Thursday, December 24, 2009

Selamat Natal Menurut Al-Qur'an



Dr M. Quraish Shihab

Sakit perut menjelang persalinan, memaksa Maryam
bersandar ke pohon kurma. Ingin rasanya beliau
mati, bahkan tidak pernah hidup sama sekali.
Tetapi Malaikat Jibril datang menghibur: "Ada anak
sungai di bawahmu, goyanghan pangkal pohon kurma
ke arahmu, makan, minum dan senangkan hatimu.
Kalau ada yang datang katakan: 'Aku bernazar tidak
bicara.'"

"Hai Maryam, engkau melakukan yang amat buruk.
Ayahmu bukan penjahat, ibumu pun bukan penzina,"
demikian kecaman kaumnya, ketika melihat bayi di
gendongannya. Tetapi Maryam terdiam. Beliau hanya
menunjuk bayinya. Dan ketika itu bercakaplah sang
bayi menjelaskan jati dirinya sebagai hamba Allah
yang diberi Al-Kitab, shalat, berzakat serta
mengabdi kepada ibunya. Kemudian sang bayi berdoa:
"Salam sejahtera (semoga) dilimpahkan kepadaku
pada hari kelahiranku, hari wafatku, dan pada hari
ketika aku dibangkitkan hidup kembali."

Itu cuplikan kisah Natal dari Al-Quran Surah Maryam ayat 34.
Dengan demikian, Al-Quran mengabadikan dan merestui ucapan
selamat Natal pertama dari dan untuk Nabi mulia itu, Isa
a.s.

Terlarangkah mengucapkan salam semacam itu? Bukankah
Al-Quran telah memberikan contoh? Bukankah ada juga salam
yang tertuju kepada Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, Harun, keluarga
Ilyas, serta para nabi lainnya? Setiap Muslim harus percaya
kepada Isa a.s. seperti penjelasan ayat di atas, juga harus
percaya kepada Muhammad saw., karena keduanya adalah hamba
dan utusan Allah. Kita mohonkan curahan shalawat dan salam
untuk mereka berdua sebagaimana kita mohonkan untuk seluruh
nabi dan rasul. Tidak bolehkah kita merayakan hari lahir
(Natal) Isa a.s.? Bukankah Nabi saw. juga merayakan hari
keselamatan Musa a.s. dari gangguan Fir'aun dengan berpuasa
'Asyura, seraya bersabda, "Kita lebih wajar merayakannya
daripada orang Yahudi pengikut Musa a.s."

Bukankah, "Para Nabi bersaudara hanya ibunya yang berbeda?"
seperti disabdakan Nabi Muhammad saw.? Bukankah seluruh umat
bersaudara? Apa salahnya kita bergembira dan menyambut
kegembiraan saudara kita dalam batas kemampuan kita, atau
batas yang digariskan oleh anutan kita? Demikian lebih
kurang pandangan satu pendapat.

Banyak persoalan yang berkaitan dengan kehidupan Al-Masih
yang dijelaskan oleh sejarah atau agama dan telah
disepakati, sehingga harus diterima. Tetapi, ada juga yang
tidak dibenarkan atau diperselisihkan. Disini, kita berhenti
untuk merujuk kepercayaan kita.

Isa a.s. datang mermbawa kasih, "Kasihilah seterumu dan
doakan yang menganiayamu." Muhammad saw. datang membawa
rahmat, "Rahmatilah yang di dunia, niscaya yang di langit
merahmatimu." Manusia adalah fokus ajaran keduanya; karena
itu, keduanya bangga dengan kemanusiaan.

Isa menunjuk dirinya sebagai "anak manusia," sedangkan
Muhammad saw. diperintah:kan oleh Allah untuk berkata: "Aku
manusia seperti kamu." Keduanya datang membebaskan manusia
dari kemiskinan ruhani, kebodohan, dan belenggu penindasan.
Ketika orang-orang mengira bahwa anak Jailrus yang sakit
telah mati, Al-Masih yang menyembuhkannya meluruskan
kekeliruan mereka dengan berkata, "Dia tidak mati, tetapi
tidur." Dan ketika terjadi gerhana pada hari wafatnya putra
Muhammad, orang berkata: "Matahari mengalami gerhana karena
kematiannya." Muhammad saw. lalu menegur, "Matahari tidak
mengalami gerhana karena kematian atau kehahiran seorang."
Keduanya datang membebaskan maanusia baik yang kecil, lemah
dan tertindas -dhu'afa' dan al-mustadh'affin dalam istilah
Al-Quran.

Bukankah ini satu dari sekian titik temu antara Muhammad dan
Al-Masih? Bukankah ini sebagian dari kandungan Kalimat Sawa'
(Kata Sepakat) yang ditawarkan Al-Quran kepada penganut
Kristen (dan Yahudi (QS 3:64)? Kalau demikian, apa salahnya
mengucapkan selamat Natal, selama akidah masih dapat
dipelihara dan selama ucapan itu sejalan dengan apa yang
dimaksud oleh Al-Quran sendiri yang telah mengabadikan
selamat Natal itu?

Itulah antara lain alasan yang membenarkan seorang Muslim
mengucapkan selamat atau menghadiri upacara Natal yang bukan
ritual . Di sisi lain, marilah kita menggunakan kacamata
yang melarangnya.

Agama, sebelum negara, menuntut agar kerukunan umat
dipelihara. Karenanya salah, bahkan dosa, bila kerukunan
dikorbankan atas nama agama. Tetapi, juga salah serta dosa
pula, bila kesucian akidah ternodai oleh atau atas nama
kerukunan.

Teks keagamaan yang berkaitan dengan akidah sangat jelas,
dan tidak juga rinci. Itu semula untuk menghindari kerancuan
dan kesalahpahaman. Bahkan Al-Q!uran tidak menggunakan satu
kata yang mungkin dapat menimbulkan kesalahpahaman, sampai
dapat terjamin bahwa kata atau kalimat itu, tidak
disalahpahami. Kata "Allah," misalnya, tidak digunakan oleh
Al-Quran, ketika pengertian semantiknya yang dipahami
masyarakat jahiliah belum sesuai dengan yang dikehendaki
Islam. Kata yang digunakan sebagai ganti ketika itu adalah
Rabbuka (Tuhanmu, hai Muhammad) Demikian terlihat pada
wahlyu pertama hingga surah Al-Ikhlas. Nabi saw. sering
menguji pemahaman umat tentang Tuhan. Beliau tidak sekalipun
bertanya, "Dimana Tuhan?" Tertolak riwayat sang menggunakan
redaksi itu karena ia menimbulkan kesan keberadaan Tuhan
pada satu tempat, hal yang mustahil bagi-Nya dan mustahil
pula diucapkan oleh Nabi. Dengan alasan serupa, para ulama
bangsa kita enggan menggunakan kata "ada" bagi Tuhan,
tetapi "wujud Tuhan."

Natalan, walaupun berkaitan dengan Isa Al-Masih, manusia
agung lagi suci itu, namun ia dirayakan oleh umat Kristen
yang pandangannya terhadap Al-Masih berbeda dengan pandangan
Islam. Nah, mengucapkan "Selamat Natal" atau menghadiri
perayaannya dapat menimbulkan kesalahpahaman dan dapat
mengantar kepada pengaburan akidah. Ini dapat dipahami
sebagai pengakuan akan ketuhanan Al-Masih, satu keyakinan
yang secara mutlak bertentangan dengan akidah Islam. Dengan
kacamata itu, lahir larangan dan fatwa haram itu,
sampai-sampai ada yang beranggapan jangankan ucapan selamat,
aktivitas apa pun yang berkaitan dengan Natal tidak
dibenarkan, sampai pada jual beli untuk keperluann Natal.

