It is becoming more and more obvious there are groups bent on fuelling open religious conflicts in our Malaysian nation. Frustrated by the defusing of potential conflicts in the aftermath of the attacks on churches and Sikh temple, the groups concerned have decided to expand its mischief making to include mosques, in the hope that this could perhaps provide the flare to their earlier attempts. Such groups of anarchists, which thrive only in social and political conditions steep in discord and dissension, amid heightened tension and mutual suspicion, may not necessarily be the direct perpetrators of violent acts themselves, but are nevertheless active as ideational instigators, agitators and strategist at other levels.
The wild-boar head incidents involving mosques is most revealing in some respects and in that regard most worrying. Clearly the act is not calculated for maximum physical damage to the mosque, for we know for this purpose wild-boar head is not quite the best choice of missile or agent. The choice of wild-boar head is not to inflict maximum physical damage but more to desecrate. Through the manipulation of taboos and religious symbols, it is evident that the perpetrators meant the act to be extremely provocative, in the hope that the backlash would be highly emotive.
It is most important therefore that Malaysians resist the manipulation and machination of anarchic groups to sow the seeds of dissension or conflicts among us, be it religious or religiously camouflaged. Let us resolve not to allow our home to be the battle ground for domestic or international conflicts and violence. Knowing of the anarchists desire to provoke and manipulate us towards disunity and discord, we should resolve to move in the opposite direction, towards closing rank and the strengthening of bonds.
We must never take the peace and harmony we have been enjoying for granted. The bonds between us, fellow citizens, must be forged, nurtured and strengthened. We have to live and practice our ideal of peace and brotherhood, for only then can we believe and cherish it collectively. In this regard I must confess I am surprised and somewhat disappointed with the reaction of Malaysians over the wild-boar head incidents. While the incidents of church attacks drew many reaction from Muslim groups expressing condemnation and regret over the incidents, the wild-boar head seem to evoke a very different kind of response. While Muslims seem to choose to remain quiet and muted, rather restrained, there seem to be no widespread expression of regret or condemnation from other quarters. In the midst of social tension, there is a real danger of silence being misinterpreted as acquiescence or indifference, which is of course unhealthy for bonding and nurturing solidarity.
The response of the internet, both local and international, have been interesting and striking too. While the church attacks were quick to draw charges of Malaysian Muslims as’ zealots’, ‘extremists’, ‘racists’, ‘fanatics’, there is no equivalent charges on the perpetrators of the wild-boar incidents ( though we do not know who the perpetrators are, we can still condemn the act itself)
The purpose of this posting is merely to note a kind of distemper or imbalance in our response to issues and challenges of nation-building. We would be more effective in becoming a nation of common interests and destiny if such distemper or incongruence is minimized or significantly changed.