What extremism means

So you see, my dear Najib, if we really want to be non-extremist then there is much we need to change. To shed extremism there is much we need to shed. And the first would be to shed the attitude that we have a right to decide how someone lives his/her life and what he/she has to believe in and follow.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Bernama reported today that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak wants Malaysians to fight extremism and to accept his 1Malaysia. Before we can fight extremism we must first understand what the word means.

Extremist (noun): a person zealous about a belief (Synonyms: agitator, die-hard, fanatic, radical, revolutionary, revolutionist, ultra, ultraist, zealot, illiberal, immoderate, stubborn, obsessive, single-minded, biased, unreasonable, bigot, intolerant, prejudiced, passionate, etc.)

Going by the above, almost 100% of Malaysians can be described as extremists. After all, who amongst us could tolerate/allow what we would regard as an insult to our race, religion or nation? Would we not passionately defend what we would consider our rights, dignity, freedom or whatever?

That would make us extremists.

Even America is an extremist nation. It opposes Communism and would go out of its way to fight Communism and defend ‘the American way of life’. It supported Saddam Hussein in Iraq’s war against ‘extremist Islamic’ Iran and the US closed its eyes to the atrocities Saddam committed against his own people — all in the interest of ‘democracy’ although Iraq is not the best example of a democracy.

The US also supported the Taliban in its opposition to the Communist Russian occupation of Afghanistan. The US built and nurtured the Taliban to what it is today. Basically the US created a monster to fight en even bigger monster because it is paranoid about Communism and is so intolerant to another system that does not meet ‘US standards’.

That would make the US an extremist.

The entire world, not just Malaysians, is extreme. And the only way to fight extremism would be to be the opposite of that word. And what is the opposite of extremism?

The words opposite to extremist are: conservative, moderate, humanitarian, liberal, disinterested, impartial, unenthusiastic, limited, mild, tolerant, etc.

Now, for Malaysians to shed the extremist label and become the opposite of extremist they have to make a lot of sacrifices and offer a lot of concessions. Are Malaysians prepared to do that? Are the political, community and religious leaders prepared to do that? Are Umno and the 20 or so other political parties prepared to do that? Are the Malays prepared to do that? Are Muslims prepared to do that? More importantly, is Najib prepared to do that?

For example, many of our laws are extremely outdated and are inherited from the days when the world was an extremely intolerant, biased, superstitious and narrow-minded place. Is the government (with Najib at the helm) prepared to abolish all these laws?

Let us look at a few examples.

Can Malaysia shed its extremism and allow gay marriages? The right of gays should be respected. Anything two consenting adults do is their business. Why are we being extremists by deciding what two consenting adults can and cannot do?

You may argue that religion does not allow gay relationships. So what? That is between that person and his God. Why is the government deciding everything on behalf of God? Did God appoint Umno or Barisan Nasional or PAS or Pakatan Rakyat as His representative here on earth?

The government is becoming an extremist by deciding what humankind can and cannot do. You may say that gay marriages or relationships are immoral. Well, some may say the same about a man marrying more than one wife. Why is it a man with more than one wife is tolerated but not gay marriages?

You may argue that Islam allows a man to marry four wives but does not allow gay marriages or relationships. Well and fine but why are Islamic laws imposed on those who are not Muslims? And even if that person is a Muslim should that not be between that person and God? Why is the government becoming an extremist by doing God’s work? Did God appoint the government as His agent or is God not capable of handling His own affairs?

What about the right to decide and choose your own religion? Isn’t religion between you and God? Who gave the government the right to decide what religion we can and cannot follow? What if we refuse to follow any religion altogether or even believe in the existence of God?

The government is becoming an extremist by deciding what religion we must follow and by preventing us from choosing our own religion or even from rejecting religion altogether.

The above are only two examples meant to demonstrate my point. There are of course many more examples I can offer.

Can I be allowed to register a new party called the Communist Party of Malaysia? If not, why? Isn’t the government being an extremist by deciding what party I can form? And what is wrong with Communism?

Can I become a Shia Muslim? And can I establish my own Shia mosque so that those who follow and believe in Shia Islam can have their own place of worship?

Better still, can I start a new ‘religion’ called Abrahamism, which would unite all Jews, Christians and Muslims under one banner, the religion of Abraham — which the Quran says is the only true religion. If the answer is no and if this new religion is banned and the followers arrested and jailed (and sent for religious rehabilitation) then the government is being an extremist.

So you see, my dear Najib, if we really want to be non-extremist then there is much we need to change. To shed extremism there is much we need to shed. And the first would be to shed the attitude that we have a right to decide how someone lives his/her life and what he/she has to believe in and follow.

So let’s not talk about fighting extremism unless we are prepared to go all the way. As I said, almost 100% of Malaysians are extremists. And I don’t see this changing until I can choose to not believe in God and enter into a gay marriage or relationship. And until that changes keep your thoughts about eradicating extremism to yourself.


Fight extremism, says PM

(Bernama) – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today expressed strong opposition to the actions of extremist groups or individuals who believe in their radical views and actions against others.

“It saddens me that despite living in an independent multi-cultural nation for over 50 years, there are still those among us who cannot tolerate, much less accept the benefits of a [peaceful] society,” he said.

He said this in his latest entry entitled “Our Fight Against Extremism” in his blog, www.1malaysia.com.my here.

Najib said he was sad because by rejecting Malaysians’ way of life, these groups were rejecting the 1 Malaysia concept.

He said as Malaysia celebrated a landmark in its history tomorrow, there was much to be proud of because Malaysia was a developing nation that had excelled in many sectors such as tourism, banking and finance, halal sector, medicine and many more.

“We are blessed to be able to experience different cultures, food and religions without travelling far and abroad.”

“While we have achieved so much, it troubles me to see a rise in issues rooted in extremism in the nation.”

“This is not limited to racism. Extremists are groups or individuals who subscribe to radical views and actions against others.”

“They treat anyone who is different as an enemy and engineer fear in people who don’t conform to their thoughts or ideologies and, in some cases in people who simply look different,” Najib said.

Hence, extremism here applied to a gamut of factors, including racism, arts, culture, way of life, and more, the prime minister said.

While these groups were often small in number, their presence was amplified through their extreme sentiments and acts.

Nonetheless, the government continued to keep a watchful eye on such groups.

“We have dealt effectively with a number of extreme cases in Malaysia, such as militant groups that have instigated conflicts and posed a genuine threat to national security.”

“We will continue to protect the Rakyat and the nation from threats from outside or within, through land, sea, air or cyberspace.”

“We have been exposed to examples of extremist behaviour, regionally and globally. I am glad that we have abstained from such acts, and instead displayed maturity as a people, as 1 Malaysia.”

“I urge all Malaysians to be calm and rational in the face of such extremism. To respond like with like only serves to escalate tensions between our countries and becomes a hindrance to our own progress.”

“Economies have faltered because of acts of extremism, and the road to recovery is often long and hard,” Najib added.