Border, Leadership and Partner Change

Leaders in moderate Muslim countries have the difficult task of bringing their followers, as well as Muslims of less moderate countries, into a state of grace and understanding such that the desire to enter paradise will overcome the promises of those false leaders who offer martyrdom as the reward for certain political acts such as murder and mayhem in South Thailand, suicide in Pakistan, Iraq, or killing demonstrators in Libya. It would be nice to have a real Caliph once again, who could tell us which “jihad” was the true one, and however, we must now make do with what we have in our religion, and our own intelligence.

And our own religion and intelligence must surely tell us that indiscriminate murder or suicide in public places could not possibly advance us toward Heaven’s Gates. A certain western political cartoonist illustrated this by showing a little suicide bomber appealing at the gates of Heaven, where he had hoped to enter, complete with suicide belt (which are now manufactured and sold regularly at certain facilities in Northwest Pakistan). He was told, “Sorry, your name is not here, only the names of those you blew up.” So who are the Shuhada’?

At the same time, in the year 2010, Malaysia’s National Registration Department recorded well in excess of 50,000 births out of wedlock. Based on NRD statistics, 38,258 out of the 472,983 births in 2006 were accorded illegitimate child status, the term used to refer to those born out of wedlock. The figure surged to 44,234 out of 484,722 births in 2007; 46,822 out of 496,414 in 2008; and, 52,378 out of 516,645 births in 2009. (Read more: Births out of wedlock ‘alarming’) That comes to around 1000 innocent babies born every week here in Malaysia, and these are only those that have been recorded. Many more, as we are learning to our chagrin, are being abandoned (“dumped”) in various tragic and tortuous ways. Furthermore, directly by means of the signature of the delivering physicians on birth certificates, many more still are given over to Malay families in a compassion-based adoption “underground”. Our Muslim-made adoption laws are evidently completely unable to cope with the workload.

Are these issues connected? Most of the suicide bombers reject the borders surrounding their own people, as the unwed mothers reject the sexual partners they have found — or who have found them. Surely someone among the Muslim leaders is NOT doing a very good job. Since we were deprived of our Caliph in 1923, we have to come to our own understanding that 1000 out-of-wedlock childbirths per week is simply not acceptable in a Muslim-dominated country which calls itself civilized. Perhaps the most “moderate” comment we could make is that Muslims have not been successful in training or properly selecting some of their political or religious leaders.

In addition to these dismal “free sex” statistics, struggles in Libya, Tunisia, and other Muslim revolts tell us that the people are no longer willing to put up with the very poor leaders they have lived with for the past half century. Even if these leaders WERE “foisted” upon them by nasty westerners greedy for oil, they must be replaced. And the consequences of these replacements have inspired Samuel P. Huntington’s famous phrase “Islam’s bloody borders”. However, the “blood” is on the heads of the European colonial powers who deliberately cut the Muslim Ummah up into little pieces with false borders, so they could join the United Nations (or, formerly, “League of Nations”), and lose their Ummatic identity once and for all.

It looks as if these borders may remain “bloody” for some time to come, not because they are Islamic, but rather because former leaders do not have a clue as to what “moderate Islam” would look like or be like. Replacing your thirty-year-plus leadership with your own son surely ranks as one of the dumbest political strategies ever conceived.

What is Malaysia’s mission (should she choose to accept it)? To encourage Muslims to live in peace as minorities under governments of other religious persuasions (Chinese Singapore, Catholic Manila, Orthodox Moscow, Buddhist Bangkok, secular Washington or France, etc.)? Or is it to lend morale support to Muslim minorities who want their majorities BACK again, after having been chopped up into little pieces by the European winners of World Wars 1 and 2 (Kurdistan, Kashmir, the Rohingyas of Myanmar, the Malay of South Thailand, the Philippine Morro, etc.)? In our opinion, Muslims of Malaysia and elsewhere must somehow coerce the United Nations into formulating “border change” mechanisms, so that those borders drawn a hundred years ago can be changed, if it is the legitimate desire of the majority peoples who live within them and who are the legitimate owners of all the resources beneath them.

We have seen such border-change in the Sudan today or in Timor L’este or Bosnia yesterday. We may agree as moderate Muslims that there is no easy way to do this, and yet it must be done.1000 out-of-wedlock births per week is a staggering admission of Muslim identity crisis and a reflection of the weakness of various institutions of Islam as they now operate here in Malaysia.

And yet, children do not go out and have babies because of the confusion of political leaders or borders. No. The problem lies directly with those who influence these children from day-to-day, frankly speaking, many of us parents and schoolteachers, and some of those who are entrusted with our religious affairs. We can almost hear the children crying, “Please, Muslim elders, face the fact we youth are trying to place clearly in front of your faces, that WE ARE NOT HAPPY WITH and WE DO NOT ACCEPT some of your pathetic attempts to lead and guide us. Perhaps we young people do not know what we really need, but we know one thing — it is NOT more of the wrong worldview.”

Every unwed mother delivers this same message to us, and yet we still do not seem to hear it.

AZRIL MOHD AMIN is a lawyer by profession. He has his writings archived at www.azrilmohdamin.

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