KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — Liberalism, the philosophy founded on liberty and equality, is the manifestation of Satan’s struggle to mislead mankind, a leading member of Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) said today.
According to Isma central committee member Mohamad Ismail, liberalism has tried to unravel the faith of Muslims through the use of slogans and rational arguments, which he claimed to be distorted from the truth.
Liberalism encompasses a wide array of ideas, but its supporters usually push for civil rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, free trade, private property, and free and fair elections.
“Their work methods are not much different,” Mohamad said in a column on Isma’s website, where he drew parallels between liberals and Satan.
“They hide behind false arguments and jargons which look pretty, but in spirit are deviant and far away from the guidance of syarak,” the preacher added, using the Malay word for the Islamic moral code.
In Quranic lore, Syaitan, or Satan, is the Devil who was originally a djinn that refused to bow down to Adam, the first Man, and was cursed by God to spend his life in hell for eternity.
However, Satan requested for his punishment to be deferred until the Day of Judgment, until which he and his minions are said to entice humans into committing sin.
In his mission to mislead mankind, Mohamad claimed that Satan had managed to turn humans away from God through the pursuit of certain philosophies.
He named as examples Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Islamic figure Abdullah Saba’, whom Sunni Muslims see as one of the founders of the Shiah school of Islam and which has been branded deviant in Malaysia.
Mohamad also complained about the rise of Muslims who allegedly deny the truth as laid down in the Quran, Islam’s holy book.
The preacher claimed that this group of Muslims accused the Quran as being unfair for discriminating between genders, in addition to being open to interpretation by anyone, and free to be criticised like any other literature.
“Whoever does not agree with them are said to be outdated, unintellectual, do not read much, and do not understand the problem,” Mohamad said.
“This is the essence of liberalism which calls for the freedom of humankind… That is the manifestation of Iblis. Iblis wants humans to be his companions in hell,” he added, using another name for Satan.
Isma has gained prominence among the more conservative Malay-Muslim community since the last general elections for its strident push for Malaysia to be an Islamic state.
Civil rights movements and human rights defenders have regularly been in Isma’s crosshairs, especially the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (Comango).
Isma had previously accused Comango of trying to challenge the position of Islam in the nation and spreading “liberalism teachings” backed by Western powers.
The group has also consistently labelled liberalism, Christianisation, non-Muslim’s chauvinism and religious pluralism as threats against the Malay-Muslim community.