PAS PRESIDENT Tan Sri Hadi Awang has proven himself to be a political leader who has no compunction to dabble in lies, falsehoods and fake news, and who represents an extreme and intolerant instead of a moderate form of Islam.
Yesterday was the day that Hadi should take a stance on the subject, seeing as to how March 15 is the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, the day designated by the United Nations General Assembly to combat Islamophobia.
What is Islamophobia?
Islamophobia has been defined as a fear, prejudice and hatred of Muslims that leads to provocation, hostility and intolerance by means of threatening, harassment, abuse, incitement and intimidation of Muslims and non-Muslims, both in the online and offline world.
Motivated by institutional, ideological, political and religious hostility that transcends into structural and cultural racism, it targets the symbols and markers of being a Muslim.
This definition emphasises the link between institutional levels of Islamophobia and manifestations of such attitudes, triggered by the visibility of the victim’s perceived Muslim identity. This approach also interprets Islamophobia as a form of racism whereby the Islamic religion, tradition and culture are seen as a ‘threat’ to the Western values.
Some experts prefer the label ‘anti-Muslim hatred,’ fearing that the term ‘Islamophobia’ risks condemning all critiques of Islam and, therefore, could stifle freedom of expression.
But international human rights law protects individuals, not religions. And Islamophobia may also affect non-Muslims based on perceptions of nationality, racial or ethnic background.
Blindly accusing others
But Hadi has gone one step further as he denounced anyone who questions his leadership and politics as guilty of Islamophobia.
It has been four months since he made the preposterous allegation that DAP was anti-Malay, anti-Islam, communist and promoting Islamophobia, but had been unable to present an iota of evidence to substantiate his allegations.
I can say without fear of contradiction that after six decades of nation-building, the overwhelming majority of Malaysians – regardless of race, religion or region – accept that Malaysia is a plural society with many races, languages, religions and cultures.
There is no phobia against any race or religion in Malaysia except for the extremists.
The overwhelming majority of Malaysians endorses the original nation-building principles of the country by accepting Islam as the official religion with freedom of religion for all faiths as entrenched in the Federal Constitution and the Rukun Negara (National Principles)
I have asked Hadi numerous times whether he accepts the Malaysian Constitution and the Rukun Negara on Islam as the official religion and freedom of religion for all faiths as well as the supremacy of the Malaysian Constitution but there had been no answer.
On the 2023 International Day to Combat Islamophobia, Hadi was conspicuously quiet, while Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim condemned Islamophobia and all acts of hatred and violence against individuals based on religion or belief.
He further expressed Malaysia’s readiness to cooperate constructively and collectively with the world community to combat Islamophobia.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir pledged that Malaysia will not allow Islamophobia to continue unabated as this would implicate the country in violating fundamental human rights.
He stressed that Muslims should have the right to profess their faith without fearing discrimination, persecution and intimidation as the right to believe and practise one’s religion is enshrined in international law as a fundamental human right.
But Hadi was very quiet on the International Day to Combat Islamophobia in 2023.
Malaysians should be vigilant against political opportunists who use lies and falsehoods about Islamophobia to advance their political interests – not for the sake of any religion but for themselves.
I have called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into Hadi’s preposterous allegations of Islamophobia in Malaysia which he had never reported to the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Islamophobia Observatory when he was twice PM’s special envoy with ministerial rank and drawing a RM60,000 monthly salary.
Does Hadi agree with the establishment of a RCI on Islamophobia in Malaysia,with him presenting the cases? – March 16, 2023
Retired DAP supremo and former Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang, 82, has a colourful political career spanning 57 years.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.