Sunday, January 18, 2015

The long road to Wasatiyyah

January 15, 2015
For misfits in the modern world, bullets and bombs are more empowering than ballots.
keganasan_300Exactly on cue, the Paris incident has opened the door to all kinds of questions about what has gone wrong with society. We hear the condemnations and justifications. We hear of new fears and the predictable reprisals. We hear arrogant threats. But we have not heard the solutions. Are we addressing the real root of the problem? The answer surely cannot be more force or fire.
We are in total agreement with the Defence Minister that such acts of terrorism could happen on our own soil. We must be vigilant not only of the sleeper cells and their support network, but also of the less tangible internal forces that are radicalising the impressionable minds of our people.
It is not enough to say that our security concerns are well taken care of. There must be sterner conviction to divert these wayward minds from this seductive movement of hatred and violence. Taking care of security concerns would be just the symptomatic treatment of a disease without eradicating the organism that causes it.
The tweet by Eric Paulsen that earned him the ire of the religious authorities and the political right-wing may just have a grain of truth to it if taken with a pinch of salt. In his tongue in cheek manner, he was urging the authorities to re-look at the way messages are conveyed to the flock.
One supposes that Paulsen could have worded the tweet to be more pleasing to sensitive eyes and ears. But the message is clear. Just as Paulsen must take responsibility for his own words and actions, the authorities too should seek to balance any brimstone and fire from the pulpit with temperate words of inclusiveness, tolerance, harmony, cooperation, love and respect for thy neighbour.
Is this not after all the long road to Wasatiyyah, the middle path?
By their own admission, the stewards of the official religion say that sermons are inspirational and motivational, all positive stuff. Encouragement to strive and struggle in the way of the religion in loose terminology is to “berjihad”.
Against the backdrop of the ever present polemic by neo-fascistical groups – that the official religion is under attack by infidel values, other religions and ethnic outsiders – we should be mindful that the conveyed messages may be subverted by irresponsible parties to stoke militancy. It does not take much goading to see disgruntled individuals transformed into a destructive vigilante force by fiery instigators, as is usually the case. What harm is there to take caution in such a matter?
A remark by a high official that the sermons “also conveys the national policies” is baffling, to say the least. As spiritual shepherds of the masses who are supposed to help individuals enhance their connection to the Creator, why are they disseminating government policies? The government of Malaysia is not a theocracy.
The global radical movement has charted its course close to the mighty river of a compassionate religion. And the raised voices of its intolerance, bigotry and hatred will taint the water for all that would drink from the Creator’s pure bounty.
Its quest for power and dominion over territory has seen this aberration of the true faith fuse politics with religion to appeal to a global congregation. They know full well that faith has surer traction than politics among believers. So for those who feel like misfits, victimised or disenfranchised in the modern world, bullets and bombs are more empowering than ballots.
To the poor and downtrodden, God speaks louder than politics.
~ Free Malaysia Today

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