Malaysiakini : “Propaganda... serves more to justify ourselves than to convince
others; and the more reason we have to feel guilty, the more fervent our
propaganda.”- Eric Hoffer, 'The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements'
proposal for an English language television channel to combat
“Islamophobia” - a collaboration between Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey –
will, I am sure, be met with enthusiastic response from those who
believe that Islam and Muslims have, for far too long, been on the
receiving end of corrupt Western persecution.
Right on cue,
Bersatu supreme council member and strategist Rais Hussin has written a
piece about Muslim victimhood and aggression, claiming that the two are
not mutually exclusive; or rather, the former bleeds into the latter.
this is the kind of sermonising we can expect from the proposed English
channel to combat Islamophobia, it would mean it is business as usual
for the propagandists who advance narratives that there is something
wrong with everyone else in the world and this has nothing to do with
“The prime minister has long maintained the singular truth that global
terrorism can only be stemmed from addressing the causes and not the
symptoms of the distress that spurs people on to commit violent acts.”
your child was kidnapped. Supposing your child was converted to another
religion. Supposing the state security apparatus, after a long court
battle, claims it has no idea where your kidnapped child is. Supposing
the religious establishment and religious activists, who are probably
aiding the kidnapper, claim that your child is now of another religion.
If a parent were to resort to violence to get the child back or visit
violence on others, would this be understandable to Rais Hussin (below)?
prime minister talks about the true values of Islam and lectures the
international community on human rights when we have numerous problems
with how the state handles indigenous peoples, how the state handles
freedom of expression and religion, how the pervasive monolithic
entitlements programmes which favour Malay/Muslims are funded by
taxpayers. The prime minister has no moral ground to stand on when it
comes to issues he believes that the international community is failing.
Zakir Naik be part of this English channel? After all, Zakir has a
hugely successful English television channel of his own, the sinisterly
named Peace TV. While the channel may be banned in many countries,
millions of Muslims have access to it, thanks to the wonder of
As reported in India Today: “The transmission
of Naik's Peace TV is illegal in India after the Ministry of Information
and Broadcasting denied it satellite downlink permissions in the
country. The Ministry of Home Affairs also declared its broadcast
illegal by local cable operators. While Home Ministry and Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting banned Zakir Naik's TV network through
satellite and cable broadcasting services, the live telecast of the
controversial channel continues through digital and over-the-top (OTT)
media services. With the help of this loophole, Zakir Naik's TV channel
is accessible to millions of Indians.”
This is not a dig at Zakir.
He obviously knows what his audience wants, and if this is something
that Malaysia wants, there is no better person than Zakir to help launch
this English language TV channel. Of course, Zakir’s Peace
TV is a hotbed of racism, bigotry, revisionism, slander and anti-liberal
rants, but this is a feature in propaganda outlets, not a bug.
in mind that when Mahathir goes about how the perception of Islam has
been distorted and is not the true meaning of Islam, we have someone
like Zakir telling Muslims that they should vote and support Muslim
leaders, even if corrupt, over straight arrow non-Muslim leaders.
This is the kind of rhetoric that the Malay/Muslim leadership of Pakatan Harapan wants to coddle and show the world? How
is this English propaganda channel going to handle our homegrown
radicals like Umno, PAS and even Bersatu, which proclaims the supremacy
of Islam over every other religion and ties it up with racial
privileges? Of course, not all this would be discussed on a
channel that has combatting Islamophobia as its aim because we cannot
have people discovering the truth about theocratic rule in supposedly
“moderate” Muslim countries.
Compared to some, or maybe most other
“Islamic” states, Malaysia is perhaps more “moderate” than the rest.
Indeed, those countries that have Muslim majorities are always in a
tussle with religious operatives who attempt to wipe out secular and
democratic norms. The battle for the soul of the country usually means
that the average Muslim suffers and democratic institutions become
collateral damage in proxy fights. A good example of this is Indonesia.
wants to explain what Islam is to people. Fair enough. Why doesn’t he
start with what Islam means here in Malaysia? Just recently, Khairuddin
Abu Hassan, in his attacks against Syed Husin Ali, said that Anwar was
unfit to be PM because "the reality is Anwar is unworthy to lead race,
religion and country”.
What this demonstrates is the use of
religion and race – not unknown in politics, even in democratic Western
countries – as a means to diminish other qualities of leadership. The
difference is that in a country like Malaysia, this takes on a whole
different meaning and has consequences which, I would argue, are
embedded in our constitution.
This TV channel will only increase Islamophobia in the world.