United we stand....

And fluffy. Image: Tumblr
....divided we fall. It's an old cliche' but the importance of the phrase cannot be more relevant to Malaysia than it is today. After the 13th General Election, Malaysia was suddenly hit with a wave of discussions and debates about racism. Some politicians said some things, people took offence and said some other things, next thing I know, I'm hearing anti-racism ads on radio and seeing anti-racism campaigns online. I could be figuratively living under a rock here in IIUM, where I deal with Muslims (mainly Malay) each and every day. I'm sure many friends of mine who are out there in the real world who deal with multi-racial communities on a daily basis are more knowledgeable about how things really are. Even so, most racist issues I hear of are brought up by politicians, not the rakyat (excluding a few morons of course). Racism isn't an issue in Malaysia. So why is it hogging our headlines and our airwaves?

I remember listening to a khutbah during Friday prayers last week or the week before, where the khatib was talking about the importance of congregational prayers. He used a metaphor where in the animal kingdom, predators like lions always attack stragglers who stray away from the pack. One buffalo is easier to take down than a herd of buffaloes. I'm not saying the rakyat are buffaloes of course, but you get the picture. Unity is important for survival; if we break off into small groups that only care for our own well-being, there's no way Malaysia can survive as a nation.

A post by a friend which personifies unity.
We each have our own beliefs, our own religions and we do each belong to a particular race. There's no denying that. But so what? That doesn't mean we can't co-exist. That doesn't mean that a Muslim can't look out for his friend who is a non-Muslim. Even during the time of Prophet Muhammad PBUH he went to great lengths to ensure the non-Muslims under his leadership were well taken care of. He ensured that non-Muslims were treated well and that their rights were not abused. This happened in Madinah some 1400 years ago, at a time some people may claim was "uncivilised". Why should Malaysia in 2013 be any different?

I don't feel like unity is a problem in Malaysia. All of my friends including Malays, Chinese, Indians and non-Malaysians don't have issues with any race, which is a good thing. The post-GE13 demonstrations provide further evidence at how united the rakyat really are. I doubt anyone of a sound mind would fall for the mind games some politicians are playing. I know I don't need to tell everyone that racism is bad, and we should all embrace our differences and work towards a better Malaysia. I'm not going to remind you that we are all human regardless of race and religion. I'm not going to implore that you treat everyone equally with respect and love. I'm just going to ask that you remember all of that the next time someone provokes you. Another famous saying is to never argue with an idiot (in this case, a racist), because he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

Image: TWheader

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