Extremism and religious persecutions tainting the holy month of Ramadan

In this Muslim holy month of Ramadan, where the Islamic fasting tradition taught us the value of moderation, self-sacrifice and charity, the world is unfortunately experiencing the unfolding of extremism everywhere.

New religious fascism in Iraq-Syria

The sectarian political war in Iraq and Syria has now led to the rise of a new religious fascist regime, with a self proclaimed “world” dictator who calls for the extermination of not only non-Muslims but Muslims alike who disagree with them. Latest the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) has even threatened to destroy the Kaabah, the holiest site of Muslim pilgrimage situated in the city of Mecca.

Persecution of minorities in China

Elsewhere in China, persecution of religious minorities continues to appall the international community. International news reported that the Chinese authority has forbidden Muslims in Xinjiang, a northwestern province of China, from observing the obligatory fast during the month of Ramadan. The denying of Muslims in China from practicing one of the basic tenets of their faith is against the universal principle of human rights.

Malaysian PM Najib, a friend of anti-human rights regimes

I am also utterly disappointed that our Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has openly praised ISIL and even exhorted his ultra-nationalist party UMNO to emulate the terrorist group’s fighting spirit. Najib’s government has also continue to boast of his good relation including political cooperation with the Communist Party of China, while practising Mccarthyism at home, taunting any political dissents against UMNO as being “communist”.

It is small wonder then, Malaysia is also experiencing government-sponsored extremism from the ban on the word “Allah” for non-Muslims, to the confiscation of religious books in the national language, Bahasa Melayu, to the “bride and body snatching” by religious authority, to bloodied cow heads, and many other ultra-fundamentalist religious and racist acts.

Malaysians condemn extremism of all forms

As a Malaysian Parliamentarian, I join my countrymen, saddened by these extremism, to condemn such criminal acts against humanity. We extend our solidarity with our brothers and sisters, of all religions and all nationalities, all over the world against greedy and narrow political interests masquerading as lofty religious or political ideologies.

The majority of Malaysians and the people of the world are not extremists. In fact, far from it, we abhor those who for their own narrow interests use religion or other truth-system to enslave men and women to create a myopic world of their own drunken and perverse mind. We echo the words of the civil right activist, Haji Malik el-Shabazz or perhaps better known to the world as Malcom X, who after coming back from the holy pilgrimage in Mecca wrote,

“I’ve had enough of someone else’s propaganda. I’m for truth, no matter who tells it [Muslims, Christians, Jews or Atheists]. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against. I’m a human being first and foremost and as such I am for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” (words in parenthesis mine)

Steven Sim Chee Keong
National Political Education Director, DAPSY & MP for Bukit Mertajam
Media statement by Steven Sim Chee Keong in George Town on Thursday, 3rd July 2014