Some Questions for the Wise Men of PAS

By Farish A. Noor

July 31, 2008

As if this country doesn’t have enough problems to worry about, what with the impending global recession, Malaysia’s inevitable slowdown and the fear of capital flight from the country and the region as a whole; now we have to deal with the very real and somewhat nasty prospect of an Islamic state being smuggled through the back door (apologies for the metaphor!) while the Islam Hadhari ship of state remains stuck in the doldrums of non-governance.

According to The Star’s report today (30th July 2008), the Spiritual Leader (Murshid’ul Am) of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party PAS, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, has stated that ‘PAS will propose the implementation of Hudud Law and Qisas (law of retaliation) if the proposed PAS-UMNO merger becomes a reality’.

That, of course, is precisely what Malaysia needs at the moment and it is bound to be the ultimate cure for all our economic and structural-institutional ills. One can imagine the miraculous transformation of the Malaysian economy instantaneously, and the hordes of eager foreign investors who will be falling over themselves in their mad rush to invest in Malaysia as soon as we start implementing Islamic law and imposing Hudud punishments.

Why, after all, would one want to visit boring Singapore or dull Bali when they can come to Malaysia to see public whippings and beheadings as proscribed by the conservative interpretation of Hudud punishments as understood by some of our home-grown Islamists?

What is even more startling is the simple fact that the simple-minded people in UMNO seem to be playing with fire without taking into account the attendant risk that one can get burned, sometimes severely. Malaysia’s Islamisation experiment began in the 1980s with both UMNO and PAS trying to out-Islamise each other, while struggling for the same Malay-Muslim vote base. Now this grotesque war of ideas has taken on tragic-comic proportions and the Islamic revolution, so to speak, is about to devour its own children.

For jaded cynics like myself who have had enough with politicians soiling the pages of holy books and defiling religion for the sake of realpolitik, this is the straw that has broken this camel’s back. I have seen religio-politics gone badly wrong all over Asia: at the hands of Hindu fundamentalists in India, Buddhist fundamentalists in Sri Lanka, Muslim fundamentalists in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The thought that three decades of development can only bring us to this, a watered-down toothless Islam Hadhari with no critical acumen and reconstructive potential and an Islamic state being snuck in via the Trojan horse of a Malay-Unity merger between PAS and UMNO reeks to the heavens of majoritarian supremacy more than anything else.

So, before I pack up my books again and head off to saner climes, I would like to ask the wise men of PAS these questions:

1. What, in the respected opinion of the esteemed men of knowledge who lead PAS, is the correct Hudud punishment for someone who kills a Mongolian model and then has her blown to bits by explosives (C4, for instance)?

2. In the learned opinion of the respected men of knowledge of PAS, what should an Islamic PAS-UMNO government do with weapons that were bought from Russia, a state that was known for its rather nasty habit of murdering Muslim Chechnyans?

3. Would the wise men of PAS consider buying some more armaments from our beloved Russian allies in the future when they come to power as the bedfellows of UMNO, such as, perhaps, used Kalashnikovs or other weapons of destruction that were perhaps also used to kill Muslims in Chechnya too?

4. The UMNO-led government has been praised by Washington as a key strategic ally in the ‘War on Terror’ and its leaders have demonstrated their eagerness to work with other developed Western powers in this war. PAS, on the other hand, declared the Taliban to be their brothers in 2002. Will the new PAS also join hands with UMNO in the great Washington-led Crusade against Islamic terror when they come to power?

5. PAS in the past condemned the UMNO-led government for its alleged dealings with Israel. If PAS comes to power, will the learned wise elders of PAS find the necessary scriptural sources to help promote further dealings with Israel too?

6. Between 2004 to 2008, the wise men of PAS declared that Islam Hadhari was fundamentally un-Islamic and when PAS came to power in several states in 2008 it even declared that it would no longer help promote the idea of Islam Hadhari. Now that PAS may be on the threshold of its new honeymoon period with its beloved UMNO, will PAS finally admit the error of its ways and accept that Islam Hadhari is indeed the truest expression of normative Islam and do its utmost to promote Islam Hadhari to its own misguided followers?

