Ridhuan Tee, the pied piper of Umno’s Islam by S.THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Malaysiakini : “In the long run I certainly hope information is the cure for fanaticism, but I am afraid information is more the cause than the cure.”
- Daniel C Dennett
COMMENT So the Tamadun Islam and Tamadun Asia (Titas) course is in the news again. Apparently, certain slides, depending on who you asked, contained either “flawed” or “erroneous” information on Hindus and Sikhs. I prefer the word “fabrications” but that is just me.
Actually, the themes of the slides were the superiority of Islam over the other’s religions. The predictable and understandable outrage arrived with the usual polemics that characterise racial/religious politics in Malaysia and perhaps the world over.
In Malaysia, it has always been open season on the ‘Others’ religions. The establishment narrative is premised on the agenda that Islam, the ‘official’ religion, needs to be safeguarded by Umno against interlopers. Promulgation by propaganda is the official method and nowhere has this been most effective than programmes sanctioned by the Education Ministry.
The outrage has been predictable and warranted. Non-Malay politicians from both sides of the divide have weighed in. MCA’s Ti Lian Ker said, “It is rather unfortunate that Muslims, on the one hand, demand high reverence for their religion but at the same time some are loose cannons when it comes to understanding and respecting the religious practices of others.”
While, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy thundered, “Disciplinary action must also be taken against the lecturer who is responsible for the matter,” proving that sorry is the hardest word.
I have been through the Titas fiasco before. A while back social scientist Lim Teck Ghee wrote this: “The great majority of Malaysians respect the faith of their neighbours even if they may not understand it. What they resent and oppose is the state-sponsored assertion of dominance and superiority of a religion that is different or not their own.
I am sure Malay Muslims will similarly resent and resist any action to marginalise their religion and culture in any country in the world. In this particular case, we are witnessing the use of the public sphere to force feed the young with perspectives that are biased to one religion and narrowly selective” - in a piece about his disapproval of Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli’s support of the proposal by the Higher Education Ministry to make Titas compulsory in private tertiary institutions.
Words were exchanged and I defended Lim against accusations that he was “anti-Malay”.
Moreover, is it not the way Islam is practiced in this country? Religious superiority is defined by erasing history. Religious superiority is defined by the biased application of free speech. Minorities are warned to show respect to their fellow Muslim Malaysians by dressing appropriately, minding their speech, being careful in their political dissent. We are warned of their sensitivities but our religious beliefs are mocked or distorted in the media, in classrooms and in the corridors of power.
Race and religion are not mutually exclusive so critics of the latter are accused of racism, sedition or in the time honoured tradition of the religion of peace, accused of being puppets of the West, Jews or both.
Bigots are given free rein to pursue agendas detrimental to the cohesion of the multi-ethnic and religious polity of Malaysia, all the while doing so under auspices of beleaguered Malay politicians who disavow their community’s traditions and culture in pursuit of political hegemony.
Chief amongst these bigots is Ridhuan Tee Abdullah. Here is a Muslim who has always found a way of blaming the Chinese community for everything wrong with this country. A so-called academic who specialises in advocating victimhood on one hand and religious domination on the other. I have always mocked Ridhuan’s arguments - they are rather dumb, but nowhere is this more evident in his response to this latest fiasco.
Here is what this Muslim academic said: "It's true that the UTM slides are flawed but give the person a chance to defend their argument (on the contents).” Ridhuan admits that the content of the slides is flawed but then why insist that the author be given a chance to defend his/her arguments? In other words, when it comes to Islam (and do not doubt for one second, that this is about anything else), Muslims should be allowed to defend their arguments however flawed they may be.
Furthermore, he adds, “I suggest that the contents (in the slides) be brought to an expert so that it can be determined whether this can be accepted as a form of knowledge or not.”
So, he concedes that the contents are flawed but wants verifications from experts that said contents can be “knowledge or not”. To Muslims like Ridhuan, I suppose flawed content still has value, especially knowledge that is supportive of fabrications on the nature of Islam.
“Similarly, the arrival of Islam in India had brought justice,” said Riduhan.I will not go into the bloody history of the Muslim conquest of the Indian sub-continent nor will I detail the so-called justice of Islam in countries where people are stoned, beaten, mutilated or executed under the watchful eyes of preachers and academics.
Unfortunately for Malaysians, for Muslims like Ridhuan, the kind of “justice” that Islam offers is nothing like the justice rational people envision.
In a conference about “hudud”, this is what the so-called academic said, “To implement Islamic law and to educate non-Muslims (on Islam) can only be done by force."
This is the definition of “arrival” of Islam in India. To Muslims like Ridhuan, submission to the religion is irrelevant when it comes to its dogma. Non-Muslims should submit to dogma even if they are non-believers.
"It is said that when asked to pick between an Umno that is known to be corrupt and PAS that is known for its integrity, a Chinese would rather choose the corrupt Umno over PAS and the Islamic state," he said in the same conference.
Ridhuan singles out the Chinese community for obvious reasons but this kind of discourse has existed within PAS for decades. Actually what any rational person would choose is a corrupt government over a government which would maim or execute its citizenry based on their transgressions of religious dogma, even though some of them do not even share the same religion.
Given the choice between corrupt Western governments and any Islamic country, which do you, think a rational person would choose?
Why do thousands of Muslims refugees flood the West instead of Muslim paradises? PAS always goes on about how their representatives have “integrity” but since they cannot even pass muster when it comes to basic human rights that does leave their definition of integrity in question.
Of course, I often wonder why Muslims like Ridhuan do not leave this country and head to those Islamic countries that certain Muslim Malaysians attempt to emulate? Obviously given the choice between corrupt Umno and an Islamic/syariah-controlled country, Muslims like Ridhuan would choose, Umno.
Now that is content that could be accepted as knowledge.