Sebuah artikel oleh Raja Petra yang kritikal terhadap teknik dakwah yang efektif dari blog Malaysia Today.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
About 15 years or so ago I joined a bike ride up north (north of Malaysia, that is) and we stopped to spend a night at some old colonial chalets at the foot of Cameron Highlands. The next day we visited an Orang Asli settlement not far from there and spent half a day with them. We also brought some handouts to distribute to the Orang Asli -- a sort of community service thing.
The Orang Asli had probably been living at the foot of Cameron Highlands for thousands of years and it was most interesting to see that many of their old ways were still almost intact. I found out that both the Christian as well as Muslim missionaries visit them from time to time and although some of the Orang Asli have converted to Christianity not too many want to become Muslims.
This bike trip I am talking about took place back in the days when I was still a fundamentalist Muslim who subscribed to the ideals of an Islamic State and the Shariah as the law of the land, the criminal laws of Hudud included. Hence it was of great interest when I was told that for many decades both the Christian as well as Muslim missionaries visited these Orang Asli and while some did leave their ‘old faith’ to adopt the Abrahamic faith they had no problems becoming Christians but had no attraction to Islam.
This matter warranted further investigation.
Our local friend, a Malay-Muslim, who had lived there for some years and who was our guide for the day explained that it all boils down to approach. The Christians go there not to preach Christianity although ultimately that is their mission, to spread Christianity. They go there to offer community service and in that same process they demonstrate to the Orang Asli what good people the Christians are. Hence Christianity must be a good religion if Christians are so good.
The spreading of Christianity is never projected as the main motive. The main motive is to see how we can help you and serve you. If at all Christianity is mentioned, it is merely as a by-the-way thing, sort of: oh, by the way, before I take my leave, I just want you to know that we are Christians.
The Muslim missionaries, however, have a different approach. They go there specifically to talk about Islam and how Islam is the only true religion while all other religions are false religions and under Islam this is forbidden and that is forbidden while this is mandatory and that is mandatory. In short, only Islam is good while all the others are bad and Islam is about a long list of dos and don’ts and if you breach these rules you will get punished both by God and by the Malaysian government.
My conclusion was that the Christians adopted the soft approach while the Muslims adopted the hard approach and while the Christians talk about love and freewill the Muslims talk about hate and you have no freewill.
If I were from the ‘old ways’ and two new religions were being presented to me, which do you think I will adopt, Christianity or Islam? And I saw as many pigs running around that Orang Asli settlement as I did children. They were like house pets. If the first thing I had to do to become a Muslim was to get rid of all my pigs while the Christians were quite happy to let you keep your pigs and almost the same number of dogs that I saw, do you think I would prefer Islam to Christianity?
Now, before you all start your Islam-bashing, which will just send more Malays over to Umno, let me assure you that this article is not about Islam-bashing. It is about approach. It is about how you must approach people to convince them to join you, follow you, or support you, and not turn them off with your hate sermon. My story about my bike ride to an Orang Asli settlement around 15 years ago is merely to demonstrate my point.
There are two things you do not discuss at a party. One is religion and the other is politics. And this is because both those subjects are very sensitive and extremely volatile. Hence the approach you adopt for both religion and politics is about the same. And while my story above concerns religion, the example could easily enough be applied to politics.
If I talk to you about Islam and I condemn the Christians and tell you that the Bible is a fake, which was written by shamans and is not a book of God, and that it is compulsory that you become a Muslim because this is what God commanded, and if you refuse to become a Muslim then you are condemned and your blood is halal, will this attract you to Islam? It may not convince you to become a Christian but for sure Islam will disgust you -- or at least Muslims will disgust you.
And is this not exactly the reason why many of you who are non-Muslims are disgusted with Islam or at the very least you are disgusted with Muslims?
Concerts cannot. Sexy shows where women reveal too much flesh cannot. Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia cannot. Bibles using the Allah word cannot. Celebrate Valentine’s Day cannot. Celebrate Christmas cannot. Build churches higher than mosques cannot. Build churches where there are Muslims living in the neighbourhood cannot. Build churches not far from mosques cannot. Ring church bells too loudly cannot. Christians talking about Christianity to Muslims cannot. Inviting Muslims to church functions cannot.
And so on and so forth, the list is endless. However, Muslims can do everything that the Christians are forbidden from doing.
Now, let us look at this whole thing from the perspective of politics and apply the above argument to politics. We who are Pakatan Rakyat people can do all sorts of things because we are doing a noble thing. Barisan Nasional people, however, are not doing the noble thing so we must condemn them if they do what we do.
Can you not see that your attitude is no different from those inconsiderate and unreasonable Muslims that you condemn? The Muslims, too, feel that they are doing the noble thing just like how you Pakatan Rakyat people feel. And these inconsiderate and unreasonable Muslims feel that they are justified in doing what they are doing because they are doing the right thing and are opposing the wrong thing just like how you Pakatan Rakyat people feel.
