Who killed Thaqif, Zulfarhan and Nhaveen? Not just the murderers but a society which allows bullies to take law into their own hands and moderates allow extremists to incite intolerance, distrust, hate and violence
In April, 11-year old Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi, a student who was beaten and abused at his tahfiz religious boarding school, died from his injuries. But not before he had both his legs amputated, was put into an induced coma and almost had to have his arm amputated as well.
It is alleged that Thaqif was beaten with a rubber hose repeatedly. His beatings caused him to get a serious bacterial infection.
On June 1, Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain, 21, a third-year electrical engineering student, died at the Serdang Hospital after suffering bruises and burns on his body, allegedly due to torture by his university mates.
In Penang, T Nhaveen, 18, a teenager who was bashed up brutally by a group of teenagers using helmets as well as tortured with a sharp object penetrated into his anus, died at the Penang Hospital on Thursday after a five-day coma, was buried at a tearful funeral on Friday.
What went wrong? Are we bringing up a generation of murderers?
Who killed Thaqif, Zulfarhan and Nhaveen?
Not just the murderers who must pay the price under the law, but we must bear responsibility as a society which allows bullies to take law into their own hands, and moderates must assume responsibility for allowing extremists to incite intolerance, distrust, hate and violence.
Such extremism to incite intolerance, distrust, hate and violence is taking root in our society.
Enemies of peace
DAP and DAP leaders are victims of such extremism.
DAP is a Malaysian political party, promoting the rights and interests of all races and religions in the country, and we have within our ranks Malaysians from all races and religions, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Kadazans and Orang Asli; whether Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs or Taoists.
DAP is not anti-Malay and anti-Islam as demonstrated by the record of the nine-year DAP-led Penang State Government, serving interests of all Malaysians in Penang, regardless of race, religion or socio-economic background.
We cannot be anti-Malay or anti-Islam for this will be anti-Malaysian, which comprise the diverse races and religions in the country.
Why then are there people who insist on creating the scare that DAP is anti-Malay and anti-Islam when they know that these outrageous charges are fake news and false information?
The answer is very simple – these are the real enemies of a peaceful, harmonious united, progressive and prosperous multiracial, multi-religious, multilingual and multi-cultural Malaysia who want to create disunity, division and discord by setting race against race and religion against religion because this is their only way to hold on to political power.
We are living in a very troubled world, where the voices of extremism and fanaticism want to hijack public discourse and mainstream space by preaching hate, distrust, suspicion, intolerance and conflict.
Malaysians do not want to see in the country the bombings and killings of innocent people, including children, as happened in Manchester, London, Paris, Jakarta, Mindanao or most recently in Teheran, whether by IS or other extremist and fanatical elements.
It is time for Malaysians to wake up and realise that moderates of whatever race, religion or politics will lose out by default to the extremists and fanatics, if they are not prepared to stand up to defend and fight for moderation in the country and refuse to cede any ground in public discourse or mainstream space by professing zero tolerance for extremism and fanaticism.
What history tells us
History tells us of the heavy price moderates have to pay when they failed to stand up against extremism or fanaticism of any form.
Nazi Germany is a good example. A victim of Nazi Germany admitted that very few people were true Nazis but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care.
The majority just sat back and let it all happen, and before they knew it, they had lost control and the Nazis were in command of everything.
It was the same with the Japanese. The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across Southeast Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by the sword, shovel and bayonet.
Same with Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were peace loving?
Malaysians must learn from these precious lessons of history, that peace-loving moderates, of whatever race, religion or nation should not be made irrelevant by their silence.
It is pointless Malaysia preaching the wasatiyyah principles of moderation, justice, fair play, balance and excellence on the global level if we allow and cede extremism and fanaticism room in public discourse and mainstream space.
The holy month of Ramadan should not be defiled by lies and falsehoods, intolerance, hatred and violence, an inability to differentiate right from wrong or the loss of all capacity to feel shame.
Let Ramadan be a month not only for Malaysians to be good Muslims, but also good Buddhists, good Christians, good Hindus, good Sikhs and good Taoists so that we can all become good Malaysians.
LIM KIT SIANG is DAP's Gelang Patah MP.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.