Kassim Ahmad Urges Najib: Show Political Courage and put things right


June 18. 2014

Taipei, Taiwan

Public Intellectual-Scholar Kassim Ahmad Urges Najib:  Show Political Courage and  put things right

by FMT Staff@www.freemalaysiatoday.com.my

kassim thinker

Malaysia appears to be at the “brink of anarchy”, controversial scholar Kassim Ahmad said today in reference to recent actions by Islamic authorities.

Explaining why he had instructed his lawyers to ask for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s intervention in the case brought against him by the Federal Territories Islamic Department (JAWI), he said he was concerned that Islam was being unjustly dishonoured.

His lawyers’ letter, sent out last Friday, was also addressed to Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir and de facto Religious Affairs Minister Jamil Khir Baharom. In a message to FMT, Kassim, often referred to as Pak Kassim, wrote:

“There were many wrong things that were done by JAWI to me. They came in 13 cars and raided and searched my house, seized my personal belongings, dragged and bundled me into a van and drove me from Kedah to Penang Airport and then flew me out of the state of Kedah to KL against my will.

“Then JAWI kept me up awake the whole night interrogating me and the next day charged me in the Putrajaya Court in such a spectacular manner.

“Was all that necessary? I am a harmless 80-year-old man. The accusation against me is that I gave an opinion different from the mainstream opinion. Is difference of opinion a crime? That’s why I am asking Brig-Gen Dato Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, the minister overseeing JAWI, to address and correct these wrongs.

“I addressed my letter to the PM because lately Malaysia seems to be on the brink ofKassim and Rosli anarchy. The PM took an oath to uphold the Federal Constitution. Thus, the PM must clarify these issues so that JAWI and their like do not act in a manner that dishonours Islam as a great religion and, more importantly, that JAWI, which is under the PM’s Department, does not breach the fundamental liberties guaranteed by the Constitution.

“It is the PM’s constitutional duty to ensure that every agency act within the bounds of the law. They cannot be a law unto their own.

“I also addressed the Menteri Besar of Kedah because I am a citizen of Kedah. The MB has a duty to protect me under the concept of federalism so that agencies of other states like JAWI cannot do as they please in the state of Kedah. Kedah has its own laws and fatwas.

“JAWI has charged me for an offence that has no equal in the Kedah Syariah Enactments. Yet, JAWI dragged me from Kedah and forced me to come under JAWI’s jurisdiction. That is disrespecting the concept of federalism and violating my fundamental rights.

“The Kedah MB must answer to my plea for protection, especially since DYMM Sultan Kedah is now the Yang Di Pertuan Agong. I hope these ministers will discharge their constitutional duties and have the moral and political courage to put things right.”

34 thoughts on “Kassim Ahmad Urges Najib: Show Political Courage and put things right

  1. Yes, Najib must stand up for and do what is right. By allowing overzealous functionaries to have free hand to do as they please in the name of Islam is just unacceptable. JAWI has done injustice to not only Kassim Ahmad but also Nik Raina of Borders.–Din Merican

  2. Many Malaysians have volunteered to become jihad fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq and Syria. Are they terrorists or does this constitute jihad?

    Copying Islamic States -style could lead to chaos and turmoils!

  3. “There were many wrong things that were done by JAWI to me. They came in 13 cars and raided and searched my house, seized my personal belongings, dragged and bundled me into a van and drove me from Kedah to Penang Airport and then flew me out of the state of Kedah to KL against my will.”

    Sounds like the Mafia. This is not how we should treat each other. These functionaries should be demoted in ways they understand best. Appealing to Islamic ideals won’t do, as they have demonstrated time and again that is sort of thinking is not within their grasp as workers in a govt dept of religious affairs whose livelihoods are sustained by the taxpayers.

  4. It is extremely perverse to treat, let alone mistreat, another Muslim who holds his religion from ‘ another ‘ perspective, but not exactly ‘ deviating ‘ from its core teachings ?

    Its not clear, are the JAIS people accusing Pak Kassim as a shi-ite or what ? Even if that be the case, why humiliate his person, engagement for conciliation & understanding should be the Islamic way……..even if he differs from his scholarly ways, what is the difference ? Late Saddam Hussein a Sunni but he came to power through ‘ assasination ‘ and usurping from by eliminating his top. The current leadership of Iraq is a Shi’-ite, still Muslims killing Muslims has become the sad state of affairs……but never through Reconciliation – civilised or uncivilised ?

  5. Dear Kassim,

    Any decent person can feel the indignation and insult you have undergone. The pain for you would have been greater as you had committed no crime other than to express your opinion. If this is how Malay Muslim zealots go about exercising their power in Malaysia, what holds for the future of the country. Worst still, Najib will not intervene on your case as he is busy with his own personal matters. You can write him off as a sleeping PM. It is to Civil societies that you should look for relief.

  6. Do not expect much, if any, to be done with this dysfunctional PM.
    With corruption ever rising in this country, price of everything will only go up and up, with all sorts of taxes levied on the nation. Livelihood of the masses will suffer, driving many towards religion extremism, hoping to seek solace. Do we see any similarity to Pakistan or the likes.

  7. Iran is controlled by Shia/Shi’-it, like the present Iraqi govt; Saudi Arabia is controlled by Sunni who controlled Iraq under the late Saddam Hussein. Syria’s opposition is from Sunni, Iraqi opposition is from Sunni wants helps from Iran who was former Iraq’s enemy; Iran is USA’s enemy, Saudi is USA’s ally.

