Thursday, October 16, 2014

Covert Racism - An Edible Poison

With Mr. Shi Wei'an ( 史未安; a reverted Dai'e from Jiangsu, China ) 4th from left,
MACMA staffs, and brothers of Islam in Malaysia
This article is written by Farish Chong, please visit his blog at
Covert racism is a form of racial discrimination that is disguised and subtle, rather than public or obvious. Concealed in the fabric of society, covert racism discriminates against individuals through often unnoticeable or seemingly passive methods. Covert, racially-biased decisions are often hidden or rationalized with an explanation that society is more willing to accept. These racial biases cause a variety of problems that work to empower the suppressors while diminishing the rights and powers of the oppressed. Covert racism often works subliminally, and often much of the discrimination is being done subconsciously.

Refer :

No doubt, we had enough of racism, especially these petty but controversial ones in Malaysia. However, there is another kind of racism that is infecting anyone subconsciously. Let’s be frank but fair. No doubt, we are all sick of hearing these racism matters floating across the media. Yet, there is another aspect of racism that needs to be heard and understood urgently, so that we can teach our future generations and not repeat this same mistake in future.

To give a clearer illustration of what I mean by ‘subconscious racism’, I shall mention an ironic but true story first:

The actual ethnic name for Chinese race is Han (汉族). And most Chinese who settled in Malaysia are of Han ethnic. Their major beliefs are Buddhism & Taoism, besides the small but growing number of Christians & Muslims among them.

Contrary to popular perception, the famous Chinese admiral Cheng Ho (郑和)is actually Hui (回族) by ethnicity. Just as Baba Nyonya race was born from Chinese-Malay mixed marriage, Hui people are of Arab/Persian-Han intermarriage. Nevertheless, Cheng Ho is still a pride not only to the Han Chinese people (the majority race in China) but also to the Muslim world, as he’s also a Muslim.

When this part is understood, you’ll know what I mean by next part. During our trip to central China, whereby the Hui population forms one of the largest communities, I often encountered a self-contradicting statement. Here’s an example that happened during Ramadan this year:

Situation 1: My delegation consisted of me and my Malay brothers & sisters. As our Hui friend casually asked about my Malay friends’ ethnicity, he was happy to know the diversity of Muslims as he asked them. When it comes to me, I replied I am Han Muslim. Immediately, he said “No matter what race, we are all Muslims”. I was astonished. Just now, you were happy to know the diversity of Muslims’ race, and now you were awkward at my race?

Situation 2: A Hui sister briefly expressed her dissatisfaction about China government’s unfair policy towards Muslims by using the term ‘Han country’ (汉族国家) instead of China. However, during the get-to-know-you session with me together with my Malay friends, she referred me as ‘Hua ren / 华人’ (another generally neutral name for Chinese race).

The Han ethnic forms the majority both in population and national administration. Hence, the Hui ethnic are not only the minority but also treated unequally although Uyghur community faces the worst treatment of all Muslim races in China.

You may wonder, why do I care so much about these terms Han, Hua, Hui, whatever? Well, the following situation which had happened recently will illustrate the importance of not taking this matter lightly:

In one of the Maghrib sermons delivered by a respected ustadh few days ago, he repeatedly cursed the Jews of the Prophet pbuh’s time as he elaborated the meanings of the verses in Surah Baqarah (whereupon Jews were causing trouble to the Ummah). He even used the word Laknatullah (meaning, may Allah’s curse be upon them) and even further strengthened his statement by mentioning that the it was a Jewish, - again Jew- who poisoned the Prophet pbuh during his final moments. All these statements were as if, Jews are a cursed race and Muslims need to beware of them.

My heart felt like a stab of parang knife when he said like this, despite having great respect for his knowledge in Islamic matters.

