Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Failing to be a bridge: Dr. Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah of Malaysia

Dr. Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah is a Malaysian Muslim convert of Chinese descent. He is a senior lecturer at Malaysia’s National Defence University. He is also the Secretary General of Islamic Chamber of Commerce Malaysia. Dr Tee has a Sunday column at Utusan Malaysia, a newspaper owned by Malaysia’s ruling party Umno and it is this column that introduces him to the outside world.

That he is controversial can be seen from the words written on the upper part of his poorly attended to English blog.
“You have absolute rights not to continue reading or to discontinue accessing this blog immediately if you are disagreeable with the personal views provided by Dr Mohd Ridhuan Tee”. It is clear that he is less inclined to engagement and even correction. You don’t agree with me: you leave, that’s what he says. How far from Calipha Omar (ra) who used to say: I love good advice.

Islam is the official religion of Malaysia and Muslims constitute the majority at 60%. Most of these Muslims are Malays, the dominant race in Malaysia which is also defined as Muslim constitutionally. In fact, the Malays apart from the
Maldivians and the Somalis of the collapsed Republic of Somalia, no other Muslim society is constitutionally defined as Muslim.

Ridhuan Tee’s own race; the Chinese who are about 25% of Malaysia are overwhelmingly Buddhist with relatively large Christian presence too. Indians account for 7-8% and most of them are Hindus. For those who know Islamic history, the role Muslim converts played in being a bridge between Islam and their people is quite well known and they have done it well.

Those who come from non-Muslim majority countries like me get shocked when we see a man who has converted to Islam, who hails from a people who have less interest in Islam or misunderstand it, and rather than engaging them, appealing to them, explaining Islam to them in a good way, having good manners to have an impact on his own people behave like a nasty tribal warlord from an enemy enclave. He has been politicized so much, or he wants it so much (for personal gain I guess) that he has forgotten his higher call.

May be it is because of
Utusan Malaysia, the paper he writes for. My Malay is not good, therefore I rely on translations offered by some news blogs, personal blogs and Google translations. Utusan is so racialist and tribal that even for a foreigner, you will feel chocked. It lacks sense and integrity. It lacks vision and fairness. It lacks honesty and the truth. It lacks God’s fear and good judgment. It lacks morality and mannerism. And the man seems to lack what Utusan lacks. They have become of mutual bargain and that’s dangerous.

Malaysia has a relatively troubled history like any other nation and the May 13, 1969 racial riots that claimed hundreds of lives define this nation. The atmosphere is so charged that behind the veneer of tolerance and harmony, there is deep animosity, hatred and anger. No race is exempt from this. The Malays are it, the Chinese are at it and the Indians too are at it, but each one blames the other.

Mohd Ridhuan Tee is immersed in this mess. I would have preferred if he was an scholar, a distant observer to this poisonous racial talk and engaged with his people on issues dear to them and became a bridge between them and the Malays who are Muslim and the government with whom which he has a good relations. But that’s not the case. He lambastes them weekly; he uses obscene words against them. He calls them names, ultra kiasu and other nasty labels. He humiliates them. He even threatens them!

Dr Tee fails to understand that he has an Islamic duty to take Islam to his people. And one way of taking Islam to them is to engage them, take their issues into consideration, sympathize with them, treat them well and handle them with care and compassion. Take their grouses to the ‘Islamic’ government he serves as a lecturer and a columnist. It is mandatory upon him to return to his people and preach to them with wisdom.

Siding with one group vs another while you have a higher role to play is wrong. He doesn't have to agree with everything the Chinese in Malaysia demand nor is he obliged to be their spokesman, but he has a duty to call them to Islam with beautiful preaching and better engagement. A concerned person shares with his people the beauty of the higher call like
al Habib al-Najjar who did so even when he was killed by his own people.

As Allah (
sw) tells him to enter Paradise after they brutally killed him, he says: “He said: O would that my people had known. "For that my Lord has granted me Forgiveness and has enrolled me among those held in honour!" (Holy Quran 36: 26-7) Ibn Abbas said this man advised his people both when he was alive and when he died. His concern for his people is clear that he even regrets that his people might not have known about Allah’s message when he has left the earth.

On the other hand, Dr Tee lashes at his own people. Rather than engaging them and becoming a bridge, he patronizingly preaches to them about tribal politics and Malaysia’s social contract. He even calls them names. He says they drink, gamble and fornicate. That’s not Islamic etiquette. And it is immoral. Muslims drink, gamble and fornicate and they have been expressly forbidden from engaging in all these vices yet they do. I’m not vouching for the Chinese doing this, but denouncing them as if that’s unique to them doesn't help.

I have met with many Chinese and I have asked a number of them why they have not considered Islam. The response I always got was simple: I don’t want to be a Malay. In Malaysia, there is this obnoxious thing called
masuk Melayu (to enter Malayness) where Malaysian Muslim converts have to become Malays culturally. Now this is both un-Islamic and dangerous.