    So, would Iran becomes USA’s friend/ally? Malaysian terrorists bound for Baghdad to fight and die the Sunni?

    Don’t be fooled by the politics, hypocrites and the racists!!

  8. The only person who can put a stop to this sad episode is Tun Dr. Mahathir. After all, it was the former Prime Minister who invited Pak Kassim to speak at the forum sponsored by the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya. He should stand up for his friend.–Din Merican

  9. Asking for Najib’s intervention is as good as asking Najib to be the fair and just PM all Malaysians were expecting him to be. SInce Najib has proven that he has no substance whatsoever, Pak Kassim’s request is sadly a total waste of his time.

  10. These topics are beyond me, so, no comments except this – Those of the same vintage as Pak Kassim Ahmad and those who know him are sad that he has been treated in such disrespectful manner!

  11. Mahathir to end it all? Don’t place your bet on it. This man (mahathir) is cunning to the core. He is playing a nasty game. He is the patron-saint of perkasa; and was instrumental in creating the monster known as jakim. I just cannot fathom what his end evil-intentions are.

  12. Kassim,
    Najib does not have the guts (or more likely b….) to do anything for you. I agree with Robert C, your best bet is to approach ngo’s. Hey, you might try the FLOM , no harm trying.

  13. I hope the Sunni and Shites in Iraq fight forever like the 8-year Iran-Iraq War once upon a time because if the trouble ever stop there and peace comes to the land, these hardened fighters and jihadists will be coming home to Malaysia… habislah Negara aku ni…. it will really be a land of extremists and suicide bombers like Pakistan… I am getting out of here….

  14. This article is about the prosecution of Kassim Ahmad but some commentator cant stop USA bashing, totally unrelated. If you dont understand the crisis of Kassim Ahmad and his anti hadith issues, then please refrain. I dont see where the US is involved in Kassim Ahmad case or what not

  15. First, I think Mahathir will not lift a finger to help Pak Kassim in the same way Eisenhower had ignored General George C Marshall (my thread in ‘Paying Tribute to Integrity- by Ahmad Zakie Shariff -14th June in this Blog).

    The following are extracts from a searing indictment of the power of the media by Akbar S. Ahmed, author of ‘Media Mongols at the Gates of Baghdad’, a chapter contained in ‘At Century’s End – Great Minds Reflect On Our Times’ (edited by Nathan P. Gardels, with a Foreword by Bill Moyers – ISBN 1-883051-05-3: 1995).

    “…Muslims themselves are not blameless. Muslim leaders are failing in the need to feed and clothe the poor. The greatest emphasis in Islam is given to the less privileged. This, alas, remains a neglected area of attention as leaders prefer to fulminate against their opponents.”

    “…large proportions of the unprecedented wealth from oil revenues have been squandered on an unprecedented scale, in unprecedented style. Call girls in London and casinos in the south of France, ranches in the United States and chalets in Switzerland diverted money that could have gone into health-care provision, education, and the closing of the vast gaps between the rich and poor. In Islamic countries, oil money created an arrogance among some Muslims who cherished a sense of special destiny around their family or clan.”

    “Contemplating the prospects for the twenty-first century, some Middle East experts conclude that the lack of ‘a civil society’ is the great bane of the Muslims. Repression and stagnation — in spite of a certain durability in some states — mark their society. Lawyers and journalists are unable to work freely, and businessmen operate in an economy that may be labelled ‘socialist’ or ‘capitalist’ but, in either case, is controlled by the state.”

    “The main Muslim response appear to be chauvinism and withdrawal; this is both dangerous and doomed. The self-imposed isolation, the deliberate retreat, is culturally determined. It is NOT Islamic in spirit or content. Muslims who are isolated and self-centred sense triumph in their aggressive assertion of faith. They imagine that passionate faith is EXCLUSIVE to them. Yet a similar religious wave exists also in Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Preferring to ignore this, Muslims will point out that the Western world is intimidated by them, and fears their zeal. That Rushdie was driven underground is cited as proof of this. It seems that Muslim spokesmen are in danger of being intoxicated by the exuberance of their own verbosity.”

    “The Muslim voices of learning and balance — whether in politics or among academics — are being drowned by those advocating violence and hatred. Two vital questions arise with wide-ranging, short- and long-term implications: In the short term, has one of the world’s greatest civilizations lost its ability to deal with problem except through violent force? In the long term, would Muslims replace the central Qu’ranic concepts of adl and ahsan(balance and compassion), of ilm(knowledge), and sabr(patience), with the bullet and the bomb?”

    “Yet the non-Muslim media, by their consistently hammerheaded onslaught, have succeeded in portraying a negative image of it. They may even succeed in changing Muslim character. Muslims, because of their gut response to the attack — both vehement and vitriolic — are failing to maintain the essential features of Islam. Muslim leaders have pushed themselves into a hole dug by themselves in viewing the present upsurge simplistically as a confrontation with the West…In locating anti-Islamic animosity firmly IN the West, they ALSO implicitly reject the universalism of human nature.”

    “But Allah is everywhere. The universal nature of humanity is the main topos in the Qu’ran. God’s purview and compassion take in everyone, ‘all creatures.’… Such a God cannot be parochial or xenophobic. Neither can a religion that acknowledges the wisdom and piety of over 24,000 ‘prophets’ in its folklore be isolationist or intolerant.”

    “The Muslim response to postmodernism, unfortunately, is the same as it was a century ago: retreat accompanied by passionate expressions of faith and anger.”