Adakah kacamata lain? Mungkin!

Seperti terlihat, larangan ini muncul dalam rangka upaya
memelihara akidah. Karena, kekhawatiran kerancuan pemahaman,
agaknya lebih banyak ditujukan kepada mereka yang
dikhawatirkan kabur akidahnya. Nah, kalau demikian, jika ada
seseorang yang ketika mengucapkannya tetap murni akidahnya
atau mengucapkannya sesuai dengan kandungan "Selamat
Natal" Qurani, kemudian mempertimbangkan kondisi dan
situasi dimana hal itu diucapkan, sehingga tidak menimbulkan
kerancuan akidah baik bagi dirinya ataupun Muslim yang lain,
maka agaknya tidak beralasan adanya larangan itu. Adakah
yang berwewenang melarang seorang membaca atau mengucapkan
dan menghayati satu ayat Al-Quran?

Dalam rangka interaksi sosial dan keharmonisan hubungan,
Al-Quran memperkenalkan satu bentuk redaksi, dimana lawan
bicara memahaminya sesuai dengan pandangan atau
keyakinannya, tetapi bukan seperti yang dimaksud oleh
pengucapnya. Karena, si pengucap sendiri mengucapkan dan
memahami redaksi itu sesuai dengan pandangan dan
keyakinannya. Salah satu contoh yang dikemukakan adalah
ayat-ayat yang tercantum dalam QS 34:24-25. Kalaupun
non-Muslim memahami ucapan "Selamat Natal" sesuai dengan
keyakinannya, maka biarlah demikian, karena Muslim yang
memahami akidahnya akan mengucapkannya sesuai dengan garis
keyakinannya. Memang, kearifan dibutuhkan dalam rangka
interaksi sosial.

Tidak kelirulah, dalam kacamata ini, fatwa dan larangan itu,
bila ia ditujukan kepada mereka yang dikhawatirkan ternodai
akidahnya. Tetapi, tidak juga salah mereka yang
membolehkannya, selama pengucapnya bersikap arif bijaksana
dan tetap terpelihara akidahnya, lebih-lebih jika hal
tersebut merupakan tuntunan keharmonisan hubungan.

Dostojeivsky (1821-1881), pengarang Rusia kenamaan, pernah
berimajinasi tentang kedatangan kembali Al-Masih. Sebagian
umat Islam pun percaya akan kedatangannya kembali. Terlepas
dari penilaian terhadap imajinasi dan kepercayaan itu, kita
dapat memastikan bahwa jika benar beliau datang, seluruh
umat berkewajiban menyambut dan mendukungnya, dan pada saat
kehadirannya itu pasti banyak hal yang akan beliau luruskan.
Bukan saja sikap dan ucapan umatnya, tetapi juga sikap dan
ucapan umat Muhammad saw. Salam sejahtera semoga tercurah
kepada beliau, pada hari Natalnya, hari wafat dan hari
kebangkitannya nanti.



MEMBUMIKAN AL-QURAN
Fungsi dan Peran Wahyu dalam Kehidupan Masyarakat
Dr. M. Quraish Shihab

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ku Li on Reinventing and Liberalising Malaysia's Economy



Revisiting the middle income trap

I would like to revisit the argument of that speech to develop it further.

We are stagnating. The signs of a low growth economy are all around us. Wages are stagnant and the cost of living is rising.

We have not made much progress in becoming a knowledge and services based economy.

According to the World Bank, Malaysia’s share of GDP contributed by services was 46.2% in 1987. Ten years later, that share had grown by a mere 0.2%
Between 1994 and 2007, real wages grew by 2.6% in the domestic sector and by 2.8% in the export sector, which is to say, they were flat over that thirteen year period.

Meanwhile our talent scenario is an example of perverse selection at its most ruinous. We are failing to retain our own young talent, people like yourselves, let alone attract international talent to relocate here, while we have had a massive influx of unskilled foreign labour. They now make up 30-40% of our workforce. Meanwhile, alone in East Asia, the number of expatriate professionals here has decreased. Alone in East Asia, private sector wage increases follow government sector increases, instead of the other way around. We are losing doctors and scientists and have become Southeast Asia’s haven for low cost labour.

I said that we are in a middle income trap, stuck in the pattern of easy growth from low-value-added manufacture and component assembly and unable to make the leap to a knowledge-intensive economy. Regional competitors with larger, cheaper and dare I say, hungrier labour forces have emerged. China and India have risen as both lower cost and higher technology producers, and with giant domestic markets.The manufacturing sector which propelled the growth we enjoyed in the nineties is being hollowed out. There is no going back, there is no staying where we are, and we do not have a map for the way forward.

I am glad that the characterisation of Malaysia as being in a ‘middle-income-trap’ has been taken up by the government, and that the need for an economic story, or strategy, for Malaysia is now recognized. We stand in particular need of such a model because we are a smallish economy. We cannot be good at everything, and we don’t have to be.

We need only make some reasonable bets in identifying and developing a focussed set of growth drivers. It is not difficult to see what the elements of such a growth strategy might be. Whatever we come up with should build on our natural strengths, and our strengths include the following:

We are located at the crossroads of Asia, geographically and culturally, sitting alongside the most important oil route in the world.

a) We have large muslim, Chinese and Indian populations that connect us to the three fastest growing places in the world today.

b) We have some of the largest and oldest rainforests in the world, a treasure house of bio-diversity when the greatest threat facing mankind as a whole now is ecological destruction and the greatest technological advances are likely to come from bioscience.

c) We have the English language, a common law system, parliamentary democracy, good schools, an independent civil service and good infrastructure.

These advantages, however, are declining ones. Our cultural diversity is in danger of coming apart in bigotry, our rainforests are being logged out and planted over, our social and political institutions are decaying.

I have spoken at length on different occasions about the causes and consequences of institutional decline. The decline in our society and indeed in our natural environment, originates in a decline in our basic institutions. The link between these is corruption. The destruction of our ecosystem for example, is made possible by corrupt officials and business-people. The uncontrolled influx of unskilled labour is a direct result of corruption.

Dependencies and the young

These are problems we need to be aware of before we speak glibly about coming up with new strategies and new economic models. We need to understand where we are, and how we have gone wrong, before we can set things right.

You are young, well educated Malaysians. Many among you have left for other shores. Record numbers of Malaysians, of all races, work abroad or have migrated. Among these are some of our best people. They sense the stagnation I described. There is a certain lack of energy, ingenuity and “hunger” in the climate of this country that young people are most sensitive to. In the globalized job market, young people instinctively leave the less simulating and creative environments for those that have a spark to them.

How did we lose our spark as a nation?

We have a political economy marked by dependence on easy options and easy wealth. Like personal dependencies, these bad habits provide temporary comfort but discourage the growth of creativity and resilience.

I mentioned our dependence on low cost foreign labour.

The other dependence is something I played a part in making possible. This is a story I want to leave you with to ponder in your deliberations today.

Blessing and curse

Our nation is blessed with a modest quantity of oil reserves. As a young nation coming to terms with this natural bounty in the early 1970’s, our primary thought was to conserve that oil. That is why, when Petronas was formed, we instituted the Petroleum Development Council. Its function was to advise the PM on how to conserve that oil and use it judicially for national development. We knew our reserves would not last long.

