Readers would have noticed that in my previous blog on Malay Leadership, I have defined it in terms of achievement norms. In particular, I define someone in terms of what he can do and contribute and not in terms of who he is( ascribed status). Thus a good Muslim to me, is good not because he is what he is, but because of his achievements. That is, I am more interested to define Malay leadership in terms of what it can achieve for the Malays and not solely by just being Malay.
In the first instalment of my essays, I have defined Malay leadership in its role as regards Islam being the official religion.
I want to see, what can they do with Islam. I don’t subscribe to the claim that being a Muslim must therefore, as of right, entitles one to privileges or special treatment. That fact alone should have been sufficient not to cause any umbrage or misgivings among non Muslims. The role of the Malay leader is to reassure the Malays of the true meaning of Islam and allay the fears of non Muslims.
Even in Islam, one is distinguished according to levels of piety . And it must be instantly appreciated that the state and levels of piety, requires a series in the act of becoming. Hence becoming a good Muslim is a continuous process of effort and exertions. One cultivates oneself to be a good Muslim. Levels of piety do not come as of right. You must exert yourself. Work for it. Just being a Muslim, does not count to anything.
Before I expand this interpretation of defining the Malays, let me quickly state what it should not be. Defining Malay leadership in its role as defender, protector and expander of the Islamic religion does not give the leadership an absolute licence to go on a messianic evangelizing mission, catching others by the throats and forcing them to embrace Islam. It must never sanction the brutish acts of destroying temples, synagogues and other places of worship. In as much as we Muslims make it incumbent upon ourselves to protect, defend and expand Islam, adherents of other religions have the same rights.
By this measure, I find it aberrant to see exertions of defending Islam are being regarded as a measure of bigoted intolerance. In defending Islam, Muslims are accused and judged guilty of committing an act that strikes at freedom of speech and so forth. Or for that matter, outpourings of disgust and calls for punishment against Wee Meng Chee, are regarded as irrational and bigoted response. Can we Muslims take that to mean, we need to apologise for defending Islam against unprovoked affront? Lim Kit Siang’s loquacity and biting defence and MCA’s overt support for Meng Chee, indeed resulted in a series of forensic dissection of everything Islamic and everything Malay. Now, may I ask, as an interested Muslim, does this imply, in the face of all these verbal abuses, the good Muslim, is a mute Muslim? .
The problem in
That being the case, the perception that criticisms against the religion of Islam actually conceal hatred for Malays appear to be justified. Teresa Kok’s vituperative stance against Islam which is even visited upon the Jawi writing and Meng Chee’s venomous parody on Islam and everything Islamic actually conceal the fact that they are Malay haters. They have no valid quarrels against Islam other than the religion being professed by Malays.