The ugly face of racism


rac·ism           Listen to the pronunciation of racism
\ˈrā-ˌsi-zəm also -ˌshi-\
1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race 2 : racial prejudice or discrimination
rac·ist           Listen to the pronunciation of racist \-sist also -shist\ noun or adjective


Racism has always been a problem in this country of ours. No matter how hard we try to portray an opposite picture to this ugly scene, the disease is always there, stinking to the core. Championed by the worse half of Malaysian political figures, which unfortunately are also the ones still in power until today, the rotten issue of racism has rot even more under the neatly applied cosmetics.

One rare politician from PAS, TG Nik Abdul Aziz once said (reworded from my weak memory), which goes more or less like this: "It is not fair to discriminate someone based on what they are not given an option of choosing". This statement is very true. Race is not something that we signed up for, it is something that Allah has given us, just like He gave us our gender, our parents, our place of birth etc. Race is not like an occupation where we have the freedom to be whatever we want to be. I can choose to be a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer or anything else, but I can't choose whether to be a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Dayak, Kadazan, Orang Asli, Murut, Bajau, Serani, Siam or any other so-called Malaysian races.

Then again, what about religion? Religion is definitely something we can choose on our own. Truly, there are times or conditions where this freedom is not one hundred percent true, but the limit is only on the physical facade to freedom. Back in time when Islam is still early, many Muslims openly said that they believe in the pagan Arabs' faith to avoid the hellish torture being force onto Muslims at that time. But the Prophet (peace be upon him) assured them that as long as in their heart, they believe in the Oneness of God, insya Allah, they will be forgiven. This is just a matter of masquerading your belief. Not something that I would say we should do, but it is allowed when you know your life is in real danger. And the real faith that is residing in our heart is completely our freedom to choose.

So, can we discriminate based on religion? A rhetoric question, I would say. If anyone say that we can discriminate based on religion, please show me which religion teaches this discrimination? But, to avoid confusion, Islam Hadhari is not a valid answer.

Coming back to the real topic, so why is racism still there? What do we have to breathe this sickening air of racism if we all say that we never want it around?
What should we do to really cleanse ourselves from racism? Where should we start?
Do we really understand the importance of getting rid of this clinging cancer from our lives?

I only have questions, but you, my friends, have to answer it for yourselves.
Sit and sleep on it... maybe you will find the answers, insya Allah

Ariff Abdullah

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  • Salaam,

    If u refer championing Malay rights as racist then I believe that's not a correct view about it. One of UMNO's mistakes is because they have opted for secularized version of Malay nationalist struggle. PAS is so anti-Malay nationalism till most of the members have confused the ontological aspect of Malay-ness in Islamic struggle. A Muslim can have a universal (kulliyat) characteristic as well local (juz'iyyat) characteristic. Muslim in Universal sense, and Malay by local sense. Thus, Malay struggle that in line with Quran and Sunnah is a valid one. In this case, both UMNO and PAS have become extremities on both ends. This clearly shows how Muslims have become confused with their identity in Malaysia. By the way, Ibn Khaldun has shown the importance of assabiyyah in maintaining political and social cohesiveness in one's society. Like it or not, racial struggle (not racist) is here to stay. One must never be confused or Malay rights as mere empty nationalist struggle. UMNO in principle is correct but in practice they failed badly.

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