Has PAS Really Gone ‘Moderate’ on Islam?

PAS supposedly has dropped its demands for an Islamic State in order to become electable. Has it? It is too soon to tell, but maybe the following report from Associated Press ,and the comments from the PAS official should give us some reasons to be cautious. Clue – take a look at how the Islamic Party gains power in Turkey.

Opposition Stages Showdown With PM Over His ‘Civilizational Islam’ Concept
KUALA LUMPUR: An opposition-ruled state in Malaysia has barred mosques and other Islamic institutes from promoting the prime minister’s concept of Islam because it distorts religious precepts, an official said Wednesday (28 May).

The move by Selangor state is a big slap to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, a Muslim scholar who introduced the phrase “Islam Hadhari,” or “civilizational Islam,” after he took power in 2003 to explain the religious teachings that guided his administration.

The concept, which seeks to promote progressive Islam, includes principles such as mastery of knowledge and economic development. But the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS, accuses Abdullah of exploiting vague terms to make the government seem more progressive to boost its popularity among the country’s Muslim majority.

It says Islam Hadhari is losing sight of spiritualism, and giving an unbalanced perspective of Islam in its quest for economic development at all costs.

“The emphasis is on material growth, not spiritual,” said Khalid Abdul Samad, an official of the fundamentalist PAS.

He said opposition parties that wrested control of central Selangor state in recent general elections decided this week to ban sermons, workshops and other activities that publicize Islam Hadhari.

PAS is part of the three-party coalition that rules Selangor. It is not clear if the other two members of the coalition _the Chinese-dominated leftist Democratic Action Party and the multiracial People’s Justice Party _ endorse the PAS stand but they have not publicly objected to the ban.

“Islam Hadhari is a narrow, disagreeable approach to justify the government’s policies which emphasize economic growth at all costs,” Khalid told The Associated Press. “We feel that everything has to be placed in a more balanced perspective.”

Ethnic Malay Muslims comprise nearly two-thirds of the 27 million people in Malaysia, which prides itself on religious moderation balanced with scientific and technological advancement.

State governments have jurisdiction over most religious issues, so Abdullah’s federal government is not immediately able to block the ban. But officials in the ruling National Front coalition have decried the measure.

“It is their opinion, but we have a different opinion,” Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak was quoted as saying by the Berita Harian newspaper. “They want to politicize Islam Hadhari, but the reality is this is a concept that brings meaning to Islam from a civilized perspective.”

The ban is the latest sign of how the three-party opposition alliance has sought to jettison some of the National Front’s policies and projects after it won control of four of Malaysia’s 13 states in March general elections. A fifth state that was ruled by PAS earlier remained in its control.

It is not known if the other states are also planning a similar ban on Islam Hadhari. (By SEAN YOONG/ AP)

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3 Responses to “Has PAS Really Gone ‘Moderate’ on Islam?”

  1. Has PAS Really Gone ‘Moderate’ on Islam? Says:

    […] Esther wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptPAS supposedly has dropped its demands for an Islamic State in order to become electable. Has it? It is too soon to tell, but maybe the following report from Associated Press should give us some reasons to be cautious. … […]

  2. timc Says:

    dropping by. =)

  3. shaz Says:

    I wonder why a group of people who promote true teaching of their religion is called “hardliners”, while many other groups who dont really care their religion are called “moderate, modern, tolerant” etc. Does modern and moderate mean you dont have to faithfully follow your religion?

    You are talking about something you dont understand.

    You claim you promote “Religious Liberty and Equal Rights for All Citizens”, but you are bias toward Islam and Muslim.

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