Articles, Opinions & Views: The controversy over Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh's "distorted' Bible " - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) 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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The controversy over Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh's "distorted' Bible " - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, September 03, 2020
Malaysiakini : “In a well-functioning democracy, the state constitution is considered more important than God's holy book, whichever holy book that may be, and God matters only in your private life.”  - Ayaan Hirsi Ali, "The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam".
COMMENT | There are a few issues we need to unpack when it comes to this latest controversy created by Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh (above) on whether the Bible has been "distorted". Now some folks are enraged that a Malay/Muslim politician is commenting on the holy book of the Christians. What these same people forget is that non-Malay politicians have been claiming that the Malay establishment has been misusing religion for political purposes. This became more evident after Lim Kit Siang defined the term "klepto-theocracy".
He claimed: “In a nutshell, klepto-theocracy is a political doctrine in Malaysia which misuses Islam to support thievery, corruption, intolerance, bigotry, lies and falsehoods.” I agree with Kit Siang’s observation, and indeed with his statement on a whole range of issues that Pakatan Harapan faced when balancing the religious imperatives of Malay/Muslim political partners with the secular underpinnings of the DAP. It is a well-argued piece, which would have been more effective if the opposition was a strictly secular political bloc and did not intrude into the religious sphere of the majority in the guise of muhibbah building.
The true Muslim meme, supporting Islamisation (if done through the Constitution), and a host of other strategic blunders form the religious narrative of non-Muslim Harapan political operatives. What we have are political operatives using religion, theirs or other's, to establish a political narrative where their interpretation of any given religion fits into the political, social and economic agenda they are pushing. We should not fall into the trap of believing that this is not mainstream politicking.

What this PAS MP did was no different from what non-Muslim political operatives have been doing for years. Therefore, as far as making statements deemed insensitive of the other’s religion, we are not dealing with anything controversial. Neither Kit Siang (above) nor Nik Muhammad Zawawi has an understanding of the subject matter both claim to be knowledgeable in.
People do not support PAS because of their brilliant economic or social programmes; they support PAS because they believe they are the keepers of the faith. Similarly, those who support Umno on the basis of race and religion do so because they believe that religion is better when it comes with entitlement programmes.
What is controversial of Nik Muhammad Zawawi’s statement is that there is no possible way to have a good-faith religious dialogue in this country because non-Muslims will always be at a disadvantage because they cannot make factual arguments about the way how Islam is practised. The reality does not fit with the fair rhetoric that its adherents claim is what the religion is based on.
This is the unfairness when it comes to fighting with one hand tied behind your back. This handicap when it comes to defending secular positions and the reality that if you do this, you would not only have to contend with mainstream Malay/Muslim retaliation but also partisans who have no interest in rocking the boat.
A political strategy
This is why this idea of Islamophobia is pure bunkum. Keep in mind that this is a country where PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang gets to say that non-Muslims have to be pak turut (sycophants) which in any other civilised society would be considered hate speech or a form of radicalism that would warrant state scrutiny.
The problem is that hate speech is actually doctrinal when it comes to the state-sanctioned religion of this country and that fake news is actually a political strategy which was created by the very people now bemoaning it. Basically, when people like former Harapan religious czar Mujahid Yusof Rawa threw around the term "Islamophobia", they meant people who are resisting attempts to erode the secular foundation of our country.
There are a couple of points worth considering. The PAS Pasir Puteh MP had said, “… they had no right to be offended” which is merely conforming to the religious dogma espoused by his political party and the Malay establishment that non-Muslims have no right to be offended because the status of Islam supersedes all other religions in this country.
This is the Zakir Naik strategy. Zakir is supposed to be some sort of brilliant intellectual using “comparative religion” to dissect other religions but he has always used the safety net of state intervention when it comes to factually analysing the religion he promulgates.
Do you want to know how a “religious dialogue” is set up, here in Malaysia? All we have to do is read what the Malaysian Muslim Solidarity (Isma) claimed about a religious dialogue with Zakir Naik: “An interfaith dialogue run by Dr Zakir Naik doesn’t set a middle ground so that a win-win situation can be achieved by all religions. As a matter of fact, he’d established Islam as the true and only religion so brilliantly that others might seem to be swayed by it.”
And isn’t this the way how any form of religious dialogue is handled in this country? The racial and religious establishment understands that non-Muslims will not dare say anything that could put them under a sedition charge or any other charge that riles the sensitivities of the majority – and non-Muslims understand that they will neither have the political backing nor popular support if they speak truth to religious power.
And please, do not be fooled into thinking that the “opposition” does religious dialogue any better. What the opposition does is not present a counter-narrative to the state’s official narrative and what these dialogue sessions attempt to do is propagandise the religious agenda of the opposition, which in reality is not different from the state.
This is why I have always maintained that the opposition – whoever they are – should maintain a strict line between the state and religion. This is why I have always argued that non-Muslim political operatives should not use religion – their own or any other – to promote a political narrative.
Don’t blame anyone if you decide to play a rigged game and end up losing.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 9:30 AM  
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