THE INTERFAITH COMMITTEE

By - Hesmel Faznee Faisal

Salam, to fellow bloggers and readers of this syok sendiri blog!

The Star has reported here that the Government had given a green light for the establishment of the Interfaith Commitee.

I believe the interfaith committee will able to resolve a lot of religious misunderstanding between us. This positive development on creating religious understanding among us jived well with the concept of 1 Malaysia!

However, I am slightly disenchanted when the person chosen to lead the Committee is not amongst the religious scholars but someone who still have a political inkling. The reason given for the choice was that person has good contacts with various religious leaders (A lame excuse, don’t you think Jose?)

Why can’t the Government choose a credible scholar?

I have names that I think would become the most suitable candidate to become chairman for the Council. Prof. Dr Mahmud Zuhdi (when is he going to get the Professor Emeritus title?) for one, is known to have a very liberal and progressive thinking on Islam, can be a good candidate.

Or perhaps the outspoken Dr Mohd Asri Zainal Abidin, who dared to challenged the forever orthodoxy thinking ulamaks and last but not least, the ever misunderstood scholar and at the same time my mentor Dr Kassim Ahmad for that matter!

It may sound judgmental but to lead this kind of committee, one must prepare to listen and have an open heart to all sorts of arguments. One cannot be seen as too rigid or being bias towards one religion (we have to admit the fact that people who have less knowledge in their own religion will become too protective towards their religious beliefs!).

Coming from this point of view, I believe that the names mentioned earlier are really suitable to contain in any arguments presented by members of the council.

I have to say that I am a bit skeptical when seeing organizations such as JAKIM and IKIM representing Islam. As someone who is very close to Dr Kassim Ahmad and understood well on his arguments towards hadith, I don’t think those who are from JAKIM or IKIM for that matter, can come up with any solution or conclusion, in regards to religion misunderstanding. 

Dr Kassim had tried to have an intellectual discourse with the two agencies but was often being let down by them. Or in other words, they refused to engage in the discourse with him!

And now, they are in a council where religous matters are subject to discussion!

As long as they dared not change the way people perceived the role of the ulamaks, they will not be able to resolve anything!

The fact that some ulamaks who have being using religion for the sake of fulfilling their personal gain, be it in political or personal agenda is quite disturbing! I don’t think JAKIM or any of the Islamic agencies are really doing their best to tackle this problem!

From my personal point of view as a Muslim, to understand Islam one must study it from all aspects and dare to question things that are considered forbidden by the ulamaks, in order to get a better understanding of their own religion!

The extremists for example, tend to think that those who are not from the Syiah sects are less Islamic, vis a vis.

If the Government is serious in tackling the issue of religious misunderstanding and committed to establish a truly functional Interfaith Council, they must first ensure that members for the council comprises of people who have no interest whatsoever with the Government nor have any direct link with it.

Kita Kan Tersesat Pabila Malam Menjemput Bulan Semula Ke Sangkar Waktu – The Salam Connection

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