Think about it, if it’s so true that Jews are a bunch of cursed race till the End of the world, why would Allah care to give Hidayah to some Jews who are sincere to Islam even until now? What about the Jewish lady Tsafiya bat Chai (Safiyya bint Huyayy) who became one of the respected Mother of Believers as one of Prophet’s wife? Not to forget, there is Muhammad Asad who is himself a Jews, and he had even produced a Tafsir of the Qur’an and wrote some books that are still printed until now. You may even find many Jews out there who are against the Israeli colonization on Palestine for reasons that Israel state should be established by future Messiah descended from Heaven and not by weapons. The list goes on and on.

And think again, if all that is in your mind about the Han Chinese is that they are a bunch of oppressors in China and communists gangs in Malaysia, why should you even care to Da’wah to them?

We should take extra efforts to clearly separate the minority bad ones from the majority good ones when mentioning about other races. Yes, I know very well how Jews in ancient times had hurt the hearts of many messengers that Allah had sent. But let’s not forget to put extra effort to address to the listeners and readers that these are a particular group of Jews and not the whole race itself. And even in today’s context, the one that you should hate with all your heart is the people who believe in Zionism and not Jews!

Here is another example. I have an uncle who has a great dislike towards Indians. Many times during conversations, he always reminds us not to do business with Indians, as they are always insincere and never dependable. No doubt, if you have a heart to heart chat with him, he will definitely say not all Indians are that bad, but here’s the problem: What about his audience who are listening to him all these negative remarks? Subconsciously he is implanting racism into these young minds that Indians must be hatred and avoided as best as possible. This is no joke. My younger brother himself is a living proof that now he has nothing but racist thoughts not only towards Indians but also Malays! To make things worse, my uncle does nothing to address racial unity, despite complaining many times about how racist Malay politicians are.

During my primary school time, I myself had been cheated by my Indian friend by persuading me to handover my Dragon Ball game cards so that he can trade them for better version of cards. However, he never returns a single card to me back then. Naïve as it may be, but I never let that incident increase my hatred towards Indians. A few bad apples on a tree do not mean all apples produced by this tree are equally bad too.

Furthermore, if you bear deep hatred towards a particular race, then, as ustadh Nouman Ali Khan mentioned in his Friday khutbah about Surah Hud, “You are not ready for the work of the messengers (peace be upon them)”.

In this Surah, Allah mentions about Prophet Saleh pbuh. The first words that came out of his mouth when he Da’wah was “O my people, worship Allah ; you have no deity other than Him.”. He did not say, “O people of Thalmud” or even “O people”. But he said “o MY people”. Thalmud is also Saleh pbuh’s race, but instead he began with “O my people” because he CARES for them, he is WORRIED of them.

Da’wah is the first and foremost job of all prophets (pbut). As Muslims, this is the legacy of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that we must continue, so long as there are still not yet Muslims on the Earth. Even if they do Syirik, it is not our excuse not to have compassion, because it is love that will smoothen the Da’wah, not hatred! Is the proverb “Hate the sin, not the sinner” still in your heart?

I myself am proud to be Han Chinese, no doubt at all. I am very proud of the Chinese's 5000 years of history, and I am more grateful and proud with the legacy of Muhammad pbuh and his Lord. However, this does not mean I am sidelining Islam nor mixing race with religion. Islam has to be above our races and not the other way round.

And think again. If we insist to hate Jews for the rest of our lives, then we are no different from racism towards Chinese and many other races in the world. Guess what's next? This hatred is against Allah's reason in creating multiracial humanity as stated in His Book. Allah did not mention the Jews in the Quran so that we can see how evil they are and surely not for us to keep bashing at them. Allah wants us to take lessons that happened to generations of Muslims before Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), which was Bani Israel, so that we won’t face similar downfall in future, especially in this era where Ummah of Muhammad are far away from the Qur’an.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely written. Good to know that he has his own blog now. :)


Assalamualaikum wbt and welcome to my blog...
May contact me via 012-3979998 or email if you have any private message.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...