Ada dua artikel panjang di sini. Di atas artikel Zainah Anwar tentang "ideologi kebencian" dan kedua jawapan seorang pemimpin ABIM Marzuki Mohamad terhadap artikel awal.
Sayang sekali, kedua-duanya dalam bahasa Inggeris.
Sesiapa yang berminat berhujah, sila tulis di ruangan komentar di bawah.
Hate ideology a threat to unity
Zainah Anwar [New Straits Times, 20 Oct 2006]
THE uproar of protest generated by Fauzi Mustaffa’s directive to the staff of Takaful Malaysia forbidding them, in the name of Islam, from extending festive greetings to their Hindu clients provided us some assurance that public opinion in Malaysia will not accept this hostile and aggressive propagation of such understanding of one’s faith.
As a Malaysian, the bigger question remains: What made Fauzi Mustaffa, as head of the Syariah division of Takaful Malaysia, issue such a directive? How could an educated person, working in a global industry such as insurance, hold such a view?
I assume he must be a graduate of Islamic law to head such a department and be the secretary of the company’s Syariah Supervisory Council. He must have learnt the many verses in the Quran that talk about pluralism and differences: How God made us into nations and tribes, so that we may know one another; that if Allah had so willed, He could surely have made us all one single community…. We Muslims repeat such verses again and again, and with pride, to show the world what a tolerant and peaceful religion Islam is.
Perhaps Fauzi’s position and his action are symptomatic of where we have gone with our understanding of Islam, our education system, our socialisation process, our politicisation, and our sense of citizenship within a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, that he today not only shows no love nor respect for fellow citizens of a different race and religion, but also feels he has the right to turn his dogmatic personal piety into an office directive for all to obey.
Would he have issued such a directive a year ago? What has changed that emboldened Fauzi to take his hostile ideological viewpoint towards the other from the narrow confines of only those who share his religious fervour to a public space, and then to demand obedience or repentance from those who transgress his orders?
Could it be the company policy that its staff must all mengamalkan Syariah sebagai budaya korporat Takaful Malaysia (put Islamic law into practice as the corporate culture) that provided the opportunity for him to transform his personal belief into a company policy for all staff to follow in Malaysia?
Could it have been the legitimacy provided by the public pronouncement by the conference of ulama that met in Ipoh in June to pronounce liberalism, pluralism, kongsi raya and open house as dangerous to the faith of Muslims?
Or could it have been that Wahhabi fatwa circulating worldwide for years which declared that celebrating the religious festivities of others is tantamount to approving their religious faith, thus constituting syirik (associating partners to God)?
I remember the former Mingguan Malaysia columnist Astora Jabat, now editor of Al-Islam, drawing our attention to this many years ago. But we never paid much attention to it in Malaysia, dismissing it as ridiculous, and feeling sorry for our Saudi Arabian friends. Given our history and our context, we never thought that any Malaysian would abide by such a fatwa.
But we have been mistaken, of course.
Or is it that Fauzi senses a certain shift in the mood on the ground and the demonising in neighbourhood mosques and surau of Malaysians who do not share the Islamist ideological viewpoint, that gave him the impetus to turn from private to public his prejudices and throw it into the boiling pot of the don’ts, the forbidden, the haram, the kafir, the anti-Islam, the anti-God, the syirik, the murtad?
In today’s climate where the ideology of hate and intolerance trump the spirituality and compassion of Islam, is it any wonder that death threats have been issued?
The mood out there is very clear. It is this hate ideology that poses a "clear and present danger" to the Malaysia that we know and love. It comes not from those who believe in upholding the Federal Constitution and the rule of law, but those bent on forcing a rewriting of the Constitution and shifting the consensus for civil and political order in Malaysia.
