By TK Chua
Dear Prime Minister Najib Razak, while reading your Aidilfitri message to the nation, I found myself wishing you had been more assertive and specific in your dispensations on national unity.
You were right in condemning the brutal terror attacks in other countries lately. You were right in emphasising the need to contain the proliferation of ideologies, teachings and practices that are against that of Islam.
But Islamophobia and misunderstanding of the true teachings of Islam are no longer confined to the West as pointed out.
Within our own country, we have increasingly witnessed remarks made by extremists bent at causing ill will and disharmony among the people. It is the job of the Prime Minister to specifically and forcefully identify and condemn the sources from which such extremist views originated.
Recognising the plural nature of Malaysian society, your condemnation of extremist views and troublemakers must be even-handed and delivered without fear or favour.
If there are non-Muslim extremists, by all means condemn and charge them. Similarly, if there are Muslim instigators, stern actions must be taken against them.
We must not couch our inaction by claiming those extreme remarks were “misunderstandings” or “misinterpretations” just to suit our own convenience or political agenda.
Right now, most countries are focusing on hard-core terrorists and militants. This is expected since the devastating impact from them is very imminent and real. However, between militants and influential leaders making irresponsible and incendiary remarks, I think the latter is more dangerous.
These wolves in sheep’s clothing living in our midst have positions and influence to poison the minds of the young and the innocent. They are the real dangers to our society, especially if we were to continue tolerating them despite their half-baked incendiary remarks.
The unity in diversity and the uniqueness of Malaysia is not measured by how many major different festivals we celebrate. It is how tolerant and accepting we are of one another.
It is how we abstain from engaging in a “holier than thou” attitude, and imposing our religion and culture on others because we think we are far superior.
I wish to quote you as reported: “Nevertheless, we are saddened when certain irresponsible quarters resort to incitement, in the name of politics or whatever, that can undermine the unity and harmony that have existed for so long.”
I think it is insufficient to provide your advice/warning in general forms. As the Prime Minister, you have the power and responsibility to name these “irresponsible quarters” regardless of who they are. Name them and put them in their box and I am sure this will be one effective way to fight Islamic State ideologies and influence.
TK Chua is an FMT reader.
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