Zakir, Dong Zong, and racism

It is definitely racism for a person to force his own language and culture onto other people in an interventive and assaultive manner, and call those reluctant to submit to them “racists”.

Tay Tian Yan, Sin Chew Daily

Dong Zong was against the teaching of Jawi calligraphy at Chinese primary schools and was prepared to initiate a signature campaign.

Mahathir said Dong Zong was a racist organization.

In front of tens of thousands of Malaysian Muslims, Zakir Naik questioned the loyalty of Indian Malaysians to this country.

Mahathir has never said Zakir is a racist.

Dong Zong is a legalized non-governmental organization, and a leading civilian organization for the Chinese education in Malaysia.

After becoming the seventh prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Mahathir has never once talked with Dong Zong, and has indeed not said a good thing about it.

Zakir is a wanted criminal in India for alleged money laundering activities to accumulate billions of ringgit of wealth for himself.

As if that is not enough, he has also been accused of regularly issuing extremist religious statements.

Mahathir met up with Zakir soon after taking his office, and agreed to grant the preacher permanent residence status.

As for Dong Zong, the organization’s never-changing position is to respect the status of Bahasa Malaysia as the country’s official language. It also supports a multi-stream education system.

While defending the Chinese language education of this country, Dong Zong has never questioned the status of BM as national language.

However, the then Mahathir administration arrested the organization’s leader under Ops Lalang in 1987. In 1999, he accused the Su Qiu (election appeals) initiated by Dong Jiao Zong and other local Chinese associations as “communist”.

And now Dong Zong is labeled “racist”.

While promoting the Islamic faith, it is not uncommon for Zakir Naik to disparage other religions, in particular Hinduism and Christianity.

Such an act is not consistent with Malaysia’s principle of harmonious coexistence for all citizens irrespective of race and religion, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

Nevertheless, Zakir is allowed to tour the country and preach his radical religious belief to the Muslims in Malaysia, even as he has been barred from entering the UK, Canada, Singapore, Australia and Bangladesh.

Dong Zong has rejected the teaching of Jawi calligraphy from the education point of view, and has taken into account the students’ needs as well as the feelings of the parents.

Dong Zong has never opposed to the Jawi script per se, nor the Islamic faith.

As a Muslim preacher, sure enough there is no problem for Zakir Naik to preach his religion. However, he habitually attacks other religions and ethnicities. What he has been doing is more than just to defend his own religion but assail other people’s faiths as well.

Dong Zong feels that there is no need for SJKC students to learn Jawi, and is worried the new measure will bring religious elements into the school.

Dong Zong’s position should be more of self-defense to safeguard the integrity of Chinese primary schools in the country.

Unfortunately, Malay rights group GPS has accused Dong Zong of manipulating racial sentiments and has indeed started a petition to list it as illicit organization.

Meanwhile, Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin has called Dong Zong a terror organization, which the PPBM Youth has happily echoed.

Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim) has admitted that Seni Khat will enhance a person’s understanding of the Jawi script as well as Arabic culture, making it easier for him or her to learn and comprehend the Holy Koran.

And Mahathir has himself said the objective for the Malays to learn Jawi is to recite the Koranic verses.

So, isn’t it very clear now that Jawi is directly linked to religion, and that Dong Zong’s fears have already been substantiated by the prime minster himself?

It is not racism for a person to defend his own culture and the rights of his community at the same time respecting the cultures, languages and religions of other people.

But, it is definitely racism for a person to force his own language and culture onto other people in an interventive and assaultive manner, and call those reluctant to submit to them “racists”.