Who Needs an Islamic State? – London launch

Malaysia Think Tank London and the City Circle invite you to an event to launch the book in London.

Speaker: Dr Abdelwahab El-Affendi
Date: Friday, 6 June 2008.
Time: 6.45pm – 8.45pm.
Venue: Abrar House, 45 Crawford Place, London W1H 4LP (nearest tube: Edgware Rd or Marble Arch)

Visit http://www.thecitycircle.com/events_full_texta.php?id=505 for further information.

MPF responds to Karpal

23rd April 2008

The Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF) regrets Karpal Singh’s knee jerk  political rhetorics to our public forum titled “Who Needs an Islamic State” held at the Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam on 20th April 2008 (Karpal tells PAS to drop Islamic state policy; Malaysiakini 22nd April 2008)

What makes it even more regrettable was that it was not evidence based and hence devoid of any grasp of the course of events in Kiara. It is evident that Mr. Karpal’s entrenched position is based on old prejudices, out of synch with the openness that Malaysia’s new politics expects.

Maybe Mr. Karpal needs to widen his reading horizons and references and heed to the investigative reporting by “alternative media” which among others wrote “PAS research director Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad was well received by the audience even though he apologised at the onset that his preparation for this morning was the bare minimum (although he added in a few points while Abdelwahab was speaking). Quoting verses from the Quran effortlessly and framing his discussion within the local context, he said that the supreme objective of Syariah is justice. Quoting an ulama, he explained: “Syariah is the public interest of humanity, avoiding harm, enriching (with) benefits.” With his witty and friendly style, he engaged the audience by explaining how the construct or form really does not matter, as what counts is the substance. For those who had long thought of PAS followers as turban-wearing mullahs, Dzulkifli came across as balanced and not rabidly religious.” (No answers, but a good beginning to a “heavy” question” The Malaysia Insider; April 21, 2008).

And to authenticate the report, allow us to quote Dr. Dzulkifli who said : “And I am of the conviction that the word called Islamic State, it is not found in the Quran anyway, and not even found in the prophetic tradition of the prophet (peace be upon him). And its almost like a derived political phraseology or conception that came a lot later…I am not here to defend a particular form of Islamic state and the idea of advocating the Islamic Khilafah or otherwise. To me this is not the be all or end all or the purpose of the Islamic movement and the Islamic political party.”

This is very much in accordance with the main theme of Dr. al-Affendi’s work, who, as early as 1991 (1st edition of the book “Who needs an Islamic state”) moved away from the idea of Islamic state as a theocratic construct to that of a modern polity based on Islamic values of justice, good governance and respect for fundamental rights, a polity that is not incompatible with the ideals of democracy. Dr. Zulkifli himself at the beginning of his talk said that “I could have been the author of this book”.

Anyone familiar with the Malaysian political scenario would know that Dr. Dzulkifli has been consistent in advocating such vision of Islamic polity since he came to prominence as the Director of PAS Research Centre under the illustrious, the late Ustaz Fadhil Noor. He is indeed instrumental in the re-invention  of PAS and the party’s manifesto for PRU 12 that clearly reflects such polity.

It would be unfortunate for the Pakatan Rakyat (PR)  if her top echelon at the negotiating table are to be swayed readily by the mainstream press. The de facto leader of the Pakatan Rakyat and the august Pakatan Rakyat consultative council needs to rein in these  dinosaurs who are much too often “celupar” and are myopic as to what constitutes fact and fiction.

That “cool, lazy Sunday”, lived up to its decorum as an intellectual discourse which has always been uppermost in the minds of the MPF board.

We even issued an invitation to YB Gobind Singh Deo DAP MP for Puchong to sit on the panel, but he politely declined for various pressing reasons. Even Imtiaz was pleasantly surprised when he remarked : “I never thought I’d be sharing the stage with somebody from PAS and actually saying pretty much the same thing.” 

Malaysia post-2008 elections is embracing a new political landscape which is based on the bedrock principles of universal  justice, equity and fairness and an ethno-religious discourse which is transparent, civil, sensitive yet non-emotional. Unfortunately, it would seem that there are still giants of Malaysian politics who are invariably trapped in the archaic time zones of “Jurassic Politics”.

Dr Mazeni Alwi, Chairman, Muslim Professional Forum.

Karpal tells PAS to drop Islamic state policy

Source: Malaysiakini, 22 April 08
In another fissure to the tenuous Pakatan Rakyat coalition, DAP leader Karpal Singh has called on PAS to ditch its Islamic state policy from the party’s platform.

“It is incongruous for PAS to insist on having on its agenda (the) Islamic state and at the same time work with the other two parties in the Pakatan Rakyat,” said Karpal, who is DAP national chairman and Bukit Gelugor member of parliament.

