The long fuse leading to the church fire bombings

A long lighted fuse led to the fire bombings. These were not isolated events done on sudden impulse. This was a part of the political calculus of racist and religiously bigoted leaders to drive home to their opponents that they can at any time incite their followers to whatever actions necessary to demonstrate their might and power.

By Dr. Lim Teck Ghee (CPI)

This was a result of the long time pandering by Umno leaders to the extreme religious right wing. This was a predictable outcome given the mantra fed by some of the country’s leaders to the Malays Muslims that they are a privileged and protected community, not subject to the laws and norms of our country when their ‘interests come under threat’.

This will continue to be a burning fuse kept alight by extremists feeding the public the delusion that Islam in Malaysia is faced by all kinds of imaginary enemies.

In the next few days and weeks, I have no doubt that the Umno and Government spin machinery will move into overdrive. At one level there will be public denials of any Umno involvement and responsibility for these acts of religious intolerance and hostility against Christians. Appeals for calm and reassurances will follow prominently in the non-Malay papers. In the Malay vernacular press and Malay electronic media though, other messages will be subtly and not so subtly articulated. Among these that no one s hould mess around with the Malay guardians of the Muslim faith and the primacy of Islam and that no one should question the special position of the Malays and Islam – these are sensitive issues best left to Umno and its proxies to implement as they see reasonable.

The art of doublespeak will undoubtedly be raised to higher levels. This time though, Umno and its minions will not get away so easily. The long reach of the Internet and its indestructible memory power enables us to construct this roll of dishonour of those leaders who through their individual or collective acts – knowingly or unknowingly – are bringing the country to the brink.

In Roll of Dishonour

  • Dr Mahathir for shifting the political goal posts in 2001 by pronouncing Malaysia as an Islamic state at Gerakan’s 30th National Conference in September 2001
  • Dollah Badawi for his empty Islamic Hadhari rhetoric and spurning of the inter-faith dialogue
  • Minister Syed Hamid Albar for signing a directive on March 1, 2009 prohibiting the use of the word Allahin Christian publications and withholding Herald’s publishing permit to gain political points for himself and Umno
  • Home Affairs Minister Hishammddin Hussein for lowering the bar further in applying the rule of law equally
  • Mukhriz Mahathir for following in his father’s footsteps of opportunism on race and religion when it suits his political agenda
  • Khairy Jamaluddin for being a keris-waving copycat and generally following in his father-in-law’s footsteps of promising much and delivering little
  • AG Gani Patail for exemplary political sycophancy in support of Umno’s agenda whatever the costs to the country
  • Awang Selamat, Dr Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah and Utusan Malaysia propagandists for driving a wedge between the various races
  • Umno Youth’s New Media unit Facebook administrators and cybertroopers for attempting to poison the minds of young Malays and Muslims about the threat to the Malays and Islam
  • Various notable Islamic intellectuals for their deafening silence which has allowed the rabble rousers to dominate the religious discourse
  • Barisan Nasional Cabinet members and leaders who have turned the other cheek not because they believe in the pacifist doctrine of responding to an aggressor without violence but simply for political opportunism and self-gain
  • The Star, New Straits Times and other mainstream papers for lack of journalistic ethics in the failure to draw attention to the rise of political party-related religious and right wing extremism

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