What societal unity is WAAGM talking about?


Apart from Umno-PAS unity, there were no representatives of Muslim minorities and Muslims representing other ideologies in the recently held Al-Azhar Graduates’ seminar

K. Pragalath, Berita Daily

The World Association of Al-Azhar Graduates Malaysia (WAAGM) organised their regional seminar over a three day period from Dec 16-18 based on the theme of societal unity across ideologies.

The heads of two major political parties representing Malay Muslims shared the stage. It signaled the beginning of cooperation between the two political entities.

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang criticised socialism, liberalism and theocracy.

Umno president Najib Razak who is also Malaysia’s prime minister in his speech equated the threat of Islamic State to the threat of liberalism.

Deputy Minister in Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic affairs, Asyraf Wajdi Dasuki, even suggested that WAAGM set the parameters of engagement.

The writer however had issues with regards to theme of the regional seminar and the criticism against Muslims who do not subscribe to Umno and PAS’ brand of ‘-isms’.

The theme was ‘Societal unity across ideologies’. However, there were no liberal Muslims, socialist Muslims and what not represented in the seminar.

Good against evil

Nasir Hashim, a socialist and chairman of Parti Sosialis Malaysia was not there. Representatives of Islamic Renaissance Front were not there. No minority Muslim groups were represented. There were no Shiahs, Sufis, or even the Ahmaddiyas.

Sufis are Muslims who focus on spiritual aspects of Islam and Ahmaddiyas believe that their founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is both the promised messiah and Imam Mahdi who would aid in the battle of good against evil.

Interestingly a Champa Malay delegate from Cambodia told delegates about Sunni Muslims, Shiahs and Ahmaddiyas in his country living side by side in the Buddhist majority country.

Compare that scenario with Malaysian Muslims. It reminded the writer of the words of a Muslim scholar who was also trained in Al-Azhar University, the late Muhammad Abduh of Egypt.

He said: “I went to the West and saw Islam, but no Muslims; I got back to the East and saw Muslims, but not Islam.”

The writer has one question for WAAGM, Umno and PAS: What societal unity were you talking about for two and a half days?