Why Muslim youths are radicalised

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

What I mean is if Umno is rejected, this country will be ruled by those who are against the Islamic struggle and those who reject the fight for Malays and bumiputeras,”

- PM Najib Razak

Before I begin, kudos to Bersih’s Maria Chin for not sacking Mandeep Karpall Singh for expressing an opinion that was contrary to the kool aid some opposition supporters keep dispensing. About the only thing I disagreed with in Mandeep's piece was that the opposition needed to be benched and a reset in order.

Nope. I think the opposition needs to be bold and go against conventional political wisdom; this way if they fail, at least they would have attempted something different instead of playing the same Umno game.

Since Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi called on “all levels of society to remain alert towards factors which encouraged youths to be affected by negative influences…” I thought I would do my part in engaging with my government by opining on why youths are radicalised in this country.

Mind you, I have been going on about this for years and each year the situation has got worse.

I am one of the few oppositional-leaning political pundits - maybe the only one - who views extreme Islamic imperatives as the existential threat facing our country at this time rather than the corruption scandals that plague this administration.

To me, the most dangerous thing about these corruption scandals is that it has crippled Umno to such an extent that it had to slay a sacred cow and make nice with the Abdul Hadi Awang-led PAS, something which was anathema back in the “managed corruption” days of past Umno administrations.

In this article, I will argue that the cultural and political ethos of this country is conducive to the kind of Islamic state religious dogma that finds an audience with disenfranchised youths looking to change the political paradigm through religious violence.

The reason why many youths embrace radical Islamic dogma is that in this country, Islam has been weaponised. These youths are merely turning the weapon against the state. Mainstream Islamic discourse in this country is essentially a Manichaean struggle between Muslims who are vilified as “deviants” and those who are the “defenders” of the faith....

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