Speak about oppression, Muslims urgedWritten by Azman Abdul Hamid
Kuala Lumpur: Ascertaining the cause is one thing but finding the solution is quite another for panellists and participants at The Palestine-Kashmir Forum: The Struggle for Freedom & Self Determination, as the question that hit hardest and most lingered on was ‘What more can we do?’
It was posed during a question-and-answer session by a participant who acknowledged all the points raised and debated by the panellists but was unconvinced on the plan forward in terms of protecting the rights of Palestinians and Kashmiris for self-determination in the face of hostile forces.
In her keynote address at the forum held at the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) on Monday, Pakistan High Commissioner to Malaysia, Amna Baloch, described the Indian government’s action on Kashmir as crossing all lines of cruelty after sending thousands of troops there upon withdrawing Kashmir’s special status.
“Kashmir is burning,” she said, referring to a communication shutdown that brought daily life to a standstill and contributed to a shortage of commodities. Soldiers targeted Kashmiri youths, sending those arrested to distant locations outside the territory despite protests from some of India’s well-known opposition leaders and non-governmental organisations.
To recap, the government of India revoked the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir on Aug 5 this year. Article 370 conferred power on Jammu and Kashmir to have a separate constitution, a state flag and autonomy over the internal administration of the state.
Now no longer bound by the article, Kashmir is ruled directly from New Delhi. However, some including Amna’s deputy, Atif Sharif Mian, believe that India was planning to annex the territory by revoking Kashmir’s special status.
However, revoking the special status would permit outsiders to reside in the territory which could reduce and replace the Muslims as the majority populace there. With such a demographic change, Kashmir would no longer be a majority Muslim state which may be the intent.
As for Palestine, Director for Palestine Cultural Organisation Malaysia, Muslim Imran, said that US President Donald Trump’s adminisration has only worsened the situation for Palestinians by declaring Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel while the Jewish nation continued to usurp Palestinian land.
Trump also became the first US president to stop funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.
Other developments that hamper the Palestinian cause come from Arab countries themselves attempting to normalise relations with Israel and the failure among Palestinian factions to establish a unified platform.
Despite that, Palestinian resistance endures because the Palestinians themselves are fighting Israel’s subjugation and oppression while the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement has so far been more and more successful.
Talking among the panellists, the president of the Malaysian Consultative Council For Islamic Organisation, Azmi Abdul Hamid, made a stark observation — that 1.8 billion Muslims can make a difference but are hesitant due to the narrative that Muslims can’t do much.
“Muslims have the will to not go down (easily). They must speak about oppression like we are doing through this forum. Don’t wait for government to act,” he said
Back to the question of “what more can we do?” Being united as an ummah is one, continuing to support BDS and trying to seek ways to reconcile one another’s interest despite differing opinions and methods is another.
To that is another question — do Muslims have the will to do so?
Published in: The New Straits Times, Wednesday 16 October 2019
The event was held at IAIS Malaysia on 14 October 2019, click here for more information about the event.
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