The most important news being highlighted for the past week has been the discovery of migrant camps and mass graves at the sites on the border of Malaysia and Thailand.
Last week we had already dwelt on this issue. We had emphasised that without punishing Myanmar, nothing will come out of the issue, and the problem will continue for years to come, perhaps, God forbid, all Rohingya remaining in Myanmar are massacred by the extremist regime and its equally extremist citizens fired by the extreme ideology of certain monks.
Now we also have to look at how the Rohingyas are exploited by their own kind and are suffering due to the malaise gripping the Muslim world in general.
News reports say that those people involved in the trafficking of Rohingyas from Myanmar – we do not know if this is in connivance with regime, though the regime must be delighted with such horrible people – are in many cases Rohingyas themselves.
What do we make out of this? That when base desire overwhelms a person nothing is forbidden. Does it matter that these people proclaim the Muslim oath of belief that ‘there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger’? What they proclaim and what they do are two separate things altogether.
That is why, Islam is not about symbols or outward appearance alone but more importantly it is its values that matter. What values were these demons in the form of humans espousing that they could enslave their own kind – of the same ethnicity and religion – and sell them like goods on the high seas and on land?
And in the process had no qualms to torture and kill the hapless victims mercilessly?
How could they even be called Muslims?
There seems to be no effort to educate Muslims to understand the Muslim problem – the situation Muslims are in. Our ‘system’ of educating Muslims about Islam is steeped in reminiscence of the old – the glorious days of Islam and of matters that do not relate to the present context and the realities of the day. Besides the overwhelming emphasis on rituals, Islam is presented like an ornament, not as to how it governs the community’s life and builds a civilization.
This is strikingly evident when we find that Muslims do not know about the condition of their fellow Muslims in neighbouring countries, not even the so-called leaders of community like the ketua kampung, the JKK and so on. Would they have known that there are such-and-such Muslims in Myanmar who are suffering persecution and the reasons behind their suffering? Not until this is reported in the media, and by Western media agencies at that. And this was evident in the discovery of mass graves just metres away from villages in northern Perlis, and yet the villagers not knowing about it despite oftentimes some Rohingya coming into the villages to seek help. Never did the people there raise an issue even after knowing that they were Muslims and suffering.
Would they be aware of the condition of their fellow brothers and sisters in Thailand especially in the south? What about the other ASEAN nations? First class apathy.
This ignorance stems from the ‘manner in which “Islam” is ‘taught’ to the masses. Actually the so-called religious teachers, the ustaz, have failed the Muslim community in many ways, not just in Malaysia but in the entire Muslim world. How then does one explain the level of apathy the Muslims have for their brethren?
It is only when a crisis peaks – like the Rohingya suffering that has come to the fore – that Muslims take note. Why was there no organized response since the 1980s when the Rohingya problem first surfaced? Why were the Muslims not galvanized into action when the autocratic, despotic military junta that ruled Burma with an iron fist since the 1960s cancelled the citizenship of the Rohingyas in the 1980s?
Even now, the Muslim leaders are playing safe. If pressure that can force the Myanmar regime to take back the Rohingyas and restore their citizenship status and all the rights that go with it is not put on the regime, the problem will not go away. But will this happen?
And our Muslim system of education too has to be totally revamped.