I am not a follower of Ayah Pin but having had an opportunity to visit the village, I was touched by the gentleness, hospitality and diversity of its residents. These are not militants plotting the downfall of the government.
– Sect where blessings pour from a teapot
Nor are they insane cultists offering human sacrifices or virginal brides to their living God. These are ordinary people and whole families simply searching for greater meaning in their lives.
The recent threat by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dr Abdullah Mohd Zin to detain Ayah Pin under the ISA or Syariah Criminal Offence Enactment (it does not matter to the minister that Ayah Pin is an apostate) indicates a perception that Ayah Pin’s movement constitutes a threat to national security.
The mind boggles as to how on earth a peaceful following of 150 people could be construed as posing a security threat. What exactly constitutes a ‘security threat’ in the minds of our authorities?
The same minister admits that the government has been monitoring Ayah Pin. If the government has proof of Ayah Pin propagating teachings capable of destabilising Malaysia, then they should ‘show us the money’. Surely such evidence is not as evasive as Iraq’s infamous Weapons of Mass Destruction?
What is clear is that further negative comments by the authorities will only further fan the flames of discord and possibly lead to further violence.
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Malaysia’s self-proclaimed image as a ‘moderate and progressive Muslim country’ is now at stake as the attack has already been reported internationally by the likes of the BBC and AFP.
Perhaps more importantly, as the current Chair of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), Malaysia must provide a tolerant and pluralistic example for fellow member states.
As much as the authorities may disagree with Ayah Pin’s philosophy, they must act quickly and decisively by pursuing with impunity the cowardly culprits responsible and by taking steps to prevent further attacks on the peaceful community of Kampung Batu 13.
Any other response would indicate tacit approval of such a despicable act of violence.