Muslim Concerns Unacknowledged by the Singapore Government

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I want to write in support of some of the comments made by Mr. Zulfikar during his BBC radio interview. I believe Mr. Zulfikar brings out some important but neglected issues as regards to the way many Muslims feel – issues which have not been brought up much in the media, nor spoken about by the leaders of Singapore.

May I state from the start that I am a Chinese Christian and yet I feel myself sympathizing greatly with the Muslim community worldwide. I do not feel any hatred whatsoever towards Muslims just because the terrorists proclaimed to terrorize in the name of Islam. I know the terrorists do not represent true Islam but have used the name of Islam and chose an utterly inhumane method to express the grievances they hold in their heart. I utterly condemn such terrorism and I know most Muslims do also.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that “a riot is the language of the unheard.” I believe the same can be said of terrorism. Those who resort to terror do so because their grievances go unheard. Terrorism makes an impact and gives them a voice in this world. However, eventhough this method used to express their grievances ought to be strongly condemned, their grievances ought to be heard. As a Christian, I sympathize with them.

My God is as concerned as anyone with the hundreds of thousands of Muslim deaths that have resulted due to US backed economic sanctions against Iraq. He is as heartbroken as any with the oppression and injustice that the Palestinian Arabs have faced for decades. And He is certainly as troubled as anyone with the deaths of thousands of Afghanistans (read: collateral damages) that the US led war has so far produced.

Although I would not fully agree with Mr. Zulfikar when he says that the US led attacks on Afghanistan is an attack on Muslims in general, I believe our leaders need to realize that the fact that thousands of innocent Muslims have died are a cause of great concern in the Muslim community. And if so, Singapore’s support of this war and America in general would surely cause great discomfort among many Muslims here.

History has shown America’s foreign policies to be oppressive towards many Muslim nations. Let’s not deny or overlook this fact.

If we want to get to the root of the terrorism problem, we will see that the root cause is religious extremism drawing upon the great reservoir of hatred caused by the oppressive nature of America’s foreign policies. Whether we agree with this or not, this is the sentiment of millions of Muslims around the world.

We all would do well to discuss these painful and controversial issues openly. Our leaders need to acknowledge the way that many Muslims world worldwide and also in Singapore feel about America and their intervention in the Middle-East. If not, we will never get closer to solving the terrorism problem.

I would like to thank Mr. Zulfikar for speaking out on a very controversial issue. Though I am neither a Muslim nor a Malay, I know enough to know that many Muslims (though maybe not a majority here in Singapore) feel the way he does and they are unhappy that their views have not been represented in the media or acknowledged by the Singaporean government.

Let’s not be too quick to condemn or dismiss what Mr. Zulfikar says. Let’s discuss it openly for the benefit of all.

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