highly compartmentalized and there was little social interaction between the various categories.”(pg. 25)
The book traces the journey of the Malaysian Indians from different backgrounds at the crossroads during the formative period of Malaya’s political development. Post-Independence, however, the economic and social gulf between the middle class Indians and the working folks remained.
Although there was an obvious need for the Indian community to unite and speak with one voice, this did not happen. It was not because they did not have leadership – according to Tate, there were many “very able and highly articulate” Indian leaders, but,
“The root cause for this failure lay in the still highly fragmented nature of the Indian community; while in the post-war world political circumstances had radically altered, the main characteristics of the Malayan Indian society had not. Indians in Malaya continued to be wracked by differences of race, religion, caste, occupation and language as they always had been, to a degree not found amongst either the Malays or the Chinese.” (pg. 78)
Politically, since Independence there has always been a group of disaffected Indians,
“filling the role of the Indian community’s alter ego – the voice of dissent and protest against corruption and cronyism in high places, the champion of human rights, civil liberties and social justice, the standard bearer of alternative non-communal point of view.” (pg. 112)
This alternative Indian establishment played a role to ask for change in Malaysian politics throughout the first fifty years after Independence.
Between 1957 to 2000, alongside most other Malaysians the Indian vital statistics steadily improved. However, economically and socially, the separation between the Indian middle and upper classes and the working proletariats remained.
“The middle classes, to all appearances, have held their own. Their numbers relative to their own community have remained larger than those of their Malay and Chinese counterparts, and they still appear to dominate certain professions (especially law and medicine) even if Indians of the younger generation face stiffer competition from the other races than their fathers did a generation ago.” (pg. 105)
In the same period, however, the greatest social change to happen was urbanisation. It brought new social problems, most glaringly “the presence of a rootless class of urban squatters, who have come to be associated in the public mind with an upsurge of violence and crime” (pg. 105). This was the new poverty syndrome of the Indians in town, while the problem of poverty in the rural areas and estates still remained.
This large gulf between the segment of middle and upper class Indians and the community of Indians still stuck in the trenches of poverty gives us a clue of why the NEP was not able to help the Malaysian Indian poor out of poverty the same way it helped the Bumiputera. Tate writes,
“What distinguishes the Tamil estate worker from his impoverished counterparts both in the Indian community and amongst the Malays and the Chinese is not so much the degree of his poverty as his difficulty in escaping from it. Though the Malays are by far the largest group affected in Peninsular Malaysia, they have enjoyed the full attention of the government and are also economically and socially much more accessible and amenable to assistance. The Chinese poor, on the other hand, of whom there are a good number, have the benefits of the well-organised and comprehensive social organisation maintained by the Chinese community itself.” (pg. 123)
The primary cause of the rural Tamil poor, however, is historical. It has roots in “the manner of their immigration, employment and settlement during the colonial era, in the physical isolation of their places of work from the mainstream of economic development and growth in the Peninsular, and in the paternalistic fold in which they came to be enveloped.” (pg. 123)
An interesting portion of the book addresses the New Economic Policy and its failure to make headway for the Malaysian Indian community.
The final chapters of the book describe the dilemma faced by the Tamil community in terms of education. While the grassroot Tamils were deeply attached to their language and culture, they faced the dilemma that Tamil-medium education ‘had no economic value’ and would leave the children only to continue in the legacy of being estate labourers, continuing in the cycle of poverty, with little hope of social uplifting. (pg. 172)
In his conclusion, Tate states that while in the years after independence the Chinese and Malay communities have managed to advance their socioeconomic position, for the Indian community, little has changed in terms of their composition, structure, organisation and nature of their problems. A big portion of them are still lagging behind. The book arrives at a crucial conclusion.
Tate concludes:
“At the time of Merdeka in 1957, the communal approach to politics appeared to be – and probably was – the only practical way to achieve the sense of national identity and purpose necessary to achieve Merdeka. However 50 years and one and half generations later, the social chemistry has changed, and class or special group interests are beginning to replace those of race as the determinants of evolution…It is becoming increasingly obvious that these social problems can only be overcome by a concerted national effort that is not based on race. The Indian community’s socio-economic problems can never be overcome within the present communal mould of Malaysian politics.” (pg.181)
This is just a brief overview of the contents of the book – as can be seen, it reveals many important details about the composition, situation, dilemmas and problems faced by the Malaysian Indian community. It is a good book for all Malaysians to get and read because it provides an accurate and balanced, non-political picture to help us understand our Malaysian Indian brothers and sisters.
End of Part 1
Peace,
Anas Zubedy
Malaysian Movement for Moderates
PART 2 will cover the CHINESE - ‘The Chinese Dilemma’ by Ye Lin-Sheng ISBN:978-097-5164-61-7
Note : This article is taken from my book The Middle Path, chapter 4.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

