The boy and the Nazi salute
By Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
Several weeks ago, a graduate from Universiti Malaysia Sabah posed a daring picture of him with a Nazi salute with the right arm straight up at an angle.
I am not sure whether he had uttered the ominous ‘Sieg Heil’ or ‘Heil Hitler’ but the incident caused a reprimand from the German ambassador and an apology from Syed Sadiq on behalf of the young Muslim Malay graduate.
The issue was quickly buried and after three days hardly anyone talked about it. Unlike the Wong Yan Ke incident where the Universiti Malaya graduate displayed a placard reprimanding the Vice Chancellor for the Kongres Maruah Melayu incident and a host of issues to local students, that particular incident caught on the attention of the people for several weeks after. There were calls to revoke his degree and a silly academic even suggested the ISA law to be used on him.
racist UM VC Abdul Rahim Hashim
I assume that because Wong was a Chinese reprimanding a Malay elite, he was given the royal spanking but the other graduate was left untouched because he was a Malay and he merely agreed that all Jews should be justifiably killed as enemies to Islam.
Well, in this column piece I want to take the issue of the Nazi salute to task not because of the graduate but more to take his educational construct to task in producing such a cruel and unfeeling attitude towards a whole race of people that he has never even met ... I presume.
I wish not to task the student in question and that’s why the title of this piece is the word ‘boy’ rather than ‘the graduate’ or ‘the man’.
I have two issues in this article concerning the background of religious and secular education that has brought such a monstrous attitude of murder and justifying genocide.
I also wish to deal with the deafening silence that follows from religious leaders, educationists, academics and politicians as to condemning the attitude of justifiable genocide.
Before that, let me give my own understanding of Islam and the Jewish people that I am very sure the boy in question has failed to understand.
Many Malaysian readers do not know that the attitude of hating all Jews is a common attitude of all Muslims I have met from the uneducated to the highest level of educated elite. Friday sermons and religious lectures are rife with hating the ‘Jews and Christians’ as enemies of Islam. The Jews are seen by Muslims as an arrogant group of people who thinks that they are better than the others simply because God has remarked that they were the Chosen People.
Muslims are also fed stories of Jewish betrayals and conspiracies to kill Prophet Muhammad as well as contemporary ideas about ruining Muslims. Muslims love to blame the Jewish conspiracy theories on the dismal positions of the Muslims in the world today. That 90% of the problems in this world are caused by Muslims themselves with respect to condoning acts of terrorism by the IS and other groups, accepting corruption as ‘halal’ as long as the money helps Muslims, being conservative in venturing into various controversial research areas and allowing narrow minded clerics to rule their lives simply because Muslims are too lazy to read themselves the many available sources of information regarding religious issues.
The boy with the Nazi salute do not understand, as with many Muslims, that most of the Prophets in Islam like Moses, David, Harun and Solomon, Jesus and Zakaria were all Jews from the loins of Ishak, the son of Abraham. The other son of Abraham named Ismail bored no prophet saved one, whose name was Muhammad, the last Prophet. Thus, how can Muslims hate Jews if many of the Rasul or Prophets were also Jews? Furthermore, the Qur’an carried the holy words of Allah to ask Muslims to believe and honor the previous Books or Kitabs like the Injil or Bible, the Taurah or Jewish Torah and a few others. The Qur’an contains revelations that are simply a continuance of the books of the past peoples who the Qur’an calls ‘The People of the Book’, which includes Jews. The Qur’an also carries an edict that allows Muslim men to marry Christian and Jewish women without them converting to Islam. There was also the incident where the Prophet stood up to pay respect to a Jewish body during a funeral procession. The Qur’an and the Prophet gave due respect to the Jewish people but Malays and Muslims condemn every living Jew in this world. Finally, there was a Jew by the name of Muhammad Assad who translated the Qur’an and wrote commentaries and is hailed one of the greatest scholars and politicians in Islam. I bet the UMS boy along with most Malays and Muslims never knew that…because their ustaz never explained.
The main question that begs to be asked is what kind of religious education can produce a view that agrees to the horrifying genocide of a whole race of people inclusive of women, the elderly, infants and the young? If a religion teaches the justification of genocide to its adherents, I do not think any right minded human being would want to be associated with such a cruel faith. The fact is, none of the great religions teaches that but the teachers of these faiths are the narrow minded and cruel culprits of wanton human destruction.
The other question that begs to be asked is why the silence that follows? When the boy in question unashamedly wrote in his social media glaring words of justifying genocide, I noticed a clear and deafening silence from the religious scholars, authorities and institutions. There was also none from the Social Science academia as well as politicians from all sides. This silence, to me, is the greatest failure of our society and education system. Period.
In the closing of this second decade of the 21st century, I ask Malaysians, where do we go from here after being a nation that seems to condone and accept the attitude of a university graduate that encourages the killing of infants, elderlies, women and children simply by virtue of its race. For Malaysia in the coming decades. Susahlah ini macam!
Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor at a local university