WHEN factions within Umno plot strategies against their opposition, they have to be thoughtful about the reputation of their party and the dignity of Islam and its ummah.
The branding of Islam as a faith that allows racism to suit their political agenda insults Islam’s global multiracial ummah that comprises among its diverse races 30 million Chinese Muslims in Malaysia, Indonesia, China and around the world who turn towards Mecca when praying.
Herding the Malay mindset down the egotistical path of extremism, race supremacy and segregation by fiddling with the ethical context of Islam for political gain is haram.
Enlightened Malays know that race cannot have monopoly over the Muslim faith as Islam was born in the Middle East and has since been adopted by our multiracial world.
Claiming that racism is in line with Islamic teachings is a terrible act of treachery against the religion.
It scares other races in Malaysia from adopting the faith, thereby stunting the growth of Islam.
Instigating doubt is the ultimate treason against faith.
As a Chinese Muslim, I understand well the anguish of Chinese Muslim converts who marry Malay partners, and their multiracial families who will feel very conflicted over insensitive racist remarks that have wounded both Malay and Chinese families.
If race intimidation is in our constitution as alleged by a chameleon within Umno, then we have to change the constitution so that Malaysia’s unity cannot be sabotaged.
It was like a balm to the soul when the Johor royal family and Johor Umno came forth to defend the harmony of our multiracial society to ease the bitterness which could easily turn into senseless blood feuds.
As correctly observed by many scholars and researchers, the Malay race is more a geographical and cultural construct rather than a genotypic one. South-East Asia, being a vigorous maritime trading nation, is a melting pot of inter-marriages and assimilation of cultures over the centuries.
More accurately, we are a sophisticated Malay society rather than a simplistic Malay race.
Malay Sultanates may find traces of Chinese ancestry somewhere along their bloodline, as Sultan Ibrahim Ismail of Johor has graciously shared from his own genealogy.
According to Tun Sri Lanang in Sulalatus Salatin, at the height of the Malacca Sultanate, Sultan Mansur Shah married Hang Li Po from the nobility of Ming China, and their son Paduka Mimat and his royal descendants resided in Jeram (either Selangor or Perak). And it is highly probable they could have inter-married with royal members of other states.
Also, 500 attendants accompanied Hang Li Po and were married to Malacca court officials.
History recorded that migrants from China had already settled in South-East Asia as far back as the seventh century during the Tang Dynasty when Islam reached China through Arab and Persian traders via the Silk Road.
In the 15th century when Admiral Zheng He, who was Chinese Muslim, led his fleet to Malacca, there were already Chinese Muslims in Malacca whom he called the Tang people.
Kedah was the first state in the peninsula to embrace Islam in the 12th century. As Malays before the 12th century were either Hindus or Buddhists, Malay-Chinese inter-marriages were even easier.
It won’t be surprising that many Malays today will have Chinese ancestors, as well as Indian, Arab, Persian, Caucasian, and the other bygone traders in South-East Asia.
Looking at the face of that very fair-skinned Malay woman who called the Chinese “babi”, she could be one herself. Indigenous Malays are very famous for their golden brown skin and straight black hair, as registered by early historians and anthropologists.
So, fair-skinned Malays, when their DNA is tested, could find that they have either Chinese or orang putih or Arab blood in them.
The nose and eyes are usually the determinants: if it isn’t the typical high and prominent nose and large, long-lashed eyes of an Arab or Caucasian, then probably that Malay woman insulting the Chinese is also insulting her own Chinese ancestors.
Don’t forget that the children of Malay and Chinese Muslim couples are Malays, and they have bi-racial families who will suffer if the harmony and unity of Islam is sacrificed to racism and the worship of political ambitions.
Umno’s leaders have to earn their legitimacy to rule by demonstrating that they have the moral fibre to lead Malaysia honourably according to good moderate Islamic values.Kain kafan has no pockets – every one of us will meet our Maker on the Day of Judgment. Nikole Mikhael Abdullah The STAR Letters 24 September 2015