Saturday, March 31, 2012

Anwar's 'disgust' with the Islamic Seminar in Johor

As a former president of ABIM who at one time said ‘Islam is the way of life’, it is unthinkable for him to be disgusted with a seminar that is aimed at protecting the ‘akidah’ (faith conviction) of Muslims in Johor, unless that word is used as a provocation for some other motives.

As reported by The Malaysian Insider on March 28, Anwar used the Pakatan Rakyat platform to sound-off and berate the seminar for what he saw as a ‘disgusting political manoeuvre’.

Expounding his views when asked during a media conference held at parliament, he said such a programme was dangerous and would cause undue inter-religious strains in the country.

“What I can confirm is that this is nothing other than a disgusting political manoeuvre to use religion to frighten the people,” Anwar claimed.

Organised by the Johor Education Department and the Johor Mufti Department, the seminar themed “Pemantapan Aqidah, Bahaya Liberalisme dan Pluralism Serta Ancaman Kristianisasi Terhadap Umat Islam. Apa Peranan Guru?” (Strengthening the Faith, the Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianity towards Muslims. What is the Role of Teachers?) required the attendance of two religious teachers from each of the 55 national schools across Johor.

Anwar liked his statement so much that he republished the version carried by Malaysiakini, under the heading “Anwar: Christian Threat is UMNO propaganda” on his official website, anwaribrahimblog.

The article, which also carried a recording of his speech by TV PAS showed how PAS agreed with him and how staunch pro-Anwar stalwart, Husam Musa was given an opportunity to justify Anwar’s ‘disgusting’ remark.

This could be another PAS tactic, silently conniving.

At the same time, by republishing the statement in, DAP, which was represented by its ‘de facto’ leader Lim Kit Siang, it shows that the party is in agreement with Anwar.

Therefore, going by the endorsements by its allies, Anwar’s ‘disgusting’ statement on the Islamic seminar in Johor is the official line of Pakatan Rakyat.

Organisations, including NGO MUAFAKAT and PEMBELA strongly condemn the labelling of the knowledge programme as “a disgusting political manoeuvre to use religion to frighten the people” as irresponsible, a humiliation to Islam and a blatant attempt to undermine an effort to strengthen the faith of Muslims in this country.

Both the Muslim NGOs agreed that what Anwar had said was deliberate to gain cheap publicity from the enemies of Islam as well as to provoke them.

Hence, what the de facto PKR leader said had thrown the doors wide open for the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) to stridently criticise the programme.

As reported by FMT, Chairman of CFM, Bishop Ng Moon Hing said not only must the term ‘Christianisation’ be dropped, but also the whole structure of the programme changed to reflect the premise that the Christians are not a threat in this country.

It looks like Anwar had a hidden agenda when his statement was swiftly supported by the biggest Christian body in Malaysia.

On March 25 2006, a Malay pastor who had changed his name to Benjamin Stephen remarked that in Johor alone, more than 10,000 Malays had turned apostates.

The Kelantanese man, whose Muslim name was Mohd Badrol Nizam Mohd Redzo, made the confession when giving a ceramah at a church in Kuching, Sarawak.

He clearly said that 10,000 Malays in Johor had successfully been proselytised. Could it be that the Malay pastor had lied with the figure when he spoke in a church?

If he had made up the numbers, what then was his motive? Was it the same with Anwar’s motive in deliberately saying that the programme to save the ‘akidah’ of Muslims in Johor as ‘disgusting?’

Perhaps, not the same because Anwar is a politician, while Stephen on the other hand was a pastor. However, there could be a possibility that there are similarities in other aspects.

Maybe PAS, which is being branded as ‘Anwar’s Malay-Islam wing’ can seek clarification from the church, given that as per Husam Musa’s admission, PAS had begun to cosy-up to the church.

The bone of contention here is why Anwar as a former ABIM president stridently said the Islamic programme was ‘disgusting.’ Many say it is because at the end of it all PAS will endeavour to draw the support of Malay voters, who may ultimately gravitate to his cause.

Anwar knows that he is losing support from the Malay-Muslim fence sitters. Therefore, under such circumstances, why would he want to appease them? Calling the Islamic seminar ‘disgusting’ was the best option to attract total support from non-Muslim voters, in particular the Christians.

Why the Malay-Muslim voters? That is not Anwar’s task to do; it is the responsibility of PAS, as a component of Pakatan Rakyat, whose de facto leader is the man himself.

This tactic is similar as the one used before the 12th General Election, where Anwar purposely portrayed himself as a supporter of HINDRAF.

After the election, when total support was given by a large swath of the Indian community, only then they realised that the pro-HINDRAF stance shown by Anwar was nothing more than a act and a provocation to undermine racial and religious unity in this country.

But, this time will the same devious tactics – that of calling a Muslim programme in Johor ‘disgusting’ produce the same result?

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