Faris Abdat Oct 24
Dear Bro Kamaludeen,
Jazakallahu khair for sharing with us your thoughts on this matter, and I do apologize for the late reply.
Your revelation that Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib is not the only member of The Reading Group entrenched in a local Muslim institution deserved serious attention. Indeed it has been highlighted to me just recently that he is not the only one of his group who is working in MUIS.
Apparently, two more executives at MUIS’ Policy Development Strategic Unit are members of The Reading Group – Alfian Yasrif Kuchit and Muhammed Fadli Muhammed Fawzi.
Like Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib, Alfian Yasrif Kuchit has made his support for Liberal Islam absolutely clear through his articles such as http://www.thereadinggroup.sg/Articles/Islamic%20Legal%20Education%20at%20the%20IIUM.pdf. Considering that he studied Islamic Law at Universiti Islam Antarabangsa, it is shocking that he is now a passionate proponent of this cancer.
And let this serves as a painful reminder to those who argue that our asatizah are not in any danger studying at a Liberal Islam centre such as UIN Syarif Hidayatullah as long as they have a solid foundation in Islam. Alfian Yasrif Kuchit proves that such logic is absolutely, utterly ridiculous.
Having been exposed to this new fact, I appreciate the serious, nay fatal, implication of various other members of The Reading Group working in other Muslim organisations. Certainly, we should worry whether they have been using their respective positions to help create the necessary environment in Singapore which would be more conducive for the spread of Liberal Islam.
This is not an alarmist proposition.
Given the fact that MUIS itself has successfully been used to support the cause of Liberal Islam, it is crucial to consider the possibility of other Muslim institutions being manipulated in the same manner.
If MUIS can be easily hijacked, so can they.
Indeed, did anyone of us ever expect MUIS to actually send our asatizah to a known Liberal Islam centre where they learnt from known Liberal Islam figures ? Did anyone of us ever expect MUIS to invite known Liberal Islam proponents to Singapore to speak about their ideology ? Did anyone of us ever expect MUIS to have within its ranks Liberal Islam proponents in positions where they obviously can influenced decision-making ? Did anyone of us expect for MUIS to be launching a book which will be promoting Liberal Islam http://www.muis.gov.sg/cms/Research/spResources_subpg.aspx?id=9600 ” rel=”external nofollow”> see http://www.muis.gov.sg/cms/Research/spResources_subpg.aspx?id=9600 ? Did anyone of us ever expect MUIS to want to water down the way Islam is taught to our children as in the Kids and Teens Alive Programs ?
The only question which needs an answer is whether these individuals you spoke of share the same views about Liberal Islam as Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib including his poisonous vision to promote it in Singapore.
So is there a commonality of viewpoint among members of The Reading Group translating into a commonality of vision and mission or are those members merely guilty of association, the case of being in the wrong group at the wrong time ?
Admittedly, unless we know who these individuals are and establish where they stand on this matter, we cannot be certain. However, this does not mean that we should dismiss or underestimate the threat which they pose.
Even if they so happened to be those members who have not explicitly indicated on paper their leanings towards Liberal Islam or they having the vision to spread it in Singapore, in my opinion they are still as guilty but not because of mere association.
I refuse to accept that they being highly educated individuals do not even understand that a valid way of reinterpreting Islam does not consist of rejecting its core principles. I refuse to accept that they cannot see the clear errors of those they admire as the great rethinkers of Islam such as Ulil Abshar Abdalla who said that Islam is not the only religion which leads to true salvation. I refuse to accept that they do not comprehend the statements upon statements of disbelief which come forth from, for example, the works of Muhammed Arkoun, Nurcholish Madjid and Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd.
My question is – did they choose to remain in this group because all of them have miserably and unjustifiably failed to detect these absurdities ? Unless these silent members of The Reading Group have zero knowledge about Islam or they have all suffered a breakdown of their most basic mental faculties thus rendering them unable to distinguish the slightest bit of wrong, their innocence are absolutely suspect.
Should anyone has the sudden inclination to begin berating the unfairness of this my assessment, let it be reminded that we are not dealing with a situation which is normal or benign where we can afford to close one eye.
Just in case we have forgotten, we are facing a situation where a group of misguided Muslims are clearly attempting to make kafir out of each one of us, our families, our children and the generations which will come after us and they have rather successfully been using MUIS in that attempt.
I say for the absolute greater good, these individuals too should be exposed and the Muslim institutions they working in informed. Certainly, the Muslim institutions in question deserve to know that they have under their roofs individuals who are attached to a group which wants to spread kufr under the guise of Islam in Singapore.
At this point let me just say that there are those of us who may disagree about naming names. While I respect that opinion, I totally disagree with it.