    “The wonders and mystery of creation CANNOT be the monopoly of any one people. The Sufis — like Iqbal — see God everywhere, EVEN among the godless, NOT only in the mosques. In their desire for knowledge, compassion, and cleanliness, many non-Muslims POSSESS ideal Muslim virtues.”

    “By the late 1980s, CNN and the BBC, the Western media’s stormtroopers, were preparing to broadcast directly, via satellite, to the Muslim world. Neither Cairo nor Marrakesh nor Kuala Lumpur is inviolate.”

    “The age of the media in Muslim society has dawned. Muslims need to face up to the fact that there is no escape now, no retreat, no hiding place, from the demon.”

    “The postmodernist age in the 1990s hammers at the door of Muslim ijtihad, or reasoned innovation within the faith. Muslims ignore the din at their peril. Before they creak open the doors, however, they must know the power and nature of the age, and for that they must understand those who represent it. These include figures they do not admire, like the singer Madonna and the writer Salman Rushdie. More important, Muslims must understand why these figures represent the age. The onslaught comes when Muslims are at their weakest; CORRUPT LEADERS, INCOMPETENT ADMINISTRATORS, and FEEBLE THINKERS mark their societies. For all their rhetoric and symbolic form, the SPIRIT of Islam is often palpably MISSING from their endeavours, while, more than ever, ijtihad is urgently needed where women, education, and politics are involved…there can be NO evolution of Muslim societies without a comprehension of the non-Muslim age we live in.”

    “The fate of the Muslims in Spain makes the Aga Khan thoughtful. He talks of the loss of vigor, the drying-up of initiative, the emphasis on empty dogma as causes of the Muslim downfall. The Aga Khan sees parallel in our times:
    ‘Those who wish to introduce the concept that you can only practice your faith as it was practiced hundreds of years ago are introducing a time dimension which is NOT a practice of our faith. Therefore what we have to be doing, I think, is to be asking as Muslims how do we apply the ethics of our faith today? This is a matter for Muslims to think about and it is a very delicate issue whether it is in science, medicine, in economics.’”

    “In our postmodern age, rigid boundaries are NO longer easy to maintain. A person can, and does, possess overlapping identities. He can be BOTH a devout Muslim and a loyal citizen of Britain. Multiple identities mean eclecticism, which requires tolerance of others. In such a world, the confrontation between Islam and the West poses terrible dilemmas for both.”

    “The test for Muslims is how to preserve the essence of the Qu’ranic message, of adl and ahsan, ilm and sabr, without it being reduced to ancient and EMPTY chant in our times, and how to participate in the global civilization without their identities being obliterated.”

    “It is an apocalyptic test: the most severe examination. Muslims stand at the crossroads. If they take one route they can harness their vitality and commitment in order to fulfil their destiny on the world stage. If they take the other they can dissipate their energy through internecine strife and petty bickering. The choice is between HARMONY and HOPE versus DISUNITY and DISORDER.” (p 33 – 42)

    [Note: Akbar S. Ahmed was scholar-in-residence at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge in 1993]

    (Emphasis in upper case are mine.)

  16. I knew it ! I knew it…..Sumpitan Emas, what you have exposed should be part of the hidden treasure , to be treated more than gold or diamonds which had not been widely known – HOW TO DISSEMINATE IT TO THE WORLD ? – it is a Painful truth that has been exposed by the esteemed Akbar S. Ahmed , scholar-in-residence at Cambridge , the dreadful pain that’s hurting the very Humanity which the ‘ core ‘ of the religion is ‘ supposed ‘ to stand for ? Alas…..the deep, deep pain for the Muslim world itself to face is : Muslims killing Muslims themselves – AND they don’t even admit their own distortions…..so very sad……..

    Please expose more and more……..people like some of us are not well equipped , and especially in our beloved Malaysia we are suffocating for loss of breath……very grateful indeed for your expose’ (period )

  17. AS I READ AND RE-READ THE EXPOSE’ BY AKBAR S. AHMED IN THE QUIET OF THE HIGHT, I SEE ” PEARLS ” IN EVERY WORD OF HIS UTTERANCES……..

    So I searched my own conscience asking over and over again from some past decades, whether I DARE say it – Dare I say it or Repeat it ? What is said by Al’ Rumi : ” I searched everywhere in the Temple, in the Mosque and the Church……I found divinity in my heart ……. ”
    ( Both Ibn’ Al’ Arabi and Al’ Rumi )

  18. I found divinity in my heart” — sweet and pure. Is this “truth” pre-destined to come only from souls tormented by the harshness of life in the desert? Be that as it may, we have a useful starting point.

    Akbar S Ahmed, scholarly polemicist starts his approximately 7000-word, 22-page essay “Media Mongols At The Gate of Baghdad” with a bang:

    “A political cartographer with a bold eye for simplification would reject the clumsy apparatus of global classification that has prevailed so far — First, Second, Third World, North-South, East-West, and so on. He would divide the world map in the 1990s into two major categories: the civilizations that are EXPLODING — reaching out, expanding, bubbling with scientific ideas, economic plans, political ambitions, cultural expressions — and those that are IMPLODING, collapsing in on themselves with economic, political, and social crises which prevent any serious attempt at major initiatives. The FORMER are, above all, exploding with optimism, with sights firmly fixed on the future; the LATTER are weighted down by their history, traditions, ‘certainties’, their ethnic and religious hatreds.

    Western, or global civilization — in essence the G-7 — is EXPLODING; much of the rest of world is IMPLODING.