The tactical sprouting of new Islamist NGOs with names like BADAI (Badan Anti-IFC), ACCIN (Allied Coordinating Committee of Islamic NGOs), Muslim Professional Association, Mothers Against Apostasy, Pembela Islam (Defenders of Islam), Peguam Pembela Islam (Lawyers Defending Islam), FORKAD (Front Bertindak Anti-Murtad — Action Front Against Apostasy) etc, and their alliance with the more established Islamist group, are intended to mobilise Muslim public opinion to halt any further democratisation and liberalising of this country.
In a prescient analysis of the current political climate in Malaysia, the long-time commentator on Malaysian politics and Islam, Professor Clive Kessler, wrote in Asian Analysis on the long march towards "desecularisation" of Malaysian life and state-driven by the pious new Malay Muslim middle-class activists, that is now culminating in moving Malaysia into a post-liberal or post-progressivist political era.
Given the progressive education, lifestyle and values of the current Malaysian political elite, the political will, courage and confidence needed to face off this assault from the Islamist front that claims to speak in God’s name seems frighteningly scarce. The one person with the knowledge and confidence to do this is the Prime Minister himself.
But the clampdown on the public education programme to promote respect for the Federal Constitution by the Article 11 coalition sent the wrong signal. The Islamist supremacists saw it as evidence that their use of mob intimidation and threat of violence worked in coercing the government to silence those committed to upholding the Malaysian Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Now their attention is focused on the judiciary as it deliberates on a number of freedom of religion cases.
Ironically, those who succeeded in their intimidation are the very people who want to throw out the Barisan Nasional Government and draw up a new Constitution and a new social contract — this time unequivocally with Syariah as the supreme law of the land.
The politics of ethnic identity remains the dominant discourse in Malaysia and the lens through which many of us react to public policy. This is further complicated by the merging of Islam with Malay identity. The current provocation finds Umno and its partners in the Barisan Nasional walking a political tightrope.
The government can choose to retreat in the face of this dogmatic ideological fervour and counter-mobilisation, as many failed reformists have done in other countries. Or place its faith and confidence in the millions of citizens who voted for a new Prime Minister who promised to be the leader of all Malaysians.
In the spirit of DeepaRaya, can we please stop shaking our fists at our fellow citizens?
Let’s make a conscious decision to deepen our friendship and understanding and realise that we owe our prosperity and stability to the richness of our diversity.
Zainah Anwar's Hate Ideology: Desecularization or Deislamization, or Both?
Marzuki Mohamad [Harakahdaily.net, 2 Nov 2006]
Assuming that such intolerant attitudes were absent in the past, she blames a host of Islamist organizations for their role in overly asserting Muslim's religious identity, and in that process, disseminate what she calls a hate ideology.
This, which she aptly argues, is a serious threat to national unity. She singles out these organizations as Badan Anti-IFC (Anti-IFC Organization, BADAI), Pertubuhan-Pertubuhan Pembela Islam (Organizations of Defenders of Islam, PEMBELA), Peguam Pembela Islam (Lawyers Defending Islam, PPI), Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF), Allied Coordination Council of Islamic NGOs (ACCIN), Front Bertindak Anti-Murtad (Action Front Against Apostasy, FORKAD) and Mothers Against Apostasy.
These Islamist organizations, Zainah believes, are out to create a new Shari'ah-based social contract, replacing the existing secular one, upon which the distinct cultural and religious groups within Malaysia's plural society lay the basis for national unity.
The crux of her argument is that the existing social, legal and political order is essentially secular; national unity is based on continued existence of such secular order; and the Islamist's crusade against such an order is a serious threat to national unity.
Clive Kessler's recent posting in Asian Analysis, an online newsletter jointly published by the Faculty of Asian Studies, Australian National University and the Asean Focus Group (http://www.aseanfocus.com/asiananalysis/latest.cfm?#a989), seems to lend credence to Zainah's argument.
Professor Kessler argues in his short article, The Long March Towards Desecularisation, that Malaysia's progressivist political phase has now come to an end. In its place now is a new Islamist political force, which "has not merely come of age but moves towards and is now capturing the centre of Malaysian political life".
