Saturday, January 09, 2010

Empty faith

Why am I not surprised? It was an incident demanding to happen. When Malaysia PM Najib Razak told Muslims that they can demonstrate peacefully over the decision by the Malaysia High Court to allow Christians to use the word 'Allah' for God, he opened the floodgates, never mind that the Inspector General of Police warned against it.

Religion, besides race, has and will always be a flashpoint in Malaysian society. Much of it can be irrational, fueled by emotions and that raw aggression in people. Truth, reason, rationality are all thrown out the window for no other reason than to protect one's own insecurities. Malaysian Muslim's indiscriminate bombing of 3 churches lays bare the emptiness of their faith, as if a word, when told to be shared, will shatter their very beliefs and teachings of their religion. Surely such action speaks no good of these adherents of Islam, and perpetuates the impression, formed since 911, that Muslims are dangerous and ultra-sensitive people.

To their credit, the Malaysian government and some prominent politicians have come out in condemnation of the bombings. But really, verbally condemning these actions is one thing. It remains to be seen if any concrete action will be taken against the perpetrators of these crimes - the destruction of property and the stoking of fear. And if so, how swift it will be. Are the authorities going to drag their feet on this because the criminals are their fellow Muslim brothers? Are they going to fish a few guppies to slaughter and let the big whales go, just like what they did in the theft case of the 2 F5 fighter jet engines?

Malaysian Muslims should listen and learn from the sensible response of Marina Mahathir to the ruling on the use of the word 'Allah'. She said something to the effect that a word is not important, that the important thing is if you are certain of what you believe in. Sadly, many Muslims in Malaysia are not all that certain about their beliefs.