19 April 2016
Last year, controversial Malaysian blogger Alvin Tan posted an online video of himself doing a rendition of the azan, or Muslim call to prayer — shirtless and playing a keyboard.
Claiming to be a free speech activist, Tan — who is not Muslim and is a fugitive living in the United States — stated that Muslims who criticise his actions lack the credibility to do so, as Islam itself fails to respect human rights. His video had more than 400,000 views within days of being posted.
While Tan was roundly criticised for his actions from all sections of society, this incident highlights a larger problem within Malaysia: A growing anti-Islamic, anti-Malay sentiment in the past few years.
In Europe, Islamophobia manifested itself as a reaction to an imminent “Islamic threat”, and is a fire stoked by right-wing groups to galvanise society against Muslim minorities.
In Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country, Islamophobia is the by-product of a struggle for political survival, pro-Malay Muslim ethnic policies and a state continually divided along racial lines.
… Rashaad Ali is a research analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. Related topics addressed in this analysis will be discussed at the upcoming RSIS conference on ‘Islam in the Contemporary World’, which will be held on April 28.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 19/04/2016