Extremism and democracy, and never the twain shall meet

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How can we promote tolerance, let alone unity, when certain people subscribe to doctrines that ask them to hate, says Abdul Rashid Hanafi.

islam and democracy

Extremism in matters relating to race, religion or ideology is the antithesis of and a threat to democracy. It does not augur well for the healthy growth of democratic processes and practices in this country.

Religious extremism demands nothing less than a theocratic government in which clerics work hand-in-glove with obtuse politicians. The end objective is to ensure that every resident – whether Muslim or not – in the state under their control adheres to the dictates of their fatwas (religious rulings) .

Without question, democracy is not the easiest form of government to establish under ethno-religiocentric government. This is especially so when democratically elected leaders are not only weak but also don’t have high tolerance for opposition and even construe constructive dissenting voices as seditious.

Most don’t want to trouble themselves with the necessity of using the gentle power of persuasion and ballots to get their policies approved by the citizens. In many instances, as experience has shown, even the voting process itself can be mired with falsification to manipulate the results even before the process begins.

Where matters of race and religion are concerned, some people can become totally irrational and insane, and all these build the walls of their mental conditioning.

Peace and security will never be realised until and unless these extremists and the hate mongers abandon doctrines that advocate hatred and violence. How can you promote tolerance, let alone unity, when certain people subscribe to doctrines that ask them to hate?

You don’t need to be obnoxious to others to defend your beliefs. If you need to intimidate others in pursuit of your version of the truth, then you may need to stop and examine what you believe.

Isn’t it irrational to please God by being rude to others? Please stop pouncing on non-issues, baying and braying all at the same time

It is beyond many of us to comprehend to what extent of irrationality the irresponsible fringes of our society are willing to keep their irrational doctrines alive.

A country under the dominant influence of a strong benevolent leadership will bring about equitable laws and provide educational and economic opportunities to all of its citizens.

When a nation’s psyche has been imprinted with the mark of corrupt leaders and corrupt doctrines, that nation will have unjust laws and policies and fail to produce diverse opportunities for the masses – and democracy will then fall prey to extremism.

Abdul Rashid Hanafi, a long-time reader of Aliran, is a former teacher based in Kedah.

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