Like Zainah, Kessler also argues that the existing social, political and legal order is essentially secular, and the new Islamist force is out to desecularize it. He traces the seeds of such movement for desecularization up to the days of contentious Malay politics in the post-independence era, during which "Islamist policy auction" between the Islamist party PAS and the ruling Malay nationalist party Umno had driven the state to instituting an overarching Islamization policy.
Ever since, there has been escalating contest for Islamic legitimacy between the two parties and, in that process, reversed "the implicit secularisation of Malaysian life and the state that the 1957 constitution set in train and intended implicitly to promote".
While Kessler finally predicts "the return, at the head of the 'new generation Islamist forces', of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to the centre of Malaysian politics", however incongruent it might be, Zainah on the other hand offers a stereotype understanding of Islam and Islamist organization as heavily orthodox in orientation and totally anti-modern and anti-secular in practice.
'Unfortunately, by lumping Islamist organizations of all persuasions together, Zainah misses the finer points of Islamist engagement in civil society and acceptance of modern constitutionalism in her picture of the Islamists.
The Islamist's struggle for political, social and economic reform; incessant call for repeal of repressive laws and restoration of judicial independence; involvement in charity and humanitarian relief work; respect for the rights of the non-Muslims to practice their religion in peace and harmony; and acceptance of the Federal Constitution, which is neither completely secular nor fully Islamic, as the supreme law of the land are all missing in Zainah's depiction of the Islamists.
Zainah also disregards the fact that the more moderate and progressive elements among the Islamists she demonizes have been working very closely with secular civil society actors in a number of significant civil society initiatives such as the anti-ISA movement, campaign for electoral reform, crusade against the University and University Colleges Act, and more recently, protest against the unfair terms of the proposed Free Trade Agreement with the United States.
By accusing those opposing Article 11 coalition of rejecting the supremacy of the Federal Constitution, she obviously fails to direct her mind to PEMBELA's latest memorandum to the Council of Rulers and the Prime Minister on the special position of Islam, which states very clearly the Islamists' commitment to the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law, while reaffirming the cultural terms of the 1957 constitutional contract which guarantees special constitutional position for Islam.
Failure to consider these salient facts about Islamist's engagement in civil society and respect for modern constitutionalism cast serious doubt to the validity of the whole of Zainah's argument.
What Zainah's "hate ideology" seems to be suggesting is, by highlighting the most extreme elements within the Muslim society, as well as some fringe perspectives which do not in any way reflect the mainstream views, that Malaysian Muslims are growing intolerant and extreme in their approach to religious pluralism and modern liberalism.
If numbers do not fail us, recent survey by the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research shows that this assumption erred. 97 percent of Muslims surveyed say that living alongside people of other religions is acceptable, though 70 percent identify themselves as Muslim first rather than Malay or Malaysian first.
While 98 percent believe that apostasy is wrong, 64 percent want the Shari'ah laws to remain as it is under the modern Constitution. 73 percent think that Malaysia is an Islamic state, but 74 percent reject the Iranian model of theocracy.
This shows that although majority of Malaysian Muslims are assertive about their religious identity, they are at the same time tolerant to multiculturalism and modern constitutionalism.
Yet there is another mind boggling conjecture that Zainah believes is the root cause of religious extremism among Malaysian Muslims. Obviously, according to Zainah, it is Islamist organizations' recent campaign against the so-called Liberal Islam that contributes to alarming religious extremism among Muslims as indicated by the Deepavali greetings saga.
But Zainah misses one salient point that the Islamist's campaign itself is a response to a larger socio political transformation that Zainah herself knows very well. This socio-political transformation relates to the development in the economic and political spheres.
After decades of rapid economic development, massive urbanization, upward social mobility across ethnic groups, and expanding multiracial middle classes, there has been greater valorization of the virtues of democracy and human rights among the multiracial and multi-religious Malaysian public.