No religion has given due attention to a convert’s culture than Islam. This was part of Islam’s accommodation mechanism that has served this great faith very well. While Islam itself is a culture, the universal culture that unites all Muslims, you will find that respective cultures of Muslim communities have coloured Islam. This is because culture always colours religion than religion colouring culture.

It was Scottish Orientalist and one time Harvard professor H.A.R. Gibb who in appreciation of Islam’s unique cultural accommodation of diverse people and communities wrote:
“But Islam has a still further service to render to the cause of humanity. It stands after all nearer to the real East than Europe does, and it possesses a magnificent tradition of inter-racial understanding and cooperation. No other society has such a record of success in uniting in an equality of status, of opportunity, and of endeavors so many and so various races of mankind... Islam has still the power to reconcile apparently irreconcilable elements of race and tradition. If ever the opposition of the great societies of East and West is to be replaced by cooperation, the mediation of Islam is an indispensable condition. In its hands lies very largely the solution of the problem with which Europe is faced in its relation with East. If they unite, the hope of a peaceful issue is immeasurably enhanced. But if Europe, by rejecting the cooperation of Islam, throws it into the arms of its rivals, the issue can only be disastrous for both."

I’m a Muslim, my people are 100% Muslim (at least that’s what we claim), I’m Sunni and belong to the
Shaf’I School yet my culture is so different from that of Muslim Malays who are Muslim, Sunni and Shaf'I (syafie) like me, but we are still Muslims despite our different cultures. One doesn't become a better Muslim by embracing the culture of another community.

One is supposed to enter Islam and not a race, Islam repudiated race and it has no place in a supposedly believing society. Allah (
sw) orders Muslims to enter Islam wholeheartedly. "O ye who believe; enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the Evil One.” (Holy Quran 2: 208)

With that express order to submit to Islam, due recognition to one’s race, colour, culture or region in relation to Islam is forbidden. Calling a non-Malay Muslim convert
muallaf is wrong. I say this because it is something I have learnt here. A muallaf is someone who is yet to convert but has shown signs that he/she has interest in Islam, someone whose heart is being drawn to Islam. It is not a Muslim convert. That’s why a muallaf is due to Zaka as indicated in the Quran 9: 60. Once someone submits to Allah through Islam, he/she is a brother and an equal Muslim and no longer a muallaf. In fact, that new sinless Muslim is better than those of us who have been Muslims but carry many sins.

muallaf or second status Muslim convert issue is something Western Muslims are avoiding to a large extent and I’m happy that they are doing it. This obnoxious culture of entitlement to God’s grace is something that’s prevalent in all Muslim societies including mine. In fact, we have legendary stories where our hypocrisy was exposed as to how we treated some new Muslims. While we ordered the news ones to observe Islam, we never did it, after all, we were Somalis, we were Muslims, we were destined to the Paradise, but Paradise is only for those who are righteous.

One story says an Italian convert saw many Somalis drinking, gambling and never praying but calling themselves Muslims. These same people will order him to observe Islam and shun what’s prohibited. Then one day, he stopped praying and started drinking. A Somali friend of his was shocked. The Italian explained himself, ‘
Abdi doesn't pray and drinks and gambles and yet he is a Muslim.” The Somali friend retorted: ‘but Abdi is a Somali.’ In other words, his race makes him perfect; his race entitles him to Paradise. There is nothing of such in Islam. Being a Muslim in name doesn't count; it is the faith and the good deeds that count.

Dr Tee
Abdullah is more of a Malay tribal small timer than a Muslim convert mandated to take Islam to his people. He desperately tries to appeal to the average tribal Malay whose understanding of Islam and the world is shaped by Utusan, a paper where intellectualism is an alien thing. And that is a failure my dear friend. There is nothing great in spewing village type tribal talk.

I’m for Dr Tee protecting Malay interests and fighting for Islam. But I ask: which part of his vomit inducing tribal talk serves Islam? Where is the wisdom? Where is the good preaching? Where is the benevolence? Where is the justice? Where is the honour of the people? When he sweepingly humiliates his own people and accuses them of adultery and fornication (the article on
Teoh Beng Hock is an example) and even threatens them with dire consequences ala May 13, what is his intention? Where is the Islam that’s supposed to refine our souls and make us just and loving?

