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.

“To non-Muslims we are in fact saying they have a lesser place. Are we saying that non-Muslims are less significant and of lesser standing in the country? I don’t want to be part of that or be associated with that.”

Dr Abelwahab pointed out that an Islamic state was a system of meting out justice.

“In Islam, the general principle to follow is how to conduct yourself to please God. Islamic state assumes that rules should be rules but you should also use your conscience.”



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