Articles, Opinions & Views: Zakir's here to stay makes a sordid narrative - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

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In A Foxhole
“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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Zakir's here to stay makes a sordid narrative - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, July 01, 2019
Wan Azizah and Zakar Naik
Malaysiakini : “In all times, and all countries, especially in those countries which are divided within by religious faith, there are always fanatics who will be well contented to be regarded as martyrs.”― Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers
COMMENT | It all seems a little dubious. Nearly two weeks ago, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail claimed that “the government has not received any application from India to extradite Zakir". Now, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah says, "We received the application from the Indian government. I don't remember when.”
So let me get this straight. The deputy prime minister of Malaysia says that the government had not received any application from India for the extradition of Zakir Naik, while the foreign minister says the government did receive an application but he does not remember when. How convenient.
Now all this could be just another example of the amateur hour of the Harapan government but considering how Zakir seems to have wormed his way into the political apparatus of this country, this may well be just another example of how Harapan applies rules differently for some religious personalities.
It is disappointing that Malaysia chooses to keep an alleged money launderer here when we have a former prime minister charged with money laundering and the 1MDB fiasco, which has drained this country of billions of ringgit. At a time when the Harapan government is going around attempting to retrieve stolen money, the government chooses not to extradite a man who is alleged to have engaged in financial malfeasance that diverted funds meant for Muslim welfare for his own use.
Honestly, it does not get any more sordid than this. Here we have a Muslim preacher accused of diverting funds meant for Muslims, and the political elite in this country, which has experience in this kind of financial shenanigans – the Tabung Haji scandal, for instance – chooses to side with the alleged perpetrator, instead of standing up for the Muslims he may have cheated. If there is a message here, it is lost on the political elite of this country.
Here is a fugitive who claims he cannot get a fair trial in India and so chooses to remain in this judicial paradise of impartiality. Didn’t Jho Low make the same argument for not facing the music in this country? What kind of country is this when, on the one hand, we play the victim card when it comes to the 1MDB scandal but, on the other, we choose to protect a man, who is facing money-laundering charges in a foreign country?

Forget about the fact that this preacher faces money-laundering charges in his own country, India; what is of paramount importance for this country is this: Is Zakir a threat to national security? In my piece arguing that he was, I also noted that I was making an exception to my free speech stand, because of the new political realities on the ground. Adherence to principle is not a suicide pact.
I wrote: “While Muslim potentates in this country court a firebrand like Zakir, they unknowingly allow a certain type of Islamic fervour to spread amongst the disenfranchised. I say unknowingly because there is a disconnect between the political elite and the security apparatus who genuinely want to keep the country safe.” However, we give too much credit to the political apparatus in this country. The rot of extremism is much deeper than that. Take this heartwarming news piece about the schoolchildren from Chinese and Islamic schools attempting to learn about the diversity in Malaysia.
What do you think Zakir thinks about this? What has Zakir said about other religions? What has he said about the purity of Islam? What has he said about Islamic preachers who do not follow his interpretation of the Quran?
Imagine if these Muslim students were to be influenced by Zakir. What does one walkabout achieve? What do a hundred interactions achieve in the face of the kind of Islam that Naik preaches?
Look at one of Zakir’s students, Muhammad Zamri Vinoth Kalimuthu. Think about his comments during the PAS muktamar (general assembly). He reminds his audience of religious political operatives and their supporters that Chinese unity, when it comes to certain issues, is something that Muslims should emulate.
In other words, he conflates secular issues (education, for instance) with religious ones and advocates a Manichean perspective when it comes to racial and religious interactions in this country. Granted this is something the far right does on a daily basis, but what separates the far right and foreign actors like Zakir is the kind of influence he brings to the table.

There is enough circumstantial evidence that Zakir’s words have influenced violence. Of course, he has denied this. There is also enough evidence that his influence – though through proxies – has seeped into the religious bureaucracy of this country. In my article on Zamri Vinoth (photo), I drew attention to the fact that the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) had recruited him to carry out courses that would make it easier for preachers to convert Tamil-speaking Indians, using their language as an entry point.
This idea, put forward by Zamri Vinoth's middle-class English-speaking supporters, that he is misunderstood or that his critics should “debate” him, reveals a profound disconnect that is even more dangerous for this country than the politically-motivated radicalism of the far right.
This is a dangerous situation we find ourselves in. If Zakir is going around the country attempting to rehabilitate his image by preaching the kind of Islam which is considered “moderate” in this country, then there would be some grounds to keep him here – or at least a rational argument to be made for giving him sanctuary. But what exactly is his narrative, beyond claiming victimhood and courting the wealthy elite in this country? Ultimately, Zakir is a symbol for this country but not in the way his supporters think. Here is a foreigner using religion to profit and allegedly looting from coffers meant for the betterment of Muslims.
And Malaysia gives him shelter!
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 12:54 PM  
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