If UMNO leaders were truly moderate Muslims, Nor Omar should be punished for calling DAP "kafir harbi "(belligerent infidels) in the Malaysian Parliament

Media Statement
Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): UMNO and its partners in Baraisan Nasional always claim that UMNO is moderate and the Islamic State model promoted by UMNO was a moderate one.

One such example was Chia Kwang Chye, the secretary general of Gerakan. In the Q&A session with Malaysiakini yesterday, Chia has praised UMNO as moderate Muslims. He has also labelled Pas as extremist.

If that's true, Datuk Noh Omar, the parliamentary secretary in the Prime Minister department should be seriously dealt with by UMNO and Barisan Nasional for calling DAP "kafir harbi". The least UMNO and BN could do is to demand Noh Omar to apologise to the DAP in particular and the non-Muslim community in general. Or else they will be seen as condoning the act and attitude of Noh Omar. Or UMNO shall never be seen as moderates after all.

Kafir harbi by definition is "belligerent infidels  ". They are non-believers of Islam who fight against the religion during wartime. They were seen as enemies of Islam and should be killed without a sense of guilt.

According to the Star Online report on 29 October 2003, DAP secretary general Kerk Kim Hock (MP of Kota Melaka) stood up in the Parliament to say that Umno, in one ceramah, had labelled DAP chairman Lim Kit Siang as kafir harbi.

"Even PAS has never used that description," he said, to roars of approval from PAS MPs.

"It doesn't matter if one wins or loses in the general election; what is important is not to play with fire. Although we do not agree to have an Islamic state, we do not speak ill about it like the Barisan," he said.

In his answer, Noh Omar said that there were two types of kafir (infidels) - zimmi which one could be friends with, and a harbi, which was not someone you should befriend, he said.

Using MCA and DAP as examples, he said MCA could be viewed as kafir zimmi since they were friends and DAP as the kafir harbi since they were not friends.

Both kafir harbi and kafir zimmi are terms used by the Muslim conquerors during wartime. When peace was achieved during the Medina era, such terms were dropped and all citizens were considered as one albeit with different faith.

It's not wartime but peace in Malaysia. The non-Muslims are not at war with the Muslims or conquered by the Muslims in this country. It's therefore very wrong and totally unacceptable for Noh Omar to use such descriptions
on DAP and MCA.

The DAP MPs have voiced their protest very strongly. Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and all other non-Muslim MPs should also demand an apology from Noh Omar if they have any dignity.

And the new PM Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should not keep mum over such divisive and inflammatory remarks but summon Noh Omar to make a public apology to all Malaysians.


* Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP national publicity secreatary