Articles, Opinions & Views: Put Islamophobia on ice By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
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“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Put Islamophobia on ice By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Malaysiakini : “We see no colonialism, racism, or so-called ‘Islamophobia’ in submitting Islamic practices to criticism or condemnation when they violate human reason or rights.”
- The St Petersburg Declaration (March 2007), quoted in Paul Cliteur's ‘The Secular Outlook: In Defense of Moral and Political Secularism’ (2010), p 276.

COMMENT | There is no such thing as “Islamophobia”. There are of course racists, bigots and other cretins who disparage Muslims and Islam around the world but unfortunately, the world is filled with racists and bigoted people who disparage all sorts of people, their religion and culture. This is not solely a Muslim issue.
What is solely a Muslim issue is this idea that any criticisms of Muslims is an attack on Islam or that acknowledging empirical evidence of the way how “Islamic” states operate is anathema to freedoms and rights enjoyed in the progressive world is verboten in "civilised" company. That any contrary narratives to the acceptable politically-correct discourse is an attack on a peaceful, peace-loving people who have always been at the mercy of colonialism or other forms of “Western” imperial ambitions. This is Islamophobia in a nutshell.
So, these Malaysian students in the United Kingdom gave out ice lollies in exchange for messages of peace. Apparently, they did this because they were deeply affected by the Manchester attack and wanted people not to hate Muslims. In other words, people had to sign messages of peace on their boards to show how there was no animosity towards Muslims instead of these Muslim students demonstrating that they disavowed the violent Islamists who preach hate against anything Western, secular or Christian. Muslim victimhood became the focus of the tragedy instead of the carnage of children and women who were the victims of violent Islamists.
University of Essex student Muhammad Fariq Bukhari Samsudin said that he planned “to introduce Ramadan to his non-Muslim friends so they can break fast together”, which is really painful to read because I wonder how Fariq would react if his Christian friends introduced him to Lent and perhaps together they could appreciate the spiritual harmony that religious observances supposedly bring. Fariq also claimed that "I think the root of the problem is that most of the people don't even understand Islam”, which is again something of a misdirection because some Muslims are always deflecting and saying that they would leave the interpretation of dogma to religious scholars except  -
1) When it suits their purposes to educate people on their religion.
2) When attacking critics, especially when said critics abandon the Abrahamic theological discourse in favour of rationality and empiricism.
Religious discourse that revolves around dogma is self-serving. I made this point in another piece - “Intelligent discourse in the Abrahamic faith revolves around the concept of doubt. They revolve around this concept because of the influence of the secular world. Rational Christians, Jews and Muslims who have shed their religion’s extremist impulses engage in conversation and not dogma. They attempt to reconcile their doubt with what the secular world has to offer.”
Whenever someone makes the claim that people do not understand their religion, it most often means that their religion has a lot to answer for. All religions have commonalities. Those positive commonalities make it possible for people of diverse religious faiths to play well with others. Call it evolutionary or spiritual but the result is the same, the receding of religious dogma and the acceptance of plurality of thought.
‘Good Muslims’
However, when people insist on pontificating about their faith or when the state defines religion, that is when the trouble starts. That is when people start claiming that their faith is misunderstood or that god made them the person to lead the faithful or there is some divine plan for all of us, even those who do not want to be subjected to any plan from up above.
This last part is made worse by the fact that those mortals who claim to understand god’s plan make the worst administrators on earth, not to mention the most bigoted, petty and hypocritical messengers that any divine being would be unlucky to have. This is, again, not solely a Muslim issue. More importantly, is the claim that people do not understand Islam. Here is a fact. People who live in Muslim-majority countries understand Islam very well. Muslims who live in Western secular countries do not have to worry about people not understanding Islam. The importance of understanding a religion only comes into play when the religion has an overt impact on the social and political landscape of a country.
While demagogues will of course use Islam and Muslims as scapegoats, Muslims in Western secular countries have more institutional protections than religious minorities in Muslim-dominated countries.  Non-Muslim minorities in Muslim-dominated countries are told to be followers. Here is PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang’s variation of this theme - “Islam has to be the leader and ruler, those who are not of Islam must be followers (pak turut).”
I helpfully defined what it meant by “followers” - "And this is the crux of the matter. Non-Muslims must be ‘followers’. Followers who do not believe. Followers who are forced to submit. Followers who can never lead because they are not Muslims. Followers who have to submit to the religious observances of Muslims even though they have their own religious beliefs, which are not observed by Muslims but in some cases restricted because they cause offence to Muslims.”
Which brings me to what DAP leader Lim Kit Siang recently said, “(We can succeed if) Malaysians adhere to the Constitution and Rukunegara principles to be good Malaysians by being good Muslims, good Buddhists, good Christians, good Hindus, good Sikhs and good Taoists. Hannah's journey as a good Christian cannot threaten, but only fulfil, her journey as a good Malaysian, just as how adherents of other religions aspire to be good Malaysians."
Concerning Yeoh’s journey as a "good Malaysian", I am curious. Does Yeoh consider herself a Malaysian first or a Christian first? You see, this is the type of questions that arise, when people pontificate about their faith and make a fresh batch of Bangsa Malaysia kool aid whenever the need arises. We do not need more faith in this country. What we need is people who want to create an egalitarian system that people will have faith in.
We can only succeed as a multicultural/religious society if we have politicians who check their religion at the door and commit themselves to secular principles and policies all the while keeping their faith private. Who defines what a “good” Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Sikh or Taoist, is?
The state and its actors should not be in the business of defining religion, what they should be doing is ensuring that religion does not define the business of the state.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:21 AM  

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