Ever since the uprising of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLO) in the 70s and later, the destruction of the World Trade Centre in New York, the perception of Islam has not been favourable. It is viewed by many westerners with suspicion as a religion of violence, hate and intolerance that wish to dominate the world and wipe away all infidel non-Muslims from the face of the earth. A new word such as "Islamophobia" was born.
However, since the 2001 event, much steps were taken by both sides, the Christian west and Islamic countries to bridge the gap with the hope of removing any mistrust that may still linger in the minds of the people. Many peace loving people lauded these efforts.
Now, on the home front, it is a different picture entirely. There are two Islamic political parties vying for the attention of the majority Muslims of the country. A decade ago, PAS was seen as the extreme and UMNO, the liberal. After the 1999 GE, Lim Kit Siang in his usual foresight made a press statement saying that UMNO will out-Islamise PAS. Twelve years on and this is coming true.
A year or two before the 2008 GE, PAS has soften it's stand on religious issues and in no time, non-Muslim Malaysians were embracing the revered Tok Guru. This change of heart from PAS became more pronounced when on March 16 2008, a month after the 2008 GE, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, the newly elected MP for Kuala Selangor, attended a full Sunday Mass at the St Paul the Hermit Church in Ijok. On March 27 2008, the newly elected MP for Shah Alam, Khalid Samad attended mass at the Church of Divine Mercy in Glenmarie, to thank the parishioners for their support during the general election.
UMNO on the other hand, a party supposedly to operate on a liberal platform, turned a 180 degrees. Their image of being a "Christian-hater" has evolved from bad to worse, with the likes of PERKASA, UTUSAN and PEMBELA joining forces in creating adverse perceptions about the Christian community. The latest is the Damansara Utama Methodist Church raid, a charity thanksgiving dinner by Harapan Komuniti spun into something sinister and evil against the Muslim community.
Not to be left out of the limelight, comes ex-PKR Ezam Mohd Nor, now an UMNO senator. After the Friday prayers, in front of 200 people, he threatened to burn down the offices of Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider for writing articles on the JAIS raid, claiming that this was disrepectful to Islam. Now this is something worth noting. While the Muslim world is trying to play down the "hate" and "violent" tags, why is this fella reinforcing that perception? More so, this is "bulan mulia", what happen to "peace" and "compassion", the cornerstone of Islamic teachings? With all this hate-mongering going on, do you honestly expect the Christian investors overseas to invest in this country knowing that their offices could be burnt down at any time should something inadvertently be said? In fact, if Ezam has any integrity and honour left in him, we would like to know when is he going to disclose the boxes of files pertaining to corruption cases in UMNO.
Recently, The Star promoted non-halal food in their "Buka Puasa" supplement. Now this is disrectful as otherwise the Home Minister would not have hauled the editor up with a warning. Despite an apology from Star, PERKASA issued a warning that theirs is a reminder to the company to behave themselves. In view of such disrepectful act to Islam, will Ezam be including The Star office on his arson list?
It is really uncanny. Doesn't Ezam look like Ibrahim Ali?