We saw our oil reserves as an unearned bounty that would provide the money for modernization and technology. We saw our oil within a developmental perspective. Our struggle then, was to make the leap from an economy based on commodities and low cost assembly and manufacture to a more diverse, economy based on high income jobs.

Aware that we had an insufficient tax base to make the capital investments needed to make the leap, we planned to apply oil royalties to what you would call today strategic investments in human capital. whatever money left after making cash payments, allocations for development funds, etc, was to be placed in a Heritage Fund for the future. The Heritage Fund was for education and social enrichment.

In working out the distribution of oil between the states, who had sovereign rights over it, and the Federal government, we were guided by concerns for equity between all Malaysians, a concern to develop the poorer states (who also happened to be the oil rich states) and a concern for inter-generational equity. That oil was for special development purposes and it was not just meant for our generation.

Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaya to form Malaysia because of the promise of development funds. Yet today, despite being their massive resources, they are some of our poorest states.

Instead of being our ace up the sleeve, however, our oil wealth became in effect a swag of money used to fund the government’s operational expenditure, to bail out failing companies, buy arms, build grandiose cities in the middle of nowehere. Instead of helping eradicate poverty in the poorest states, our oil wealth came to be channeled into our political and politically linked class. Instead of being the patrimony of all Malaysians, and for our children, it is used as a giant slush fund that has propped up authoritarian rule, eroded constitutional democracy and corrupted our entire political and business class.

Our oil receipts, instead of being applied in the manner we planned upon the formation of Petronas, that is, according to its original developmental purpose, became a fund for the whims and fancy of whoever ran the country, without any accountability.

The oil that was meant to spur our transition to a more humane, educated society has instead become a narcotic that provides economic quick fixes and hollow symbols such as the Petronas Towers. Our oil wealth was meant to help us foster Malaysians capable of building the Twin Towers than hire foreigners to build them, a practice in which we preceded Dubai. I would rather have good government than grand government buildings filled with a demoralized civil service.

It is no wonder that we are no longer productive, no longer using our ingenuity to devise ways to improve ourselves and leap forward.

Malaysia is now an “oil curse” country.**

When I started Petronas in 1974, I did not realize I would see the day when I would wish we had not uncovered such bounty.

The story I have told is a reminder of the scale of the challenge of development. My generation of young people faced this challenge in the 1960’s and 70’s. You face it now. The story tells us that development is about far more than picking strategies out of a box.

You have kindly invited me to address a seminar on strategies for reinventing and liberalizing Malaysia’s economy. But the story of our squandered oil wealth reminds us that it was not for want of resources or strategies that we floundered. Our failure has been political and moral. We have allowed greed and resentment to drive our politics and looked the other way or even gone along while public assets have been stolen in broad daylight.

I encourage you to take up the cause of national development with the ingenuity that earlier generations of Malaysians brought to this task, but the beginning of our journey must be a return to the basics of public life: the rule of law, honesty, truth-telling and the keeping of promises.

The Malaysia we need to recover is one that was founded on laws and led with integrity. With the hindsight of history we know such things are fragile and can be overturned in one generation, forgotten the next. Without a living foundation in the basics you might sense an air of unreality around our talk of reinventing ourselves, coming up with a new economic model, and liberalizing our economy.

So before we can reinvent ourselves we need to recover our nation. That larger community, bound by laws, democratic and constitutional, is the context of economic progress, it is the context in which young people find hope, think generous thoughts and create tomorrow.

*Opening speech at

THE 1ST YOUNG CORPORATE MALAYSIANS SUMMIT

Reinventing and liberalising malaysia’s economy:strategy and directions”

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Dr Asri's Interview in NST

His arrest by the Selangor Religious Affairs Department (Jais) last month brought Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin more recognition that his two-year stint as Perlis mufti. SHUHADA ELIS talks to the preacher at his family home in Bukit Mertajam about the incident and his views on politics and the Kelantan menteri besar's doa for the prime minister.

Q: More than a month has passed since you were arrested by the Selangor Religious Affairs Department (Jais) for allegedly promoting the Wahhabi doctrine to supporters. How are you coping? How did it impact your life?

A: Alhamdulillah, this is not a question of cari makan, but when my friends and I aim to preach Islam, we prepare ourselves for the worst of possibilities and challenges. So when I was arrested, I could still smile and joke with reporters. This is not new for me. Preaching Islam is not something I do to gain profit, but this incident had actually promoted my messages of dakwah more than the time when I was a mufti. My two years (of Islamic propagation) in Perlis was not as great, nor as free, a publicity which Jais has given me.

Q: Did you expect to receive such a big wave of support?

A: I am grateful to Allah. Previously, I had many letters, e-mails, people in the street and art groups expressing support for me but I did not know whether they were sincere. But since the incident, I am thankful to them. Also to Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak), (former prime minister) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, academicians like Prof Dr Chandra Muzaffar and Dr Farish A. Noor, Pas spiritual leader (Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat), (Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, members of parliament including Barisan Nasional backbenchers.

Q: What makes people think you promote Wahhabism?

A: Wahhabi has different connotations. In the West it refers to terrorism, but in the history of Malaya and Indonesia, modernists were accused of being Wahhabis.

Many modernist figures who helped bring independence to Malaya were accused of this. To them (the accusers), Wahhabi had negative connotation, although they did not know what it means.

Nowadays in Malaysia, Wahhabi is used by conservatives or some religious bodies to label those who do not conform. They think I am not of the same teaching. A modernist. But now the groups who are accusing me speak like they are Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah, although before this they belonged to a cult whose beliefs include banning education for their children.

They believed television was haram, so they threw TV sets into the river. But now these groups are in the media, sporting beard and robes, and accusing those who are against them as Wahhabis.

Q: Are you serious about joining politics?

A: Perhaps this issue has made political parties think I should be with them, because my name has been frequently mentioned in the media. Or maybe they think I should join politics because some of the characteristics I have can help bring mileage to their political career. But I think I should not do that (join politics), as long as I can still preach.

Q: Do you think the invitation by political parties is made for their own interests?

A: Maybe they see it that way. They may also feel it is better for me to join them because I am always very vocal in the media. Some parties think my approach can attract youngsters and the non-Muslims and can generate support from the grassroots.

Q: How would you like to see the future political environment in the country?

A: I dream of politics free of party fanatics, a generation that is not loyal to any particular party. I dream of a future where Malaysians hold to discipline, facts and figures, society which evaluates debates and arguments so no political parties will be in power.

The rakyat will always be sensitive to political parties so the latter will not place any Tom, Dick and Harry as candidates. I dream of the rakyat who are colour blind in politics.

If we reach a stage where people choose qualified individuals rather than a party, we will be a mature country. Right now we can see all political parties share the same kind of problems -- cronyism and corruption are rampant.

Q: Do you think the rakyat can be too fanatical about political parties?

A: I see the level of fanaticism is decreasing since the past two years as many similar issues have cropped up in most parties.

Nowadays even the Pas spiritual adviser is criticised by his people. The same goes for Anwar Ibrahim or Umno leaders. I am not asking the supporters to criticise their leaders, but I want them to be rational in every matter.

The rakyat need to realise that political parties are going through a great transformation and they are no longer immune.

Q: What do you think of Nik Aziz's doa against the prime minister if the latter refuses to give oil royalty to Kelantan?

A: This is the problem with religious figures. Those who are pro-Umno claim it is absolutely wrong to pray for another's destruction, while the pro-opposition said it can be done.