JANGAN SESEKALI BERI PENGIKTIRAFAN KEPADA SEGELINTIR GOLONGAN PELAMPAU YANG BERNIAT MENYAKITI ORANG LAIN

Ia adalah perkara biasa di dalam mana-mana komuniti ada golongan yang berpandangan melampau dan keterlaluan.
Kita tidak seharusnya beri perhatian kepada golongan ini kerana ia memberikan mereka legitimasi/pengiktirafan dan menunjukkan seolah-olah merekalah pembawa arus perdana. Kita seharusnya melayan mereka sebagai golongan minoriti dan beri tumpuan kepada golongan majoriti yang moderat (berpandangan sederhana).
Sebagai contoh, terdapat orang-orang barat yang suka menyamakan Islam dengan keganasan kerana mereka memilih untuk mengiktiraf kumpulan pengganas seperti IS dan AlQaeda yang minoriti ekstrem sebagai mewakili Islam dan bukannya 1.6 billion golongan majoriti Muslim yang cintakan keamanan.
Di Malaysia, kita mesti memilih untuk menyerlahkan golongan yang terbaik dalam kalangan kita iaitu golongan majoriti moderat dari kesemua kumpulan etnik dan penganut agama dan jangan sesekali memberikan legitimasi kepada sekelompok kecil yang menjajakan pandangan-pandangan eksklusif, melampau dan menyakitkan.
Salam, anas zubedy Pergerakan Moderat Malaysia.


NEVER GIVE LEGITIMACY TO THE EXTREME FEW WHO WANT TO HURT THE OTHERS

There are always those with more extreme views within each community.

We should not focus on them as that will give them legitimacy and show as though they are the mainstream. 

We must always treat them as the minority and highlight the moderate majority. 

As an example, there are those in the west who like to equate Islam with terrorism because they choose to give legitimacy to groups like IS and AlQaeda who are the extreme minority as representing Islam intead of the majority 1.6 billion Muslims who are peace loving. 

In Malaysia, we must choose to highlight the best among us, the moderate majority from all ethnic groups and religious believes and never give legitimacy to the few who are peddling exclusive, extreme and hurtful views.

Peace.

Anas Zubedy
Malaysian Movement for Moderates

Friday, August 16, 2019

PERBANDINGAN ALIM ULAMA KITA DENGAN PENCERAMAH ASING




Para alim ulama kita dulu dan sekarang bergandingan bahu bersama semua pemimpin serta pentadbir-pentadbir negara bertungkus-lumus membina negara Malaysia yang berjaya, aman dan dihormati termasuklah negara-negara Islam yang lain dan yang bukan Islam.

Para alim ulama kita bersama-sama susah dan bersama-sama senang dari merdeka hinggalah ke sekarang. Dari negara yang berkadar kemiskinan tinggi, yang majoritinya Melayu Islam, sehinggalah sekarang dimana kita sudah serba serbi cukup dengan kurniaan rahmat dari Allah.

