Killing Malaysia with faith

By The Malaysian Insider

1 Malaysia got kicked back on to the drawing board yesterday as much as the country was booted back to the start of the year when an Islamic think-tank leader said the faith does not believe all religions are equal.

It goes without saying that anyone with a faith would think that their’s is unparalleled and supreme.

That their Almighty is the real one, or many as it may be, and others are false gods or inferior faiths.

So Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) director-general Datuk Nik Mustapha Nik Hassan’s statement is logical. But not helpful.

Not helpful to a country that began the year tussling over who could use the word “Allah” to describe their Almighty. Where a series of arson and other attacks shook our faith in the ability of the government to guarantee freedom of worship.

Not helpful to a country whose prime minister is seeking to unite the people riven by racial supremacists and, now, religious supremacists.

Can anyone now have a chance of rebutting Nik Mustapha? Or is that seen as challenging the faith and, therefore, it is seditious.

Perhaps Perlis Mufti Dr Juanda Jaya said it best. That such talk of religious supremacy is “Taliban”-like and dangerous to Malaysia.

It is a wonder that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Cabinet are quiet about this debate. It might delight the Umno members who see this as an endorsement of their fight against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over religious pluralism but the entire country loses in the long run.

Who wants to be told that their faith is inferior? Will Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon accept this? How about Datuk Seri Idris Jala. Both are Cabinet ministers, one of whom is in charge of national unity and the other has helped to heal the rifts of the church fire-bombings.

Do they agree with Nik Mustapha? Will they just keep quiet, agree to disagree? Does this country need this divisive chatter? Is anyone out there so insecure they have to reaffirm their religious supremacy?

If that is the case, why bother with an inter-faith panel? Why pay lip service to an idea we don’t believe in?