The previous article of Mariam Mokhtar, the Ugly Chinamen was published in the blog with some negative comments, mainly because Mariam was perceived to have painted all Chinamen with the same broad paintbrush. However, her latest opinion piece, The Ugly Muslim did not make the assumption that all Muslims are the same and while hoping to escape her tongue lashing that we frown when our kins are commented negatively upon and applause when the Malay-Muslims are similarly commentated negatively upon, we have changed the title of her opinion piece to the Ugly Utusan Malaysia, Perkasa and Pembela because these bodies bore the majority of her tongue lashing:
The Ugly Muslim
May 9, 11
The Muslim NGO Pembela is wrong to blame Christianity for the alleged decline of Islam in Malaysia because the worst enemies of Islam, in Malaysia, are from within the ranks of the Muslims.
Islam may be a beautiful religion, but some of the Muslims in Umno, Utusan Malaysia, and the extremist groups like Perkasa and Pembela are ugly. Islam may preach love and tolerance, but Muslims in Umno, Utusan, Perkasa and Pembela are bigots who are consumed with hate.
Perhaps the so-called Muslims in these organisations, who profess to be true Muslims, are Muslim in name only. They lust after power and are aware that without the Malay vote, the activities of their party, their newspaper, their institution or their way of life (the Ketuanan Melayu lording it over other communities) will be curtailed or cease to exist altogether.
Umno has been stung by the successes of the Opposition in Sarawak. They then suffered further humiliation with PAS rejecting their overtures. So, their only recourse to remain in power, come the general election, has been to provoke and manipulate Malay/Muslim minds, especially the rural Malays.
Umno has capitalised on the power of distraction. The trick is to divert Malaysians from BN's failure to stabilise the economy, to reinvigorate the private sector and investment, and to manage the public finances.
Instill fear in Malays, blame the others
They do this by instilling fear in the Malays and by shifting the blame onto others. This time, the hapless recipient of Umno's degeneracy, are the Christians of Malaysia. On previous occasions, it has been the 'ungrateful' Chinese.
Last Saturday, Utusan Malaysia defiantly provoked Malaysians with a front-page headline claiming the DAP was in league with a group of Christian pastors to instal Christianity as the country's official religion. The insinuation was that the act would pave the way for a Christian prime minister.
Had this been a non-BN sanctioned newspaper, the editors would have been sacked and jailed, their licence to print revoked and the paper shut down. As Utusan is owned by Umno, it was business as usual at this Malay daily.
Time and time again, Utusan has got away with seditious publications when others, like Raja Petra Kamaruddin, face arrest for publishing revealing documents. It is the same treatment meted to Clare Rewcastle-Brown, the non-Muslim founder of the online website, Sarawak Report (SR).
SR prints original documents alleging Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud's corruption and illegally obtained wealth. Clare is trying to make Malaysians aware of Taib's corruption, but very few of the Muslims in Umno have taken heed.
It is without doubt that weak leadership of the country has given rise to this dangerous state of affairs.
Najib's pledge may prove to be just hot air
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak finally broke his silence on the Utusan article; however, his announcement that the government would 'investigate the matter before it was blown out of proportion' and lead to 'serious polarisation in society', may prove to be just more hot air.
Perhaps he should ask himself how many times Utusan has been guilty of sedition and escaped censure? Most will say far too often.
How soon, and how severely, will he clamp down on the extremist Muslim elements in Malaysia, who have fanned anger and suspicion in the community?
Perkasa has already lodged a series of police reports in every state, saying that the 'Christian state issue' was a threat to national security.
Pembela finds fault with the Christians, by claiming that the Christians were on a mission to convert Muslims in the country, starting with "confusing" Muslims by the use of Islamic terms, presumably like the word 'Allah'.
Those who have lived in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s will recall that Christmas was a time when all the races and religions would mix and mingle in open houses. There was no issue with the food or drink, no issue with the religious symbols like crosses or that there was a Christmas tree and hymns and carols were sung. Those times are but a distant memory.
If it is any consolation, all these machinations by the media are an indication that the general election is near. There is nothing like a dose of fear to manipulate people to do the wrong thing.
Perhaps the best way to reason the perceived threat to Islam, in Malaysia, is in the Muslim populace. If Islam here is under siege, it is because the enemy is the 'Ugly Muslim'.
They are the ones who crave power. They are the ones who maintain that the term 'Allah' cannot be used by non-Muslims in Peninsular Malaysia, but is permissible in Borneo. They are the ones who confiscated the Bible in the Malay language and held the Christians to ransom.
So, why do they keep silent on the serious issues?
If we dig deeper, who are the ones who force children to convert to Islam, if one of the parents becomes a Muslim? How about body snatching or grave robbing? What about the child in Sarawak who was whipped for eating food that had been prepared for his school break?
What about the women who are treated like cattle? Or those who are abandoned by their husbands who yearn for a younger model? What about the Muslims who are flogged for drinking beer when this should be a personal choice?
What about the moral policing which has caused several deaths? What about the endemic corruption or the public screening of sex videos? What about child marriages?
Why do the Muslims keep silent on these serious issues but harp on about a fictitious demand by the Christians for Christianity to be the official state religion?
The biggest threats to Malaysia and Islam in Malaysia are the thieving, power-grabbing Muslims in political parties, the media and the NGOs, who know the truth but prefer to manipulate it for their own selfish means. They have failed their fellow Malaysian and others of their religion. That is the profile of the Ugly Muslim.
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In 'real-speak', this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.
Source: Malaysiakini: The Ugly Muslim