Well Said Datuk Dr.Shad Saleem Faruqi!
PETALING JAYA: The low turnout at the Himpunan Sujuta Umat (Himpun) rally in Shah Alam on Saturday showed a majority of Muslims in the country rejected religious extremism.
Fewer than 5,000 turned up at Stadium Melawati in a rally, supported by 3,000 NGOs, aimed to gather a million Muslims against alleged Christian proselytising.
UiTM legal professor Prof Emeritus Datuk Shad Saleem Faruqi said Himpun's poor turnout was a "tremendous victory" for moderates.
He said the Malay electorate could no longer be baited through fear and violence for political ends.
"The Malay electorate have matured enough to understand when someone is trying to exploit Islam for political gain. They now don't believe everything that is told to them," he told The Malay Mail.
"It's a fantastic victory for moderates and a moment of pride for Malaysians, Malays in particular. Malays no longer make judgment on rumours but on information. They no longer accept the bait of violence and fear. I think this is a tremendous indication of where we are heading."
Lawyer and blogger Azhar Azizan Harun said the poor turnout showed majority of Muslims did not believe the allegations that Christians were trying to convert Muslims.
Azhar said the rally's failure was a clear sign that only a minority of Muslims were extreme while the silent majority remained moderate.
"Muslims also saw the rally as a political move by Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali, Bandar Baru Kulim MP Zulkifli Noordin and Senator Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor. They don't want to be trapped in their game," he said.
"Moderate Muslims do not want to be involved in a confrontation. I see this as a positive sign."
Universiti Malaya Academic Staff Union president Azmi Sharom said he was not surprised with the low turnout because Malaysians always rejected rallies by right-wing groups.
"Events by right-wing groups never received much support. In Terengganu last year, Perkasa planned a mammoth rally with Tun Dr Mahathir Mahathir, but fewer than 1,000 attended," he said.
"Malaysians always rejected extremism but it is the Press that gave them too much face."
The law lecturer also claimed the reason why right-wing groups such as Perkasa were given a free reign was because they are supported by the governing Malay political party.
"These groups serve a purpose to Umno because Umno can no longer go around with racial rhetoric and have to look 'friendly', especially after 2008," he said