OVERCOMING RACISM: Do we talk enough about racism? Divisive policies and indoctrination, have compartmentalised us as a society and forced us into our specific racial groupings.
People of a particular ethnicity enjoy study and job opportunities which are denied other communities, and we tend to look at others, through race tinted spectacles.
Aware of the destructive effects of racism, on the country, a group of young Malaysian professionals, who call themselves, "Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia" (SABM) have taken the initiative to encourage Malaysians to concentrate on this sensitive topic.
On April 16, SABM will hold a conference on "Overcoming Racism", with the intention of starting discussions, both in Malaysia, and overseas, in its effort to restore the democratic health, of Malaysia. The invitation is open to everyone and it is free. Details are given below.
SABM has invited prominent Malaysians to its panel. They are former ambassador, Noor Farida Ariffin of the G25 group, Dr Kua Kia Soong, the adviser to Suaram, the vice-president of Ikram, Hj Zaid Kamaruddin and human rights activist, Jerald Joseph, of Komas.
Two of the panelists, Noor Farida and Kua, were asked how they would counter people like Umno Baru information chief Annuar Musa who admitted that he is racist and claimed falsely, that racism is in line with Islamic teachings.
Noor Farida said, "I doubt that Annuar Musa will dare to make a fool of himself again, by repeating that racism is in line with Islamic teachings. He showed his ignorance and he has been ridiculed by the public.
"Many moderate Muslim NGOs like Sisters in Islam, Islamic Renaissance Front and Muslim Professionals Forum, are very well-read and knowledgeable about Islam. They can easily quote the relevant surahs, of the Quran, to counter such false information from the likes of Umno Baru and PAS politicians, who politicise Islam for political gain.
Suaram's Dr Kua said, "Bumiputraism has been the dominant ideology of the Umno Baru ruling class for many years. It is the basis of the authoritarian populism that has characterised Umno Baru rule.
"Racism and racial discrimination have been outlawed in the international community, and we have to denounce them and replace them with laws and commissions that promote equality and reconciliation.
"The real game changer, in Malaysian politics, was when the PAS leaders announced, in 1985, that racism and racial discrimination have no place in Islam.
"Those who say that racism is in line with Islamic teachings are doing a disservice to their religion."
If you are concerned about divisive policies, or seen the effects of racism on your friends and family, and would like to help overcome racism, please do come to the "Overcoming Racism" conference.
Note: The Conference "Overcoming Racism" is at the Brunswick Town Hall in Melbourne. Time: 10 am to 4 pm. Panel members are Noor Farida Ariffin (G25), Dr Kua Kia Soong (Suaram), Hj Zaid Kamaruddin (Ikram) and Jerald Joseph (Komas).
The event is open to everyone and is free. Your views are most welcome!