14 December 2014

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Critical Muslim 12: Dangerous Freethinkers (October-December 2014 edition)

 

PDF: Dangerous Freethinkers

5 December 2014

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Malaysiakini

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim today said the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) report on the presence of immigrants in Sabah had failed to mention the role of the national security council and the Prime Minister’s Department in the issue.

“It did not even attribute any blame on them, notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence to that effect,” he said in a statement today.

“While it is well-known that the Umno-Barisan Nasional government will never own up to its failings, we would have expected at least a modicum of contrition, followed by a resolve to make good the errors and misdeeds of the past”.

The PKR de facto leader lamented how Malaysians were once again treated to another “farcical display of chest thumping and proclamations of grandeur, reminiscent of the recently concluded Umno general assembly”.

Although it was no surprise that the RCI report had absolved the BN government of any culpability, Anwar said it had taken the art of “white-washing to the pits”.

He pointed out how the report placed the blame only on errant civil service runners for what was clearly the “biggest illegal immigrant scandal in our history since independence”.

“The masterminds and the real culprits responsible for the nefarious importation into Sabah of illegal immigrants from southern Philippines and Indonesia are completely off the hook,” he added.

The Permatang Pauh MP said although the hearing had held out the promise of some form of justice for the people of Sabah, the RCI instead yielded a 366-page document of predominantly “meaningless verbiage”.

“(It had also exonerated) all the government agencies and departments of any culpability, citing monetary gain as the motive,” he said.

The RCI on Wednesday had cleared the government and political parties from involvement in the mass issuance of citizenship to migrants in Sabah.

Instead, the report pinpointed to syndicates involving former National Registration Department officials as the culprits who raked in millions of ringgit.

5 December 2014

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Exclusive: US Ambassador to Malaysia Joseph Yun says the United States is ‘puzzled’ by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s decision to maintain the Sedition Act.

5 December 2014

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PhilStar

The Malaysian government is fooling the Philippines — again. It already freed last month Manuel Amalilio from a 20-month prison term for passport fraud. But it is breaking its promise to deport him to Manila, to face worse charges of scamming 15,000 Filipinos of P12 billion (891M ringgit, $205M). Supposedly its Ministry of Home Affairs has changed its mind about extraditing the fugitive out of “neighborliness.” Just like that. So the Interpol, Philippine courts, and Amalilio’s victims, mostly working-class Muslims like Malaysians, are left twisting in the wind.

Manila had trusted Prime Minister Najib Razak’s word too much. Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in Feb. 2013 already alerted the Philippines about impending deceit. He divulged then, through this column, that Amalilio held high influence. The conman is a nephew of Razak’s foreign minister, solicitor general, and the Sabah chief minister (see Gotcha, 2 Feb. 2013). They were not mere ruling party mates of the PM; the Sabah politico, one of Malaysia’s sleaziest for multimillion-dollar bribes from forestry grants and money laundering in Hong Kong, was Razak’s main bankroller. Malaysian sources hinted of the kinsmen’s ties to Amalilio’s Ponzi scheme in Muslim Mindanao. So it was unlikely they would turn him in to Philippine justice.

Razak’s officials were in fact already playing games at the time on Philippine counterparts. Amalilio, since fleeing from Mindanao in Nov. 2012, had been spotted several times partying in Sabah. Informed by Malaysia Interpol, Philippine lawmen flew in to take custody. At the airport, however, Sabah local cops stopped the flight and retook the fugitive. Purportedly he had just been charged with entering his Sabah home state on dubious travel papers, so had to be tried. Whereupon, they checked him into a hospital suite, and in two days “sentenced” him to prison till 2014. Interior Sec. Mar Roxas, who was helping Amalilio’s victims file charges, was so stunned that he publicly denounced the odd twist of events. The to-do subsided only after Razak’s gofers promised Foreign Sec. Albert del Rosario and Justice Sec. Leila de Lima to deport their criminal countryman after serving jail time.

Last month, upon Amalilio’s release, de Lima tried to collect on the Malaysian promise. The Home Ministry gave no reason for withholding Amalilio from justice. That is just Razak’s “neighborliness” with a nation of the same Malay race. Implicated years ago in murder and multimillion-euro kickbacks, Razak simply is untrustworthy.

