Saturday 18 June 2011

Pas spooks Umno on Islamic state

There has been some good news from PAS in the last few days for diehard opposition alliance, Pakatan Rakyat, supporters. The party finally dropped its quest for an Islamic state in Malaysia.

It’s also even considering dropping the term Islam altogether from its name.

It’s ironic considering the fact that Umno had at one time proposed that no party in Malaysia should be allowed to use the term Islam in its name.

That was enough to raise the heckles at the PAS headquarters while the party faithful vowed a Holy War (Jihad) in retaliation. Umno put its tail between its legs and backed down in a humiliating defeat.

The latest developments at PAS no longer make de facto PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim and his party the glue that brings together the Islamists and DAP in an “unholy union of sinners and saints”. It was like forcing oil and water to mix and provoking claims from Umno that “this (PAS-DAP) is a marriage of convenience that would not last.”

It was DAP stalwart Karpal Singh who once thundered that “Malaysia will only be an Islamic state over my dead body.” Karpal need not have been that melodramatic. The Federal Constitution is a secular one despite Article 3 reading that “Islam is the religion of the Federation.” There’s separation of church and state in Malaysia and other religions can be practiced in peace and harmony.

The long overdue PAS decisions on Islam meant that Umno, principally, and MCA in tow, would no longer be able to use PAS as the bogeyman to intimidate non-Muslims into submission and to vote en bloc for the ruling Barisan Nasional.

PAS had always been about Islam the faith unlike Umno which, like most political parties in the Muslim world, continues to flog Islam the Politics.

Umno had perennially painted visions of hand-chopping and stoning to death, among others, in a PAS-run Islamic state in Malaysia. In an Islamic state, non-Muslims would lose most of their rights including the equality that they now enjoy and would in fact be inferior in status in every aspect to Muslims, Umno further keeps warning the infidels or non-believers (kafir).

Women, in an Islamic state, would be reduced to virtual sex slaves as evident in the tenets of the recently-inaugurated Obedient Wives Club (OWC) where the motto is “to be prepared for sex and nothing else at any time of the day and night.”

The better alternative

The latest take on Islam from PAS comes in the wake of political developments in the Middle East. These democratic developments have relegated the militants, Al Qaeda in particular, to the backwaters as their dreams of bringing back the caliphate spanning an Islamic Empire remains a non-starter.

That doesn’t mean that PAS recognises that there are no longer any issues in the Muslim world over Islam.
The back to the Quran movement continues, albeit living on hope and wishful thinking, in order to re-interpret the Holy Book of the Muslims to make it contemporary and, thereby, relevant. This involves however ditching the four Hadiths, Traditions of the Prophet, in order to allow the Quran to be re-interpreted or, alternatively, risk irrelevance like Confucianism.

The Chinese philosophy, introduced by Confucius after dredging deep into the country’s past, enslaved China for generations and centuries in rigidity unparalleled in world history and paved the way for domination by western colonialist and imperial powers. The Muslim World is still suffering the same fate since the Europeans discovered a sea route to the east to circumvent the former’s control of the land routes.

The return to the Quran will allow the emergence of an Islamic state in every sense of the world. An Islamic state is one where God is the Head of State, the Quran is the Constitution, and the Syariah – Path of God – forms the basis of the legal system. By this reckoning, no Muslim-majority country in the world qualifies as an Islamic state. But the question remains: Who will bell the cat?

Parties like PAS, meanwhile, have to carry on even as they reckon with a world where Islam the Politics has eclipsed Islam the Faith. An additional worry in Malaysia is that almost half the population is non-Muslim and in Sabah and Sarawak, overwhelmingly non-Muslim with the Christians predominating.

By the Peter Principle, everyone sooner or later reaches his or her level of incompetence. PAS reached its at the watershed 2008 general election. The party has wisely decided now that it is high time to hone its political skills further by raising the bar for a new and higher status under the Peter Principle.

How Umno deals with these new developments among the Islamists remain to be seen. For sure, it can’t accuse PAS of betraying Islam in order to please the infidels. The ruling party stays in a glass house and shouldn’t be throwing stones.

Umno has long vied with PAS to prove that it was even more Islamic than PAS and introduced policies that continue to trouble non-Muslims no end.

Umno’s excuse, in soothing ruffled non-Muslim feathers, has always been to point at PAS as the culprit that will take over the country if it doesn’t do something to appease the Islamic votebank.

The recent row between Christians and Muslims over the use of the term Allah in Malay print and the Bible being in Malay print are but two of the many examples bedeviling Muslim-non-Muslim relations in Malaysia under the Umno government. The litany of non-Muslim woes, under Umno rule, is long and growing.

Now, PAS has emerged as a better alternative than Umno for the non-Muslims to deal with after more than half a century of their living on the edge with racism, racial polarisation, religious extremism and discrimination.
PAS has finally spooked Umno on Islamic state

No comments:

Post a Comment