Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Are inflammatory religious remarks now fair game? — Pak Sako

AUG 21 — Statements made by Mahathir Mohamad after a mosque function in Kedah as recorded by Sinar Harian (‘Hudud boleh dilaksana jika Pas sertai Umno’, August 17, 2012), if true, would constitute an unprecedented rebuff of the culture of religious respectfulness by any Malaysian politician of that reputation.

The report cites him as saying that:

•    PAS should leave Pakatan Rakyat as soon as possible because they embrace “infidels” who evidently reject hudud. (“Pas harus keluar dari PR secepat mungkin kerana mereka saling berpelukan dengan orang kafir yang secara nyata menolak hudud.”);

•    PAS will not be able to implement hudud as long as they are with a political party that does not recognise that “Islam is a superior religion.” (“Selagi Pas bersama parti yang tidak mengakui Islam adalah agama unggul, hukum hudud tidak dapat di laksanakan.”).

The first remark uses a derogatory term that no self-respecting Muslim Malaysian would cast in referring to his non-Muslim brothers and sisters, political differences notwithstanding. The second remark implies that all other religions are inferior to Islam.

Both are insensitive and divisive. They ought to have no place in our multi-religious political discourse.

It is regrettable that these words were issued by a former prime minister. They must nonetheless be censured. Silence would only signal that it is legitimate to engage in such religious mud slinging.

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