It matters not to Razak that Manila is a major ally, whose help he needs when Malaysia chairs next year the ASEAN economic integration. Forgotten perhaps was Malacañang’s all-out war against a titular Sultan of Sulu, whose ragtag army had “invaded” Sabah in 2013. (Razak falsely had linked Anwar to that side issue in a vain attempt to silence him about Amalilio’s political and blood ties. Two of Anwar’s fellow-oppositionists, MPs Tian Chua and Rasiah Sivarasa, were charged with sedition for meeting in Manila, at the height of the Amalilio furor, with scam victims, prosecutors, and Filipino newsmen.)

Razak’s duplicitous treatment of Manila is highlighted by a similar row with New Zealand. Last May police there charged a Malaysian envoy with sexual assault and burglary. Invoking diplomatic immunity the offender fled to Kuala Lumpur and from there slandered the female complainant. New Zealand persisted with its raps, forcing Razak to turn over the envoy last Oct. of course, con artist Amalilio enjoys from Razak more than just diplomatic cover.

*      *      *

Englishman reader John Denne expounds on the nursery rhyme, “Ring a ring o’ roses,” which I cited Friday in relation to quarantining:

“When growing up we were told that the rhyme referred to the Great Plague of London, a severe strain of flu. It was thought that heavily scented flowers were a form of defense. Moneyed folk then surrounded themselves with such flowers, especially English roses, and wore flowers on their dress. The first signs of disease in sufferers were sneezing, which turned to fever and death. (This also led to people blessing someone who sneezed.) So the poor children would mock them and sing, ‘A ring, a ring of roses, a pocket full of poses. Atishoo! Atishoo!, They all fall down’.”

*      *      *

Filipinos would learn historical lessons from the book, “Panahon ng Hapon: Sining sa Digmaan: Digmaan sa Sining (Japanese Occupation: Art in War: War in Art.” Published 1992 in 50th anniversary commemoration of World War II in the Philippines, it features the body of literary and artworks during conflict.

That conflict, editor Gina Barte reminds, began with a militaristic neighbor-state grabbing surrounding islands. Concept was by Bing Roxas, then chief of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Barte was director of the CCP Museo ng Kalinangang Pilipino.

Now head of the International Council of Museums-Philippines, Barte sees repeats of history. She endorses map exhibitions and researches on the trueness of the Philippine claim and the falsity of China’s “nine-dashed line” over Scarborough Shoal. Foremost scholars on the topic are Supreme Court Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio and Dr. Jay L. Batongbakal, experts on Law of the Sea.

5 December 2014

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Malaysiakini

United States Vice-President Joe Biden has expressed concern over the stifling of the opposition in Malaysia with the use of the Sedition Act and other laws.

He also commented on the upcoming verdict for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s final appeal against his sodomy conviction.

In a Twitter posting today, Biden said amid growing US-Malaysia ties, the Malaysian government’s use of the legal system and Sedition Act to stifle the opposition raises rule of law concerns.

However, he expressed hope that the government would make things right through Anwar’s case.

“Anwar’s appeal gives Malaysia a vital chance to make things right and promote confidence in its democracy and judiciary,” Biden added.

Biden’s call today is reminiscent of former US vice president Al Gore who had famously rebuked the Malaysian government for suppressing freedom, even praising Malaysians who had rallied against former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad as “brave”.

”And so, among nations suffering economic crises, we continue to hear calls for democracy and reform in many languages – people’s power, doi moi, reformasi.

”We hear them today – right here, right now – among the brave people of Malaysia,” Gore had said back in 1998 at the annual meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, although he had always been criticised for trying to foster closer ties with the US, made a complete U-turn when he announced that the Sedition Act will be retained as well as fortified at the Umno general assembly last week.

Najib had said that the Act would be strengthened to protect Islam and other faiths, as well as to deal with calls for secession of Sabah and Sarawak.

The Federal Court is still preparing the judgment on Anwar’s final appeal to set aside his conviction and five years’ jail sentence for sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, six years ago.

The highest court in the country will make its ruling on whether to allow or dismiss Anwar’s appeal to set aside his conviction and jail sentence imposed by the Court of Appeal on March 7 this year, after it had overturned a High Court decision to acquit him.

