Muslim imams sometimes make terrible public relation advocates. They just seem to have a knack of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.
During the Friday sermons today at mosques all around KL and Selangor is a poignant example. The imams preached that Valentine’s Day is a Christian festival, therefore Muslims, as a protection of their aqidah, should not observe it’s celebration. That’s fine, and the imams are well within their rights to say so. But what some added on, as reported by the Press, is a real faux pas:
“Remember that the Jews and Christians would continue to deceive Muslims. They will do everything undermine the Muslims’ belief and personality,” said the sermon.
The siege mentality, the us vs them, everyone hates us, sort of thinking. It’s disgusting. Why do Muslim leaders feel that they need to create this negative perception of those of other faiths? Do they believe that if they create an artificial belief that Islam is under siege, this will somehow make Muslims more devout?
NO ONE IS OUT TO GET US.
When the US bombs Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq, or supports Israel against the Palestinian Muslims, it’s not because the Christian West is “out to oppress” the Muslim world but because that’s just what nation states do in order to protect their national interests. We would do the same (and in fact, this is exactly what Muslims did during the expansion of the Caliphate in the 7th and 8th Centuries). It’s just politics. Geo-politics. Protection of national assets and interests. It’s what countries do. It has nothing to do with the fact that we’re Muslims.
Similarly when the rest of the world celebrates Valentine’s Day, it’s not to “deceive Muslims”, to “lead us astray”, or to make us apostates. People do what they want to do because they want to do it. They celebrate Valentine’s Day because they like the idea of a day dedicated to love, not because they are using it as some covert operation to derail Muslims from our faith.
It makes me wonder why Muslim leaders insist on using this strategy and approach. Is it because when Muslims feel that they are under siege, they will then naturally turn to their leaders to protect and guide them? Is this all just an over-expressed ego-trip as Muslim clerics tenuously grip on to influence over their flock? If there isn’t an “enemy”, then perhaps we won’t need them anymore. It’s a nice trick, and something the Catholic Church used to great effect as well in the Middle Ages.
Muslims, being the sensitive bunch of do-gooders that we are, need to get over ourselves. No one cares if we want to celebrate Valentine’s Day or not (though it does make for sensational news). Really. But if we go around telling people that we think they are trying to “deceive” us, this creates a truly negative impression. It creates a feeling of ill-will. Not just of us against Them, but eventually of Them against us. Try telling someone, “Stop hating me!” over and over again even though they don’t; you’ll find them getting sick of you pretty soon.
Muslims don’t need the evil West to stop deceiving us. We’ve got more than enough of that going own in our own ranks as it is.