Friend, you are threatening and humiliating your own people rather than acting as a bridge and a messenger and Islam denies you that even while in war. At the height of war, when the Holy Prophet marched to free his birthplace: Mecca from the hands of the idolaters who violently chased him out of his birthplace, you remember how he demoted a Companion who belittled the

What happened?
Sa’d bin ‘Ubadah who was carrying the flag of the Helpers (Ansars) passed by a detained Abu Sufyan who was already given an amnesty by the Holy Prophet and even his house declared a sanctuary and taunted him saying: “Today will witness the humiliation of Quraish." Immediately, Abu Sufyan complained to the Holy Prophet and the Prophet (pbuh) stripped S’ad of the flag and appointed his son Qais in his place and he said: “"Nay, today Al-Ka‘bah will be sanctified, and Quraish honoured." Muslim scholars say the Holy Prophet was passionate about the honour of all people, Muslim and non-Muslim. Which parts of your incriminating, ultra-kiasu (to borrow your words) talk and articles is modeled along the Prophet’s teachings?

Gertak has invited you to pour scorn on the Chinese. I have no problem with Gertak getting concerned about the welfare of the Malays and Islam, but I have a problem with Gertak’s dishonesty and your failure. Neither Gertak nor you will help the Malays and neither of you is honest anyway. Like Malay intellectual Dr Bakri Musa wrote, I'm still to find the papers presented in the Kuala Terengganu Gertak talk. Empty rhetoric and small timers' politics.

What part of insulting the Chinese helps the Malays? Did you feel any pain when
Musa Safri said they have descended from prostitutes? You are included by the way. In all honesty, do you believe the Holy Prophet (pbuh) would have allowed a Companion of his to call the mothers (like the Chinese women who came to Malaysia in the early 20th century) of another community prostitutes? But Utusan says that’s fine and that’s why Umno, the “Islamic party” (I love it) won’t even consider punishing him. I remember Ibrahim Ali praised Musa Safri calling him a man! This hubris will bring ruin.

Would the Prophet (pbuh) allow Hamida Osman to call other people snakes? We have to live by his message and that is our destiny. The moment we fail, we perish and Allah (sw) will no longer help us. This is not petty Utopian rhetoric, this is our destiny. We honour him and his message and his ways and we survive and lead. We fail to do that, we perish. "You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah." Our hope in meeting with Allah is tied to our conduct vis-a-vis that of our Prophet (pbuh).

Don’t depart from justice and God’s fear. Your hatred for anyone, for any race, for any tribe
doesn't mean shunning justice. Allah (sw) orders Muslims: “O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” (Holy Quran 5: 08)

As he tried to awaken Muslims in the 18
th century, Muslim activist and nationalist Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī wrote in his magazine: “Allah does not change a condition of a people to honor, authority, luxury, living, safety and comfort, until those people change what is in themselves—through illumination of the mind, soundness of thought, and depth of vision; from taking lessons from the actions of Allah with previous nations, and reflecting on the situation of those who joined forces against the path of Allah—for they were destroyed—and those who neglected the practice of justice, and left the path of insight, resolution and wisdom—for they were ruined.
Unite together in commitment to righteous work, truthfulness of speech, soundness of the heart, chastity in the face of desires, and protection of truth, standing for its victory, and cooperating in its protection!”
How apt is that advice today!

You may believe that you are doing favour to Islam and the Malays by being tough against the Chinese (in fact, say opposition Chinese because Vincent Tan won’t disturb you), but I will tell you that’s counterproductive and even simply
un-Islamic for the following reasons.

1. People including Muslims hate someone who deserts them and then attacks them from outside or from the trenches of the enemy. In fact, they hate more, the opportunist who trades in the anguish, ignorance or the naivety of the host. Today, it is Muslims who suffer a lot from this phenomenon. We have many purported Muslims, (they even created atheist Muslim) who are thorn in our flesh. They pose as critics but they are venomous enemies and subcontracted

While many Chinese don’t see any problem with you being a Muslim, they have a problem with you behaving like a traitor to them by constantly attacking them, supporting groups like Perkasa and Gertak. These groups are of no help to the Malays too.

2. You make the Chinese hate Islam. In Islam, they see an assimilating religion that appreciates no culture except its own and since in Malaysia Islam’s culture is seen as that of the Malays, they refuse to consider Islam or even become its friends and your rhetoric, actions and pronouncement don’t help.

3. You portray Islam as something racial to them. When you claim to be a Malay and talk like a Malay as you do, they simply see a tribal man talking and not a fellow Chinese with a message. It is important to be honest and impartial for your message to find reception. And by the way, you are not a Malay, you will never be one.

You will always remain a Chinese and you being a Muslim is a favour of Allah than it is because of you masuing Melayu. “They make it a favour unto you (Muhammad) that they have embraced Islam. Say, "Count not your Islam as a favour upon me: Nay, Allah has conferred a favour upon you that He has guided you to the faith, if ye be true and sincere.” (Holy Quran 49: 17)

You are doing the Malays disfavour because you portray them in bad light. Nothing in your purported defence of them is fair, just, moral, Islamic and intellectual and thus you bring more disdain to them than you imagine. You sound like a conscripted hatchet and that
doesn't help the Malays. In fact, you remind me of Ergun Caner, the Turkish-Swedish-American fraudster. Furthermore, Islam is about intellect and deep personal stories, nothing in your articles explains that and your salvation journey. You are always political and petty! There is need for spiritual stories that make people think and look inward so that they correct themselves.