5 December 2014

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Kebetulan pada jam 1.00 pagi saya membelek karya R. Ng Ronggowarsito (1802-1873), Zaman Edan. Ronggowarsito adalah pujangga Jawa terbesar yang dianggap sebagai penutup segala pujangga jawa kerana selepas beliau tidak ada lagi pujangga. Antara karya beliau yang wajar ditekuni –

I
Hidup di zaman edan
Gelap jiwa bingung pikiran
Turut edan hati tak tahan
Jika tidak turut
Batin merana dan penasaran
Tertindas dan kelaparan
Tapi janji tuhan sudah pasti
Seuntung apa pun orang yang lupa daratan
Lebih selamat orang yang menjaga kesadaran

II
Puncak zaman terkutuk
Kebenaran tak lagi tampak oleh mata hati
Kejernihan pikiran telah tumbang
Memang belum saatnya reda
Bahkan malah makin menjadi

III
Perundangan berbaris-baris
Dijalankan sekehendak hati
Menjadi jalan keuntungan diri
Gelap hati gelap tindakan
Membawa kacau-balau isi dunia

IV
Sekilas saja telah terlihat
Keadaan zaman yang makin gawat
Berantakan dan ruwet kehidupan umat
Hilang sudah ketenangan
Orang menangis di sebarang tempat

V
Membongkar gunung gunung
Melahap hutan-hutan
Tanpa ada yang berani mencegah
Tekut terkena semburan ludah
Yang beracun dan mematikan

ANWAR IBRAHIM
Petaling Jaya
2.45 Petang/ 4 Disember 2014

3 December 2014

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On November 18, 2014, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, founder and board member, IIIT; leader of the Malaysian opposition; and former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, shared his “Reflections on the Aftermath of the Arab Spring” with the general public at the IIIT headquarters in Herndon, VA.

Citing “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you” (Q. 4:59), Anwar attributed the Arab Spring uprising to the ruling elite’s view that the masses cannot protest whatever policies they decide to follow because they are, at least in their own minds, legitimate rulers. Opposing this concept, he asserted that the rulers must govern according to the maqasid in order to achieve the public good – something that they clearly are not doing. Thus the reforms must be systemic, for the entire system is riddled with corruption, abuse, violence, and self-aggrandizement. For the last decade IIIT has been active in this area and has produced many publications in an ongoing attempt to inform Muslims of what the maqasid are and how they can be implemented in contemporary societies.

Citing the lack of ethics in governance, Anwar stated: “The context of the atrocities inflicted upon by the masses was shocking.” Moreover, many “experts” who never saw the upheaval coming asserted that it would not spread beyond Tunisia, thereby showing their inability to understand or even sense the pervasive nature of Arab demands and expectations that finally erupted.

Initial hopes that Arab Spring would succeed in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya turned out to be a mirage in the case of the last two. Those countries that managed to oust their leaders were basically bankrupt, and the Islamists assumed power with simplistic and unrealistic ideas about what they could accomplish and how soon they could accomplish it. With little financial and other support from the Muslim world and the West, the early advances made began to be rolled back as more and more promises went unfulfilled.Dr.Abubaker Alshingeiti, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Dr. Hisham Altalib, and Dr. Emad Shahin

On the whole, Anwar considers the Arab Spring a catastrophe, for now it is not the colonial powers destroying the countries but the countries destroying themselves. The West’s failure to formulate a firm policy toward Syria and ISIS (i.e., a “policy of ambivalence”), when added to an incoherent and inconsistent policy of “supporting democracy” in the region, has left the Arabs confused and cynical.

Muslims have quite a lot to learn from this whole experience, among them the following:

1. They must become inclusive by forming coalitions and alliances to achieve common goals. The time of combative rhetoric is over, for it only alienates others and turns them into unnecessary enemies. As the world saw in Egypt, Islamists must become more flexible, adapt to existing governing realities, get the military back into the barracks, be patient and practice restraint, be humble enough to admit that they need help, and show more compassion and understanding for others.

2. They should study what has transpired in non-Arab Muslim countries: Pakistan (under Muhammad Ali Jinnah), Indonesia’s peaceful transition to democracy, and Turkey’s successful campaign to end the army’s influence in the political arena.

3. They should take the concerns of non-Muslim communities seriously and make a good-faith effort to address them. After all, these citizens are also part of the nation.

During the Question and Answer Session, he made several more points in response to the audience’s many questions:

1. The regional upheaval will continue because the underlying causes remain unaddressed.

2. The new leaders were unqualified to rule because living in a dictatorship deprived them of any chance to learn how to govern. All they had were theories, which turned out to be not very helpful when implemented.

