THE news on Saturday felt like double hammer blows. The Islamic State’s slaughter of 129 people in Paris and the Malaysian IS militants in southern Philippines’ plan to form an “official” IS faction in South-East Asia were just plain shocking and sickening.
Back in March I wrote about my fear of the IS and decried how people who profess to want to protect Islam in Malaysia were targeting the wrong people, namely non-Muslims, and particularly the Christians.
It is with deep distress I return to this growing horror which cannot be ignored.
While I do believe our Government is completely committed to fighting IS’ influence and I am deeply relieved that our police has top-notch intelligence that – as Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division head Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ayob Khan said – ensures “that we are on top of any development concerning militant groups”, this extreme form of militant Islam continues to take root in our midst.
It was reported in October that more than 100 suspected terrorists and militants have been detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012. Among them were Malaysian combatants who had returned from Syria and Iraq, as well as army commandos and civil servants. Over the last few days, more have been detained.
The Star’s report on Saturday that a former Universiti Malaya lecturer, Dr Mahmud Ahmad, who trains suicide bombers, is behind the formation of an IS group that will plan attacks in Malaysia and the region is even more chilling.
More scary was Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s revelation on Monday that the IS is targeting Malaysian leaders who are regarded as tagut. Tagut the article explains are “those who have crossed religious boundaries” which is extremely vague.
But it would appear to mean, going by online definitions, people who worship other gods as well as Muslims who “exceed their limits” like legislators who make laws in Parliament. They are deemed to be equating themselves with Allah and challenging Allah’s divine laws.
If these are all possible meanings of tagut, then all our elected representatives and government leaders, Muslim and non-Muslim, are fair game to IS.
In Graeme Wood’s article entitled “What Isis really wants” in the March issue of The Atlantic, he states that IS’ aim is to restore the Caliphate after it ended in Turkey almost a century ago. (Isis or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham is the earlier manifestation of IS).
After some 14 months of fighting, the proponents achieved their goal on June 30, 2014, when their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, proclaimed himself as the new caliph and successor to Prophet Muhammad in a mosque in Mosul, Iraq.
his 21st-century construct, however, is global and borderless and as such, al-Baghdadi says he is the leader of Muslims everywhere who must pledge allegiance to him. Failure to do so means being branded as an apostate, which is punishable by death.
Wood quotes Bernard Haykel, described as the leading secular expert on IS ideology, as saying these jihadists are “authentic throwbacks to early Islam and faithfully reproducing its norms of war.”
Haykel further states, “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish (jihadists) are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition” and that IS fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day.”
The Islamic State, according to Wood, also claims that common Syiah practices, such as worship at the graves of imams and public self-flagellation, have no basis in the Quran or the Prophet’s examples.
“That means roughly 200 million Syiah (Muslims) are marked for death. So too are the heads of state of every Muslim country, who have elevated man-made laws above Syariah by running for office or enforcing laws not made by God,” he writes.
He adds this is because the Islamic State is committed to purifying the world of apostates, and presumably tagut, even if it means mass killings. So back to Hishammuddin’s statement that our leaders are IS’ targets. He also declared that the threat will not stop them from fighting the terrorists. Fighting the IS should be every citizen’s responsibility, at least it should be for every citizen who still believes in a multiracial, democratic Malaysia.
At such a dangerous time, I reiterate my appeal to Muslims and non-Muslims to stand together. I cannot believe peace-loving Malaysian Sunnis would agree to IS’ desire to wipe out millions of Syiah Muslims and non-Muslims.
Unfortunately, we still have leaders wanting to play the religious card which sows confusion and suspicion between Muslims and non-Muslims. We have seen the antics of some this year and the latest one is from the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister who is thinking of having mandatory halal and non-halal trolleys in supermarkets.
Thankfully, ever since the proposal came to light, many groups, including Malaysian Muslim Solidarity (Isma), have criticised it.
As Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman opined: It is not practical and “Islam is not about making things difficult”.
Many have also asked: With such thinking, what will follow next? Food courts to have halal and non-halal cutlery? Separate banknotes and coins?
And what about enforcement? Who gets fined if a shopper uses a halal trolley for non-halal items? Said shopper or supermarket owner?
If the minister really wants to help all shoppers, he should insist supermarkets maintain their trolleys well and give them a wash regularly. I have struggled with trolleys with bad wheels, sticky handles and grubby baskets.
Seriously, our leaders have a lot more important things to worry about, like ferreting out more IS recruiters in our schools, armed forces and government, than segregating shopping carts. This is a fight against a deadly, implacable and seductive enemy and we don’t need any distractions like these in the name of religious correctness.
It certainly won’t make us any safer or more Muslim in the eyes of the IS which is intent on annihilating the present world order to replace it with their own.
BY JUNE H.L. WONG
Aunty recalls this memorable line from Aamir Khan’s movie, PK. It is spoken by the central character, an alien stranded on Earth as he clutches the shoe of his friend who was killed in a train bomb blast: ‘Stop protecting your own god, otherwise only shoes will be left on this planet and not people.’ Feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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