You condemn the Barisan Nasional people for not respecting freedom of choice, freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, freedom of association, etc., while you resent and vilify those who speak out against what you believe in, meaning Pakatan Rakyat. You condemn those who change sides when Pakatan Rakyat people join Barisan Nasional and you call them traitors and many other nasty names but you hail those Barisan Nasional people who join Pakatan Rakyat and you call them angels and patriots.
You say that all those who used to be in power and who have committed transgressions must be hunted down and severely punished without mercy while those who used to be in power and who have committed transgressions but have joined the opposition must be forgiven and pardoned. You can call the Hindraf people 'Pariah Indians' and the Indian Muslims 'stinking Mamaks' but Ibrahim Ali can't say anything bad about the Chinese. (And don't let me even start on what you call the Malays).
And, yet again, the list can go on and on.
The issue is not about the cause. The cause may be noble but if the approach stinks then the message will be drowned in that sea of hatred. And this is what many see in the Pakatan Rakyat approach just like how we see the same in the approach the Muslims adopt in trying to ‘sell’ Islam.
Why have I changed? Why is it once I was a fundamentalist Muslim and today I am disgusted with the attitude of Muslims and have become one of the greatest critics of the conduct of Muslims?
Have I left Islam to become a Christian? No! Am I still a Muslim? Yes! Then why am I so critical of Muslims when once I cheered the Talibans of Afghanistan? Why do I share the view of the Christians that Muslims are hypocritical, unreasonable, inconsiderate and downright oppressive when I am a Muslim and not a Christian?
Okay, let me rephrase the two paragraphs above.
Why have I changed? Why is it once I was a diehard Reformasi activist and today I am disgusted with the attitude of the Pakatan Rakyat supporters and have become one of the greatest critics of the conduct of the Pakatan Rakyat people?
Have I left the opposition to become a government supporter? No! Am I still a Pakatan Rakyat supporter? Yes! Then why am I so critical of Pakatan Rakyat when once I cheered the Reformists? Why do I share the view that opposition supporters are hypocritical, unreasonable, inconsiderate and downright oppressive when I am an opposition supporter who propagates reforms?
Yes, you who are disgusted with the mindset of Muslims equally disgust me with your mindset regarding politics. You and those small-minded Muslims are the reverse side of the same coin. The only small difference is while those ‘others’ apply this attitude to Islam you apply the same attitude when it comes to politics. You have no right to condemn the Islamists because you are no different when it comes to your ‘religion’ called Pakatan Rakyat.
I may be a Muslim but that does not take away my right to condemn the conduct of Muslims, as they should rightly be condemned. And in the same spirit I may be a Pakatan Rakyat supporter but that, too, does not take away my right to condemn the conduct of Pakatan Rakyat supporters, whenever they warrant condemning.
Okay, I know what some of you are now going to say. Why only criticise Pakatan Rakyat? Why not also condemn Barisan Nasional? Pakatan Rakyat may not be perfect but Barisan Nasional is worse.
First of all, have I ever not whacked Barisan Nasional? What more do you want me to say about Barisan Nasional that you do not already know? Is there anything more I can say about Barisan Nasional to convince you that we need change? Are you saying you are not yet convinced enough? Do you need me to reveal more dirt on Barisan Nasional to convince you who to vote for?
Let me put it another way. Do I need to preach Islam to Muslims to convince them to become Muslims? How do I convert the already converted?
Secondly, I am not a Christian. Hence I refrain from criticising Christians although not all Christians are sincere and noble and there are many hypocritical Christians. In fact, the Christians and Muslims are really not much different. Many from both religions are slime-balls and scumbags.
I want people to love Islam, not to hate Islam, like what is happening now all over the world, Malaysia not exempted. Hence I criticise Muslims and condemn their conduct. And if Muslims do things that are damaging to Islam I will speak up.
I really do not care about priests raping choirboys and so on. If many people end up hating the Christians, that is not my concern. That is not my problem and the more the Christians leave Christianity to become Muslims the better. But I am concerned if it is the other way around.
And this same argument would apply to Pakatan Rakyat as well. My job is not to convince you that Barisan Nasional is beyond redemption. That you already know. My worry is that many who voted Pakatan Rakyat back in 2008 are having second thoughts about whether to do the same in the coming general election.
Hence I am not going to stop criticising the Muslims, as I will not stop criticising Pakatan Rakyat supporters. And if the Muslims do not like that then stop doing and saying silly things that makes me ashamed to call myself a Muslim.And in that same spirit, the Pakatan Rakyat supporters can also avoid criticism by stopping from doing and saying silly things.
Sometimes I feel like I am speaking to a bunch of school children…sigh.