Up to the 1990s, it is not uncommon to find conventional secular human rights groups to form alliances with Islamic groups in their struggle for greater democratic space, repeal of repressive laws, independence of judiciary, sustainable development, etc. Both Islamic and secular human rights groups find commonality in their goal to dismantle state authoritarianism and promote social justice.
But of late, a new variant of human rights struggle has emerged. Rather than targeting state authoritarianism, this new struggle debunks a particular social construct which its proponents view as unliberating. This includes social practices and mores that lay emphasis on patriarchal traditional values, moral vigilantanism and religious strictures.
It seems that this new variant of human rights struggle, perhaps, find affinity with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) libertarian struggle in the West, rather than the anti-apartheid movement for liberation in South Africa. Not surprisingly, the main targets of the new variant of human rights activists have been Islamic religious strictures and its moral code.
Campaigns against Islamic and municipal moral laws, Muslim polygamous marriage, state clampdown on deviant teachings, and until recently, prohibition against Muslims to convert are manifestations of this new variant of human rights struggle.
At the heart of this new struggle is a particular notion that the Muslim society needs to be transformed into a fully secular society along the same trajectory that the Christian West had experienced in the past. They need to be able to divorce their religious and moral worldviews from public life.
They must also accept the primacy of individuals over the family, the community and the state when it comes to matters of personal faith. What should be the (dis)order of the day is a complete freedom of, in and from religion.
In other words, the Muslims must undergo a thorough de-Islamization process before a complete secular life can be set in motion. What appears to be a conventional human rights struggle for individual freedom is indeed a larger cause for complete "Secularization of Islamic Society".
So far, there have been alignment and realignment of positions and alliances between and among the new human rights groups, state sections, international foundations and broader civil society actors in this larger pursuit of secularization.
Looking from this angle, Kessler's "The Long March Towards Desecularization", on which Zainah heavily relies in advancing her "hate ideology" thesis, does not tell the complete story of the contest for moral, legal and political authority in Malaysia.
It is a story half told. Alongside the long march toward desecularization, there has also been a similar march toward de-Islamization, to which various sections within the Islamist forces are now responding, some are quite moderate and some others are even more extreme in their reactions.
The more extreme the de-Islamization forces attempt to bulldoze its secular worldview into the religious fabric of the assertive Muslim society, the more extreme the reaction is from within the Islamist forces.
In short, the de-Islamization forces have also had an equal share in triggering religious extremism within the Muslim society. Given the contest between the two forces has become more acute lately, and the significant impact it bears on Muslim's as well as non-Muslim's perspective about politics and society, the government has so far been juggling between the two poles of Islamic conservatism and modern liberalism in making policy pronouncements.
While it shot down the liberals' proposal to form an interfaith commission, the government also reprimanded the conservative Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department for setting up a group of moral vigilantes which was tasked to hunt down moral criminals. It seems that the UMNO and PAS's contest for Malay votes is no longer the sole determinant of the depth and breadth of government's Islamization policies.
The need to respond to the new de-Islamization forces, the attendant non-Muslim's sentiments and the international exposes compels the government to be more cautious in dealing with its official policy on Islam. So far, the pattern of government's responses to the contest has been like a pendulum swing - sometimes to the right (Islamic conservatism) and sometimes to the left (modern liberalism) and then back again, rather than a constant movement in any one direction.
While the divisive tendency of the current Islamic debate continues to gaining steam, it is worth the while of the actors of the debate to sit back and do some sort of soul searching. It is true that both sides of the political spectrum have moved to the far end of each side, widening the gap between the two, and leaving the middle ground seemingly out of everyone's reach.
But as we live in a deeply multi-religious society, where the divisive tendency, once unleashed, can be highly uncontrolled and potentially devastating, it is not too late for everyone to move back to the middle and try to reach out to each other again. It is high time for everyone to once again champion the middle ground.
Marzuki Mohamad is a Research Scholar of Political Science at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra. He is also a member of Central Executive Committee of ABIM.