This is not right. If we are totally against such doa, it contradicts the hadith, as Prophet Muhammad's companions too had prayed for those who were cruel. However, what we need to ponder is whether the other person fulfils the characteristic of a cruel person?

So if one wants to make a doa, he should not mention the name of the other person clearly and it must come with conditions.

For example, "O Allah, if such and such person is cruel against me, please punish him."

We cannot simply say that this person is cruel and therefore should be punished. I am worried that his cruelty is not evident.

I don't want to take sides but I advise those who want to make such doa to be accurate in their words.

On the other hand, the Federal Government should also look in depth into the oil royalty issue so the rakyat will respect them more, it is not a wasteful effort.

And for ulamas who take this opportunity to ingratiate themselves with political parties, I advise them to give fair arguments and not just defend a particular party because it has given you many awards before.

Q: How do you think the next general election will be?

A: In the 12th general election, a third force had created a wave of support and had determined the outcome.

But some political parties are reality blind. They thought they won the votes because the rakyat liked them and were loyal to them when the truth is the people, especially the younger generation, were tired of the ruling party.

So if these parties still do not realise that they need to buck up, I believe there will be a huge change in the next election. This is because someone who voted for Pas before may not be from Pas, he may be a drunkard or someone who skipped prayers, but he voted the party because he wanted an alternative.

Q: You mentioned about the third party, who are they?

A: Some groups of people do not believe in any political party. The third party is not a new political party, I'm not asking anybody to form new parties.

But what I am saying is that those with fresh ideas will get support from the people. The rakyat will not look at a particular party but they need leaders who are clean, trustworthy, sincere and have new ideas to lead the country.

Q: Would you consider yourself as the third party or an alternative to the people?

A: Well, I don't want to be a political leader or someone who leads a party. I want my ideas to be spread to everyone in this country, so everybody can share my views.

Asri, 38, is now a lecturer at Universiti Sains Malaysia. Following his arrest, he was charged at the Gombak Timur Lower Syariah Court with teaching matters related to Islam without certification. He has claimed trial.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

LUKA 17 TAHUN

Majalah ERA Muslim

Hari ini 6 Desember - 17 tahun yang lalu - menjadi hari yang sangat memilukan bagi kaum muslimin di India.

Masjid Babri kebanggaan mereka di Ayodhya harus hancur. Masjid Babri diruntuhkan oleh sekitar 150.000 orang dari kaum nasionalis Hindu ekstrimis pada tanggal 6 Desember 1992, dalam sebuah peristiwa yang sebelumnya sudah direncanakan, walaupun sebelumnya Mahkamah Agung India sudah melarang perusakan dan penghancuran masjid bersejarah itu.

Kaum ekstrimis Hindu yang didukung oleh partai nasionalis India - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), dengan memprovokasi masyarakat hindu India menyatakan bahwa lokasi tempat berdirinya masjid Babri diyakini sebagai sebuah kuil Hindu yang dibangun untuk memperingati lahirnya Rama - yang merupakan inkarnasi dari dewa Wisnu dan penguasa Ayodhya yang kemudian dihancurkan oleh panglima perang Muslim Babur - Mir Baki. Sebuah klaim yang tidak didukung oleh fakta sejarah yang akurat.

Umat Islam India harus menangis, melihat masjid kebanggaan mereka harus hancur dalam sebuah penyerangan kaum ekstrimis Hindu tersebut. Masjid yang telah lama menjadi kebanggaan mereka - hancur dengan menyisahkan kepedihan yang mendalam bagi kaum Muslimin, tidak hanya muslimin India tetapi umat Islam di seluruh dunia.

Masjid Babri, atau Masjid Babur adalah sebuah masjid yang didirikan oleh Kaisar Mughal pertama India, Babur, di Ayodhya pada abad ke-16 Masehi. Sebelum tahun 1940-an, masjid ini dinamakan Masjid-i Janmasthan ("masjid tempat kelahiran"). Masjid ini berdiri di Bukit Ramkot (disebut juga Janmasthan ("tempat kelahiran").

Masjid Babri adalah salah satu masjid terbesar di Uttar Pradesh, sebuah negara bagian India yang memiliki populasi Muslim 31 juta orang. Walau ada beberapa masjid yang lebih tua di kota Ayodhya, sebuah daerah dengan populasi warga Muslim yang signifikan, termasuk Masjid Hazrat Bal yang didirikan oleh raja-raja Shariqi, Masjid Babri dianggap yang terbesar dikarenakan tempat berdirinya yang disengketakan.

Dalam bukletnya, Communal History and Rama's Ayodhya, Profesor Ram Sharan Sharma menuliskan, "Ayodhya tampaknya muncul sebagai tempat ziarah keagamaan pada masa kuno. Walaupun bab 85 Vishnu Smriti menuliskan daftar sebanyak 52 tempat ziarah, termasuk kota-kota, danau, sungai, gunung, dan sebagainya, Ayodhya tidak termasuk dari daftar ini." Sharma juga menyebutkan bahwa Tulsidas, yang menulis Ramcharitmanas pada tahun 1574 di Ayodhya, tidak menyebutkan tempat itu sebagai tempat ziarah. Setelah peruntuhan Masjid Babri, Profesor Ram Sharan Sharma bersama dengan sejarawan Suraj Bhan, M.Athar Ali dan Dwijendra Narayan Jha menuliskan pembahasan Historian's report to the nation tentang bagaimana rakyat memiliki pandangan yang salah bahwa di tempat tersebut dulunya dibangun kuil Hindu, juga tentang perlakuan perusakan yang dianggap vandalisme.

Konflik Berkepanjangan

Konflik kaum Muslimin di India dengan umat Hindu telah berlangsung sangat lama. Setidaknya kasus terakhir yang cukup menguras air mata kaum muslimin adalah pembantaian umat Islam India dalam kasus kerusuhan Gujarat pada tahun 2000 yang menelan sekitar 2500 orang umat Islam tewas terbantai dan sekitar 200.000 umat Islam Gujarat harus mengungsi.

Kerusuhan bermula ketika 59 peziarah Hindu tewas akibat kebakaran di sebuah kereta api yang pada awalnya dituduh dilakukan kelompok Muslim. Padahal, hasil penyelidikan kemudian menyimpulkan kebakaran itu tidak disengaja.

Pada insiden tersebut Umat Hindu melakukan pembalasan dengan membakar dan menjarah bisnis milik umat Islam, mereka juga menyerang dan membantai umat Islam, memperkosa dan memutilasi kaum Muslimah.

Dan perlu dicatat juga, otak dari pembantaian umat Islam Gujarat adalah Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) yang juga mengorganisir penghancuran masjid Babri di Ayodhya pada tahun 1992.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The First Muslim Guerrilla Leader



O mountains of Gounib,
O soldiers of Shamyl,
Shamyl's citadel was full of warriors,
Yet it has fallen, fallen forever ...


I'm reading a book that I bought almost a year ago. As you can see from the old, classic photo above, it's all about a Caucasian warrior who lived in the 18th century. Imam Shamil Daghestani, a Muslim scholar, a Sufi, saint and the Shaykh of Naqshabandi Tariqa of Caucasus who promulgated Shari'ah and eradicated Jahili customs from Daghestan. Apart from that, he yielded his sword against Russian bayonets.