7. PAS’s leaders have claimed that they wish to further the Islamic cause by getting closer to power. Will they now help to Islamise the Internal Security Act and other repressive laws to show that the ISA is, after all, compatible with Islam (especially Islam Hadhari)?

8. When PAS ousted its fourth President Asri Muda at the PAS assembly of 1982, its new Ulama leaders condemned Asri as a ethno-nationalist who sold the party to UMNO and debased its Islamist ideology with ideas of racial communitarianism. Now will the same leaders of PAS please apologise to the departed Asri Muda and accept that Asri was right after all, and that the Ulama’s ideology of Islamism was in fact an abberation that confused the minds of Muslims?

27 thoughts on “Some Questions for the Wise Men of PAS

  1. Dear Farish A Noor,

    Shouldn’t you ask the same question to Pas when they wanted to be in Pakatan Rakyat. Why question them now?

    Shouldn’t these questions be irrespective of Pas joining BN or Pakatan Rakyat. Shouldn’t the same rule apply.

    So when Pas joins BN and form a new government, you shoot them with these question. But there is a possibility of Pas together with PKR and DAP also forming a new government (according to Anwar by Sept 16th), and you say nothing. Ask them the same thing.

    Of course there are a couple question that is irrelevent from the 8 question that you pose to them.

  2. Farish Noor,

    The questions will put PAS in a quandary. How about if you Faris ask them this question too;

    1) In the learned opinion of the respected men of knowledge of PAS, what should an Islamic party like PAS do with a person who is a known good friends with people like Cohen and Wolfenson of the US, a state that was known for its rather nasty habit of murdering a lot more Muslims than the Russians?

    A tough question huh?

    That’s why all the questions above are redundant and purely rhetoric in nature.

  3. This whole UMNO-PAS talk is a typical political ploy with both sides trying to outsmart each other.

    In the process both are going to come out of it (if at all) very bruised and perhaps even permanently scarred if not seriously maimed.

    PAS, do not think that just because you won big time in the 12th GE, you have the insurance to beat the sick-man-of-Malaysia (UMNO) to smittens.

    UMONO too has its 50-years of gimmicks, don’t forget.

    But to hell with these politicians. My biggest concern is that we the ordinary rakyat will get scroched in the process.

  4. Cresant,

    You are right about Cohen and Wolfenson being from US. Based on your logic, worse still would be the President of US. Should a person that Bush called friend lead Malaysia ?

    I also wonder what happens if Barack Obama becomes the President of US. Should we oppose him too and call him our enemy because US is “a state that was known for its rather nasty habit of murdering a lot more Muslims than the Russians?”

  5. PAS has decided that they are not going to have any political cooperation with UMNO. Thats the conclusion of teh Muktamar. I think we should let this issue rest.

  6. Din AHmad,

    Did you watch Barack Obama’s speech is Israel last week?

    I gues you didn’t coz in that speech, Obama clearly expressed his desire to see a stronger Israel.

    Look it up ok.

    To me, regardless who becomes the President of US, their policy regarding Israel will still be the same. How can you be so naive?

  7. Sorry cresant, I cant agree with your logic. It is also up to you to think whether i am so naive or not. Not that it matters.

    And that policy will stay the same for a 100 years to come ?

  8. Let’s put this Umno-PAS unity to rest. Hadi Awang has said that there ain’t going to be an Umno-PAS pact. So, Tajol Rosli, eat your heart out. On Merdeka Day Aug 31 only the drums will roll. Fat hopes.

  9. din ahmad,

    on that note, and based on your replies, then the question 2 ,3 and 4 by Farish is redundant. That was the point of my earlier comments.

  10. by the way, that US policy had been the same since 1948. Why can;t it be the same for the next 100 years. As long as the Jew controls the US senate, it will be the same.

    Obama will succumb to their wishes. Even b4 he can become the President, he already kow towing with the Israelis as evident in his speech last week.

    And why are you so confident of Obama gonna be different from the past presidents? You don;t even know him. In that, I find you naive. And it does matter. It lend credence to all your other commentary.