3. It is time for “constructive intervention” so that ASEAN member countries can seriously address long-term problems affecting Muslim minorities in Burma/Myanmar, southern Thailand, the southern Philippines, and Aceh. The leaders of these countries must understand that more killing cannot resolve the underlying problems of underdevelopment and marginalization; what is needed is social justice.

4. The ulema have to understand that the many personal and other freedoms enjoyed in the West are necessary for the Muslim world to become full of new – and real – democracies.

Original article:

http://iiit.org/NewsEvents/News/tabid/62/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/383/Default.aspx?utm_source=IIIT+Monthly+e-Newsletter+-+November+2014&utm_campaign=November2014&utm_medium=email

2 December 2014

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Press Release
2 December 2014

At the UMNO general assembly, PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak made a scurrilous and slanderous attack upon Pakatan Rakyat and myself that RM100 million had been offered to Anifah Aman in order for him to come over to PR.

This false allegation is the subject matter of a defamation suit brought by me against Anifah Aman. Despite the fact that the trial is ongoing, Najib chose to repeat Anifah’s latest baseless allegation that one Ishak Ismail had approached him on my behalf and made such an offer.

In reaction to this blatant falsehood Ishak has publicly stated on 1 December 2014 that he had never made any such offer to Anifah. On the contrary Ishak had confirmed that it was an intermediary acting for Anifah who had approached him instead.

Ishak has now rightly and boldly challenged Anifah to repeat this allegation outside of court where he will be not protected by legal immunity.

I now call upon Najib to retract this false statement made at the UMNO assembly and to apologise to myself and Pakatan Rakyat.

Money politics and corrupt methods has always been the hallmark of UMNO and BN; Pakatan Rakyat has never practised and will never tolerate money politics or corruption. We will save this country by reasoned arguments and by the example of good governance in the States administered by us.

Issued by,

Anwar Ibrahim
Leader of the Opposition

2 December 2014

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Huffington Post

By Amartya Sen (Nobel Laureate Economic Sciences)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Human beings have always lived in groups, and their individual lives have invariably depended on group decisions. But the challenges of group choice can be daunting, particularly given the divergent interests and concerns of the group’s members. So, how should collective decision-making be carried out?

A dictator who wants to control every aspect of people’s lives will seek to ignore the preferences of everyone else. But that level of power is hard to achieve. More important, dictatorship of any kind can readily be seen to be a terrible way to govern a society.

So, for both ethical and practical reasons, social scientists have long investigated how the concerns of a society’s members can be reflected in one way or another in its collective decisions, even if the society is not fully democratic. For example, in the fourth century BC, Aristotle in Greece and Kautilya in India explored various possibilities of social choice in their classic books, Politics and Economics, respectively (the Sanskrit title of Kautilya’s book, Arthashastra, translates literally as “the discipline of material wellbeing”).

The study of social choice as a formal discipline first came into its own in the late eighteenth century, when the subject was pioneered by French mathematicians, particularly J. C. Borda and Marquis de Condorcet. The intellectual climate of the time was greatly influenced by the European Enlightenment, with its interest in reasoned construction of a social order, and its commitment to the creation of a society responsive to people’s preferences.

But the theoretical investigations of Borda, Condorcet, and others often yielded rather pessimistic results. For example, the so-called “voting paradox” presented by Condorcet showed that majority rule can reach an impasse when every alternative is defeated in voting by some other alternative, so that no alternative is capable of standing up to the challenge of every other alternative.

Social choice theory in its modern and systematic form owes its rigorous foundation to the work of Kenneth J. Arrow in his 1950 Columbia University PhD dissertation. Arrow’s thesis contained his famous “impossibility theorem,” an analytical result of breathtaking elegance and reach.

Arrow’s theorem shows that even very mild conditions of reasonableness in arriving at social decisions on the basis of simple preference rankings of a society’s individuals could not be simultaneously satisfied by any procedure. When the book based on his dissertation, Social Choice and Individual Values, was published in 1951, it became an instant classic.

Economists, political theorists, moral and political philosophers, sociologists, and even the general public rapidly took notice of what seemed like — and indeed was — a devastating result. Two centuries after visions of social rationality flowered in Enlightenment thinking, the project suddenly seemed, at least superficially, to be inescapably doomed.