5. You are always unjust, selective and partial and that impairs your ability to reach to others. I have many Malay brethren who always complain about you and say you are besmirching Islam and their people by kowtowing to
Utusan than to Islam’s message of justice, honour and grace. Would the Malays lose anything however small it is by being fair and just? Neither justice nor charity diminishes a society. That’s the eternal truth.

Gertak or Perkasa or Utusan will invite you and then you will deliver a speech where you will harangue against the "ungrateful" Chinese and their ultra-kiasu culture. At the end of the day some questions need to be answered. What part of your speech helped Malays to rise to glory? To produce more? To be decent and dignified? To be just and moral? To be industrious and productive? To be thinking and critical? To be writers and intellectuals? None! You have simply insulted, slighted, humiliated or unfairly targeted another community and that doesn’t help the Malays. There is nothing motivational in blame politics and that's what you have perfected.

7. You make the Chinese hate Islam and Muslim societies. If you fail to make people Muslims, you try to befriend them so that they remain our friends. Muslims trying to make others Muslim is sharing God’s grace upon us and not out of a desire to see others vanquished or depleted. But you make them see Islam as unfair, cruel, violent, and less
accommodating and simply an assimilating tribal culture. When you show less concern to their wellbeing and pain, they care less about ours.

Did you realize that it is the Chinese in this country who care the least about the
Palestinians? I have observed this issue since my arrival and I came to know that their understating of this human issue has been shaped by what they consider as a bitter experience of their own and thus they laugh when they see Muslims in this country calling for fairness and justice in the Palestinian issue. For them it is simple, why should we care when they don’t care about us here.

Of course their
understanding and judgment is wrong but that’s how a bitter person judges things. That’s why a certain blog that's so anti-Palestinian is also so anti-you. In fact, they side with the Zionists whom they believe are under attack. Just post a news article concerning Palestine and see how they respond to it. Well, it is wrong and they are wrong but they may do that simply to spite you and fellow Muslims whom they see as less just and considerate. Furthermore, you can't have them as friends to polish Muslim image outside.

8. By failing to live the message of the Companions of the Prophet (
pbuh) where they have always asked for his advice to take Islam to their people and his predictable advice that they should honour their people and be fair to them makes many young Muslims fail to know the essence of Islam and that lays the foundation for decadence and failure. Justice is our shield.

9. By being selective, uncritical and out rightly unfair, you fail to make some arrogant and hateful Chinese to understand the predicament of the Malays. When you are cool and fair, people listen. When you foam at the mouth, throw stones and humiliate people, they don’t and that’s what you are doing. There are some malevolent Chinese who need to understand the history of this nation and its own realities today, but they can’t understand through your lenses. Leave that tribal talk, social contract thing and abusive language to the Malays of Utusan. Your duty is to warn both sides, bring them together and criticize both sides when they go wrong. That way you help both, you help Islam and you help yourself.

10. Talking selectively about Malay poverty as if they have monopoly on it (reminds me of Dr Tariq Ramadan's Muslim monopoly danger's talk) makes your message rejected. There are poor Chinese and Indians and when you call upon the government to help them, they will realize your honour and see a good man in you. A refined man shaped by Islam who is fair to all. And when you criticize them, they will accept because you have shown earlier that you care for them. I have personally seen poor Chinese and Indians. It is mandatory, and I repeat mandatory upon the Muslims of this country to help them.

One day, Calipha Omar saw an old man begging and he asked which People of the Book he belonged to. The man responded that he was a Jew. Omar then asked him why he was begging. The old man responded that since he was old, he couldn’t work so he was forced to beg to feed himself and also to pay jizyah as was the situation then.

Omar took the man by his hand and they went to his house. He gave him food and clothes and money. He then took him to the Muslim Treasurer (bayt-al-mal) and instructed the Treasurer to take care of the man and whoever was like him. Omar added that with this man we have not done justice to him as we took jizyah from him when he was young but we forsook him when he was old. Verily, the sadaqa is for the poor and destitute. And this one is a destitute from the People of the Book. So Omar exempted taking the jizyah from him. (Kitab-ul Kharaj)

There are old Chinese and Indians who need assistance, there are Chinese and Indian orphans who need assistance, there are Chinese and Indian widows, there are Chinese and Indians whose businesses failed and need help to restart, there are Chinese and Indians who can’t pay their fees, there are Chinese and Indians who feel excluded. Muslims are the followers of Omar and it is their duty to help them. It is the duty of the government to formulate policies that cater for their needs. Of course not all can be helped, but doing something however artificial it is helps.