  11. Cresant, I can’t agree more to your comments.

    Who ever become President of the US will to succumb to the Jewish cause. This is because the majority of any the US Senate Committee are infested with Jews or sympathizers. After all, it is the Jews money that place them there. One wrong move that hurt the Jews cause , there will be crucified. Kennedy and Carter were good examples.

    It will make no difference to the Jews if Obama or Mc Cain to become President. Whoever can give a better bargain to the Jews cause will definitely win the Presidency. Period.

    Both are being surrounded by the so called ‘think tank’ who most Jews decent or sympathizers.

    For Bro. Din Ahmad, please surf in the ‘ JewsWatch’ website and you find many interesting info. on the Jews in the US.


  12. Din Ahmad & Cresant,

    [ You are right about Cohen and Wolfenson being from US. Based on your logic, worse still would be the President of US. Should a person that Bush called friend lead Malaysia ?]

    So what. Whether he hate or like the jews should not be the reason a person not to be able to lead the country. If Anwar befriend a jews, what wrong with it. You’re telling me his ability to lead a country would be compromise simply because it. Nonsense.

    It is 2 different topic here you moron. Get a grip on that. Don’t mix it up. When it comes to jews, muslims simply lost all their reasoning,
    ie or israel/jews=bad people, and anything associated with them are also bad.

    I suppose, now some of you will say that i’m a jewish agent . And there will be another conspiracy theory , well.. bring it on.

  13. Dear All,

    a. Issue of whether a friend of US can lead this country better or not have relationships to the foreign policies of US vis a vis Malaysia which is dependent also on our attitude towards them.

    b. It’s wrong to say US policies towards Israel have not change over the years. I am sure Din Merican can comment on this – his area of expertise. As you pointed out Kennedy and Carter tried that.

    c. Over time, US’s policies will find a more equitable arrangement with the Muslim world. It needs several rounds of levelheaded Presidents for this to happen. These policies, however, would not change if the Muslim world continues to be weak and corrupted. The strong relationship between US and Israel is due to the Muslim world’s own weaknesses. Its easier for Israel to get things their way because the Muslims are so easily dominated due to their divisiveness and in fighting.

    d. I visited Toledo, not far from Madrid in Spain a couple of years ago. Its a medieval town inside a fort surrounded on the perimeter with river. The only way to get in or out is trough a drawn bridge. It is like a perfect shooting location for the Lord of the Rings. Anyway, within steps from each other is a Mosque, a Church and a Synagogue. According to history, the three groups, separated religious lived in complete harmony and they banded together fighting intruders from outside world. The point is, it does not matter to me whether they are Jews, Muslims, or Christians. We are all children of God. The problem that the religions are having is that everybody once to claim exclusivity with truth. That’s where the fighting starts. Of course, it is a complex issue with many intertwining stakes and groups.

    e. Obama will not be able to change the policies 100% even if he wanted to. He is under tremendous pressure from the mainstream media in US, them trying to stop him from becoming the President. I will let you draw your own conclusions. Yes. I did watch some of his speeches and yes, they are not anti Jews or Israel. You will also notice he did not get the same kind of response and applause that Republican candidates would get when talking to similar groups.

    f. Jews/Israel is part of world community. They have their own ways of protecting their existence, and they will continue to do so. Our duty as Muslims or Malaysians is to find means and ways to protect our own existence. That is the reason why the leadership of this country is important.

    g. When we discuss about our country and where we are heading, what is most important to me is a leadership that will be able to take us to greater heights is all aspects of living in a modern and civilized country. We used to be the darling of the world as far as economic growth is concern, but today we are just a pariah in ASEAN. Not only that, as a leader of OIC – which is considered a laughing stock among international groupings- we have no significant value to the international community. Internally, we are fighting to keep “Ketuanan Melayu” and doing that for the last 50 years and still have pathetic results.

    h. We have to seek in ourselves why we are at this stage. Where is our source of problems and how do we overcome it. What is it that we have been doing wrong and how do we go about correcting it.

    i. That means its time for self-assessment and impending change. Just like in the corporate world, you cannot get the same management to correct a long outstanding problem; the same is with the leadership of the country. There is nothing personal against anyone, it is just that UMNO/BN is no more effective and we need a new group to lead the country.

    j. It is not nice to call people naïve or morons. It is just a reflection of the name caller.

