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STS: PAS warns protests if 'Islam' is dropped
By Wan Hamidi Hamid

21/3/2001 6:55 pm Wed

[Umno sudah acapkali berusaha memadamkan identiti PAS yang dirasakan mengugatnya. Logo dan nama asal PAS sudah ditukar, tetapi kali ini nama Islam pula mahu digugurkan melalui pihak istana. Inilah hasrat Umno sejak 1994 yang mahu Islam semakin menjadi tiada. Yang peliknya Mahathir mengatakan Malaysia adalah sebuah negara Islam.... Dan makin pelik lagi kerana negara barat yang bukan Islam pun menerima kehadiran parti yang bernama Islam.

Islam itu untuk dipakai jika tidak ia tak terpakai. Dengan bernama Islam, kita mengagungkan kesempurnaan Islam. Mengusik nama ini dari PAS akan mengundang maut yang lebih cepat buat Umno. Lebih-lebih lagi jika perkataan tersebut mahu dipadamkan daripada perlembagaan PAS juga. Tanpa Islam sebarang perjuangan seseorang yang beragama Islam akan menjadi sia-sia. Dan tidak ada nama lain yang lebih sesuai darinya. -Editor]

The Singapore Straits Times
20th March 2001

PAS warns protests may erupt if 'Islam' is dropped from its name

It will wait for Malay Rulers Council's decision, says party chief

By Wan Hamidi Hamid

THOUSANDS of Parti Islam (PAS) supporters may take to the streets if the Malay Rulers Council decrees that the word 'Islam' should be dropped from the political party's name.

Although PAS leaders are not willing to commit themselves to such action, its Supreme Council member, Mr Mohamad Sabu, says he does not discount its possibility.

'PAS members are well-known for their discipline and they are not street thugs. But to drop Islam from PAS is an insult.

'No PAS member will ever accept this.

'Whether our members will take to the street or resort to other means, it is too early to say. But if Islam is at stake, not just PAS members but all Muslims will rally with us,' he told The Straits Times.

This week, the Malay Rulers Council, guardian of Islam in Malaysia, is expected to decide on the proposal to drop the word 'Islam' from political parties.

The two-day meeting here beginning tomorrow is expected to discuss the proposal submitted by the National Fatwa Council, a national-level Islamic body responsible for issuing religious edicts.

Council chairman Datuk Dr Ismail Ibrahim said the recommendation was based entirely on the Quran, Hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad) and views from prominent ulamaks (Islamic scholars).

Presuming that PAS would be the victim in such a ruling, the Islamic fundamentalist leaders have made their intention clear to fight tooth and nail against such attempts.

In a battle to represent the 'correct' Islam, Umno and PAS have been at odds for years.

Both are claiming to be true representatives of the religion, while hurling abuses against each other.

Malaysia's Muslims, mostly Malays, constitute 55 per cent of the population. The rest are Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Taoists and of other faiths.

PAS president Datuk Fadzil Noor gave the assurance that his party would wait for the Rulers Council's decision, but he also added that all PAS members were angry at the idea of trying to separate Islam from the party's struggle.

'All we know is that the National Fatwa Council has recommended to the Rulers Council on the use of the word 'Islam' by political parties.

'We do not know whether the proposal is about dropping the word 'Islam' from organisations or other suggestions. It's only fair that we wait for the Rulers Council to decide first,' he told The Straits Times.

But observers noted that Datuk Fadzil was just being diplomatic.

PAS insiders claim the proposal, if accepted, would alter the status of the party.

'Without Islam in the name of PAS, it shows Umno's intention to destroy our credibility among the Malays and Muslims in the country,' said an insider.

Since its inception in 1951, PAS' logo and name had gone through a few changes, although none was voluntarily done.

Barisan Nasional government's predecessor, the Alliance, had asked PAS to drop the Arabic words of 'Allah' and 'Muhammad' from the party logo in 1966.

After the racial riots of 1969, PAS was asked to drop its crescent-and-star logo. The party complied with the request by changing it to the current full moon. The backdrop is still green.

Reasons were given then that such symbols would confuse the Malays and the ruling Umno did not want Islam to be politicised.

Delegates at the Umno general assembly since 1994 had been calling for the ban of the word 'Islam' from PAS, alleging the party had misled the Malays by claiming to provide the true Islamic path.