By Johan Zawawi
Centerpiece of Malaysia's 'moderate Muslim' image is the concept of 'Islam Hadhari', which means 'Civilizational Islam'. Malaysia's Prime Minister always trots out this idea in speeches to appreciative and uncritical foreign audiences. The sheer contradiction in terms of this name notwithstanding--there is nothing civilised about Sharia or Islam, but never mind about that for now--just how 'moderate' is Islam in Malaysia nowadays?
First, here are Islam Hadhari's main points, as spelled out by the concept's inventor, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's first Prime Minister, in 1957:
- Faith and piety in Allah
- Just and trustworthy government
- Freedom and independence to the people
- Mastery of knowledge
- Balanced and comprehensive economic development
- Good quality of life for all
- Protection of the rights of minority groups and women
- Cultural and moral integrity
- Protection of the environment
- A strong defence policy
OK, let's go down the list, point by point.
Point One--Faith and piety in Allah. Well, we all know what Islam's idea of 'piety' is ... keep the kuffar down! Islamic piety means never having to say you're sorry, especially to the infidels.
Point two--Just and trustworthy government. Now who could disagree with this? Of course, Malaysia's Official State Religion (as specified in its Constitution) is Islam, meaning that the entire national government has an official tilt towards Islam, in budgetary priorities, policy, etc. This bias, under Malaysian law, is perfectly legal. Is this 'just'? And just how trustworthy can a government be, when it has massive, systemic problems like corruption, a near-total lack of transparency, and rampant cronyism at its highest levels?
Point three--Freedom and Independence of the people. As this Malaysian High Court case clearly demonstrates, 'freedom' in Malaysia doesn't include the freedom to choose your own religion. Put another way, freedom only works if you want to become a Muslim, and then freedom ends at that point. What if you're 'born' as Muslim? No religious freedom for you either, of course. Other kinds of freedom, such as the freedom to criticize one's own government, freedom of assembly, and freedom of expression, are sharply curtailed under Malaysia's repressive Internal Security Act.
Point four--Mastery of Knowledge. As this lengthy list of censored books in Malaysia shows, there's plenty of knowledge out there in the world that your Muslim and UMNO overlords would rather you not know about nor master. In Malaysia, bad old-fashioned ignorance is preferred.
Point five--Balanced and comprehensive economic development. Sounds great! However, in Malaysia, Malays and other so-called 'Bumiputra' (meaning "sons of the soil") are legally first among equals, and are favoured over non-Malays in all sorts of official ways (lower interest rates on housing loans, easier access to student loans, preferential hiring for government jobs, and more government assistance in general). This is all legal and sanctioned under longstanding Malaysian government policy, as well as the infamous Article 153 in the Malaysian Constitution. Is this balanced?
Point six--Good quality of life for all. Absolutely wonderful...but see point five for the important catch.
Point seven--Protection of....women's rights. The Quran, Mohammed's own teachings, and 14 centuries of Islam make it very clear, that women are not the equals of men. No amount of posturing, or spin, and certainly nothing some Malaysian PM says, is going to change that. And then there's Malaysia's own misogynist 'Islamic Family Law Bill', which makes divorce easier for Muslim men and life in general a lot tougher on Muslim women, which would have certainly pleased Mohammed.
Point eight--Cultural and moral integrity. This point sounds, to me, suspiciously like codewords for keeping Sharia and the Muslim religious police around forever, with the non-Muslim taxpayers stuck footing a healthy chunk of the bill. Malaysia's Religious Police periodically proclaim their intent to continue their mission of moral policing, and 'saving' the nation from evils like handholding, kissing in public, khalwat, etc. Monumental injustices like lifestyle police will never, ever go away, as long as Islam exists in this country.
Point nine--Protection of the environment. Looking around Malaysia, I see clearcutting of its jungle at a breakneck pace, crappy water and air quality, and ineffectual and spotty enforcement of its own environmental laws. When there's money to be made and kickbacks to be received, who cares a wit about the 'environment'? Certainly not some bureaucrats in Putrajaya.
Point ten--A strong defense policy. The Malaysian military and its budget will always be looked after...after all, who makes up the vast majority of military personnel? Malays, and hence Muslims, of course.
Fourteen centuries of trying to 'moderate' Islam have been an abject failure, and so Islam Hadhari has failed just like all the rest. Islam is so ingrained with violence, aggression and intolerance, that any attempt to 'moderate' or purge these elements from the ideology will render Islam unislamic--an unimaginable crime in the eyes of Mohammedans everywhere.
Islam Hadhari is not only an empty promise in the land of its birth, it is also a cheap fraud perpetrated upon the unsuspecting 'infidel' world.