It’s now open season for Muslim-bashing

charlie hebdo

The Charlie Hebdo tragedy has sparked an outpouring of hate within the Malaysian online community.

Hafidz Baharom, Free Malaysia Today

I had never heard of Charlie Hebdo and I am pretty sure many Malaysians were also ignorant of the satirical magazine’s existence until things came to a boil recently in Paris.

However, the outpouring of hate, the siege mentality displayed by people of all beliefs and the politicisation of the event has been outstanding and, to me, hypocritical to the core.

While Muslims have been screaming out that what was done was not the Islam that they practice and preach, Malaysians of other faiths have been quick to say the religion is an instigator of violent behaviour everywhere, including Malaysia.

One such individual is Erik Paulsen, who heads Lawyers for Liberty. At this time of what can only be described as an open season for Muslim bashing, the lawyer took to Twitter to say that the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has been equally responsible for instigating extremism every Friday.

One would think a lawyer would research his claims before such a snafu, but even more disappointing is that Malaysians were quick to back his claim.

The police are currently investigating Paulsen for his posting, but the Malaysian online community is showing the fractures already.

“Google ‘Jakim Friday sermon’ and read all the news about it. See, there is the proof!” some were quick to say on social media. They were not wrong. The search engine highlights each and every news piece from news portals which spoke of messages attacking Christians, Jews and even gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) Malaysians.

What many failed to notice were the dates of the news pieces or how frequent the media actually highlight these messages appearing in Friday sermons.

What many Malaysians failed to do was to open up Jakim’s web portal and read the sermons that have been delivered in federally funded mosques up to this day. There is an entire archive for everyone who wishes to read them and judge for themselves. (Link to online Jakim Friday sermon archive:

The archive goes as far back as January 1, 2003.

What many knee-jerking Malaysians failed to do was to question Paulsen’s accusation and dig deeper to empirically prove that Jakim was in fact guilty of being a purveyor of extremist thought.

Let me raise a question: Is there even a correlation between Jakim’s sermons and a tendency towards extremism?

Since we have some 65 people arrested for trying to get out of the country to join the Islamic State (IS), why not ask them? Have Jakim’s Friday sermons encouraged them to take up arms against infidels and join the global cause to set up a new caliphate in Syria?

There are about 12 million Malaysian Malay Muslims in this country. How many of them actually go about being extreme due to Jakim’s sermons?

I do agree that there are times when Jakim suddenly gets harsh and has a tendency to go to the extreme, but these sermons appear, on average, once or twice out of 52 Fridays a year, unless something happens between Palestine and Israel or some random publication decides to host a Prophet ridiculing cartoon contest.