Reading the book by Muhammad Hamid is just like reading an epic story .An epic story of faith in God and a legacy that every Muslims cherish, to be retold from generation to generation. It is enough to say that the Sufi movement, especially in Caucasus post-Ottoman period in the eighteenth century was not a Muslim cult that busied themselves merely chanting their zikr or awrad. Their struggle, refusing to concede and kowtow to slavery is indeed worth reading. A great book, written to tell us a great story of Muslims struggle in Caucasus.

Spending two, three days on this book is way much better than attending BTN course, isn't it?


Friday, November 27, 2009



Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha!

Moga mendapat Haji yang mabrur bagi yang melaksanakan ibadah Haji tahun ini.

Yang tidak mengerjakan Haji, semoga ibadah korban yang dilaksanakan diterima oleh Allah SWT.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hidayah As-Salikin



Off day di Port Dickson, sangat membosankan. Kadangkala aku balik ke KL, kadangkala termanggu sendiri di sini. Memandangkan aku meyimpan banyak khazanah buku yang dibeli semasa ceramah Shaykh Fuad Kamaluddin dan semasa di KL, aku bertekad untuk menghabiskan kesemua buku-buku tersebut. Kali ini aku 'menyemak' kembali kitab yang pernah aku belajar semasa Deen Intensive Dublin 2005. Inilah kitab yang sangat banyak 'barakah' dan manfaatnya. Kalau dulu di Dublin, kami bertalaqqi kitab induknya, Bidayatul Hidayah, kali ini aku cuba menghadam syarahannya oleh Shaykh Abdul Samad Falimbani, ulama Patani yang pernah gigih berjihad dengan pena dan senjata menentang kerajaan Siam. Beliau meninggal sekitar tahun 1246H/1830M. Untuk membaca biografi beliau, sila rujuk tulisan Allahyarham Ustaz Wan Saghir di sini.

Secara jujurnya, meskipun kitab ini dianggap kitab permulaan atau 'basic kit' untuk penuntut dan salikin, aku merasakan untuk beramal dengannya adalah satu perkara yang cukup mencabar. Jika seseorang Muslim berjaya mengamalkan seratus peratus perkara yang dihuraikan dalam kitab ini, dia boleh dianggap sebagai sebaik-baik manusia!

Kitab yang asalnya ditulis dalam tulisan Jawi dengan dialek Patani telahpun diterjemah dalam tulisan Rumi oleh Ustaz Ahmad Fahmi Zamzam an-Nadwi al-Maliki(HafizahUllah). Kitab yang beliau edit ini boleh dianggap baik dan boleh difahami, meskipun ada sesetengah transliterasinya agak janggal dan memerlukan penelitian untuk difahami.

Nasihat-nasihat yang dinukilkan oleh Imam Ghazali meskipun sudah ratusan tahun, jika direnungi masih banyak yang relevan hingga ke hari ini. Contohnya;

" Barangsiapa yang bercampur akan orang yang baru belajar ilmu fiqih pada masa ini nescaya ghalib atas tabiatnya itu berbantah-bantah pada bicara masalah ilmu dan mencela akan perkataan orang dan susah atasnya diam, kerana menjatuhkan kepadanya oleh orang alim yang jahat itu bahawa yang demikian itu yaitu menjadi kelebihan dan kemegahan dan bahawa kuasa atas mendirikan dalil dan kuasa atas membantahi perkataan orang. Dan kuasa atas menjawab perkataan orang itu yang dapat kepujiaan dengan dia, maka hendaklah kau lari dari mereka itu seperti lari dari harimau.."

Maksudnya, jangan terlalu bergaul dengan ulama fiqh semata-mata yang terlalu fokus terhadap masalah-masalah fiqh sahaja lantas gemar menggunakan ilmu mereka untuk menjatuhkan pendapat lawan dan mencetuskan polemik. Bahkan perbalahan idea dan pendapat dijadikan platform untuk menonjolkan kelebihan ilmu dan hujah masing-masing. Bukankah ini yang berlaku pada zaman ini?

Mudah-mudahan dengan keberkatan bulan Zulhijjah ini, kita diberikan kekuatan oleh Allah SWT untuk beramal dengan kandungan kitab yang penuh 'barakah' ini.

Ahli-Ahli PAS sila baca

'Bai'ah' according to Islamic jurisprudence

Hashim Kamali


THE current debate over oath-taking and its combination with divorce and pledge of political allegiance (bai'ah) has caused concern among Muslims to know Islam's own viewpoint on the issue.

The facts remain unclear but continued media coverage of the "oath of loyalty" linked to Pas representatives to divorce their wives (talak tiga) if they jump or quit the party has invoked public disapproval of this manner of oath-taking and its negative impact on the sanctity of marriage.

This is also a reliable indicator of Islam's outlook on this matter and may well provide the basis for a juridical consensus of our learned scholars to proscribe and denounce the oath-taking at issue.

Taking an oath proper (yamin) is permitted, according to the directive of a hadith, but in the name only of God and His revealed speech, the Quran.

Muslims are also cautioned not to debase God's illustrious name in frivolous oath-taking (Q.2:224). An oath may thus be taken for a valid reason, to show earnestness to observe or avoid a certain conduct in the future, or ascertain the truth of a past event, such as of witnesses before a court.

Oath-taking to divorce one's wife is basically ultra vires, but the jurists admitted it as a form of oath due to its continued practice among Muslims of a pre-Islamic usage that survived the advent of Islam. Muslim jurists consider this, not as yamin proper, but something of compromised validity they named as half.

Yet it became moot whether taking an oath on a contingent divorce was an oath proper, or a suspended divorce (talaq ta'liq). Since the oath in question is not in God's name, it is oath in a figurative sense (majazi) only. Muslim jurists have, however, disagreed over the juridical consequences of such an oath.

The four Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence have held that a suspended divorce takes place when its condition materialises, regardless as to whether it was taken by way of an oath, or a suspended divorce for its own sake. This conclusion is based on a hadith simply declaring that "Muslims are bound by their stipulations". A suspended divorce consequently occurs as pronounced in the first place.


The Zahiri and Shia schools have held that a suspended divorce, be it in the form of an oath or otherwise, does not occur ab initio, due mainly to the existence of doubt over its underlying intent: did he actually mean to divorce his wife or merely to show earnestness in respect of another purpose?

Ibn Taymiyyah (d.1328 CE) and his disciple, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, have held that if the suspended divorce was taken by way of an oath only, even when its contingent event materialises, divorce does not occur, but the oath-taker is liable to an expiation (kaffarah) that consists of giving charity or fasting. Ibn Qayyim agrees but holds that no expiation is required.

However, if the suspended divorce is pronounced for its own sake, not combining with an oath, then it does take place whenever its contingent event materialises.

The hadith which declares that "divorce is the worst of all permissible things in the eyes of God" implies that all divorce is reprehensible (makruh).

A suspended divorce, when intended, is worse in the sense that it puts the marriage, which the Quran characterises as a solemn covenant (mithaqan ghaliz) in a state of insecurity and suspense (Q.4:21).

Although essentially a civilian contract concluded between two willing parties, marriage in Islam has a devotional (ta'abbudi) aspect that sets it apart from other contracts.

There is disagreement between the Hanafi and Syafii schools over the interpretation of a Quranic verse authorising women who attain intellectual maturity (rushd) to manage their own property transactions (Q:4:6).


The Hanafis drew the conclusion that if an adult woman is authorised to conclude financial contracts, she can, by analogy, also contract herself into marriage without the intervention of a guardian (wali).

The Syafii's retort that marriage is not like other financial contracts as it involves family relations, hence the analogy at issue is discrepant (qiyas ma'al-fariq), which is void, and the presence of wali is a requirement of marriage even of adult women.

