The Prime Minister (PM) is right to condemn the Islamic State (IS) militants, although it comes rather late. Their acts of violence are horrendous to say the least.
But why was he so quick to praise them almost two months ago and even encourage Umno members to emulate their bravery?
It is good to hear the PM now say that the atrocities carried out by IS are against the teachings of Islam, which is a religion of peace.
However, the PM’s statement, “We do not recognise the vision of our faith being forced on innocent civilians – whether Sunni, Shia or Christian – over the barrel of a gun,” is most flabbergasting.
Flabbergasting because he must surely be unaware of cases of “our faith being forced on innocent civilians – whether Sunni, Shia or Christian – over the barrel of a gun,” taking place in our homeland, although the “gun” here is metaphorical.
The most recent is the 162 native Sabahan Christians who have suddenly been declared Muslims by the National Registration Department (NRD) simply because their names contain the words “bin” and “binti”, something they have observed for ages.
Just what were the NRD officers thinking when they took it upon themselves to do this? Isn’t this act of forced conversion anti-Islamic?
Then there was the confiscation of Bibles because of the printed word “Allah”, the snatching of dead bodies because they were presumably Muslims, the unilateral conversion of Hindu children to Islam.
Why were all these carried out when it is not consistent with the tenets of Islam, which is a religion of peace, and which does not compel anyone to become Muslim?
Will the brutality of the IS, which is bringing such disrepute to the religion of Islam, be a lesson for moderate Muslim leaders like our PM to arrest the rise of religious extremism in our country?
We have a few vocal extremists in this country, who must be stopped in their tracks lest their brand of Muslim “preachings” indoctrinate others and lead to more undesirable consequences.
This country has been peaceful with people of various ethnic backgrounds living as one – true unity in diversity as has been said many a time. Multi-racialism is a valuable asset of this country, not a liability as a few bigoted minds would like people to believe.
While these bigots are clearly anti-national elements, they are free to spread their version of religious poison and drive deep wedges between the people.
Najib should not stop at just making statements. He must see to it that his administration stops condoning disgraceful acts that go overboard and bring disrepute to Islam.
Charity begins at home. So Najib should be brave enough to rise to the occasion and snuff out the elements that are out to create disunity in the country.
He should ensure that religion is not mis-used and abused by anyone for political or other unholy gains.
If actions speak louder than words, then Najib should act now and show us he is serious about what he said.
Ravinder Singh is an FMT reader