Helping some of them would do. So when the government helps the Malays in big ways, they can’t complain. Yes, the Malays own this land, but it is Allah (sw) who owns it and to whom is the final return and we know that Allah (sw) has expressly ordered Muslims to be fair to all people. You can't deny someone assistance because of his race. That is not Islam. By being fair, you will prosper, you will be respected, exalted, honoured and helped. You will lose nothing however little it is by being considerate, helpful, just and fair. But you will lose all by being otherwise.

When I take a cab and the driver is an Indian or a Chinese, he curses the Malays. If he gets some help, he won't I guess and Malay honour is thus protected. I want to highlight the word Malay honour. It is very important to protect it. It is corruption that makes this nation fail. It is not the little things the non-Bumis demand. Billions are being lost, wasted and mismanaged. It should pain you more than an 18 year old Indian girl from Perak crying for a scholarship. It is corruption and mismanagement that poses existential danger to this nation. This crony capitalism that has turned Malaysia into Darul-Kroni is what poses danger to the Malays. This behind the scenes negotiations, inflated construction works, the same Malay groups winning contracts is what hampers Malay development and makes the others curse them. You better address that!

Be creative in your articles, be challenging, be fair, be productive and be an intellectual, be critical, be persuasive and be a Muslim and thus righteous. Be faithful, be patient, be concerned, be truthful, fulfilling, be honest and be God fearing. May Allah (sw) bless us and accept our deeds and show us His grace. Allahuma Amin!

“That Allah may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His Grace: for Allah doth provide for those whom He will, without measure.” (Holy Quran 24: 38)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Missing the point on our priorities

While reading a purportedly Kenyan Muslim blog, I was quite shocked to see the blog carrying some inflammatory messages and even praising terrorism. They were even praying for Allah (sw) to "keep Osama bin Laden" for the Ummah.

They also tore into Somalia's interim President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad accusing him of being a hypocrite and not waging 'holy war' against the Americans and the Jews. Jamaican scholar Faisal al-Abdullah too was praised despite making some outrageous comments.

Whoever is behind that blog needs to understand Osama bin Laden is not a favour upons Muslims. No one has dragged Muslims through mud in modern history than Osama did and like Sheikh Salman bin Fahd al-Oadah said; 'how many Muslims were killed due to Osama's actions?' And as Kenyans, we need to know our priorities rather than getting entangled in regional politics.

Lack of employment, failing marriages, low standards of educations, drugs, low Muslim participation in national affairs, lack of advocacy groups, grinding poverty, illiteracy, disunity and many other ills are the challenges that await Kenyan Muslims and in particular the youth. This Osama nonsense has nothing to do with Islam and Muslims and we are the least that should feel attached to this un-Islamic bigot.

I'm a Somali by ethnicity though a Kenyan and I know why Somalia has failed. It failed because the Somalis themselves wanted their nation to fail. They are the least patriotic people on earth, inherently corrupt (Sayid Mohammed Abdulle Hassan who fought the British and Somalia's unrivalled hero famously said this one) and everyone of them wants to be satisfied otherwise nothing will proceed.

Such a society doesn't need conspiracies to know as to why they have failed. They are the only homogeneous society in Africa, all Muslim, all belong to one School: the Shaf'i School and all are quite moderate, yet they slaughter each other and rape their daughters simply because of tribalism. Then you come and blame America and Jews. Stupid. First of all, they should shun what Islam taught them to shun and that's tribalism.

The vazi la Sharif (kiswahili-the clothes of Sharif) banner (below) is extremist and utterly outrageous and it is disturbing that we have people who are so concerned about Somalia that they believe fighting America and the Jews is all what's needed to salvage Somalia, yet as a non-Somalis, their own understanding of Somalia is very minimal. Quit Antisemitism for it only serves the Zionists.

Of course, we have foreign countries contributing to the destabilization of Somalia, but that's what would happen to any country that avails such opportunity to outsiders. And as the Kiswahili proverb says: Usimwamshe alalaye, ukiwamsha utalala (don't wake up your enemy otherwise he will destroy you). If Somalia slept, don't expect it to awoken by any other nation. Only the Somalis will have to do that and Allah (sw) doesn't change the condition of a people unless they first change themselves.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The rise of Islamophobia in Britain and Europe

Dave Weltman of the Socialist Review has a compelling take on the rise of Islamophobia in Britain and across Europe. He writes:

The trend towards making anti-Muslim racism "respectable" continues to grow relentlessly throughout Europe. There is the success, for example, of those who look likely in the next few months to win a ban on Muslim women wearing garments to cover the face - whether citing "security" concerns in Belgium or "defence of national values" in France. In Switzerland the recent outlawing of minarets through a referendum is being looked upon by reactionaries across the continent as a step towards normalising the arguments that portray mosques as "alien" and threatening cultural impositions. More HERE.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mutahi Ngunyi: from an intellectual commentator to a hatchet subcontractor

I used to like Mutahi Ngunyi (left) and his compelling articles in the Sunday Nation. But that was before 2007, when he acted like a patriot and a progressive intellectual who loathed tribalism and corruption. A man who spared no one in his incisive commentaries. His ranting against the tribal clique that surrounded President Kibaki and his prophetic warning that Kenya was headed for doom unless this mischievous coterie was stopped is remembered with sadness as it came to pass.

