When Hadi Awang compares G25 to a terrorist group - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, January 18, 2020
Malaysiakini : “Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between
church and state must, therefore, answer a difficult question: why would
we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served
others so poorly?” ― Sandra Day O'Connor
| When Abdul Hadi Awang compares the G25 to a terrorist group,
Al-Maunah, you know the conversation is over. “This group (G25) and its
ilks are more dangerous than Al-Maunah as they are a threat to Muslim beliefs,” Hadi was reported to have said.
claiming that a retired group of civil servants are more dangerous than
a group of religious extremists who actually murdered Malaysians is
indicative of the kind of propaganda used against liberal or moderate
Muslims in this country. The
G25 had to “clarify” that they were not encouraging people to leave
Islam when they said this -“Article 11 (1) guarantees every person in
Malaysia, and not merely citizens or non-Muslims, three distinct rights -
the right to profess, practise and propagate his religion.” By
saying this, to the far right and the Islamists in this country, this
meant encouraging Muslims to leave the faith. This is exactly what Hadi
Awang means when he says that this group and its ilks are a danger to
Of course, these groups are a danger to the kind of Islam
propagated by the likes of Hadi Awang and the religious agenda of the
state championed by Pakatan Harapan’s religious czar Mujahid Yusof
the questioning of the legality of Jakim (Department of Islamic
Development) by the G25, Mujahid said this – “I don't understand why
this issue is still being argued. The perception created can cause worry
among certain quarters."
Who are these certain quarters? Mujahid
has already framed the conflict between “liberals”, who he claims are as
dangerous as the extremists. Two years ago, activist lawyer Siti Kassim
openly mocked Mujahid for claiming that Jakim's bloated budget was
needed for the successfully running of Islamic affairs in this country – “Really?
Will anyone die if we slash their budget by half? Will anyone become
stupid or will the Malays become smarter? That must be one hell of a
record in the review of a major agency.
"Why do, again and again,
Islamists have to prove to us sane Malaysians that they cannot be
trusted to do the right thing for the citizens of this nation when it
comes to anything labelled Islam?” And yes, Hadi Awang probably
considers Siti Kassim as dangerous as any terrorist group.
veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin wonders what happened to “the more
open-minded and less judgmental era when men freely danced on the
'pentas joget' at funfairs with the sexily-dressed 'joget' girls", all you have to do is ask Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim what happened.
came to be in the Mahathir era and the subsequent growth of this
religious bureaucracy and its tendrils in every aspect of Muslim life -
Muslim ethics, as the ever compassionate Mujahid likes to say - erased
that gay lifestyle that Kadir misses so much. You think that the
open-minded era existed in a vacuum? Things changed because the state
realised that it could control the majority with race and religion.
2012, then deputy prime minister and now home minister Muhyiddin
Yassin's clarion call for Malaysians, specifically Malay-Muslims, to
unite under the BN banner was problematic for a variety of reasons, but
he was absolutely right when he reminded non-Malay Malaysians to be
cognisant of the fact that "future of the nation depended on
this unity entailed was the narratives of folks like Hadi Awang
trumping those now deemed “deviants” of the state, like Sisters in
Islam, as dangerous as armed extremist groups, like G25.
Muslim intellectuals always say that non-Muslims should not comment on
such issues but this again divides us as a country and makes it
difficult to engage because our rights as citizens, regardless of race
or religion, is being trampled on and we cannot say anything less we
invite the fury of demagogues like Hadi Awang and sanctions from the
It has got so bad that no non-Malay political operative,
especially if they are part of the Harapan regime, would support what
the G25 has said because to do so would make them targets of not only
the state but also the far right. Meanwhile, the erosion of a
fundamental right which affects all Malaysians goes unchallenged because
to do so would get you labelled as anti-Islam, a deviant and now as
dangerous as a terrorist. I am not anti-Islam - I think that a
strong case could be made that I am anti-organised religion - but I am
the most Muslim-friendly commenter around.
I believe that a
Muslim should be free to define his or her religion in any way he or she
sees fit, with no interference from the state as long as that
definition does not trespass on the rights of anyone else, including
other Muslims, which means that I think someone like Siti Kassim (below) should have her say and that Hadi Awang should have his say too.
only problem here is that more often than not, the state sanctions and
intimidates people like Siti Kassim and the G25 and conforms to the
narratives of Hadi Awang. This also makes it difficult for
Malaysians who believe that Malaysia should remain a secular state to
argue or support the position because everyone is afraid to speak up. Mujahid
is a big proponent of hate speech laws and racial harmony initiatives.
Who do you think he believes is a danger to Malaysian society - someone
like Hadi Awang or G25?
He would probably say both and that's the problem right there.