    This exploding-imploding world is so shrunk by the ubiquitous media that defines our postmodern era, so interlinked and so claustrophobic, that elbowroom on this planet is ever more scarce. We have all been shoved face to face with each other. As the exploding West continues through its domination of the media to expand its cultural boundaries to encompass the world, traditional civilizations will resist in some areas, accommodate to change in others.

    In the main, only ONE civilization, Islam, will stand firm in its path. Only the Muslim world, poised both to implode and explode, offers a global perspective with a potential role on the world stage. Islam, therefore, appears to be set on a collision course with the West. More than a clash of cultures, more than a confrontation of races, the collision between the global civilization emanating from the West and Islam is a straight-out fight between two approaches to the world, two opposed philosophies. Under the layers of history and the mosaic of cultures, we can simplify in order to discover the major positions. One is based in secular materialism, the other in faith; one has rejected belief altogether, the other has placed it at the center of its world view.

    While conflict has long brewed between the traditional religious precepts of Islam, and the materialism and scientific reason of modernity, the challenge postmodernism presents is more decisive for the ultimate faith of Islam.

    While Muslims appreciate the spirit of tolerance, optimism, and the drive for self-knowledge in postmodernism, they also recognize the threat it poses to them with its cynicism and irony. This is a challenge to the faith and piety that lie at the CORE of their world view.

    Pious Muslims know that the problem with the G-7 civilization is the hole where the heart should be — the vacuum inside, the ABSENCE of a moral philosophy. What gives the West its dynamic energy is INDIVIDUALISM, the desire to dominate, the sheer drive to acquire material items through a philosophy of consumerism at all costs, to hoard. Such frenetic energy keeps society moving.

    Patience, pace, and equilibrium, by contrast, are emphasized in Islam. Haste is the devil’s work, the Prophet warned. But the postmodern age is based on speed. In particular, the media thrive on and are intoxicated by speed, change, news. The unceasing noise, dazzling color, and restlessly shifting images of the MTV culture beckon and harass. Silence, withdrawal, and meditation — advocated by all the great religions — are simply not encouraged by the media.”

    “Nothing in history has threatened Muslims like the Western media; neither gunpowder in the Middle ages, which Muslims like Babar used with skill on the fields of Panipar, thus winning India for his Mughal dynasty; not trains and the telephone, which helped colonize them in the last century; nor even planes, which they mastered for their national airlines earlier this century. The Western media are ever present and ubiquitous, NEVER resting and NEVER allowing respite.

    The powerful media is compounded for Muslims: they appear NOT to have the capacity to defend themselves. Worse they appear UNABLE to comprehend the nature and objectives of the onslaught. The EMPTY bluster of the leaders and the NARROW-MINDED whining of the scholars make them appear pitiful, like PYGMIES arguing among themselves while the powerful giant of an ENEMY is at the GATE.

    It is the ORDINARY Muslim who senses the immensity of the danger. He is conscious of the potential scale of the battle and the forces arrayed against him: his tension is made WORSE because he has so LITTLE faith in his own leaders.

    It must have been something like this in 1258 when the Mongols were gathering outside Baghdad to shatter forever the greatest Arab empire in history. But while the Abbasids remained in ruins, other, equally significant structures with glorious edifices were created: the Fatimids in Egypt, the Umayyads in Spain, the Saffavids in Iran, the Mughals in India.”

    Akbar S. Ahmed ends his essay with:

    “The challenge for those in the West is how to expand the Western idealistic notions of justice, equality , freedom, and liberty beyond their borders to all humanity without appearing like nineteenth –century imperialists, to reach out to those not of their civilization in friendship and sincerity.

    The logic of this argument demands that the West use its great power — which includes the media — to assist in solving some of the long-festering problems, most urgently of the Palestinians and the Kashmiris, that plague Muslim society. There is the need to PUSH unwilling rulers who subsist on Western Arm and aid toward conceding DEMOCRACY and FAIRER distribution of wealth, and of ensuring the RIGHTS and DIGNITY of women and children, the less privileged, and those in the minority. The problems are interwoven, binding Muslims and non-Muslims together. There can be no viable world order if these wrongs are not reduced.”

    “…vision has much to offer a world saturated with disintegration, cynicism, and loss of faith.”

    “However, regaining integrity and overcoming cynicism will only be possible if there is a universal tolerance of others among Muslims and non-Muslims alike placed at the top of the agenda in preparation for the next millennium, embraced both as personal philosophy and national foreign policy. This, too, is the largesse of postmodernism.”

  19. Correction: 3rd paragraph from the bottom.

    …to PUSH unwilling rulers who subsist on Western Arm and aid toward conceding DEMOCRACY and FAIRER…

    should read:
    …to PUSH unwilling rulers who subsist on Western arms and aid toward conceding DEMOCRACY and FAIRER…

    Note: also all the emphases in upper case are mine.

  20. Sumpitan Emas, 21 June @ 1.24am , greatly appreciated for your highlights on the thoughts of Akbar S Ahmed – not enough words to pay tribute to your relentless efforts in your diachotomous treatment on the subject of ‘ The Exploding West ‘ as against ‘ The Imploding ‘ Islamic nations in the Divergence of their respective world-view, of which , I hope will not lead humanity to cataclysmic disaster of seismic proportion ? Like as if mankind , Pray, is not already at the doorstep of Doomsday ?

