Malaysiakini Letter

PAS destroying its own image

Gerard Lourdesamy  |  Published:  |  Modified:

It was with utter disgust and disbelieve that I read of the call to jihad or holy war by PAS in defence of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan against the ongoing anti-terrorist military attacks by the US and her allies.

Where was PAS when Saddam Hussein systematically murdered and plundered the Kurds in Northern Iraq and the marsh Arabs in the South?

Why was there no jihad when Kuwait was invaded and overrun by another Muslim nation?

I don't recall PAS sending fighters on a holy war during the crises in Bosnia and Kosovo either.

Perhaps the PAS leadership should explain their own hypocrisy and double standards before they condemn the US and other countries. Some of the worst atrocities in human history have been committed by Islamic regimes against their own people from Sudan to Iran and yet we hear very little condemnation from religious parties like PAS and its scholars.

Instead, PAS is more than happy to call the US, a terrorist state and a war criminal. Since when did Osama bin Laden and the Taliban become repositories of the Islamic faith and virtues. Their purported interpretation of Islam and its teachings couldn't be further from the truth as revealed by that great faith whose central message is one of peace and coexistence. Since when did they become Islamic leaders and teachers.

Like the very many extremist groups around the world, they merely use religion to justify their own evil misdeeds and skillfully mislead others as well to blindly follow them. Sadly, their ploy seems to be working given the illogical and irrational responses of many persons to the events in Afghanistan and the terrorist attacks on the US.

Is it justified for one Muslim to fight another Muslim just because he is a Muslim without any regard for the crimes that person has committed or has aided and abetted in?

Is the value of a non-Muslim life less than a Muslim one? This is the impression one gets from the stand taken by PAS.

PAS may argue that there is no evidence to implicate Osama bin Laden in the terrorist attacks on the US. Unfortunately, many governments both in the West and Arab world including our own seem to think otherwise.

The misfortune that has befallen the people of Afghanistan could have been avoided if the Taliban had just handed over Osama to the US to stand trial before an impartial tribunal not necessarily in the US but perhaps before an International tribunal under the control of the UN as is the case for Bosnia and Rwanda.

It is about time that PAS decides where it stands on various issues. The party should accept the reality of the current situation and be more pragmatic.

It is unfortunate that all the efforts made by PAS to date to moderate its views and reach out to non-Muslims have been single-handedly destroyed by the leadership of the party over the last few weeks.

Perhaps the PAS leadership and those who support the Taliban in their calls for jihad should read the brilliant essay written by Anwar Ibrahim for the Time magazine aptly entitled 'Who hijacked Islam?' before making hasty pronouncements.

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