“I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”
- Barry M Goldwater
When “religious adviser” in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdullah Md Zin claims that “liberalism” is as big a threat to Islam as radicalism and terrorism, it has to make any rational person wonder what kind of advice is he giving the scandal-prone prime minister.
Let us take this howler of “reasoning”, for example. He defines liberals as those who “… bring different views, which while interesting, end up disregarding Islam.” So now, he has defined liberals, but then what about those radicals and terrorists who are a threat to Islam? Are they too not bringing different views to Islam?
How are the views of these radicals and terrorists different from the Wahhabism that is the Weltanschauung of some Muslims here in Malaysia and Islamic political sects whose agenda is to further erode the secular line in the sand of this country?
When was the last time a “liberal” Malaysian, whatever his or her religion, cut off the head of someone who had differing views? When was the last time a liberal Malaysian advocated that a female rape survivor marry her rapist or that minors are ready for marriage?
Never mind that “radicalism” does not necessarily have to have a pejorative connotation. All religions have ideas and people that were consider radical at one time or another, but ultimately proved beneficial to the advancement of secular ideas and traditions.
Of course, Islamists like this adviser narrowly define “liberalism” to advocate an agenda of racial and religious superiority, which is in reality is a fascist agenda using religion as a means of delivery. This is why we have the president of Isma (Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia) in a forum a couple of years about liberalism and faith declare that - “If liberalism tries to redefine or reform Islam following the demands of liberal basis, that maybe can never be accepted by Islam.”
This is why Islamists groups like Isma object to the ideas of someone they consider “liberal” like Chandra Muzaffar. This is also why they write screeds with titles like ‘How Malaysian liberals use Rukunegara vehicle as their left-hand drive’, where they claim:
“Such attempts to implement a new understanding of the constitution (or rather bring changes to its provisions and insert alien and ‘liberal’ elements) have become a leverage for the leftists within the political parties, liberal groups or public individuals to manipulate and fortify their Islamophobic agenda.” ...