    Just wondering : the way that you have described on the ‘ clash of cultures ‘ , of divergent philosophies, is that anything to do with ” The Clash of Civilisation ” as predicated by Samuel Huttington’s alarmist view of ‘ end of the world ‘ kind of Pessimism ? Anxieties though, if there’s no more Optimism left for Mankind as a whole……

  21. Abnizar, just to remind ourselves that we have not forgotten Pak Kassim’s plight, I am repeating three statements from my first thread, taken from mid-way in the 7000-word essay. Part of the first statement below was deliberately inserted as the opener in the thread to underscore the problems faced by individuals in contemporary Muslim (read also, Third world) nations who are viewed as political opponents. There would be no issue worth a debate if the opponents faced mere fulminations from the powers that be. But, power corrupts, and corrupt, incompetent leaders with weak, failing minds, feeling totally secure in the midst of a seemingly cowed citizenry, move on beyond muttering threats, to maintain their unchallenged position — sometimes they prosecute, most times they persecute.

    “…as leaders prefer to fulminate against their opponents.” ¶ “ …CORRUPT LEADERS, INCOMPETENT ADMINISTRATORS, and FEEBLE THINKERS mark their societies. For all their rhetoric and symbolic form, the SPIRIT of Islam is often palpably MISSING from their endeavours.” ¶ “The Muslim response to postmodernism, unfortunately, is the same as it was a century ago: retreat accompanied by passionate expressions of faith and anger.”

    You have made a very astute remark because what Akbar S Ahmed saw as the “clash of cultures” (in 1993) was articulated by Samuel Huntington as “Civilizations at Odds” in the same book in the form of an interview with the editor of New Perspectives Quarterly (NPQ) Nathan P. Gardels. He is the fifth contributor in the first chapter entitled, “Soul of the World Order”, and Akbar S. Ahmed, the third; “Clash of Civilization” came later when Huntington expanded on the theme. How this clash will lead to — a cataclysm of indescribable proportion — no one seems to know, not even Huntington, though the push to “blame” one party rather than the other is quite obvious:

    NPQ : …Brzezinski says that international issues now are primarily cultural and philosophical. You similarly argue that geocultural friction — the clash of civilizations — will be the dominant source of international conflict in our future.

    Huntington: Let me first of all emphasize that I am elaborating a plausible hypothesis about the likely course of world affairs, not making an absolute prediction. But there is plenty of reason to expect that the fault lines between civilizations — for example between the West on one hand and the Confucian societies of East Asia and the Muslim world on the other — will be the battle lines of the future.

    ¶…The propagation of Western values as “universal” helps stimulate reactions such as the religious fundamentalism taking hold in many Islamic societies. And reacting to human rights pressure from the West after the Tiananmen showdown, Deng Xiaoping warned of a “new Cold war” with America. It is not difficult here to see the emergence of a dynamic of conflict that pits, in the words of Kishore Mahbubani, “the West West against the rest.”

    ¶ NPK: So Islam, Confucian authoritarianism, and ethnic fundamentalism are the challengers Western liberalism faces in this coming conflict of civilization?

    Huntington: Those are certainly the three central challenges, to which I would add a fourth: the decay of Western liberalism in the absence of a cohesive ideological challenge by a competing ideology, such as Marxism-Leninism. Fragmentation and multiculturism are now eating away at the whole set of ideas and philosophies that have been the binding cement of American society…

    ¶ NPK: Even Francis Fukuyama admits that the soft-authoritarian regimes of those East Asian countries influenced by Confucian values are an alternative to Western liberalism at the “end of history.” Lee Kuan Yew is the answer to Friedrich Hegel.

    Huntington: Exactly, but Islam too offer an alternative. There is a continuity that has existed in Islam since its founding. It is a militant religion in which there is no distinction between what is religious and what is secular. The idea of “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, render unto God what is God’s” is totally antithetical to Islam. This theocratic proclivity makes it extraordinarily difficult for Islamic societies to accommodate non-Muslims. It makes it very difficult for Muslims to easily fit into societies where the majority is non-Muslim.” [Ibid, pg 59 -63]

    And now, a third view, by theologian Prof Hans Küng:

    “…, the wars of kings and cabinets have been replaced by the wars of nations, and since the First World War these have been succeeded by the war of ideologies. Now, however, we are told — and this is also the sign of an epoch-making change — that we are in the age of wars between the civilizations, which for their part are stamped by the religions. And indeed there is no avoiding the sad recognition that in the transition to the third millennium, religions appear not only as the great midwives of the global ethic but also disturbers of world peace (sic).

    ¶ …When I spoke again on the global ethic at the same place (Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium) in New York on 26 May 1994, I specifically discussed a striking essay that had appeared in the meantime, by Samuel Huntington, Director of the Institute of Strategic Studies at Harvard University, ‘The Clash of Civilization?’, and his hypothesis that in the new world era, wars would be waged above all by civilizations, which are stamped not least by religions…: ‘The next world war, if there is one, will be a war between civilizations.’

    I cannot judge whether there is any substance to the suspicion, expressed on the American side after my lecture, that Huntington, the long-time Pentagon adviser who has HARDLY had ANY positive concern with the religions, but already had a share of responsibility for the strategy of the Vietnam war, was looking for a NEW theory to JUSTIFY additional arms expenditure. But when one sees him now on television presenting with a simple multi-coloured map of the world a model which is to replace the Cold War, one has strong reservations. Huntington’s suggestions, originally presented WITH a question-mark, now appears in a big book WITHOUT a question-mark and is being propagated as though it were PROVEN theory.

    ¶ Political scientists, too, are now noting that a multiplicity of cultures and religions goes with the multi-polarity of global politics.