These interpretations remain unresolved to this day. A message one can draw from this may be that marriage and divorce should not be mixed up with other transactions, including party-political matters.

A bai'ah fortified by a suspended divorce is also unprecedented in that it consists of an unconditional pledge of loyalty, which the early Muslims took to support the Prophet in the propagation of Islam and counted as an act of merit (Q.48:10).

The Prophet also took bai'ah from women, as the Quran recounts that "they avoid shirk (associating other deities with God), committing theft, adultery, infanticide, slander..." (Q:60:12).

Following the spread of Islam in Arabia and beyond, bai'ah lost its theological application and took a predominantly political character.

In the constitutional theory of caliphate that Muslim jurists subsequently formulated, bai'ah became a requirement of valid election to the caliphal office.

This was not conditional, however, nor has there been any bai'ah in our history to combine with a suspended divorce. A bai'ah in our times is the rough equivalent of a vote. Just as a vote is unconditional, so is the bai'ah.

A vote in a parliamentary or presidential election cannot take a condition to say, for instance, that "I vote for you provided that you do such and such". A condition of this kind would render the election inconclusive. This can also be said of bai'ah.

The alleged bai'ah-cum-suspended divorce that the media has reported of Pas representatives is unprecedented and amounts to a bid'ah (pernicious innovation), which calls for renunciation and avoidance.

The writer is founding chairman and CEO of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies Malaysia.


Asri Charged

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 18, 2009) : Former Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin was today charged in the Gombak Timur Lower Syariah Court with teaching matters related to the religion of Islam without "tauliah" (authorisation) from Selangor Islamic Religious Council.


(L-R)Former Perlis MB Datuk Seri Shahidan Kasim talk with
Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin at Gombak Timur
Syariah Court today.
Mohd Asri @ Abu Talib, 38, who is currently a Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) lecturer, denied committing the alleged offence in a house in Taman Sri Ukay Ampang, Gombak, between 8.10pm and 9.45pm on Nov 1.

The charge carries a maximum RM3,000 fine or two years jail upon conviction.

Syariah judge Wan Mahyuddin Wan Mohamad granted RM3,000 bail with two sureties and set Jan 5 for a hearing. Asri, who was clad in a black blazer and songkok, posted bail.

When the case commenced at 9.15am in a packed court room, the charge was read out to Asri who said: "I plead not guilty, claim trial."

Selangor Syarie chief prosecutor Abdul Shukor Abdul Hamid applied for the case to be transferred to the Syariah High Court saying that a supporting affidavit was filed on Nov 12, stating the grounds for the transfer.

He said the application for the transfer was made through power vested under the laws to the Syariah chief prosecutor.

He said the case involved application of law and procedures that required views and accurate interpretations by an experienced judge and that the case received wide coverage involving an influential person.

However, Asri's lawyer Kamar Ainiah Kamaruzaman said the accused was only informed in the morning and that they had no opportunity to file a reply.

She also objected to the charge, saying it did not specify or had details for them to prepare a defence.

"It's blur. What is the meaning of teaching aspects related to religion of Islam without 'tauliah'?" she asked.


Zulkifli Noordin

Another lawyer Jamal Mohd Lokman Sulaiman, who is also representing Asri, argued that the supporting affidavit was filed on Nov 12 when the charge was only presented this morning.

He said the Lower Syariah Court judge was qualified to hear the case and if the case was tried in a Lower Syariah Court, the accused could appeal to the Syariah High Court and the Syariah Appeal Court.

"The fact that the accused is an influential person is irrelevent," he added.

Wan Mahyuddin then rejected the prosecution's application for transfer saying the prosecution had failed to state reasonable grounds.

He reasoned that a transfer to the High Court could only be allowed if the prosecution had reasonable grounds.

"Public interest is important and not individual interest," he said, adding that the case should be speeded up as a transfer would cause delays and delays could prejudice the accused.

"The grounds that he is influential is unreasonable for the case to be transferred to the Syariah High Court. The prosecution can have complete trust in this court to handle the case.

"In this court's view, the prosecution must be consistent, not referring to individual involvement. The accused being known to the public will not affect the delivery of justice," he said.

Wan Mahyuddin said hearing of the case in the lower court would also allow the accused to appeal to the Syariah High Court and Syariah Appeal Court.

Former Perlis Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, Kulim Bandar Baru MP Zulkifli Noordin and Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir were also in the court premises.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Who Need an Islamic State?



No. We don't need an Islamic state

If what we want is only the form not the substance, please don't have an Islamic state.

We live in 'plastic' world, full of slogans.

One leader came and introduce "Bersih, Cekap, Amanah"

After that "Penerapan Nilai-Nilai Islam"

Another guy introduce " Islam Hadhari"

Then " Satu Malaysia, People First, Performance Now!"

We need the substance, not the form.

You can call a city "Bandaraya Islam", but if the town is full with garbage, what the heck?
This is not Islam nor Islamic.

You can call your state, an Islamic state or "Under the Leadership of Scholars" but if the state is full of new HIV/AIDS cases and full of poverty and corruption, then something is really wrong.

We need the SUBSTANCE not FORM or NAME or SLOGAN

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Passing of Shaykh Muhammad Adib Kallas


“God does not take away knowledge by stripping it from the breasts of men. Instead, He takes it away by taking away the scholars in death. Until there no longer remain scholars; and people take the ignorant as their leaders. They are asked, and they proceed to answer despite not having knowledge. They are misguided and they misguide others.” –Prophet Mohammed



It is the way of great men to travel on and leave behind gaps that cannot be filled. The Muslim world is currently experiencing the emptiness of such a gap. Sheikh Muhammad Adib Kallas died this week in Damascus. He was a master of theology and a jurist par excellence. Moreover, he was an example of a sage who inherited not just his knowledge, but his character, from the Prophet Mohammed through an unbroken chain of transmission.

Not only was he erudite and sharp-witted – he continued to read logic with students throughout his final illness just to keep his mind nimble – but he was exceedingly gentle. He was dedicated to both his students and his family, loved them dearly, and nurtured them. Tenderness and sagacity, that is how I remember Sheikh Adib. It is well known that he is the one who teaches ambitious students of knowledge in Damascus to say: “I don’t know.”

Born in 1921 in the heart of Old Damascus, in the shade of the Omayyad Mosque, Sheikh Adib began his pursuit of sacred knowledge in the early post-Ottoman period of the 1930s. He was understudy to some of the greatest names in recent Damascene history. He imbibed knowledge from them while learning was still organic in the Muslim World, well before it would become tainted by modernist reactionism. Between him and the Prophet Mohammed were only 18 masters.

Later, when the Soviets sent their atheist conundrums to Damascus, government ministries would forward the challenges to Sheikh Adib, who would, in turn, make short order of them.

He was courageous and humble all in the same moment, and inspired confidence as well as an ethical approach to law in his students and colleagues alike.

The scholars of Islam who have taken their knowledge in this way have a balancing effect on society. They combine a grounding in the authentic cultural identity of their people with a deep-seated sensitivity to the human condition and the well-being of community.

Their learning is beyond reproach, operating in accordance with systematic intellectual principles, wholesome spirituality, and lofty aims and purposes. The purposes that guide them are the preservation of life, intellect, religion, human dignity, and private property, as delineated by the Andalusian al Shatibi and al Ghazali before him. These men inspire our citizenry to be ethical human beings who combine education with compassion.