It is important to understand why and how Arrow’s impossibility result comes about. Scrutiny of the formal reasoning that establishes the theorem shows that relying only on the preference rankings of individuals makes it difficult to distinguish between very dissimilar social choice problems. The usability of available information is further reduced by the combined effects of innocuous-seeming principles that are popular in informal discussions.

It is essential, particularly for making judgments about social welfare, to compare different individuals’ gains and losses and to take note of their relative affluence, which cannot be immediately deduced only from people’s rankings of social alternatives. It is also important to examine which types of clusters of preference rankings are problematic for different types of voting procedures.

Nonetheless, Arrow’s impossibility theorem ultimately played a hugely constructive role in investigating what democracy demands, which goes well beyond counting votes (important as that is). Enriching the informational base of democracy and making greater use of interactive public reasoning can contribute significantly to making democracy more workable, and also allow reasoned assessment of social welfare.

Social choice theory has thus become a broad discipline, covering a variety of distinct questions. Under what circumstances would majority rule yield unambiguous and consistent decisions? How robust are the different voting procedures for yielding cogent results? How can we judge how well a society as a whole is doing in light of its members’ disparate interests?

How, moreover, can we accommodate individuals’ rights and liberties while giving appropriate recognition to their overall preferences? How do we measure aggregate poverty in view of the varying predicaments and miseries of the diverse people who comprise the society? How do we arrive at social valuations of public goods such as the natural environment?

Beyond these questions, a theory of justice can draw substantially on the insights and analytical results emerging from social choice theory (as I discussed in my 2009 book The Idea of Justice). Furthermore, the understanding generated by social choice theorists’ study of group decisions has helped some research that is not directly a part of social choice theory — for example, on the forms and consequences of gender inequality, or on the causation and prevention of famines.

The reach and relevance of social choice theory is extensive. Rather than undermining the pursuit of social reasoning, Arrow’s deeply challenging impossibility theorem, and the large volume of literature that it has inspired, has immensely strengthened our ability to think rationally about the collective decision-making on which our survival and happiness depend.

This piece also appeared on Project Syndicate.

© Project Syndicate

30 November 2014

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The visit by Pope Francis to Turkey gives new meaning to religious tolerance and understanding between Christendom and Islam and heralds a new chapter in relations between the two great civilizations.

In a radical departure from the conventional papal posture, Pope Francis prefers to relate rather than pontificate and that has made all the difference.

To begin with, he goes to Turkey not to preach but to reach out, very much in the tradition of Christ, with humility and peace to the Muslim world as signified by Turkey, having already made his rounds to Jordan and Palestine.

Even more significantly, he has led by example in being the first pontiff to eschew the stereotypical association of Islam with extremism and violence, no doubt one of the glaring features of Islamophobia particularly in the West that is spreading at an even faster pace than the tentacles of the reviled Isis and the so-called Islamic caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

This genuine desire for understanding must therefore be received warmly and reciprocated with an equally genuine desire for the same from leaders of the Muslim world.

In this regard, President Erdo?an has done just that in publicly praising the pope for his “efforts to spread world peace, tolerance, peace and co-existence.” More than just words, this is a gesture that will go a long way towards blazing the trail for a new chapter in Muslim-Christian relations in general and in mending the strained relationships of the past.

Once we get past the theological polemics which more often than not puts a strain on inter-religious relations, the matters that bind these two great faiths should be reason enough for cultivating greater tolerance and mutual respect.

There is no doubt that issues that bind all faiths and communities such as equity and justice, peace, the dignity of man, the need to alleviate the plight of the poor and the marginalized must continue to dominate the discourse.

While detractors will be quick to point out that one swallow does not make a summer, it is hoped that, emulating the positive steps being made by the Pope and President Erdo?an, world leaders of all major faiths will focus their energies on resolving these issues with a fervour and commitment driven by common ground that we share rather than the differences that are exaggerated.