Para alim ulama kita telah memberi sokongan, nasihat dan bimbingan kepada para pemimpin kita selama 60 tahun untuk membangunkan sebuah negara aman dan makmur yang agama rasminya ialah Islam. Satu-satunya negara yang diterajui oleh pemimpin Islam tetapi diterima dan dihormati oleh semua lapisan masyarakat majmuk yang berbilang kaum,agama dan bangsa.

Para alim ulama kita bersama pemimpin-pemimpin negara telah menganjurkan dan menjayakan Tilawah Al-Quran Antarabangsa yang pada mulanya hanya disertai oleh 7 negara pada tahun 1961 sehingga kini dapat menarik 70 negara dari seluruh dunia pada tahun 2019.

Para alim ulama kita bersepakat dengan Kementerian Pendidikan memperkenalkan, menerajui, mengajar serta menguruskan Universiti Islam Antarabangsa sejak tahun 1983. Hasilnya, beribu-ribu lepasan bukan sahaja dari Malaysia malah seluruh dunia mendapatkan segulung ijazah sarjana muda, ijazah sarjana dan ijazah sarjana kedoktoran disini. Mereka bukan sahaja telah dilatih dalam bidang keagamaan malah dalam bidang keduniaan.

Para alim ulama kita serta cendekiawan ekonomi dan kewangan negara bekerjasama dengan Bank Negara Malaysia mempelopori dalam sistem perbankan dan kewangan Islam, sukuk dan takaful sehingga negara kita menjadi perintis dalam industri kewangan Islam moden yang sistematik. Berjuta-juta orang Islam dan bukan Islam dari dalam dan luar negara telah menggunakan sistem kewangan patuh syariah yang kita perkenalkan dengan penuh keyakinan dan tanpa ragu-ragu.

Para alim ulama kita dengan kolaborasi pentadbir-pentadbir kerajaan yang kemudiannya melalui JAKIM berjaya memperkenalkan Malaysia sebuah negara hub halal terunggul yang kini telah mengekspot produk-produk halal mencecah hampir RM 40 billion setahun! Piawaian halal yang diperkenalkan telah diguna pakai oleh syarikat-syarikat antarabangsa yang bukan dari negara Islam seperti Nestle, Colgate Palmolive dan Unilever. Tambahan lagi kecekapan kita dalam hub halal ini bukan sahaja tertumpu kepada produk makanan dan minuman, malah ia adalah bersifat menyeluruh termasuklah perkhidmatan seperti kewangan, logistik, pelancongan, kosmetik dan farmaseutikal.

Banyak lagi boleh disenaraikan jasa para alim ulama kita terhadap agama, bangsa dan negara kita Malaysia, bahkan kepada dunia keseluruhannya.

TETAPI KENAPA PULA PENCERAMAH ASING YANG DIJULANG, DIBAWA BERARAK DAN DILAUNG-LAUNGKAN DENGAN TAKBIR?

Bukankah kita khaskan perarakan sedemikian hanya untuk Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan-Sultan dan Raja-Raja kita sahaja? Yakni, penyatu antara penganut-penganut agama Islam dan penduduk Malaysia keseluruhannya?

Bukankah elok kalau penceramah asing belajar dahulu Bahasa Melayu? Sedangkan saudara-saudara dari Negara Bangladesh yang mahu bekerja di restoran pun mesti tahu ambil pesanan roti canai, teh tarik dan telur setengah masak dalam Bahasa Melayu, apatah lagi kepada yang mahu mengajar hukum-hakam agama? Bak kata pepatah melayu, “masuk kandang kambing mengembek, masuk kandang harimau mengaum”. Barulah tidak orang yang mendengar tercengang, tertidur dan ternganga kerana tidak tahu menahu apa yang diperkatakan dalam Bahasa Inggeris berpelat India.

