Like most law-abiding and peace-loving citizens of Malaysia, I am appalled reading the news on alleged terrorists’ activities which are recently exposed here and here. It looks like what the former long-serving Prime Minister , Mahathir, did to bring into the political mainstream, the religious elements instead of rejecting them outright as done by Suharto of Indonesia, has caused a slow-burn rather than the incendiary impact seen in our neighbour with the largest Muslim population in the world today.
The news article here also gives you a sense of insecurity that religious violence of this nature might occur anywhere in the country. Why is this hatred against others so vile that these people are willing to kill innocent human beings? More importantly, who are these people? How do they become radicalised? What make them so single-minded and paranoid that their lives would be less happy when others do not subscribe to their theology?
It is worth noting that only a certain small percentage of children are born abnormal, be it physically or mentally. Others are normal and their characters and outlook on life are shaped by their environment. The people who are responsible in bringing up the children and educating them cannot escape the spotlight turned on the homegrown terrorists in our midst.
The education system in this country has created a generation that is not only hostile to one another but one which is designed to maintain the supremacy of a race and religion over others. As if that is not enough, religionization of schools and teachers is carried on without a consideration on its impact on the young people.
The so called religious schools are built using taxpayers’ money and yet exclusive to only one race and faith. This policy is poorly thought-out. The congregation of one race and one religion breeds paranoia that has persisted from primary schools right to tertiary levels.
The instillation of Islamic values in all government agencies, schools and institutions of higher learnings is no longer conducted in the spirits it was initially founded on. It has become a platform to force others to submit to the will of the strong proponents of pure Islamisation: no half-way, it’s my way or the highway.
The ongoing Islamist-related terrorism in the Middle-East, South Asia, Africa, Indonesia and South Thailand is helping to fan the fire of militancy or terrorism among impressionable Muslim youths in Malaysia. This slow-burn should not be ignored if the country values peace and peaceful co-existence. We should not wait till attacks on the innocents take place. At this juncture, I would like to commend the police on their effective surveillance and intelligence leading to the arrest of those alleged militants or terrorists.
These people will need to be de-radicalised and apparently it takes about three years to “re-wire” the mind of each of these fanatical religious freaks, as the Indonesian experience shows. I hope the politicians from both the political divides can see the future danger wreaked by young Muslim generations being fed with hatred and suspicion of people of other faiths on account of the segregation forced upon them by the education system.
At least the Mission Schools allow students of other faiths to study in their schools but not in the case of Sekolah Ugama (religious schools) run by the Education Ministry in Malaysia: Sekolah Ugama are out of bound for students of other faiths. Now, whose brainchild was it that created this ” education apartheid“? The islamisation of public schools also drive away students of other faiths resulting in an unhealthy environment for the country’s social cohesion.
People talk about racial polarisation and factors causing them and yet the government has perceptively chosen to ignore it by sticking to the structurally ill-conceived education system: a breeding ground for mediocrity and religious tension.
I am obliged to construe that there would be more religious extremists , terrorists or militants in the making and are raring to perform their “sacred” duty in the name of the religion. It is conceivable that, presently, the authorities might be dealing with only the tip of the iceberg.
I also cannot foresee that the current government leadership can take the bull by the horns. Its anti-terrorism measures would instead be more in the form of firefighting.