Why would Mujahid say what he said?

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

"When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion."
– Abraham Lincoln

COMMENT | For some time now, I have been a strong advocate of a counter-narrative to the mainstream dogma of Islam in this country.

While the Pakatan Harapan regime has been cowardly in their response to certain issues – ranging from the public caning of lesbians, to coddling extremist like Zakir Naik, and the Kampung Manjoi incident – the latest from de facto Islamic Affairs Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa on all things Islamic and his dust-up with The Star over its headline is worth paying attention to.

If people have been paying attention, there really isn’t much good news when it comes to Islam in this country; if anything, the Harapan regime has been derelict in their duty of confronting the Islamists.

So why would Mujahid make statements such those he made in an interview in The Star? Let us examine these statements.

1. “Let’s say you commit something within your personal, individual sphere – I will not interfere.”

What does this mean? That Mujahid personally won’t knock down doors and drag Muslims out of their private spheres? Is he speaking as a minister in charge of Islamic affairs, or is he just shooting the breeze, his words having no meaning in a policy sense and are not worth considering?

2. “For example, consumption of alcohol is wrong for a Muslim, but if you consume it within your sphere, then as part of the government, I will not interfere.”

Now, he is talking as someone who is part of the government. Well, if he talking as a representative of the government, what does this mean? That there will be no more raids or whatever else kind of moral policing? Because if his words do have meaning as a representative of the government, what else could they mean in terms of policy?

3. “My concern is what goes on in public that encroaches on sensitivity, legality or criminality. Only then does the government come in, not because we want to be moral police but because we want to secure the public sphere.”

So now we know for sure that Mujahid is speaking as a government official. The use of the term “we” signifies that this is government policy, and not some sort of personal preference. So, could we assume that there would be no more moral policing in private spheres as opposed to public ones? Apparently not...

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