    ¶ No wonder that Henry Kissinger does NOT find his Harvard colleague Huntington worth the SLIGHTEST mention in his Diplomacy. After all Huntington’s totally DIFFERENT starting point does not fit well into the scheme of the traditional politics of interest; it has NEVER occurred to the politician concerned with interests…for all one’s criticisms it is worth assessing with Huntington as a possibility that ‘nations states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations.’

    ¶ Lines of conflict have become visible between Armenia and Azerbaijan, between Georgia and Russia, the Ukraine and Russia, and even between different peoples in Yugoslavia, and finally between the Hutu and the Tutsi in Central Africa.

    ¶ …does that mean that a conflict of cultures and religions is unavoidable? I cannot share Huntington’s fatalism or accept his theory of civilizations as the ‘best compass for the future’, the slogan used to promote it in the media. His map seems all too simplified and his interest in a FURTHER dominance of the Euro-American ‘West’ which in no way may become multicultural … ‘maintaining Western technological and military superiority over other civilizations’. ‘In the clash of civilizations, Europe and America will hang together or hang separately.’” [A: Chapter V: World Peace – A Challenge for the World Religions: “A Global Ethic for Global Politics and Economics” by Hans Küng; Oxford University Press 1998, ISBN 0–19–512228–3; pg 114]

    Malaysia and the Rest will hang together or hang separately?

    I think we will hang together with just one half of the Rest. Which is the other half that will refuse to share the rope, I think we should ask Hungtinton!

  22. Agreed with your good self, Sumpitan Emas , that Pak Kassim’s problems in this thread is part of the larger and wider ‘ conflicts ‘ , not just based on the fault-lines of civilisations Eg : West on one hand, or Confucian societies of East Asia, and the Muslims on the other, which will be the ‘battle lines of the future….’ , as part of a complex postmodernism scenario we all are ‘sucked ‘ into….? My perception is between Muslims themselves too….

    Your exceptionally illuminating highlights on the Debates on the various hypothesis, I must admit my own inadequacies in trying to grapple hard with such incisive arguments on your part, such that, you have to excuse me if I falter here, in the way I have been personally so used to : viz ; in the normal way by which I tend to digest or condense, and then present them in a terse kind of language – so, my Samuel Huntington’s was rather shoddy. I should have known him better…
    Alluding to Muslim leaders as you say ” Corrupt, Incompetent ” leaders who are generally FEEBLE THINKERS – for all their rhetoric, the SPIRIT OF ISLAM is palpably MISSING. Further, Muslim response to post modernism (is) to retreat accompanied by passionate expressions of faith ( more often than not , blindly if I may add ) –
    Before I come back to Huntington, I prefer to highlight your quote ” Brzezinski says international issues (are ) now primarily cultural-philosophical , on the geo-cultural friction (ie: clash of civilisation ) which ‘ will be the dominant source of conflict in the future…. ‘ – Huntington’s ‘plausible hypothesis about the likely course of world affairs ‘ …..he opines or rather he then echoes Brzezinski’s views , to the effect that ‘ there is plenty of reason to expect a ‘ conflict ‘ on the fault-lines of civilisations ‘ . He affirms that ‘ the principal conflict will occur between nations or group of different civilisations….’ – But also, at the same time, he exudes confidence of Dominance , or pre-dominance of the Euro-American ‘ West ‘ …….maintaining Western technological and military Superiority over other Civilisations : partly I presume , Huntington’s obsession on the Arms trade on the basis of the Western’s stance of the Exploding culture for Economic Predominance over all others……
    And, that is Cynical ?

  23. If I may add a little more – Huntington’s Over-confidence in the technological & military ” Superiority ” of the West (underlying his own ambitions in the Arms trade ) , is to say the least, Insidious…..

    But what beats me and some of my Muslim colleagues is the Question : we can never understand, why….why , Islamic nations get embroiled in the purchase of weapons and military hardwares & Equipments etc, ONLY TO SLAUGHTER their own kinds, and enrich Western technological experts , in their Scientific exploits of those Weak Islamic countries which are steeped in Ignorance ( Eg. Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan, now Syria getting embroiled too ) – in terrible upheavel and internal Turmoil, beyond comprehension …….?

  24. Abnizar, you have summarised so well in both threads the tragedy that awaits the volatile, insular “imploding” crowd. I think Huntington’s sense of confidence that the West will continue to dominate the rest is explained by his near perfect understanding of the internal dynamics of groups which always feel the need “TO SLAUGHTER their own kinds” — this paradigm has not changed ONE iota since the Mongols stood at the Gate of Baghdad. Recent events, as if on cue, must raise his sense of continued Western domination even further. Akbar wrote his essay first, hence his piece preceded that of Huntington, and we can now imagine Akbar’s sense of loss and defeat, as events work out exactly as he had described twenty years ago! Both read the situation correctly and both turn out to be right — and who is celebrating even before the final clash of civilization occurs?

    Huntington’s “obsession” with the sale of armaments, as alleged by Küng, dovetails exactly with how well Akbar has read the minds of co-religionists prone to making “gut response” by fighting each without much reflection. Such a situation as we see unfolding in Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan and Syria necessitates the purchase of expensive arms, thus reducing an obsession with all its negative connotation to a normal “willing buyer, willing seller” commercial transaction — the West wins again hands down, quietly celebrating as the beneficiaries of new arms technology get down to serious “intra-civilization” battles — who says a clash of civilizations will be the final match? You bemoan the insanity of expensive arms purchase to kill one’s own kind, but this again confirms what Akbar states unapologeticaly, “the Muslim incapacity to respond coolly and meaningfully.”

