Thursday, December 11, 2014

Use of Islam to defend racial supremacy and draconian laws disturbing, says Anwar

BY HIMANSHU BHATT

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim delivers his speech during the Human Rights Day celebration organised by Suaram at Hin Bus Station gallery, Penang yesterday. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, December 11, 2014.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim delivers his speech during the Human Rights Day celebration organised by Suaram at Hin Bus Station gallery, Penang yesterday. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, December 11, 2014.
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim last night expressed alarm at a trend by right-wing Malay groups who use Islam to promote racial supremacy and inequality within the country.
The opposition leader said it was “most disconcerting” that Islam was being used hand-in-hand with moves to stifle dissent and the opposition, and “to prevent the truth and misdeeds (of those in power) from surfacing".
In particular, he criticised the reference to the philosophical concept of “maqashid syariah” (true aim of Islamic law) by groups like the Majlis Perundingan Melayu (MPM) which is planning a pro-Malay rally in Kuala Lumpur next month.
“How do you use maqashid syariah to defend racism?” asked Anwar, who is also PKR de facto head and Permatang Pauh MP.
He said he was involved in the International Institute of Islamic Thought to help people around the world understand the higher objective of shariah law.
“It's not just hudud or chopping off hands. The higher objective means promotion of peace, understanding of justice, sanctity of life and property, gender equality, humanitarian concerns and ideals,” he said, adding that these seemed to be ignored in the interpretation of the “maqashid syariah”.
He said in light of such developments, the push for discourse on Islam in the public sphere to counter the use of the religion to deny demands for human rights was timely.
Anwar said this in his speech at the World Human Rights Day celebration organised by civil liberty non-governmental organisation Suaram, at the Hin Bus Station gallery in George Town last night.
Last week, the MPM announced its plans to hold a pro-Malay rally, aiming to draw 20,000 Malays, at the Stadium Putra in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, on January 10.
In making the announcement, the MPM’s constitutional and legal bureau chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman criticised the PKR-led Selangor government for having a motion passed in the state assembly to urge the federal government to abolish the Sedition Act 1948. He reportedly said the move was wrong and could be chargeable.
Anwar said PKR leaders had discussed the MPM announcement at a meeting on Tuesday night.
He said any group had a right to make fair demands in a free country.
“But going through the report (on MPM) I was appalled to find the attempt to rationalise the defence of draconian laws, the protection of the corrupt despite all the excesses, by using the phrase 'maqashid syariah',” he said.
Anwar said he rejected the notion that Malay supremacy or Malay survival meant that freedom and human rights would be at the expense of Islam.
“This seems to be the normal trend or thought amongst the ruling clique. To me this is misconceived and misguided,” he said.
“It is an insult to the wisdom of thinking Muslims, and a disservice to Islam, when you use Islam to rationalise or to defend racism, racist slurs or gross injustice in any form,” he said.
He added that public discourse on Islam and its stand with others in Malaysia should be inclusive to allow participation of not only Muslims but also non-Muslims in the country.
“I believe this is critical because the whole discourse or discussion on democracy or human rights can only be meaningful if it takes into consideration, or at least appeals to, the broader masses,” he said. – December 11, 2014.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/use-of-islam-to-defend-racial-supremacy-and-draconian-laws-disturbing-says#sthash.wS2X0O5K.dpuf

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