By Co-President, Gan Ping Sieu On The Treatment of Turkish Journalist, Mustafa Akyol
Saturday, September 30, 2017
The authorities' recent high-handed treatment of prominent Turkish journalist, Mustafa Akyol has raised troubling questions about Malaysia's commitment to be a moderate, progressive country. If anything, we seem to be sliding down the path of orthodox radicalism.



Akyol's treatment by the authorities is only part of a series of warnings about how radicalism has crept deep into the fabric of our society, including in the bureaucracy. The recent furore over issues like the "Better Beer Festival 2017", the launderettes in Muar and Perlis, the segregation of cups in a school in Hulu Langat and the crackdown on a planned atheist gathering, are signs that point to the deepening radicalization in our midst. As a group that promotes moderation, we are deeply concerned.



Akyol's ordeal - which he recounted in the New York Times, much to our embarrassment - has also raised questions about whether JAWI has overstepped its boundaries. This includes whether the agency is empowered to question foreigners, police  lectures and asking the Immigration Department to stop people from leaving the country.



This is a stark contrast from the sense of inclusiveness shown by Prophet Muhammad during His time as well as the period when the Islamic civilization was at its height. If we continue down this road of extremism, we will one day reach a point of no return, as exemplified like some countries. 



In this respect, politicians from both sides of the divide should resist harping on communal and religious sentiments solely for political gains. Doing so will only spark a political one upmanship that will lead to a downward spiral of the ties that bind this country since Independence. Much damage has been inflicted. Now is the time everyone put the country first.
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