Bukankah elok kalau mana-mana penceramah asing yang mahu masuk ke alam kita belajar dahulu cara-cara kita? Berguru dan bermentor dengan ulama-ulama kita untuk mengambil iktibar tentang selok-belok bagaimana kita dapat mencapai kejayaan yang sungguh meluas ini secara aman tanpa apa-apa perkelahian dan perpecahan?

Kita jangan lupa dalam mencapai kemerdekaan, di negara penceramah asing, beratus-ratus ribu nyawa terkorban baik yang Islam mahupun Hindu. Di Malaysia, kita mencapai kemerdekaan tanpa hilang setitis darah pun, malahan kita dapat merapatkan perhubungan antara kaum dan agama. Di negara penceramah asing, cara mereka asyik mahu berlawan sahaja, di Malaysia cara kita suka berkawan.

Perjalanan kemerdekaan di negara penceramah asing dari satu negara berpecah tiga. Di Malaysia, kita dari tiga negara menjadi satu pada tahun 1963. Cara mereka ialah membangunkan satu negara republik, manakala cara kita mewujudkan sistem Raja Berperlembagaan! Raja kita bukan hanya raja untuk orang Islam, tetapi raja untuk semua. Raja kita bukan hanya pelindung yang Islam sahaja, tetapi, yang bukan Islam juga. 
    
Adakah kita mahu menggadai semua pencapaian kita selama ini dan ikut cara-cara baru yang diimpot dari penceramah asing? Atau, haruskah kita pilih dan lebih yakin dengan cara aman kita selama ini?

Semoga Allah memberi hidayah kepada para alim ulama kita untuk memilih keputusan yang terbaik.

Salam.
Anas Zubedy
Pergerakan Moderat Malaysia.



Thursday, August 15, 2019

AZU dan ANU - Perpaduan antara orang beragama Islam dan Hindu di Malaysia



Mereka berdua bertugas bersama sabagai penyambut tetamu di salah satu bangunan swasta di K L.
Seorang beragama Islam, yang satu lagi, Hindu. Mereka bekerja dgn efektif, ada team work dan senantiasa senyum.
Inilah kecantikan dan keunikan Malaysia. Hidup, bekerja dan bersuka secara aman antara kaum dan agama. Bila datang waktu solat, Anu tolong cover untuk Azu. Azu pun tak berkira dgn Anu.
Kita di Malaysia aman antara kita. Cara kita suka berkawan dan saling tolong-menolong. Cara orang lain suka melawan, bukan cara kita.
Cara kita menghasilkan keamanan dan keceriaan hidup kerana kita ikut prinsip Rukun Negara - Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan.
Alhamdulliah kita berjaya dari segi ekonomi, kesepaduan rakyat yang majmuk dan cara hidup yang gembira.
Salam kasih Malaysia.
Anas
Pergerakan Moderat Malaysia

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

MUSLIM - HINDU UNITY - MAULANA ABUL KALAM AZAD


India's first Minister of Education was a Muslim. The annual National Education Day of India is on November 11th, to commemorate Maulana Azad's birthday.
Maulana Azad is one of my favorite author - especially his book "Tarjuman Al-Quran - The Opening Chapter of the Quran" of which I have read many times over. One of the most detailed, well thought and deepest explanation of the first chapter of the Quran. His life is also an inspiration.
I highly recommend fellow Malaysians to read about him. Click here
Peace, anas

Sunday, August 11, 2019

AN OPEN LETTER TO DR. ASRI: - Let us not radicalise young Muslims




Dr. Asri, peace be with you.

I write to highlight that your recent posting on Facebook about me has instigated many Muslims, especially the young, to be angry and become more radical in their behavior. Initially, as it was posted by an ‘admin’, I did not think that such a posting, which was clearly lacking in context and nuance, was done with your knowledge, let alone approval; given your well-respected position as a Mufti. I waited a day before reacting, writing and sending you a comment, thinking that you will take it down.