  14. cresant,

    what is wrong with Cohen and Wolfensohn? Just because they are friends of Anwar Ibrahim? How more irrational can anyone get. I see nothing wrong with these Americans.

    You should be asking yourself: why does Dr. Mahathir Mohamad have a fondness for that tinpot dictator Robert Mugabe who has brought his country Zimbabwe down to its knees? Why does Malaysia trade with the United States, or why do we spend hundreds of millions of ringgit in taxpayers’ money to send our young people to study in American universities?

    You will know the answer. If we don’t, we will lose economically by not trading with the world’s economic superpower or by stopping to send our students there. Even the Prime Minister who is regarded by many Malaysians as “plain dumb” will not cut off with the United States. Let us separate official policies of any country from friendships and professional affliations with its citizens.

    With regard to those questions raised by Farish, I think they are worth considering. I am sure that PAS intellectuals like Kamaruddin Jaafar, Dr. Zulkifly Ahmad, Khalid Samad, Syed Azman and others will deal with them as they chart the strategic direction of their party within Pakatan Rakyat. We should also not discount the wisdom and political acuity of Tok Guru Nik Aziz and Ustaz Abdul Hadi Awang. Their handling of recent UMNO-PAS talks is a case in point.

    What is lacking in our country is that it has an oversuipply of conformists, pak turuts and kaki bodeks. We don’t ask questions. We should adopt the Socratic commitment to questioning, As Cornel West says, “[T]he Socratic commitment to questioning( named after the Greek Philosopher, Socrates) requires a relentless self-examination and critique of institutions of authority, motivated by an endless quest for intellectual integrity and moral consistency”.

    We must, West adds, have the capacity to “engage in a critique of and resistence to the corruptions of mind, soul and society.”

    I wish to add that if we don’t respect the dignity of difference and denigrate diversity as a source of our national strength we deserve to descend to decadence.

  15. Farish asks PAS very important questions, partaining to their own vision and dreams of what they want of Malaysia, and I really hope that Din is right when he says of the wisemen in PAS leadership. From the eyes of a non-Malay/Muslim, I cannot but help concluding that PAS will stoop at nothing in order to make Malaysia a ‘pure’ Islamic State, that people like us will end up as dhimmis under their ‘protection’ (Godfather?).

  16. Din Ahmad,

    There was this one time when it was reported that Anwar was given a reception by the U.S. State Department officials better than that accorded to the then premier Mahathir – equivalent to a red carpet welcome. Mahathir took it as a personal rebuke. Anwar was after all his deputy.

    Then there was 9/11. In the aftermath of 9/11 to say that there was no deliberate effort by the U.S. government to distance itself from leaders who built their political careers around Islamic values would be to deny the obvious. Gone was the enthusiasm shown to political leaders like Anwar especially when Malaysia was seen as one of those countries which had connections to members of the group involved in the planning of the 9/11 attacks on NYC. Suddenly Mahathir was no longer criticized for his use of legislation like the ISA. Indeed the U.S. went on to introduce similar legislation (U.S. Patriot Act and later the Real ID Act) that gave powers to the U.S. President, among others, to detain enemy combatants without trial. Mahathir exploited the situation and by enlisting the help of a Jewish lobbyist ( who was later prosecuted for corruption) was able to meet President Bush. It was nothing more than photo ops for both.

    Anwar’s friendly relationship with Paul Wolfowitz (who is familiar with politics in this part of the world since he was once the U.S. ambassador to Indonesia) attracted flak from his critics. After all Wolfowitz was a hawkish advocate of the war with Iraq. Still talk about Anwar being a ‘Jewish agent’ is as ludicrous as it sounds.