It is my contention that the sustainability of wholesome and balanced society is contingent on our ability to maintain the organic methods of learning and spiritual development that these men continue to leave behind them.

By Jihad Hashim Brown, director of research at the Tabah Foundation. He delivers the Friday sermon at the Maryam bint Sultan Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Tuesday, October 20, 2009



"Adik, adik ni asal dari mana?"

Aku bertanya pada gadis belasan tahun yang terbaring kelesuan dalam 'Resuscitation Room' di A&E. Baju merah jambu yang berlambang daging di bahagian dadanya habis lencun kerana peluh yang tak putus-putus memercik. Gadis ini dibawa oleh ambulan kerana pengsan semasa berkempen pada hari pengundian di Bagan Pinang.

"Saya bukan dari sini,bang!Saya dari Kuala Pilah," ujarnya lemah.

"Berapa umur kamu,dik?".

"18 tahun,doktor."

Aku cuma mengangguk. Entah sudah berapa banyak gadis-gadis sebayanya yang datang mendapatkan rawatan di Unit Kecemasan semasa tempoh kempen PRK Bagan Pinang. Masing-masing dari tempat yang pelbagai pelusuk dan ceruk. Datang untuk berkhidmat demi parti mereka yang dicintai.

"Kamu ni belum pun boleh mengundi. Baru 18. Sanggup pula datang ke mari nak berkempen. Setia sungguh pada parti?". Aku tersenyum sambil mengusik.

"Kami dapat duit,doktor. Setiap hari dapat 30-50 ringgit. Itu belum lagi apa yang Datuk ***** bagi," jawabnya dengan jujur.

Aku ketawa. Itulah nilai muda-mudi yang tidak ada pegangan agama. Diberi 30 ringgit sehari sudah boleh dibeli. Berkempen ke sana ke mari, terpekik terlolong meneriak slogan-slogan provokasi dan isyarat-isyarat lucah hanya dengan harga 30 ringgit sehari. Syabas, tuan puteri!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Nobel Prize in Medicine 2009

"for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase"




Jack W.Szostak


Carol W. Greider

Elizabeth H. Blackburn



The Baltimore Sun

Carol W. Greider, who on Monday became the 33rd person associated with the Johns Hopkins University to win the Nobel Prize, is a triathlete, a mother of two and a methodical and modest genetic researcher who colleagues say shuns publicity in favor of pursuing her passion: fundamental, curiosity-driven science.

Greider's breakthrough that won the ultimate scientific honor dates back two decades. During that time she has been catapulted to the top of her field - showered with grants, accolades and coveted prizes. And yet, news of the Nobel Prize left her breathless.

"My heart just started racing," she said.

Her rise to pioneering scientist and professor of molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine began on Christmas Day 1984. The ambitious 23-year-old graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, was so excited about an experiment she was conducting, she went to the empty lab to check on its progress. What she detected on a piece of X-ray film led to the discovery of an enzyme called telomerase, a substance that plays a crucial role in the genetic life of cells and holds promise for developing treatments to fight cancer and age-related diseases.

"Carol is a classical, iconic scientist in the sense that she does her work quietly and doesn't seek the limelight and yet makes substantive discoveries like telomerase," said Dr. Chi Van Dang, the Hopkins medical school's vice dean for research. "She's very methodical, very thorough, and works passionately. Every piece of her work is like a masterpiece. She doesn't like to sketch things and throw them out."

Greider, 48, joins just nine other women who have won the Nobel Prize for medicine and physiology of the 192 winners since the awards were first handed out in 1901. (In all categories from 1901 to 2008, just 35 women have won the prize, compared with 754 men.) Greider shares the award - which includes a total cash prize of $1.4 million - with Elizabeth Blackburn, a professor of biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco, and Jack Szostak of Harvard Medical School. It's the first time the prize has been awarded to more than one woman.

"A scientist, a teacher, a department chair, a mom, you're really a lady for all seasons," Dr. Peter C. Agre, a Hopkins researcher awarded the Nobel Prize in 2003, said during a news conference at Hopkins medical school attended by many admiring colleagues. "We bask in your glory."

Greider acknowledged the award was a triumph for women in science and said she hopes it opens the door for future winners.

"I think the number of women in science doing high-powered research is quite remarkable," she said. "But the total number of Nobel Prizes going to women has sort of lagged behind."

Awake with time to kill before her morning spin class on Monday, Greider was folding the laundry when the call came from the chair of the Nobel committee notifying her of the honor.

The typically poised Greider said she was shocked. She then made a joke about the committee giving her 45 minutes to prepare before the announcement became formal - enough time to take a shower. "I was glad for those extra 45 minutes," she said.

Soon after, Greider woke up her children, Gwendolyn Comfort, 9, and Charles Comfort, 13, who were elated. "My mom was shaking me, saying 'I won the Nobel Prize!' and I was like, whoa!" said Gwendolyn, who scribbled notes throughout the news conference as a keepsake.

Then the phone started ringing and it didn't stop for three hours, with congratulations pouring in from all over. Neighbors in the family's Roland Park community were stopping by to offer their good wishes. One even erected a giant congratulatory banner across their home's front porch, which was outfitted with balloons.

Greider accepted the accolades in her trademark self-effacing manner. She said the honor is a tribute to the entire telomere field, not simply her work.

"The discovery of telomerase was an important discovery at the time, but it's really the subsequent implications of what it has to do with disease that really makes this day possible," she said. "I'm indebted to all the people in my lab as well as all the many laboratories in the world who have made these discoveries."

While the science behind it is complex, Greider says the finding was sparked by something quite simple: scientific curiosity.

"Simply by going into the lab and being curious about this very fundamental question, we made the discovery that there is this enzyme telomerase that maintains these chromosome ends," she said. "I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to really play and be able to do science and just follow what was the most interesting thing to do."

Greider grew up in Davis, Calif., where her father was a physicist at the University of California. He was her role model for her pursuit of scientific research and the "academic freedom and the importance of liking what you do," she said. Greider graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a bachelor's degree in biology in 1983 and earned a doctorate in molecular biology in 1987 from the University of California, Berkeley. After working at a laboratory in New York, she came in 1997 to Hopkins, where she is the Daniel Nathans professor and director of molecular biology and genetics at the Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences.

In 2006, she won the Lasker Award, nicknamed the "American Nobel," for her work with telomerase.

Dang said Greider reminds him of the late Nathans, another "classic scientist" who won the Nobel Prize in 1978 along with Hamilton O. Smith, both Hopkins faculty members.

"This award recognizes work of incomparable originality and insight," said Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels. "Carol's work really demonstrates how all of our aspirations and hopes for our colleagues can be fulfilled in such a dramatic and arresting way."

She's also a role model for a new generation of scientists, said Agre. "Young scientists have to realize Carol was in graduate school: On her first rotation she did an experiment that changed everything," he said. "So science is for young people."

Recent Nobel Prize winners in science and medicine affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University
Carol Greider

Daniel Nathans professor and director of molecular biology and genetics

Institute of Basic Biomedical Sciences, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine



Andrew Fire

Adjunct professor of biology

Nobel Prize in Medicine, 2006



Dr. Richard Axel

1971 medical school graduate

Nobel Prize in Medicine, 2004



Dr. Peter Agre

Director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute

Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2003



Paul Greengard

Ph.D. in biophysics, 1953

Nobel Prize in Medicine, 2000


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Menguak Cinta Rahasia Israel-Singapura



Dari Majalah ERAMUSLIM

Mungkin tidak banyak yang tahu peran Israel saat awal berdirinya negara Singapura, negara kecil yang kini menjadi salah satu negara paling stabil dan kuat di Asia. Peran Israel itu terutama dalam membangun kekuatan militer negara itu, sehingga perlahan tapi pasti, membuat Singapura memiliki kekuatan militer yang cukup tangguh dengan peralatan militer canggih.