Today more than a week later, you have yet to take any action. In fact, you have failed to caution your followers against taking laws into their own hands and to work within the constitution. You have also not taken the initiative to advise them to stay calm and to not post offensive remarks, not just about me, but also about people of other faiths and their religious beliefs. As a result, hundreds of remarks and shares have been recorded. This does not include viral sharing and offshoots that your post has triggered – one of which, Daily News 24h (https://www.facebook.com/dnews.fun/), alleged that I was giving ‘AMARAN’ to Muslims not to use cows as sacrifice this Aidil Adha. This is tantamount to fitnah.

Based on the above, I have come to believe that the posting was done with your consent and authorisation.

Thus, this letter.

There are four main reasons why the Facebook posting have had an instigating effect to anger and radicalise our fellow Muslims, especially the young.

1.    The timing of the posting which was right after my appeal to Brother Zakir Naik to voluntarily leave Malaysia, acted as a catalyst to further anger many Muslims who are already unhappy with the appeal. I do wonder what prompted you to post that out of the blue in the first place, or, was this part of an overall plan? I find this as a ‘fitnah’ towards me but that is between you and Allah and the law of the country; as such I do not want to delve deeper into it here.

2.    The posting was designed with a malicious insinuation to make readers question my faith.

3.   The posting provided an incomplete picture of my article about the subject matter of concern. By not providing the context of the final statement that was derived from my article, the readers could not see the real deeper intentions and were made to feel angrier than they would.

4.    You and by extension your followers, have failed to grasp the fact that my article was not about cow’s meat per se. Rather, it is about having empathy while caring about and understanding the sensitivities of others; Muslims included.

IT IS NOT ABOUT COW’S MEAT, BUT BUILDING A BETTER, UNITED AND CARING MALAYSIA

“Who listen [closely] to all that is said, and follow the best of it: [for] it is they whom God has graced with His guidance, and it is they who are [truly] endowed with insight!”
Quran 39:18

Perhaps it is good if I unpack the posting I wrote in April 2017. The article is not about cows but about having empathy, while caring about and understanding the sensitivities of others. Such tolerance and sensitivities should be extended to all, including our Muslims brethren.
It is just like during Friday Jumaat prayers, Church Sundays, Thaipusam, Wesak day, Chinese Ghost Month festival etc. – when we double or at times triple park, bend traffic laws, allow fellow Malaysians to block our usual traffic paths and so on. In such instances it is not about parking and traffic laws. We do not have to do it that all the time, just at certain times when it is most appropriate. More importantly, it is about finding common ground; allowing one party the space they need during the particular period, without inconveniencing the other too much in the process.

My article was written with the intention of achieving our first and fourth cita-cita Rukun Negara which reads as follow;

·       “achieving a more perfect unity amongst the whole of her society,” and
·       guaranteeing a liberal approach towards her rich and varied cultural traditions”

It seeks to help us move closer to our Vision 2020 first goal, “Malaysia can be a united nation, with a confident Malaysian society, infused by strong moral and ethical values, living in a society that is democratic, liberal and tolerant, caring, …”

It is about being conscious of the other. It is about doing good; extending common courtesy and sacrificing some minor conveniences. In fact, you can even say that it is a korban in and on itself. Furthermore, the Quran at Al Haj verse 37 reminds us that,

“[But bear in mind:] never does their flesh reach God, and neither their blood: it is only your God-consciousness that reaches Him. It is to this end that We have made them subservient to your needs, so that you might glorify God for all the guidance with which He has graced you. And give thou this glad tiding unto the doers of good”
Quran 22:37

With that in mind, I hope your followers and you can read the posting, which I am reproducing below, in a new light and with an open heart. Before reading it, let us all be prompted as to who our Prophet was;

“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.”
Quran 21:107

“HINDUS, THE COW AND MUSLIMS.