    Today the support of the United States is not for Anwar the person but for what it means to have a leader like him and his party lead the country – his commitment to democratic values like transparency, good governance and accountability. Malaysia will continue to be identified with the anti-U.S. lobby as far as Iraq is concerned even under Anwar. They understand that.

  17. clap clap clap, well said Din Ahmad! When are you going into politics, joined PKR already? We need level headed people like you around.

    Yes I agree that as long as we have politicians who practises “ketuanan Melayu” there will never be any assimilation, pathetic results the last 51 years clearly showed.

    And I particularly like what you said in (j), and agree with you in total that it’s the reflection of the name-caller!

    Thank you Sir!

  18. Din Ahmad, i take back what i said earlier, apparently Malaysian are quite sensitive to these name-calling. I will try my best (can’t promise that i will always)

    Back to what Mr Bean said,

    [ Today the support of the United States is not for Anwar the person but for what it means to have a leader like him and his party lead the country – his commitment to democratic values like transparency, good governance and accountability. ]

    Are you sure ? The support is not about Anwar, or anybody, the support is about the process. The support is about the right. (And if what you’re saying it true, then for me it is wrong). It must never be about anybody regardless of how good/bad they are. Even if Mahathir were to nominate himself back, US must still support process, although they hate his guts.

    People gets confuse sometimes, a lot of people thinks that it is about Anwar, we want him to be the next PM, we want him because he can speak arabic, we want him because he treat people fairly.

    Let me tell you something, don’t get confuse.
    What happens if he’s no longer around, or if he dies tomorrow. Then what .

    Let me ask you this, let say there is a Malaysia Jew, would you dismiss his right to contest for top post just because he’s jew. Can you accept a jewish Prime Minister?

    Anwar Ibrahim must be given a fair chance to compete for the top post (if he wants to), and so should you (if you choose to). The support must be given to ensure anybody who wants the top post, is given a fair shot.

  19. I suppose you’re referring to this

    [for what it means to have a leader like him and his party lead the country – his commitment to democratic values like transparency, good governance and accountability]

    and, obviously you don’t understand my point.

  20. Dude,

    Thank you for the understanding I think it would be more pleasant exchanges of opinion if everybody stay civil and engage in intelectual discourses.

  21. Mr. Bean,

    The 9/11 shattered the cloud of invincibility engulfing US after the cold war. They thought that as the only superpower left, nothing could touch them. The so called “terrorism” strike created a major shock and agony of not knowing what else will happen. What follows were typical knee jerk and opportunistic reactions. Many groups used it for their own benefit including powerful war barons, lobbyist and politicians especially the President.

    The results have not been all negative to the Muslims and Islam, though. Islam is now the fastest growing religion in US. UNESCO declared 2007 as the Year of Rumi, a well known Muslim Sufi (Jalaluddin Rumi)and Rumi now is the most read poet in US. I am sure these developments will translate into long term benefits towards understanding Islam, which is the most misunderstood religion, by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
    Yes. Anwar may not be treated as well as he used to be, pre 9/11. It just proves “…Anwar being a ‘Jewish agent’ is as ludicrous as it sounds.” – as you mentioned, if he is a Jewish agent, there will not be any change in their treatment towards him.

    Anwar is just a among the most respected Asian leader due to his commitment towards transparency, democracy, accountability, international relations and mutual growth – necessary ingredients of an Asian and Muslim nation of the future.

    His international linkages started during his ABIM days. As a trusted and respected person, its easy for the relationships to continue, until today, in form of personal friendships. Most of BN/UMNO leaders are envious of this, thus enhancing his persecution and harassment.

  22. “…and, obviously you don’t understand my point.” Dude

    No. Not at all – and obviously it would do the readers good if you keep your haughtiness to yourself.

  23. Din Ahmad,

    It appears that most loyal adherents to this school of thought i.e. the “Anwar is a Jewish agent” school of thought, are the Jews and their agents. Nothing like turning one Muslim brother against another.

    Be that as it may, there is someone here who compares himself to Anwar and thinks others should look at him as a Jewish agent too, that Mossad would do well to look at him as an ‘excellent’ recruit to their cause and the rest of us should take note.

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