Hazrul A. Jamari: Authorities Must Take More Nuanced Approach Or Lose Goodwill Of Muslim Community, Organisers Must Be More Accountable

There are many sides to a story. We are ultimately responsible to weed out the lies and half truths so that we can get to the bottom of things. Here are my opinions of the saga that has captured the Muslim community lately.

1. Adab is paramount. Even if one disagrees, a certain level of decorum is expected among Muslims.

2. Regardless of whatever sources of truth, the ultimate standard is never to takfir any person who is a Muslim. In this respect I find the group of asatizahs and Muslims who are anti-Wahabbi guilty of the very things some of the extremists are guilty of. To use Islamic text as an excuse to perform takfir on another set of Muslims. This ultimately creates unrest and division.

3. Whether or not Wahabbi ideology is correct is a discussion for another day. What’s important is has the Islamic personality admitted he is one? Assuming that Wahabbi ideology is bad or evil, if it is, has he preached any evil?

4. There must be a distinction between a Salafi and a Wahabbi. A Salafi considers being called Wahabbi derogatory. Salafis according to anthropological opinion are made up of purists, politically activists and jihadists, the first two completely disagreeing with the jihadists. The jihadists are in fact in the minority. Whereas Salafi purists preach good and peace and are apolitical or politically passive compared to the other types. I am in the opinion Mufti Menk, if he is a Salafi, falls under the purists category. He has preached nothing but peace.

5. Definitely we must root out extremism in our society. But must the targets be indiscriminate? I think this is the mistake by the security apparatus to perceive a speaker of ultimate credentials and popularity as a security threat. Without actual hard proofs a ban on the personality is counter-productive to the good will between the state and the Muslim population. It creates distrust between them and is likely to influence perceptions that the state mistrusts the Muslim population and would prefer to exercise control and dictate the kind of Muslims that we should be.

6. Organizers of such religious talks must be held into higher accountability. They should not market or advertise if they have not secured a license and even if they do, they need to be transparent with what steps they did. For example, assuming that it was necessary to market the conference without a confirmation of the license, the Organiser must be upfront with the public that the license is being applied and the availability of the personality is pending the approval of such licenses. Otherwise, even if the organizers are well meaning and have good credibility, as long as they were not transparent from the point of marketing to sale, people will likely express their disappointment. As they say, you can take ages to build credibility. But it takes only seconds to lose it.


Source: Hazrul A. Jamari

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