PAS Youth to meet Archbishop, condemns demo

(Harakah Daily) – Even as Prime Minister Najib Razak threw his weight behind a proposed mass demonstration, PAS Youth has urged party members not to take part as this could not resolve the row over the Allah ruling, and may instead tarnish the image of Islam.

As a way forward, PAS Youth has opted to send a letter to Nicholas Murphy Xavier Pakiam, the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, seeking a meeting and dialogue.

“We urge the Muslim community to stay calm and not do anything that will harm the image of Islam,” said Kamaruzaman Mohamad, head of PAS Youth Wilayah.

“We fully agree with the PAS central leadership that dialogue is the best way. We believe that a meeting will provide greater opportunity for positive results and we can better explain to them the feelings and wishes of the Muslim community. Given the sensitivity of the issue, this is the more matured and sincere way of finding solutions.”

Additionally, the Youth leader said the views of other communities and religious leaders would also be sought. According to him, there was still room for diplomatic discussion and it was wrong for certain quarters to instigate provocative reactions that only served to worsen the situation.

Last week, the High Court had overturned a Home Ministry ban on a Catholic magazine from using the word Allah to describe God in its Malay-language section. The ruling sparked controversy, with many Umno-backed groups threatening to hold mass demonstrations on the grounds that the word Allah should be restricted to their community.

Instigated by Umno

Meanwhile, despite being rapped for racial politicking and applying double standards, Najib did a U-turn on Thursday, reversing an earlier stance. Along with his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin, the PM had previously urged for calm and for Muslims to allow the courts to resolve the issue.

“We cannot stop them as long as it is confined within the mosque area,” Najib told reporters this morning after launching a 1Malaysia event.

The decision to allow the protest, slated for Friday at the Kampung Baru mosque, has been sharply rebuked by civil society and opposition leaders.

“I really don’t see this as an advisable move at this point in time. This is actually the time to cool things down, to encourage inter-faith and inter-communal dialogue,” Ramon Navaratnam, chairman of the Centre for Public Policy Studies, told Harakahdaily.

“To encourage this sort of strong-willed, over-zealous reaction especially when a stay of execution has already been obtained against the court ruling is incomprehensible and really not the wisest thing to do.”

Hypocrisy and double standards

“Najib is more concerned about the name of Allah, whereas we are more concerned about what Allah wants us to do,” said Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, PAS central committee member.

“Allah wants his followers to defend the practice of spreading peace, love and harmony. To protect and preserve the brotherhood of man and not to go the way of violence and irrational behavior. We are absolutely against any move that can destabilize or harm society.”

In August, despite widespread public urging, the government refused to give permission for an Anti-ISA demonstration. Nearly 50,000 Malaysians had then taken part in the rally to demand the abolition of the Internal Security Act, a draconian law used by the ruling elite to jail political and business rivals for indefinite periods without trial.

“We are not against peaceful demonstrations but against double standards,” PKR director of strategy Tian Chua told Harakahdaily. “Furthermore, the name of Allah should not be debated and decided on the streets. Surely, the Almighty deserves more dignity. Let us leave the issue to the ulamak and those who have the knowledge.”