However, as Kenya headed to the disastrous 2007 General Elections, Mutahi switched camps and joined the very people he has been lambasting. It was no-brainer, it was pure tribalism motivation. From that day, he has acted like a juvenile, like a bigot unashamed of his fraud and betrayal of the Kenyan nation and his own conscience.

His metamorphosis reminds me of that vile Zionist Nick Cohen of The Observer. Cohen transformed from a rational commentator on issues to a pen-violent Islamophobe and an ardent Zionist vouching for the genocidal tactics of the extremist Talmud oriented regime in Tel Aviv. And what's more: the man became a certified Islamophobe who fans hate against Muslims particularly those of Britain. Polemic Muslim columnist of the New Statesman Mehdi Hassan highlighted this metamorphosis in a fantastic piece in the New Statesman. Read it here.

Mutahi's latest piece in the Sunday Nation was disappointing and unfortunate. Like a far-right Evangelical bigot and a patronizing buffoon, he even talked of dark Muslim influence in the post Lancester constitution and talked of the Nation of Islam somehow gaining disproportionate influence. No one knows how he arrived at that figure and even what he meant by the Nation of Islam. But one can guess.

Since he has dismissed the new draft which is his right anyway, the man has been dishing out naked lies and myths. In his desperate attempt to convince Kenyans to reject the new constitution, he has been appealing to the religious bigots and the venomous tribalists. And a man is the people he joins. Mutahi is no less than a tribal bigot and religious fanatic , an apocalyptic Evangelical hate-monger, trabalist and islamophobe. Ashindwe milele!

Ms Njoki Ndung'u who is a member of the Committee of Experts on the Proposed new law ripped into this snobby intellectual and huckster in a piece the Nation published today. Read it here. I would like to thank Ms Njoki for shedding light on this spent force who has been subcontracted by the dark forces in defeating the Kenyan will and fomenting hate and bigotry. And thanks to the many Kenyans who said NO to his fraud and hate in the comments section, both to his article and that of Ms Njoki.

Update I: There was no Mutahi Ngunyi in the Sunday Nation yesterday. Instead, four critical letters, one of them from a 13 year old girl were published. Hmmmmmmmmmm...

Update II: I had a private email exchange with Mutahi. And we agreed to disagree though he complained that I was harsh on him. I'm sorry if I was I harsh but he has to change because he is harsh too!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's another step forward for Kenyan Muslims

Northern Kenya development minister Muhammad Elmi [Muhammad Faay] (left) laying the foundation stone for the proposed Ummah University in Kajiado Next to him is Dr. Abdulrahman al Muhailan the vice chairman of Africa Muslim Agency . Right is Sheikh Hammad Muhammad Kassim the former Chief Kadhi, Sheikh Hamad! Photo: the Friday Bulletin

It was another step forward for Kenyan Muslims despite the massive challenges (and now the bigotry of the Evangelical Alliance) they face; as a new University was established. The Ummah University will be situated in Kajiado, 70 KM south of Nairobi and will offer both secular and religious courses. Kenyan Muslim entrepreneurs, well wishers, politicians and the Africa Muslim Agency are financing its construction.

This will be the second fully fletched University Muslims own and run in Kenya. There is also the Kisauni and Thika Islamic Colleges which have University college status too. It is a positive sign, it is maendeleo (development) and I hope Minister Muhammad who hails from Wajir district (my hometown) will be up to the task to serve the community and the nation. As the Kiswahili proverb says: 'haba na haba hujaza kikaba (little by little, fills the pot), I hope these small steps will make us reach the pinnacle of success.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Building a society through defeatism: Malay style

Being a student in Malaysia has been useful to me in many ways. You learn many new things, a new country, a new culture, people, food, etc. A beautiful nation with beautiful people, but probably a nation that has the worst political system. When you look from a far, when you see the dazzling Twin Towers, the sky crappers, the trains, the paved roads, the almost all tarmacked lanes, it is beautiful and satisfying, but beyond that, there is stinking political system, one devoid of decency and human good, a godless politics that thrives in indecency, skulduggery and simply outright demagoguery.

I remember Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi saying in 2006, ‘the Malays will do anything to achieve something in politics (or something like that) and that anything includes vomit inducing rhetoric and actions. He was right! He was booted out disgracefully after being stabbed in the back by some of his Cabinet Ministers.