    Look no further beyond our shores for the frailty described above by Akbar – the undeclared war against the Shias here in recent months is as revealing as it is alarming to everyone Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

    My own feeling has always been that Malaysia stands as the nation most appropriate and qualified to bring about a grand reconciliation between the Sunnis and Shias — I think we have scuttled all our chances.

  25. Dear Sumpitan Emas, there’s plenty to elaborate and discuss about, ……that although I was only able to ‘summarise’ matter of factly over which I wasn’t sure about, I do feel reassured by your fine ‘ wordings ‘ in all your explanations, and do feel calmer……
    But my anxiety is that we need the green light from Bloghost, Dato’ Din Merican , to discuss on very many connected issues , and perhaps to the chagrin of participants here , before I raise further ‘points’ to gain more ‘knowledge’ from your good self ?
    For example, the Hon’ CEO of Malaysia eulogises the die-hard ‘ militants’ of barely 1,300 strong, who can accost the mainstream forces of Iraq of 30,000 men….etc…, and chiding UMNO ‘forces’ to be equally resilient to ‘ face ‘ challenges here……?
    Not as yet, not until we get the green light first ?

  26. Abnizar, I shall be brief so that we can, from this point onwards, focus on seeing justice being done to Pak Kassim.

    Akbar was prescient in his political discourse — the CEO’s sense of jubilation is misplaced to say the least, and it fits to a tee to Huntington’s ‘best compass for the future’, more accurately, ‘‘best compass for the future of the West”. How else could it be with a West having to face the Rest that possesses so little that approximates equal technological strength? The clash of civilizations, if it ever comes to that, will be a clash between Akbar’s GIANTS against an army of Akbar’s PYGMIES much emasculated by continual blood-letting and now taking time off from their regular tribal battle time-table — the result is a foregone conclusion — encomiums showered on the rival dwarfs by rival CEOs (tallest dwarf?) alternate as minor triumphs see-saw to mark their senseless inhumanity, nothwithstanding.

    I could write a whole book on my 20-year association with the best and the brightest from both the Sunni and Shia community: an absolutely brilliant female Sunni mathematician; an equally brilliant computer software engineer who was loathe to resort to sectarian dialectics and who has a huge scar right across his chest — testimony to his efforts fighting the Russians as a teen; and so on and so forth. And I could weep on Akbar’s shoulders for days, never mind even if I am neither Sunni, Shia, nor Ahmadi — my line comes from those who romped the steppes up in the North (so I was told — to humiliate or to elevate?) given to hunting using falcons and chanting mantras without understanding one word of it.

    Our CEO has more pressing duties to fulfil here than to make a diversionary discourse on virtue vis a vis vice: which part(y) is virtue and which, vice?

    With this, Abnizar, we must all stay strong and try to be as virtuous as the Athenians who took the pledge of honour and dignity two thousand years ago. Let us not be Swift’s DWARFS arguing for ages which was the best way to break an egg (Hint: the convenient end). And finally, let NO one among us, in this benighted ‘the Rest’, ever dare to claim like the Lilliputians that we are “the terrors of the universe.”

    Sorry, I wasn’t brief at all.

  27. Thank you ,
    Sumpitan Emas and Abnizar,
    Really profoundly enlightening thoughts and discussions on the clash of civilizations and cultures in modern times. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    Umno pseudo would prefer to drive wedges among the Muslims (Sunnis and Shiites) and between other races and beliefs, than reconcile with reality, ”at all costs” to the country and the Rakyat. It is the easiest way to sustain power.
    I doubt its capacity to value the countless chances being offered.

  28. Fully agreed, Sumpitan Emas, we all have to remain ‘strong’ , and to do so, may I be ‘ permitted ‘ to poke some fun elicited from your very humorous articulations above : ‘CEO’s jubilation is misplaced to say the least ‘ , it becomes the best compass for the future of the West ? True, they are already planning to come over with their Nuclear ……. what with Higg’s boson travelling at twice the speed of the nuclear energy dispersal, our dwarfs will be very excited ?
    To quote you : – the result is a foregone conclusion –
    ‘ ….encomiums showered on the rival dwarfs by rival CEOs ( tallest dwarf ) alternate as minor triumphs see-saw to mark the senseless inhumanity …..’
    Brilliant Sumpitan – we are midgets , we should stop provoking the Giants of the West, and give them the cue to their ‘ compass ‘ for their battle-cry of the future ? Otherwise, where or how do they sell the new assortments of arms based on the Higg’s boson energy dispersal at twice the speed of light ?
    “….never mind if I am neither Sunni, Shia nor Ahmadi ” Huh…you are neither ? You must be a brilliant ‘ Reconciler ‘ , no, please don’t worry, I am adept at reconciling too…..( may be, they have to get some wisdom from Pak Kassim , in addition ?) – Bet, if our midgets conciliate , embrace and engage with Pak Kassim, these ‘ dwarfs ‘ might be able to LEARN more, in addition to what fantastic knowledge they already have in their ‘ system ‘ ?
    As for me, yes, I too, am neither, or may be both, but stay the middle course, the safer course – it does not DETRACT in any way, does it ? – Lilliputants trying to show-off that they are ‘ the terrors of the universe…, or, DWARFS arguing for ages , which was the best way to break an Egg ‘ ? – so funny……..have a good laugh, Thank you Sumpitan for ‘ the green light ‘ you have beckoned here .

  29. This should be an interesting read – a Comment by Thomas L . Friedman , NST June 26 @ page 16 on ” Twin myths of Isil and Sisi ” – his honest belief when he says ” Arab world must realise military and Islamic states are not workable models ” , with forceful arguments therein.

