The Endless or Unending Islamic State Question!

by Dr. Dzul

The Islamic State (IS) question never seems to go away. Perhaps. I’ve personally answered this question for the umpteen times, in all kind of settings including interviews, forum, seminars, discourses, etc. Incidentally, I’ve also answered this oft-repeated question in London on the same platform with Prof John Voll and Prof John Esposito and in Sydney (Lowy Institute, May 2010) in the presence of Prof Gilles Kepel.

I was also asked this question in a seminar in ISEAS (2005, 2009) Singapore a while ago. I didn’t mince my words and remain relentless on my stance. But I wish to be reported of my actual words. Neither should it be spun nor only presented as half-truth. Both ways would put me in bad light, in the eyes of ‘Islamists’ and my party leaders.

Closer to home, I’ve had to answer question on the IS on numerous occasions. In fact, I’ve also written a chapter about PAS Islamic State Document – Positioning within Democracy in my book Blindspot (2007).  For all my endeavours, I was frequently misquoted, either deliberately or in good faith.

In a seminar last weekend organised by Tenaganita, I was invited as a panel speaker together with Prof Shad Faruqi and Dr Petrova, Executive Director of the Equal Rights Trust (UK). On that platform that was primarily to be focussed on Equality, of which it did, members of the audience wasted no chance to bombard me with the 1 million dollar question ie the Islamic State. FMT and even Malaysiakini , when reporting about my comment on IS on this forum, have taken liberty to highlight what seemed important to them. I’ve received many text messages and tweets inquiring about what i actually said in the forum.

I’ve resigned to the fact that whatever be of the topics assigned to me in any intellectual settings, I must be fully ready to respond to the unending Islamic State question. Shuhada Ellis, a journalist of the NST, called me to further inquire about the IS question that had caused quite a stir in the media. I didnt want to entertain her initially, but as she was insistent and promise to write almost verbatim, I relented.

I now take great pleasure to post her writing on my short interview on the IS question. I thought she did a good job.