“PKR, DAP and PAS cannot run with the hares and hunt with hounds.”

Karpal was responding to PAS MP for Kuala Selangor, Dr Dzulkifly Ahmad (left) who told the Star that while his party is focusing on Pakatan’s agenda of establishing a welfare state, reinstating democracy and good governance, it is not discarding its agenda to set up an Islamic state.

Dzulkifly said that PAS would not harp on the issue of Islamic state because it was not part of Pakatan agenda, but the Islamic party will not withdraw its key policy platform.

However, Karpal said the PAS leader’s statement “does not advance the cause of the Pakatan Rakyat”.

“PAS should give an assurance that its leaders, including Kelantan Mentri Besar Nik Aziz Nik Mat and PAS president (Abdul) Hadi Awang will not publicly clamour in turning Malaysia into an Islamic state.”

He added that it was best that PAS leaders “cease from publicly insisting that Malaysia should be turned into an Islamic state”.

“Statements in the nature of those made by PAS leaders do not advance the interests of the Pakatan Rakyat.”

Karpal also advise PAS to seek the opinion of former top judge Salleh Abas, who was once a PAS assemblyperson and executive councillor in Terengganu on the issue of Islamic state.

“Salleh Abas in 1998 delivered the judgment of a strong five-man bench of the Supreme Court declaring that Malaysia was not an Islamic state, but a secular state having secular laws.”

DAP and PAS are part of the Pakatan state governments in both Perak and Selangor. 

PAS: Islamic state agenda is still on

Source: The Star, 22 April 08

PETALING JAYA: Although PAS is focusing on Pakatan Rakyat’s agenda of establishing a welfare state and reinstating democracy and good governance, it is not discarding its agenda to set up an Islamic state.

PAS MP for Kuala Selangor Dr Dzulkifly Ahmad said the party did not want to harp on the issue of Islamic state because it was not part of the Pakatan Rakyat agenda.

“We are not pulling it (setting up of an Islamic state) back. It is still an issue that matters to us but we are allowing more time for the electorate to understand us better.

“The more important agenda now is reinstating democracy and good governance,” said the PAS reserach centre director after taking part in an intellectual discourse on a book entitled Who Needs an Islamic State? written by Dr Abdelwahab El-Effendi.

The discussion on the book was organised by the Muslim Professionals Forum here yesterday.

Dr Dzulkifly said PAS was a lot more politically savvy and during the last general election, had reinvented itself by coming up with a manifesto embodying the principle of a trustworthy, just and clean government.

Human rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar said people should recognise that the question “Who Needs an Islamic state?” reflected the aspiration of some quarters which wanted a greater role for Islam in public life.

“It’s also a cause of discomfort. We don’t have a homogenous society. We have a multiracial and multi-religious society,” he said.

He added that the constitutional debate on the social contract about the position of the Malays together with the debate on Islamic state made the concept “explosive.”

“We have to take a step back and see what it is we want to achieve when we suggest that we want an Islamic state. If we say that this country is an Islamic state, we are in some way saying that we have a national status.

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“Who Needs an Islamic State?” – Malaysia event


SUNDAY, 20th APRIL 2008

10.00 AM – 12.30 PM


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“Who Needs an Islamic State?” – Singapore event

Malaysia Think Tank London (MTT) and Institute of South East Asian Studies (ISEAS) invites you to a discussion about the recently published second edition of the book ‘Who Needs an Islamic State?’ 

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Bringing back the caliphate

A review of the first edition by Inayat Bunglawala

Source: The Guardian

Osama Bin Laden wants it back, as does Hizb ut-Tahrir and also, according to a recent poll organised by an American university, a majority of Muslims across the world do so too. But what is the caliphate (Arabic: Khilafah) and what would it look like today?

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(Arabic) Review by Asharq Alawsat

The Arabic newspaper Asharq Alawsat published a review of the book.

To read it, click here. 

Debate on Islam Channel

A debate on ‘Who Needs an Islamic State?’ was broadcast by the Islam Channel on Wednesday 19 March 2008, 7.00pm GMT, in their programme Politics and Beyond.

In the panel was the author Dr Abdelwahab El-Affendi and Taji Mustafa from Hizb-ut Tahrir. The chair was Anas Altikriti, chief executive of The Cordoba Foundation.

Thank you to a viewer who supplied us the video below.

Quote from Turkish Daily News

(… Abdelwahab El-Affendi(‘s) … newly reprinted book, “Who Needs An Islamic State?,” masterfully explains why Islamism is not a good idea from a Muslim point of view). That sort of Islamization — which has been in practice in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Afghanistan under the Taliban — is simply tyranny, and has no justification what so ever.

 Source: Mustafa Akyol, Turkish Daily News, 15 March 2008