We are foolish if we think that we can talk about the danger of Liberal Islam poisoning and destroying our community without mentioning the names of those involved, where they work and in what capacity.
Can we protect ourselves from a contagious disease if our government refuses to tell us that it exists ? Can the police catch a criminal if the victim refuses to give away his physical descriptions ? Can a judge properly dispenses justice if important facts about the case presented to him are deliberately withheld ?
We can never fully appreciate the scope of the danger posed by Liberal Islam if we refuse to deal with the details. And we can never make others in our community appreciate the danger we are talking about if we just speak in generalities.
Indeed if it is up to me, I would have the faces of Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib, Alfian Yasrif Kuchit and Muhammed Fadli Muhammed Fawzi plastered on the sides of buses, at lift lobbies, advertisement stands at bus stops, on milk cartons, on cigarette packs, notice boards in mosques, on the outside walls of flats with the words “ dangerous deviants ” stamped on them.
Certainly that is what they are – dangerous deviants. There is a disease in their hearts and they have the clear intention to infect the rest of us with that disease.
So lets us not minced words. Being polite in this matter serves no one.
Having said that, I understand your fear that the face of Liberal Islam in Singapore being reduced to that of Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib alone where consequently, we might fail to appreciate the exact nature and extent of this massive problem by focusing on this one individual.
About this, let me explained that until recently, Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib was to me the only recognizable face of Liberal Islam in MUIS. Had I been aware of Alfian Yasrif Kuchit and Muhammed Fadli Muhammed Fawzi, I would have mentioned them too without a second thought.
And my choice to put the emphasis on MUIS should be clear. Granted even if I had known about some other Muslim institutions unwittingly harbouring dangerous deviants from The Reading Group, I would have still place heavy focus on MUIS.
Given the fact that MUIS has plenty of dictatorial say in our religious affairs, for it to be so easily hijacked by Liberal Islam proponents is absolutely dangerous. This shows that something is absolutely rotten in the way MUIS has been run.
Indeed, I have to ask whether MUIS had actually received feedbacks about its program with UIN Syarif Hidayatullah even before it started and whether it had instead chose to ignore those feedbacks. I doubt that MUIS did not receive even one cautionary word about this matter.
This is similar to the issue of the misrepresentation of Islam by our mass media including the Straits Times, Channelnewsasia and Berita Harian. MUIS has known about this issue for more than 15 years now and until today has chosen not to address it when it could have easily eliminate this problem.
The same thing with the Kids and Teens Alive Programs. Plenty of asatizah and parents reject them because these programs do not really teach Islam as it should be taught and yet MUIS is stubbornly insistent on implementing them. Here again, I doubt whether these programs are not part of the master plan of Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib to import Liberal Islam to Singapore by weakening the next generation’s understanding of Islam now.
MUIS needs to ask itself as to why it has gotten into this ugly mess. Instead of becoming the vanguard of Islam in Singapore, the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura is now being used in an attempt to make kafir out of the Muslim community.
Apparently in the same way that The Reading Group wants to turn Islam inside out and upside down, MUIS needs to be turn inside out and upside down.
Reformation, yes. Rethinking, yes. Reconstruction and deconstruction, yes. But for MUIS, not Islam.
I do hope that MUIS as well as Berita Harian would offer their clarifications as to why they have been supporting The Reading Group in its vision to spread Liberal Islam. It needs to be mentioned that Berita Harian has been promoting Liberal Islam since 2005 at least, that is even before Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib’s statement in Bogor in 2006 about using Berita Harian to spread it here.
Of course, this behaviour on the part of Berita Harian is not at all surprising. There is a pattern. Our beloved Malay newspaper has been linking Islam with terrorism, bloodshed and other fallacies for many, many years through its unfair and unbalanced reportings. Again, how these would weaken the Muslim’s faith in Islam need not be elaborated.
Mohd Guntor Sadali, the chief editor of Berita Harian, definitely needs to explain himself for his paper’s actions.
I equally hope that Dr Yaacob Ibrahim would clarify whether or not it is true that he was the one responsible for putting Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib in MUIS. The question is -did Dr Yaacob Ibrahim know of his leanings before that appointment and if not, was he aware of Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib’s leanings afterwards ? And who places the other members of the Reading Group in those other Muslim organisations and in certain academic institutions ? Are they there coincidentally or deliberately put there ?
In the same way that Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, as Minister of State incharge of Muslim Affairs, had swept the issue of the misrepresentation of Islam under the carpet, lets hope that he would not take out the broom in dealing with the issue of Liberal Islam.
The carpet can only cover so much.
May Allah azzawajalla gives us guidance, protects us from these fitnah to our iman, preserves us from those who want to wish our aqidah harm. Protect us, ya Allah, for we are in need of Your mighty help.
Faris Osman Abdat
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