Friday, December 14, 2007

Islamophobia 'surfacing in Malaysia'

Dec 14, 2007

- ISLAMOPHOBIA - an irrational fear and prejudice against Islam and
Muslims which has spread throughout the world - is surfacing in
Malaysia, Deputy Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.

cited last month's memorandum by ethnic Indians rights group Hindraf
addressed to the British Prime Minister as a case in point where the
fear of Islam was implied although no direct mention was made.

the memorandum, Hindraf appealed to the British government to refer
Malaysia to the World Court and the International Criminal Court for
'crimes against ethnic minority Indians by government-backed Islamic
extremist violent armed terrorists, who destroyed a Hindu temple on Nov

'Muslims should put aside petty issues that question each
other's faith. We should return to the spirit of comradeship,
friendship and unity among us,' Datuk Zahid told reporters after
opening a seminar on Islam Hadhari for teachers in Malacca yesterday.

Islam Hadhari is a concept that focuses on progressive values, moderation, and social justice in Islam.

Datuk Zahid said Muslims must strengthen their spirit of unity even as they were being challenged from within and outside.

He also spoke about street demonstrations, saying demonstrators will have to face the music, including being charged in court.

the general election expected soon, he anticipated that more illegal
rallies would be held, saying that the government would deal with these
according to the existing laws.


M'sia is in a delicate position, and I sympathise with the PM. On the one hand he has to deal with the PAS and present himself to be as Muslim as the PAS, and be pro-Malay while representing diverse ethnic groups, specifically the Chinese and the Indians.

While the Chinese have managed to do well in spite of the Bumiputra policies, the Indians however feel that they are being marginalised.

The M'sian govt has provided stats to prove that Indians are not lagging behind. It is still the Malays. But there are ways to slice the stats to prove Indians are lagging behind (e.g. if exclude the PAS states which managed to drag down the Malay average).

The M'sian govt has to realise that the Bumi policy is a two-edged sword and being pro-Malay means the minorities especially the Indians will feel marginalised.

At the same time, the Indians need to recognise the political realities and find a way to address the issues in a moderate way. Perhaps the public demonstrations were necessary to get the attention of the govt. But now it is necessary to use the attention in a constructive manner. Ultimatums and hyperbole discredit their issue.

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