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COMMENT | The failure and derailment of political Islam

COMMENT | The many experiments in establishing the “Islamic state” have not left us with much to be proud about. Whether it is the establishment of Pakistan as an “Islamic state” or the Islamic Revolution in Iran later on or Afghanistan under Taliban rule or Sudan under Omar Al Bashir, many of us will probably conclude that none of these countries is an example of where we want to raise our families.

In spite of the fact that these countries had attempted to implement the hudud in some form or another at various points in time, corruption remains rife and human rights abuse is rampant. All these countries, rank above 100 in Transparency International’s ranking of corruption. None of these countries made to the top 10 or top 50 countries for their respect for human rights. Even Muslim refugees fleeing war, persecution and hardship do not consider these countries as coveted destinations.

None of these countries scores high even on the Islamicity Index developed by Hossein Mohammadkhan and Hossein Askari. Instead, non-Muslim countries like those in Scandinavia and Ireland were in the top rankings on this index. What went wrong?

In Malaysia, the way political Islam is expressed bears some semblance to these other experiences. The dominant expression of political Islam in Malaysia is as a divisive force, ever willing to exploit fear and hatred to win support. Quite often we see proponents of political Islam using religion to create enmity, conflict and dislike of others. The crude rhetoric and siege mentality cultivated by proponents of political Islam are not too different from the rhetoric used by Donald Trump’s white supremacist supporters.

At one time, the proponents of political Islam in Malaysia were ... 

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