Anwar Ibrahim
Chair
World Forum for Muslim Democrats
30th November 2014

25 November 2014

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Jelajah RAKYAT HAKIM NEGARA Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim

Ke Pulau Pinang, Selangor & Sarawak

 27 November 2014 – Khamis – PULAU PINANG

1)    6.00 ptg –  Ucaptama – ” THE FUTURE OF ASEAN,

BEYOND   ASEAN VALUES”  -

KASYP ALUMNI CONFERENCE

Lokasi:  Hotel Vistana Pulau Pinang

2)   8.30 pm  - MAJLIS PENGHARGAAN SEMPENA

KEMENANGAN    TEMPAT PERTAMA –

MEDAN SELERA BERSIH &  SELAMAT

PERINGKAT KEBANGSAAN 2014

Lokasi:  Komplek Bukit Gedung,  BATU MAUNG

3)   8.30 – 12.00 mlm – Ceramah –  RAKYAT HAKIM NEGARA

 

Lokasi : Pusat Khidmat DUN Permatang Pasir,

PERMATANG PAUH

Penceramah  :

1)    YB Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim

2)   YB Dato’ Mansor Othman

3)   YB Khalid Samad

4)   YB Dato’ Salleh Man

5)    Pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat Negeri

28 November 2014 –  Jumaat – PULAU PINANG

1)   9.00am  - UCAPTAMA MAJLIS PENGIKTARAFAN DAN

IJTIMAK  AL- HUFFAZ   PERINGKAT  NEGERI

PULAU PINANG –  KALI KE 7 – 2014

Lokasi : Yayasan An Nahdhoh, KUBANG SEMANG,

Permatang Pauh

28 November 2014 – Jumaat – SELANGOR

1)   8.00 – 12.00 mlm – Ceramah – RAKYAT HAKIM NEGARA

Lokasi : Jalan Indah 2/1, Puchong (Sebelah Petron)

Penceramah:

1.     YB Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim

2.     YAB Azmin Ali

3.     YAB Lim Guan Eng

4.     YBhg Mat Sabu

5.     YB Dat’ Husam Musa

6.     YB Hanafiah Maidin

7.     YB Gobind Singh & Pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat

29  November 2014 – Sabtu – SARAWAK

1)   4. 00 ptg – Ceramah – RAKYAT HAKIM NEGARA

Lokasi : Kampong  Logan Bunut, Tinjar, BARAM

2)    7.00 – 11.00 mlm – Ceramah – RAKYAT HAKIM NEGARA

Lokasi : Waterfront, MIRI

30 November 2014 – Ahad – SARAWAK

1) 10.00 pg –  Perjumpaan Pimpinan Muda Sarawak

Lokasi : Grand Continental Hotel, KUCING, SARAWAK

2)   2.00 ptg – Mesyuarat Majlis Pimpinan Negeri

3)   4.00 ptg – Ceramah – RAKYAT HAKIM NEGARA

Lokasi : Kampong Santubong, SANTUBONG

4)   6.30 ptg – Himpunan Perdana – RAKYAT HAKIM NEGARA

Lokasi : Desa Ilmu, KOTA SAMARAHAN

Penceramah:

1.     YB Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim

2.     YB Baru Bian

3.     YB See Chee How

4.     YB Ali Biju

5.     YB Nurul Izzah Anwar

6.     YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad

7.     YB Sim Tze Sin

8.     YBhg Dato’ Saifuddin Nasution

 

PEJABAT DATO’ SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM

24 November 2014

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by Anwar Ibrahim, Leader of Opposition Malaysia and former Deputy Prime Minister

Stanford University on November 20, 2014 hosted by Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) and Muslim Student Association

I begin by making some bold assertions. We, as in we all, regardless whether it is the Muslim world or the West or Asia, are facing great challenges. This is no time for equivocation.

So, let me first state firmly: Islam and democracy are fully compatible. The contention that they are diametrically opposed to each other is without foundation.

Secondly, Boko Haram, al-Shabab, ISIS and all other terrorist organizations that resort to killing innocent people, raping, kidnapping and forced conversions have no legitimacy whatsoever and the term Islam or Islamic state cannot be ascribed to them. Period.

Thirdly, the ulema, Muslim clerics, influential Muslim organizations and all eminent Muslim democrats must condemn not just these extreme and violent groups but also the dictatorships and autocratic regimes in the Muslim world that have persistently denied democratic rights to their citizens, and whose human rights record could put even North Korea to shame.

Fourthly, even as the tentacles of ISIS appear to be spreading across Syria and Iraq, Islamophobia is spreading at an even faster pace all around the world. In consequence, bona fide Muslim organizations and Muslim democrats become targets even as ordinary Muslims fall prey to ‘hate crimes’.

(more…)

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