PETALING JAYA, 26 March 2010: Two Muslim groups who are opposed to the Internal Security Act (ISA) are distancing themselves from a banner that implicates their endorsement of the Act.
Jemaah Islah Malaysia (JIM) and the Malaysian Muslim Youth Movement (Abim) have both denied that they agreed to a banner which read, “ISA is the medicine for those who threaten national peace and security”.
(© Norhayati Kaprawi)
The banner was spotted in front of the National Mosque on 8 Jan 2010. On that date, several Muslim groups had staged protests after Friday prayers against the court decision allowing Malaysian Catholics to use the word “Allah”.
JIM and Abim puzzled
JIM deputy president Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh told The Nut Graph he was puzzled by the banner because his organisation was at the forefront of the anti-ISA movement.
“Sometimes people just put an organisation’s name on banners without checking first,” he said in a phone interview.
“At the time of the ‘Allah’ protest, there was also a banner at a Cheras mosque which included JIM’s logo, but when we checked with the JIM division there, they said they never endorsed the banner,” he continued.
Abim secretary-general Mohamad Raimi Ab Rahim told The Nut Graph that he did not know how Accin’s name ended up on the banner.
“On the day of the protest, Abim staged a separate protest in Kampung Baru, meaning that we had a separate stand on the issue,” he said in a phone interview.
Raimi said that Abim is against the use of ISA, and made this clear when it was consulted by the Home Ministry on the possible ISA review.
Raimi also said Abim was still part of GMI, although it has not been at the forefront in recent years.
GMI secretary E Nalini explained that Abim has not been active ever since its previous president Yusri Mohamad suggested the use of ISA for “bad apostates”.
However, she said GMI was consistent that the ISA cannot be applied in any circumstance, even in protecting so-called religious sensitivities.
The ISA is a tool used to deny fundamental liberties
“The ISA is the easiest tool to silence individuals — it requires no trial, no investigative reports, no transparency, and so can be used to catch anybody,” she said in a phone interview.
“So, for us, you cannot use the ISA against anybody, even for religious reasons, because everybody is human and everybody has fundamental liberties. It is a cruel law,” she added.
Apart from Accin, the ISA endorsees listed on the banner included the Heritage Associations, Malay Cultural Organisations and Related Bodies Cooperation Network (Pewaris), and Teras Pengupayaan Melayu. Pewaris supports the use of the ISA to defend Islam and national security.
Who is Accin?
(Pic by atomicjeep)
Registered under the Societies Act, Accin is an umbrella body for Muslim pressure groups aiming to propagate Islam. Apart from JIM and Abim, its other members include the Malaysian Ulama Society, Islamic Information and Services, Al-Hidayah, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, and Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia (Muafakat).
Accin also denies any knowledge of how its name ended up on the pro-ISA banner.
“As far as I know, there has been no discussion yet in Accin on the ISA, so I cannot comment,” Muafakat‘s current chairperson, Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Osman Bakar, told The Nut Graph in a phone interview.
Osman, however, clarified that Muafakat had not yet become Accin’s chairing organisation at that time. The Nut Graph‘s attempts to contact the previous chairperson, Abdul Latif Santharan Abdullah from Al-Hidayah, were unsuccessful.