Malaysia’s story is not new, its racial politics, stifling bureaucracy, bulging and ever increasing civil service, third world politics, controlled society, partisan bodies and unthinking religious entities are issues one reads about almost on daily basis. Malaysia is not a nation that has bright future. I remember as a kid, circa 1995 reading somewhere a robust statement made by Prof. Ali Mazrui, recognized as one of the 100 most influential intellectuals today where he praised the nation and predicted a bright future. Prof. Mazrui was in particular intrigued by the then Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. One decade later, you won’t hear the Kenyan-American professor talking of Malaysia.

That was when the economy was strong, institutional rot hidden from the public, social discontent minimal, political demagoguery not widely practiced, and Malaysia was surging. Dr. Mahathir and his then Deputy, Anwar Ibrahim were extremely popular in the Muslim (and non Muslim to a large extent) world. They were where the Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan is today. Unchallenged and probably unparalleled when measured against fellow Muslim leaders.

Then came 1998, where Dr Mahathir and Anwar clashed over the 1997/8 Asian Financial Crisis and some internal succession politics. Anwar was sacked, brutally beaten and jailed on fabricated charges of sodomy. Dr. Mahathir, realizing Anwar’s appeal both locally and abroad went overdrive to neutralize him. He did it (at least until he left power in 2003) but at the expense of Malaysia. Malaysia has never recovered from that humiliating experience since then and it will never. Make no mistake about it; neither Dr. Mahathir nor Malaysia will recover from that ugly episode.

Anwar today is facing sodomy charges again. The new allegation would even beat the first one in stupidity. At least, in the first one, Malaysians were innocent enough to be shocked. Now, they aren’t. In fact, they have become accustomed to the brutality of the system that they smile, resigned to that fate. Only Chinua Achebe can describe their resignation and hopelessness like he did in his A Man of the People. Foreign students in Malaysia joke about this immoral politics. ‘Why doesn’t Malaysia introduce Bachelor in Sodomology’ they joke. Then they can shout to the world that they can (boleh) as they say in Malaysia.

This is a nation that’s losing its soul, its spiritual side, its human side. It is becoming concrete, merciless, immoral, godless and utterly ruthless. All the signs that the edifice is to come tumbling down are there, but the elite are interested in one thing: assassinating Anwar and they refuse to see the imminent danger.

But that’s not the subject here; it is the defeatism culture of the Malay leadership. Being a Somali ethnic myself, I’m in no position to blame others or point out their shortcomings, after all, my people have nothing to be proud of. May be Islam only, and even that Islam, they have rendered it cruel and tribal.

In Malaysia, there are three main races, the Malays who are the majority, the Chinese and the Indians, then there is motley of other races and tribes but politics revolves around the three main ones. Malaysia’s greatest challenge has been how to balance the economic disparity between the native Malays and the migrant communities who have made big (at least many of them) in Malaysia. The racial riots of 1969 define Malaysia till today.

After that deadly rioting, a new economic policy (NEP) was formulated. The target was to alleviate Malay poverty (plus the poverty of others), rearrange the economic imbalance, support Malays to get a foothold and make them have at least 30% equity. Four decades later, it stands at 19%. In those four decades, entire countries were built from scratch, of course others failed, but in Malaysia, they couldn't manage one policy in four decades and worse, many continue to insist that the failed policy should be maintained. Like a drug addict who holds on to his fatal drugs, some Malays have become addicts. It is killing them, killing their souls, killing their humanity, killing their spirit, killing their will, killing their dignity, killing their Islam and killing their country.

The trouble is the Malay leadership. Having seen their people have become addicts, they lack the charisma to tell them that the nation must cross a new frontier and meet today’s challenges with new policies that are effective, economically sound and free of corruption. You can’t stick to a policy that failed. Four decades is what a nation needs to rise, not for a single policy to be implemented.

Of course there is Anwar Ibrahim, always the rabble rouser who called the policy obsolete and formulated a new policy. But rather than debating on the merits of his new policy, the ruling party, UMNO, and its apparatchiks dismissed Anwar as a traitor, IMF funded rogue who wants to destroy the Malays. To me, Anwar is a great leader and UMNO leaders are leaders. The difference between the two is that a great leader takes his people where they don’t want but aught to be and a leader takes his people where they want. And when you listen to what your people like PERKASA's Ibrahim Ali and other Manglish speaking, Utusan consuming hordes want, you fail in your leadership role and that’s what’s happening in Malaysia.

In the four to five years that I have been in Malaysia, I have never heard a single Malay leader apart from Anwar Ibrahim and former Finance Minister and UMNO’s only conscientious member (apart from a blogger called Sakmongkol) Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah say the Malays CAN! I always hear, “The Malays are weak, the Malays can’t compete, the Malays don’t have the Chinese civilization, the Malays are not tough enough to survive on their own, the Malays need help, the Malays are under threat” and etc.