I stopped eating beef in 1985 on my 21st birthday although my favorite makan then was Mc Donalds Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

I was trying to convince my college to stop serving beef to respect the Hindus as we do not serve pork at the university. Since I did not managed to convince them, I decided I should start with myself. So since then not only I do not eat beef, it is also a policy not to serve them at my office functions, at the office or at home. Since these are within my area of control. I have not taken beef for 32 years.

I have Hindu friends who have many Malay friends who avoid pork too. That is the beauty of Malaysia.

I have many non-Muslims- Chinese and Indian friends who avoids going to non-halal makan places when I am in the picture. That is the beauty of Malaysia.

For Malaysia to succeed we need to practice empathy.

I humbly suggest to all my Muslim brothers and sisters to stop serving beef at all functions within our control even if only one Hindu is present.

We must also try to avoid korban lembu during Raya Haji. Korban other animals.
I do not recommend these across the world. But for Malaysia, this is the way forward.

Peace.
Anas”

InshaAllah, both you and your followers will reframe your hearts and minds and see the wisdom of this call.

AN EXAMPLE OF A RADICALISED YOUNG MUSLIM

The misinformation on your post drew hundreds of vile comments not only towards me but also the Hindu community. These can be seen not just on our respective Facebook pages, but also on numerous postings that have gone viral in the last one week. There are those who suggested that I should be beaten up or dealt with in many other appalling ways. There are even calls for Saudara YB Lim Kit Siang and I to be sembelih and used as korban instead – linking your post to the Zakir Naik question.

I do not want to list these angry and hateful comments here, you can read them for yourself. But I would like to give an example that I believe should make us concern about our country and where its heading.

A young man with a small family wrote a warning to me indicating that one of these days I would be walloped by ‘somebody’s’ hands. Not his hands perhaps, but whose hands, we have yet to find out. He mentioned that I should be careful. As I noticed that unlike others, he was using his own account, I decided to engage with him. I asked him to be mindful of his actions and to consider his family and child, as if anything were to happen to him, i.e. if he were jailed, it would be a great loss to his family.

He then wrote a direct personal message inviting me for ‘coffee’. When I suggested he can join any of my future gatherings, like the #LetsReadTheQuran campaign, he declined, saying instead that he will find and give me a ‘surprise gift’ soon.

Now, this is a decent thirty-something Muslim Malaysian, who is likely a loving father and husband who works hard for his family. He is probably someone who will go the extra mile to earn more to buy his daughter better food, books, dresses and take his family on a lovely holiday. He is possibly respectful to his parents and a filial son; a good friend to many and a productive citizen.

Yet, posts such as yours can radicalise him; making him forget what is truly important to him and his family and encouraging him to act in a dysfunctional manner. This is not the behaviour of a real Malaysian. This is not the Malaysian that we want either. Real Malaysians are masters of social cohesion, compromise and understanding.
By putting up such a post, and not stopping nasty and wrongful comments, we are enabling extremism to thrive. We are seen as expressing approval, support for, or use of violence and intimidation as methods of achieving changes in society or encouraging others to perform such acts. Neither you, nor I or anyone for that matter, should post any comments that produce such a culture.

We need to be extremely mindful of our actions on social media. A fitnah or a simple misinformation can go viral and snowball into something even bigger and with stronger consequences. From a religious standpoint, the dosa from one social media fitnah is multiplied by the number of times it is repeated as it goes viral, compounded by the twisting of facts the further the viral information goes. I respectfully suggest, as a Mufti who has considerable influence with the masses, it would be best if you be extremely careful with what is posted on your social media pages or on your behalf.

HOW YOU CAN HELP DERADICALISE THEM AND CALM THE SITUATION

The situation between you and I can be dealt with separately. You will be contacted in due time. A report with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has also been lodged.

For now, I would like to focus on your followers. In my opinion, you owe it to them to make things right. Although not exhaustive, here are eight (8) recommendations.

1.    Immediately take down the post and advise all your followers who have copied and shared it to do the same. Ask, advice and plead to all others like the news media and social media who piggy-ride on the misinformation from your post to follow suit. I.e. Daily News 24h.

