PUTRAJAYA, Sept 28 — A Malay Muslim preacher has accused the US of backing “liberal Muslims” in an attempt to colonise Malaysia and other Muslim-majority countries today.
Mohd Hazizi Ab Rahman told a thousand-strong crowd attending a symposium here on the “Malay Leadership Crisis” the world superpower is adopting a “soft power” approach to curb the rise of political Islam, which he said is posing a major threat to the US’ global influence.
“It’s not just the Shiah, there are many Islamic factions that is being used to make Muslims fight each other and bow down to them,” said the preacher who called himself an analyst on moderate Muslims and “Americanisation”.
Mohd Hazizi described “liberal Muslims” as those who support democracy, pluralism and human rights and do not see those values as opposed to Islamic ones.
He said such “liberal Muslims” also value a democratic government that ensures good governance, instead of insisting on an Islamic state, and would not mind if a non-Muslim were to one day take over the leadership of the country.
But in order to safeguard Islam’s interests and that of its followers nationwide, Malaysia’s leader must be a Muslim, Mohd Hazizi insisted.
The symposium is jointly organised by two Muslim non-government organisations, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA) and Pembina, and is held at the Dewan Seri Siantan here.
In the first dialogue session this morning, several Malay Muslim researchers had spoken about five threats against their the country’s dominant racial and religious community, which it identified as the teachings of the Shiah school of Islam, an alleged “invasion” of the Chinese, free trade agreements including the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), Americanisation, and Christianisation.
ISMA’s women wing had earlier this month urged the Attorney-General to file an appeal to stop the circulation of Canadian writer Irshad Manji’s book “Allah, Liberty and Love” in its Bahasa Malaysia version, calling it an attempt to spread “liberalism”.
According to the NGO, the government’s initial ban on Manji’s book had been successful in preventing the spread of “liberal Islam”, which she described to be solely based on logic, advocates “ijtihad” or independent reasoning, and puts Islam on equal footing with other religions.
The ban has since been lifted following a High Court ruling on September 5.
The Malaysia Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) has frequently warned Muslims nationwide against liberalism, with an official sermon for the Aidilfitri celebration in early August warning of a conspiracy by “enemies of Islam” to manipulate them through ideas like secularism, pluralism, socialism, feminism and positivism.
The recent spotlight on Islamic decrees by Malaysian authorities on its followers as well as on non-Muslims has led to heated debate over their enforcement here, with some groups deeming certain provisions under religious law to be regressive while others have voiced concern over a worrying trend of overt Islamisation in a multicultural country.