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Syura council should butt out of national politics

I think the latest move by the PAS syura council on the ‘Allah’ issue sums up the issue of political Islam nicely. It is an interesting idea, but it will never work.

It is evident that the council is looking after its own interests, and not that of the people at large, and not even the party's, in making a statement that saves its own Islamic credentials to the detriment of the party, Pakatan, and the people's views in general.

It shows the council to be far from upright in its purported Islamic principles, but only as a body too ready to please the baying crowds instead. It has showed a complete lack of wisdom in issuing its statement, not to mention a complete show of disrespect to the party and the coalition of which it is a part of.

Betrayal, ignorance of justice... are these Islamic principles? I don't think the prophet Muhammad would have made the same move as they have in defying law, and their president who had already stated his views on the matter. We call it insubordination at best, sabotage at worst. So the council is far, far, from displaying the wisdom and compassion of their prophet.

Does it think it is above the common law and the rakyat? If so, then they should think again. Perhaps they want to tell the nation that they are in charge in PAS, not the leaders.

However, I as a voter and citizen, beg to differ. People don't vote in the syura council, we vote in the party's representatives. They represent us, the council doesn’t. So at best, the council should keep its views within the party, and have no right to issue any statements to the public. Its views on the ‘Allah’ issue should be theirs and conveyed to their leaders only.

It is time these clerics be put in their rightful place - as mere advisors to the party. If PAS ever comes to power, it is because people voted their candidates in, and if the syura council thinks it will make national decisions and be the highest authority in Islam (if that time ever comes), it better think again.

To me, the role of the council is to ensure that the party and its members adheres to Islamic principles and do not stray from the path. However, as a political party, PAS also has a duty to the law, the constitution and the people, Muslim and non-Muslim. Therefore, the council has to subject itself to these as well.

The law has already spoken on the ‘Allah’ issue. While the appeal (which I think reflects the BN's hypocrisy to non-Muslims) is still pending, no one should be issuing fatwas and rulings on it. Besides, these don't stick on a non-Muslim.

At this point, I like to clarify that I am not a Christian and that this issue has no bearing on me, but as a citizen, I believe in everybody's rights and in the freedom of religion. In the interest of justice and common sense, I weigh in with the Christians on the matter.

At best, the syura council can advise party leaders on the position, but since the latter has already stated its stand, the council (if it has any respect at all for the elected representatives of the party) should hold its tongue. After all, advice can be accepted, or rejected.

‘True respect in actions, not words’

Before the council thinks it is spiritually superior to the party and the Pakatan coalition, it should look at itself in the mirror. Hasan Ali, Nasharudin Mat Isa... all those people have proven to be unworthy of being any sort of national 'authority' in Islam. I am sure there are other hypocrites like them still in the party.

The council itself shows it is more ruled by political expediency than true spirituality. A firm believer would not jump each time Umno presses their Islamic buttons. Their decisions are clearly motivated by politics, not true religious concerns.

And look within PAS before trying to impose on the nation - has it done its job in ensuring that all PAS leaders are upright and incorruptible? I think not. Look at the deforestation in Kedah and Gua Musang. Sure, you may have covered yourself with official explanations, but the fact remains that you have destroyed the forests, its habitat and the livelihoods of other human beings, the Orang Asli.

Look at the rulings that have impinged on non-Muslims. Allah has eyes. He will not be fooled by the politicians' double-talk.

Best they clean up their own house before trying on a bigger skin for themselves, one which is evident from the reactions to the ‘Allah’ statement that it will earn the rakyat's contempt.

It is a sure sign that PAS needs to wake up to the fact that people are now placing their trust in PAS only because they believe that the members are mostly clean, moderate and fair. But do not take this as an endorsement of the party's Islamic stand, or as the acceptance of Islam. Non-Muslims’ support for PAS is a two-way street. You have to respect (truly respect in actions, not words) the rights and beliefs of non-Muslims.

I think this holds true also of Muslims who do not see religion in the way PAS does. PAS does not have a monopoly on how to practice Islam, it is far misguided if it thinks so.

In short, PAS had best leave Islam out of national politics, or be prepared to continue sitting in the opposition bench, while Umno continues to rape this country, turning all of us, including PAS members, into beggars. We are sick of Umno, but don't be fooled into thinking we will accept PAS' Islamic state. Its leaders have shown that it has neither the backbone, nor the moral fibre to run a truly just and proper one.

So if BN rules and plunders for another five years, people like the syura council have themselves to blame. And I am sure Allah will be able to see the hypocrisy for what it is, and will see how they have sabotaged the people's attempt at getting rid of a corrupt and criminal coalition.

Let's hope for their sakes, that Allah would not be too harsh on them when the time of reckoning comes. In my own Buddhist belief, your fate is even worse, as your karmic actions affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people would beget you a fate beyond Allah's grace.