2.    Admit that you were wrong to allow the post and those terrible comments and for going along with them for more than a week, causing it to go viral and snowball into an even deeper fitnah – instigating them to be angry and getting some to be radicalised.

3.    Impress upon them that violence is not our way. Request with all your heart that they must not take laws into their own hands and avoid ill-mannered, rude and threatening comments not just at this instance, but at all times.

4.    Agree that my message could have been better read and understood as it is not about cow’s meat but about empathy, understanding, being sensitive to one another in order to build a more inclusive and united Malaysian society. Promote give and take, not just from Muslims to Muslims but Muslims to Non-Muslims too.

5.    Apologise for making a mountain out of a mole-hill. Even if my article was about cow’s meat, ‘dari segi hukum Islam” I did not do anything wrong and there is no need to go to the point of questioning my faith. “Dari segi hukum” I did not mengharamkan apa yang halal in any way– beef, but suggested that we avoid serving them at certain occasions only. Tell them, dari segi hukum it is not a must to korban only cows, we can and are allowed to use other animals, too. And stressed that, dari segi hukum, what I have suggested is in no way haram. There is absolutely not a need to say that I am not Muslim for this recommendation.

6.    One of the main backlashes from your post is that your followers are infuriated that I wanted to ‘please’ the non-Muslims instead of the other way around – due to the incomplete picture painted by your post. Explain to them that if we are serious about following the Prophet, we need to recognise, celebrate and accept unreservedly that in the Medina Charter, non-Muslims are considered “Ummah Wahidah” or “One Single Community” with the Muslims. This Charter was formalised after the emigration to Medina, when the Prophet entered into a peaceful agreement with various non-Muslim Arab tribes. The Prophet maintained his commitment to the philosophy of “Ummah Wahidah” with non-Muslims and stayed true to the agreement until his death.

Similarly, in our Malaysian constitution, we are Ummah Wahidah with all the non-Muslims Malaysian citizens and we must see them as equally important, equally Malaysian. You may want to add that in keeping true to his pledge, the Prophet launch a punitive military operation against the Meccans which led to the fall of Mecca. This was a reaction to the Meccans attacking a non-Muslim tribal ally in blatant violation of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah.

7.    Impress upon them that our Prophet is a Prophet of Peace. Tell them that according to historians, in his 23 years of Prophethood, actual fighting was only 3 days. That should give us an indication about the Quran and the Prophet’s position on fighting. The Prophet avoided the opportunity to fight at every instance possible to keep peace and minimise the loss of lives. He is willing to sign a one-sided agreement that favours the other side in order to secure peace. It is ok to give in a little for the greater goal of peace. His focus was on building people, the economy and the nation. Getting violent, beating up people and acting in a threatening way should not be an option.

8.    Last but not least, apologize to your followers for allowing your social media platform to lead them astray. Convince them that you will be more careful next time.

WHAT NEXT?

“Our future depends on how well many different kinds of people can live and work together”

“We are all Malaysians. This is the bond that unites us. Let us remember that unity is our fundamental strength as a people and as a nation”
Tunku Abdul Rahman, Bapa Malaysia

As a Muslim with high hopes in Islam and a Muslim renewal, I respectfully urge you to reframe your role of Mufti as one of the strongest catalysts and leader in achieving the cita-cita Rukun Negara. I know and hear many of your brother Muftis are working hard to help bring not just Muslims together but also the nation as a whole; bridging people of various faith and background as Malaysians.

But to unite everyone regardless of race, background and faith, we must trust the Quran and the Prophet with all our hearts and minds. We must follow the Prophet’s example and be one with our non-Muslim brethren as “Ummah Wahidah”.

That should be our first step. We can do this. But first, we must not radicalize our young.
Peace.

Anas Zubedy
Malaysian Movement for Moderates
NOTE : A BM VERSION WILL BE OUT SOON