PAS’ priorities warped, says Istanbul Network


‘A criminal code should be the last item on an Islamist party’s agenda instead of the first.’

Robin Augustin, Free Malaysia Today

The Kuala Lumpur-based Istanbul Network has criticised PAS for what it says is its warped sense of priorities.

In an interview with FMT, the think tank’s CEO, Ali Salman, said an Islamist political party should be focusing on economic development instead of prescribing punishments.

The Istanbul Network brings together leaders of think tanks from Muslim countries. Ali hails from Pakistan.

“PAS is talking about a criminal code when this should be the last item on its agenda instead of the starting point,” he said.

“A starting point for an Islamist party should be to solve problems faced by the people. Islamist parties have to be socially and economically active.”

Ali was commenting on PAS’ proposal to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act to increase the severity of punishments.

He said Islamist political parties, especially those that operate in multicultural societies, must develop broad policies in the interest of all citizens rather than focus on Islam alone.

“In my view, Islamic political parties which focus on Islam alone and not address social and economic issues as well as issues of governance and corruption have a very myopic view of Islam.”

He said the success of an Islamist government wasn’t defined by the presence of Islamic laws but by socio-economic indicators.

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