Monday, October 24, 2011

Playing a high-risk high-stakes political game?

PAS: Umno used Himpun to revive unity talks

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal

October 24, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR — PAS today accused Umno of using last weekend’s Himpunan Sejuta Umat (Himpun) as a platform to revive failed unity talks between both parties, using “unfounded” threats of Christianisation as a basis for inter-party co-operation.

Selangor PAS deputy commissioner Khalid Samad told The Malaysian Insider that Himpun’s organisers had tried to portray Islam as being “under siege” just so that PAS members would attend and support the event together with Umno.

“Although Umno has stated that they have nothing to do with the gathering, I think it’s obvious when you have affiliated groups like Perkasa claiming the event unified PAS and Umno.

“It’s yet another attempt in pushing for unity talks between both PAS-Umno... you play the religion card with PAS, you try to pit us against non-Muslims, to make us look extremist... they (Umno) are trying again,” said Khalid.

Malay rights group Perkasa lauded the success of Himpun, saying it unified Muslims even from opposing political factions with the presence of leaders including PAS’s Datuk Dr Hasan Ali.

PAS has said it did not support the gathering, but did not stop its members from attending the event as individuals.

“I think those tied to Umno are making a mountain out of a molehill, just because one PAS leader attended the event it does not mean PAS and Umno are now together in arms.

“Why stoke religious tension? There is no concrete proof of Christianisation threats. We’d best use our time and effort to improving other things in this country — fighting corruption, governance,” said the Shah Alam MP.

Himpun was organised by various right-wing religious groups who called for Muslims to rise up and fight the “challenge of Christianisation”.

The mass rally was mooted following the controversial August 3 raid by Selangor Islamic authorities on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC), where it was alleged that Christians were converting Muslims.

It is illegal to proselytise Muslims in Malaysia.

Christian leaders have denied claims that Christians were attempting to convert Muslims and have called Himpun’s fight “irrelevant”.

PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi said that public support for Himpun over the weekend showed that it was time for the government to enact and enforce Islamic laws in the country.

He said the Barisan Nasional (BN) government should at least “recognise” and “support” Kelantan’s efforts to establish hudud.

“I believe the time is right for Umno to state their preparation to enact Islamic laws because it is part of the demands made by Umno NGOs who supported the Himpunan Sejuta Umat.”

Are pieces of the puzzle now slowly fitting together to reveal the hidden agenda behind recent controversial events?
Are the minority Christians being made the bogeyman in a high-risk high-stakes political game orchestrated by the party in power to split PAS and Pakatan Rakyat?
Are lies published by 'respectable' newspapers controlled by certain political parties so that Muslims can be pitted against Christians? Like Selangor PAS deputy commissioner Khalid Samad said: "You play the religion card with PAS, you try to pit us against non-Muslims, to make us look extremist... they (Umno) are trying again.”

Is there no regard for the truth in the pursuit of political power? Will the name of God be used in vain by politicians for their own selfish ends?

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