Dr. Mahathir, the former PM and a notoriously racial leader continues to stoke the embers of racism and warned the Malays that that they were losing Malaysia to the non-Malays. He knows they aren't losing, but his target is to scare villagers into supporting the ruling party and thus prevent his arch-rivals, Anwar and PAS leaders from coming into power. I have no problem with politics, but destructive politics that destroys the very fabric of your nation and mismanages the destiny of that nation is both immoral and evil.

When I hear UMNO Malay leaders humiliate their own people by saying they are weak, can’t compete and need perpetual crutches, I always ask myself: what’s their intention? When you publicly and before the world camera repeat and repeat that your people are a bunch of hapless people, what do you want the world to do? To issue a Guinness World Records' certificate of collective stupidity to your people?

Why not praise your people instead? Why not say my people can? Why not raise up their spirit? Why not show them the opportunities the world has rather than cocooning them here alone? Why not remind them Islam and Allah’s order to Muslims to seek His bounties on earth and toil? A believer doesn't fail and worse, a believer doesn't engage in defeatism. “Ta-Ha. We have not revealed the Quran to you that you may be unsuccessful.” (20-1-2. Holy Quran, Shakir)

There was a Tab’ie (follower of the Prophet’s Companions) who one day came a long two men fighting. One was being humiliated. So he wanted to raise the spirits of the defeated guy. He reminded him of his faith, of his people’s past glories, of his ability, of grandfathers, of his own, and instantly the man was charged. I can’t recollect the entire story but I remember the Tabi’e also said had the other man being the one humiliated, he would have reminded him of many good things and helped him rise.

The moral of the story? Always remind your people of what’s good! Of their past glories to draw lessons, always point to their future. Remind them about their name and dignity. Tell them of the teachings of their faith. Islam is basically about creating success stories, not a whining society that’s hopeless. You are in a fight, a perpetual fight and this fight can’t be won through simplistic ideas. It needs resilience, patience, innovation, faith, sobriety, thinking, good leadership, honest administrators and just leaders (institutions).

This battle needs sacrifice. This battle needs toil and tears. Allah (sw) didn't see it fit to send even His Prophets free food. There is nothing called free here. All our Prophets worked hard and were herdsmen. Why do you think they had to occupy the lowest of jobs to survive? It's meant to remind us work is what’s important and earning halal income is our destiny. Rent-seeking, corruption, sleaze, cronyism and opportunism destroy a nation.

Mukhtar al Bukhary is not a success story. Which part of meeting a minister in his private sitting room and cutting deals is a success? Can he stand tall and be proud? The world would laugh at him, but UMNO says that’s the success of NEP. Poorah! A successful story inspires generations or even nations. Bill Gates inspired nations. He invented something, promoted it and benefited billions. He continues to inspire billions. Can Bukhary do the same? He can’t. When you give Naza 18,000 APs and they make some easy money, it that a success story that can inspire the future Malays? Which part of it is a success?

But we can have a successful Malay community by sticking to the book, rule of law, Godliness, and meritocracy. You deserve: you get, you don’t deserve: you won’t get it. Period! We need to have some policy to help the Malays, but we need results as well. I want to remind the Malays one thing, if you are unjust, you will lose this nation. That’s how God’s creation order works. Imam Ibn Taymiyyah said: God upholds the just state even if it is unbelieving, but does not uphold the unjust state even if it is Muslim.”

In other words, God would help and sustain a non-Muslim person/state that’s just than a Muslim person/state that is not. This is simple because the Prophets were sent to bring justice and God’s creation order stands on justice. If you want to have NEP, include the Chinese and Indian orphans and widows and the needy among all races. That way, you will continue to rule and prosper. But if you think voting PERKASA and UMNO will make you safe and sustainable, then you are mistaken. You will drown sooner than you can imagine. It is justice that would maintain you and settle for good leadership.

There can no be 100% successful policy or state, but being righteous and godly, being fair and just, being honest and incorruptible helps. And please, for once, defeat PERKASA and PERKASA minded parties. If you don't look inward, if you don't ask critical questions and examine yourselves, if you believe the hyperbole of PERKASA and its financiers, there will come a time when it is too late to salvage this nation and regret comes later. May Allah (sw) bless u all and guide us! Amin!

“And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right. Holy Quran 29: 69)

Update: An anonymous commentator pointed out to a forum (forum.cari) where some Malays are attacking me. Read their bunkum here. Some are even calling me a nigger. kkkkk! I can assure you that I'm whiter than "Malay" Zambry Abdul Kadir. But even if I were a nigger, that's not a problem. I appreciate God's creation. I being black or white is of no consequence. My humanity is what matters.

Please dear Malay brethren, debate the merits of this post and if you believe I may be wrong in some cases, point out and advise by commenting on it. Engaging in an orgy of tribal bashing devoid of any intellectual input justifies what I have wrote here. I love you and only God knows how Much. My criticism is genuine and from a Muslim brother who feels your pain but believes things have to change because the world is not waiting for you. Wassalam!