06 December 2015
Revived political Salafist discourse in Malaysia invokes the idea that non-violent Salafism is peaceful. “Peaceful Salafism” arises to assuage existing fears about Salafism and provides a legitimising sense of comfort for radical. Salafis have to end the dogma of hate in their multi-religious society to curb radicalisation.
Salafism in Malaysia has garnered renewed attention with the increasing presence of Salafi ulama within the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) youth wing. Although it is unlikely that these new UMNO Salafis would uproot the largely traditionalist Islamic bureaucracy and institutions in Malaysia, their presence has reinvigorated the nexus between Salafism, politics and extremism. Their emergence is accompanied by the attempt by scholars to define modern Salafism and elucidate its nuances and strands – Modern Salafism, Islamist Salafism, Puritanical Salafism and Militant Salafism.
This attempt clarifies the interplay between particular behaviours, habits and tendencies of modern Salafis and their parent ideology or worldview. To be sure, blanket terms, including Salafism and Islamism obfuscate our understanding of the reality of modern Salafism and result in heuristics that link Salafis, scholars or laymen, with horrific mental images of the atrocities carried out by Salafi jihadis. Inversely, a blanket term such as “Peaceful Salafism” hides the presence of extremists, radicals, terrorists and their supporters and perpetuates a false sense of comfort that non-violent Salafis should be uneasy about.
… Muhammad Haziq Bin Jani is a Research Analyst in the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 07/12/2015