    Personally, I think it fits in here. Firstly, how can Arab states try and have a ‘ military ‘ state, when they rely heavily on Western supply of arms assortments ? Secondly, it is not right that Muslims themselves are making ‘ Islam ‘ subservient to the State, Islam as an adjective ? – that shouldn’t be ? . I remember someone from Oz-land, Kathy I recollect, who says that ‘ it should be
    ” the state of Islam ” in each and every individual ‘ that represents true faith, and not make it subservient to any entity……?
    Sumpitan Emas, kllau et.al…..what is your view ?

  30. Abnizar you say, “we are midgets , we should stop provoking the Giants of the West”, but there are whole groups of them, outside our immediate vicinity, who having purchased expensive hardware from different Giants, now see no danger at all ahead, far, far ahead by virtue of strategic elevated positioning, quite unashamedly proudly announce to anyone who cares to listen, “We are DWARFS, but we stand on the shoulders of GIANTS.” Dwarfs, however, have never heard, “Do giants let themselves be climbed so easily?”; as quoted by Alan Bloom of “The Closing of the American Mind” fame.

    So groups of midgets and dwarfs, feeling the need to win in the next brawl continue to outbid their rivals for evermore high-potency hardware from the very giants who are more keen on doing business rather than incurring sprained shoulders. In effect, the giants will set in motion what Thomas L. Friedman calls the “tribal mind-set” (also read as, Sunni-Shia rivalry; military-theocratic tension), viz ‘Me and my brother against my cousin; me, my brother and my cousin against the outsider’. If only dwarfs are capable of making a giant leap, the expansive, globalist formula of the giants’ success story would be within their reach, viz ‘ me, my brother and my cousin, three friends from childhood, four people in Australia, two in Beijing, six in Bangalore, three from Germany, and four people we’ve met only over the internet all make up a single global supply chain’ — both quotes from Friedman’s “The Earth is Flat”- pg 137; a future clash of evenly-matched civilizations, by definition, will NEVER happen because Giants will face Giants, or at least Near-Giants.

    Your quote by Friedman that the “Arab world must realise military and Islamic states are not workable models” is, unfortunately quite close to the position held by Akbar, if I have understood his essay correctly. Again and again the balance that Akbar sought is missing — either it swings heavily down to one party with peak caps, or it swings the other way round to those with turbans — the winner takes all syndrome is the defining disgrace of the “terrors of the universe” with or without uniforms, with or without long henna-dyed beards, with a sword or with many swords.

    Three non-Arab states currently keeping the terrors out of action, for the time being, at least, are Turkey, Indonesia, and MALAYSIA. The push to keep the military in the barracks and the theocracy within the formal Islamic institutions, is particularly noticeable with Indonesia and lately with Turkey; we have not, thank God, an ISIL or a Sisi; a Sisi perhaps never, but an ISIL — no, not yet but there is growing unease with the manner ISIL-like sentiments are being actively encouraged, with impunity – dwarfs at work again?

  31. Yes Sumpitan Emas, sincerely million thanx , again for your brilliant analysis, but the information you provide, although incredibly complex, I have tried to synthesize from my point of view hopefully to be , or as nearly to
    be ‘ correct ‘ ? :
    ‘ ……but an ISIL – no, not yet but there is growing increase with the manner ISIL-like sentiments are being actively encouraged , with impunity – dwarfs at work again ? ‘

    ‘ In effect the giants will set in motion what Thomas L.Friedman calls the ” tribal mind-set ” (aka, Sunni-Shia rivalry; military-theocratic tension)’ , ( will be ) ‘ a future clash of evenly-matched civilisations, by definition, will NEVER happen, because Giants will face Giants (themselves ) ‘ ? My take : agreed, Dwarfs will STILL deal with these Giants , but they have to do so by means of pretensions : ” We are DWARFS , but we stand on the shoulders of GIANTS …..”

    Alan Bloom ( in The Closing of American Mind ) says in rebuttal ” Do Giants let themselves be climbed so easily ? ”
    And, ‘ so dwarfs and midgets ….continue to outbid their rivals for evermore high potency hardware ” – Looks like Giants are EAGER to dump their high-potency Nuclear whatever at EXORBITANT prices on the pretending dwarfs ?
    Agreed again, ‘ ….it will swing heavily to one side , either with peak-caps ….or to those with turbans – the winner takes all…..’ – yes, Dwarfs will still be the suckers, but will never admit being ‘ dwarfs ‘ and they feel they are the terrors that rule ( or misrule ) the universe….. ( but not terrorists ) –
    For the moment, (agreed ) , at least MALAYSIA, Turkey and Indonesia are keeping the Giants at bay….but how about Iran ?
    I commend Thomas L. Friedman for his candid and unbiased essays….

  32. 1. I am a simple man. The above highly-intellectualized discourse by various wise people –what have they to me with my persecution by hypocrites going under the name of religion?
    2. I am grateful to those who support me. I make bold to say that I do not fear these puny creatures. When the time comes, they will know where the truth lies. They will be thrown into Hell.
    3. I have been in politics for 18 years. I studied the Quran for 36 years. I am still an Umno member in spite of its present corruption. If I were younger, I would fight for the Umno presidency and win, and I would cleanse the Malaysian stables in 10 years.
    4. Please do not hurry to call me a boaster. I am not boasting.
    5. I shall leave these puny Jawi and Jakim to their devices and advance in my mission in life, in spite of my old age. I am nearing 81 and still feel fit to take on any giant. God be praised!

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