Is there a link between the Terengganu government’s hysteric fascination of the Indian radical Islam televangelist Zakir Naik, the menteri besar’s generosity in gifting the not-so-liked preacher an island, and the coming of 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers over a period of three years?
Seems that there is no connection. But first let me talk about the absurdity of live-on-TV public conversions as happened in the recent tele-dakwah tour of Zakir Naik - to give a sense of the implantation of Islamic radicalism in multicultural Malaysia. A connection there could be, through a complex system of meanings and representations.
Did the stunt of conversion cheapen religion into a showbiz spectacle? Or is it done in sincerest honesty? Or to antagonise other religions?