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Who is right - Anwar or Mahathir on the issue of the Israeli cricket team in Malaysia?
According to the prime minister, the zionist state's team was allowed to play here so as to enable it to witness the harmonious relations that existed between the various races in this country. It seems that by being "exposed" to this situation the young players would be able to relay to their leaders how despite Islam being the official religion, all races could live in peace and harmony.
In contrast, Anwar declared that the Israeli team was allowed because "sports was apolitical". Nowhere was it mentioned that the purpose was for "da'wah ". According to him, as reported in the press, the Israelis were allowed because they represented a sports association. Again no mention that it was an official Israeli team.
Earlier, in a report published in a Malay local daily on 21 March, it was said that the Israeli team was allowed because it was a condition imposed upon it if Malaysia wanted to host the International Cricket Council tournament. And they would be here for 21 days.
Now why did Anwar make such a statement? Just to be different, or was it because there was nothing else he could conjure up as an excuse?
According to some circles, Anwar is considered an "Islamic figure" in the Muslim world. It goes back to his days as ABIM president. He had built up a network in the Muslim world, to the extent of being associated with elements in the Islamic movement. Therefore he has been seen as the figure behind the so-called infusion of Islamic values' programme in Malaysia. However, it would be important to note that since joining the ruling party he has become a full-time politician. And it this politcian who has time and againg come to the defence of the enemies of Islam. Just a few years ago at the peak of the Salman Rushdie issue he calmly declared that the apostate was a "profound writer".
Again the political streak in him has shown off his true colours. The international community must realise that secular politics as is practised in Malaysia leaves no room for Islam. As in the case of Anwar, he even went to the extent of saying a lie - that the Israeli team was a sports association - (if the newsreport was true). Everybody knows that all the countries participating in the tournament are representing their respective countries.
The Malaysian team, for instance, is representing Malaysia not any cricket club in the country! How could such a "respected Islamic figure" make such a shameful statement. This is the pinnacle of hypocrisy. If such "Islamic figures" were to judge themselves by what the Prophet had said with regards to the characteristics of a hypocrite would they still be regarded as "Islamic"? The Prophet had said that a hypocrite is identified based on three characteristics, and one of them was when he spoke he would lie.
The team piaying in Malaysia is representing Israel, it is not an "A" team or a "B" team or whatever. When we talk about representing sports associations or clubs then they would sound like the famous football clubs - Manchester United or Liverpool. In the World Cup, Manchester United does not play but the English team plays because it is only the English team that can represent England. Now this is the problem with the BN leaders - they can never admit their mistakes, "Islamic" figure or otherwise. Even the team captian was quoted as saying that his team 'would show what Israeli sportsmanship was like' during the tournamnet. Now,why can't they just admit it. This reflects what is commonly described in the Malay proverb, bangkai gajah bolehkah ditudung dengan nyiru ? ( can an elephant's carcass be totally covered by a flimsy banana leaf?)
The next issue is - is sports really apolitical as the deputy prime minister would have us believe? If it meant countries with which we already had diplomatic relations, then perhaps it could be accepted. But in the case of the zionist regime it is different; Malaysia has no diplomatic relations whatsoever with that entity. And that is why the presence of the Israeli team is mainly political - definitely not for sports.
This is because Malaysia would have to make a stand whether to recognize the zionist regime or otherwise given the fact that Malaysians especially Muslims will protest any Israeli presence here. Future invitations may be made after the zionist entity is recognised diplomatically, thus "legitimising" the BN government's actions in this respect.
Recognising Israel itself would not be a problem for the arch-secular UMNO and BN politicians - because "religion" and "politics" don't mix! If the Quran and Sunnah clearly declare that Muslims cannot have any relationship with the "people of the book" (the zionist Jews in this case) that in no way binds these people.
Anyway, these leaders have made the necessary calculations. Who is going to protest? The youth? No, they are busily entrenched in the myriad of social problems. The others? No, they are busy chasing after the Malaysian dream - the Vision 2020.
Any "deviation" from that would be costly. Anyway, most of them are apolitical, because politics is only the business of the politicians! These include the Muslims who dutifully recite the verses of the Quran daily including those which clarify Muslim attitude towards the enemies of Islam especially the Jews, but are repugnant to the mere mention of politics, and jihad - compliments of the colonial and post-colonial era.
If AnwarÕs argument could be accepted then why was the Israeli football team not allowed to play here in the past, knowing fully well that the entityÕs football team is more established and experienced than the cricket team, Isreal being a relatively new player in the sport. Furthermore, football is more popular in Malaysia than cricket. We have been hosting some world class events like the World Cup hockey for instance, yet the Israeli team was not allowed. So why the change in attitude?
It is obvious that the permission given to the Israelis to play here is merely political. The Israeli cricket team is no match for the others, therefore it could not be for the sake of sports. And Anwar cannot simply dupe the people. Though many people may have short memories, there are many others who do have memories of events of the past! During the Nixon era, the US had no diplomatic relations with the Peoples Republic of China, then under strict communist rule. Then came what has become the famous term in diplomacy - ping-pong diplomacy - where the Chinese ping-pong team played with the US team. Following this came the visit of the US president to China and establishment of diplomatic relations. So, who says sports is apolitical!Israel, it must be remembered has been desperately trying to break its international isolation in recent times. And it has succeeded quite well.
Most countries have given it diplomatic recognition, except for most of the Arab and Muslim states, Malaysia included. Israel is especially keen on having ties with Malaysia, not because it loves the warm weather or the good-natured people here, but for strategic political purposes.
That regime has worked out a strategy for Malaysia - thus ensuring full support for the Multimedia Super Corridor programme by computer giants in the US and ensuring other economic benefits would follow - which is to work with the anti-Islamic forces here to stem the Islamic tide. Having Malaysia on its side would also offset the slow process of "normalising relations" with the Arab states, Malaysia being seen as a "successful" non-Arab Muslim state.
PAS on the other hand remains firm to its Islamic principle of not haring anything to do with the zionists. This is based on the principles of relationships set forth in the Quran and the Sunnah. How could it be possible that mere humans outdo God in this matter! (may Allah protect us).
If Allah Himself has declared these elements as enemies who would never rest until they have achieved their diabolical aims over the Muslims, how is it possible for people these days to try to "talk" them out of it, even by playing games with them? The Quran has established that the Jews have never in history respected any agreement that they had entered with the Muslims, including those with their leaders, the Prophets.
Countless Prophets had been killed and subjected to all forms of humiliation and persecution by the Jews. The Quran has been explicit in describing this, and for God-fearing Muslims this alone is enough to determine the type of "relationship" they can conclude with these elements.
Meanwhile, the silence of the so-called ulama in UMNO is deafening. Have they no stand on this matter? Or is it because it would mean that once again they would have to rush to the rescue of their secular leaders by stabbing Islam in the back?
______________________________________________________"Allah Matlamat Kami" Nota: Kandungan mel ini tidak semestinya menggambarkan pendirian rasmi Majlis Syura Muslimun UK & Eire melainkan disebutkan sedemikian Penyenggara : Shamsul Sahibuddin (email@example.com)