Herry Nurdi penulis yang sudah menerbitkan buku tentang Zionisme dan buku berjudul "Nge-fans sama Rasul" ini, menelusuri apa dan bagaimana keterlibatan Israel dalam membangun kekuatan militer Singapura. Hasil penelusurannya bisa pembaca ikuti dalam tulisannya berikut ini, yang akan kami publikasikan secara bersambung. Selamat membaca....

Bagian dari Gerakan Zionisme Internasional

Pada tahun-tahun 1960-an awal dirintisnya keterlibatan Israel dan Yahudi untuk turut membangun negara yang baru mulai berdiri, Singapura.

Pada awal tahun 1965, ketika di Indonesia terjadi gejolak PKI, di Malaysia juga terjadi sebuah gejolak yang kelak mengantarkan lahirnya sebuah negara baru, Singapura. Dalam penuturannya, Lee Kuan Yew mengatakan bahwa ada beberapa hal yang menjadi konsentrasinya pada awal-awal berdiri Singapura.

Pertama, tentu adalah pengakuan internasional atas lahirnya negara baru ini. Dan untuk membantunya mengatasi masalah yang satu ini ia memilih Sinnathamby Rajaratnam menjadi Menteri Luar Negeri, seorang yang disebut Lee Kuan Yew sebagai seorang yang anti penjajahan tapi bukan seorang yang radikal. Rajaratnam pula yang menyiapkan segala kebutuhan untuk hajatan bulan September 1965, di markas PBB di New York, sebuah presentasi negara baru.

Hal kedua terbesar yang menjadi perhatian Lee Kuan Yew adalah masalah keamanan dan pertahanan. Pada awalnya ia hanya memiliki dua batalion pasukan, itupun berada dalam komando seorang brigadir dari Malaysia, Brigadir Syed Muhammad bin Syed Alsagoff yang menurut Lee seorang Arab Muslim dengan kumis yang siap setiap saat mengambil alih negara Singapura. Ia harus menyiapkan angkatan bersenjata dan sistem pertahanan dalam waktu dekat, untuk menghadapi kelompok-kelompok radikal, terutama beberapa pihak di Malaysia yang tak setuju dengan kemerdekaan Singapura. Kelompok yang satu ini, dipercaya akan mengganggu proses kemerdekaan Singapura, oleh Lee Kuan Yew.

Untuk mengatasi masalah pertahanannya, pada awalnya, Singapura meminta bantuan dan menghubungi Mesir untuk menyiapkan angkatan bersenjata. Tapi, Mesir tak segera memberikan jawaban yang pasti, padahal kebutuhan demikian mendesak untuk diselesaikan. Tapi sebenarnya, sebelum pemisahan terjadi, Israel telah menjalin hubungan dengan benih-benih founding fathers Singapura. Mordechai Kidron, duta besar Israel di Bangkok sejak tahun 1962 sampai 1963 telah mencoba untuk mendekati Lee Kuan Yew dan menawarkan jasa untuk menyiapkan pasukan bersenjata. Tapi saat ini, Lee Kuan Yew menolaknya dengan beberapa alasan, salah satunya adalah pertimbangan Tuanku Abdul Rahman dan masyarkat Muslim di wilayah Singapura yang kemungkinan tidak akan setuju. Dan jika mereka tidak setuju, menurut Lee, bisa memancing kerusuhan yang tidak terkendali dan merugikan bagi rencana kemerdekaan Singapura.

Tapi akhirnya, Lee melirik tawaran ini. Di saat yang sama, Lee Kuan Yew juga mengirim dan menunggu jawaban dari India dan Mesir. Ia mengirim surat ke Perdana Menteri India, Lal Bahadur Shastri dan Presiden Mesir, Gamal Abdul Nasser. Dari Mesir Lee Kuan Yew mendapat jawaban, bahwa Nasser menerima dan mengakui kemerdekaan negara Singapura, tapi tidak memberikan jawaban pasti atas permintaan bantuan militer. Dan itu yang memicu kekecewaan Lee Kuan Yew yang langsung memerintahkan untuk memproses proposal Israel untuk menyiapkan militer Singapura. Tokoh lain yang berpengaruh dalam hubungan Singapura-Israel adalah Goh Keng Swee. Lee Kuan Yew memerintahkan Keng Swee untuk menghubungi Mordechai Kidron, duta besar Israel yang berkedudukan di Bangkok pada tanggal 9 September 1965, hanya beberapa bulan setelah pemisahan Singapura dari Malaysia. Dan hanya dalam beberapa hari, Kidron telah terbang ke Singapura untuk menyiapkan keperluannya bersama Hezi Carmel salah seorang pejabat Mossad.

Bertahun-tahun kemudian Hezi Carmel dalam sebuah wawancara mengatakan bahwa Goh Keeng Swee berujar kepadanya hanya Israel lah yang bisa membantu Singapura. Israel adalah negara kecil yang dikepung oleh negara-negara Muslim di Timur Tengah, tapi memiliki kekuatan militer yang kecil tapi kuat dan dinamik. Bersama Keng Swee, Kidron dan Hezi menghadap Lee Kuan Yew.

Perlu digarisbawahi di sini, bahwa proposal Israel yang telah diajukan sejak tahun 1960, adalah sebuah hasil dari kajian mendalam tentang masa depan Singapura dan percaturan politik di Asia Tenggara. Bukan Singapura yang aktif untuk meminta Israel masuk, tapi Israel lah yang pertama kali menawarkan diri agar bisa terlibat secara aktif di wilayah Asia Tenggara. Tentu saja ini bukan semata-mata kebetulan, tapi berdasarkan perencanaan yang matang dari gerakan Zionisme internasional. Menempatkan diri bersama Singapura, sama artinya menjadi satelit Israel dan kekuatan Yahudi di Asia Tenggara.

The Mexicans

November 1965, tim kecil dari Israel yang dikomandani Kolonel Jak (Yaakov) Ellazari tiba di Singapura (kelak ia dipromosikan pangkatnya menjadi Brigadir Jenderal, bahkan setelah pensiun pun ia menjadi salah satu konsultan senior untuk masalah-masalah pertahanan dan keamanan bagi Singapura). Dan disusul oleh tim yang lebih besar lagi pada bulan Desember 1965. Mereka menggunakan kata sandi The Mexicans untuk membantu Singapura.

Kedatangan tim The Mexicans ini sebisa mungkin dirahasiakan dari sorotan publik. Maklum, Singapura adalah negara muda yang dikeliling oleh negara-negara Muslim seperti Indonesia, Malaysia, dan juga Thailand. Lee Kuan Yew juga tidak ingin menimbulkan perdebatan di antara penduduk Singapura yang Muslim.

Pada saat yang sama dengan perintisan ini, Israel sendiri telah menyiapkan bantuan militernya langsung ke Singapura berdasarkan order dari Kidron dan Hezi Carmel. Tokoh-tokoh penting Israel yang turun berperan mengambil keputusan pembangunan militer Singapura ini adalah Yitzhak Rabin, kepala staff pemerintahan Israel kala itu, Ezer Weizmann dan juga Mayor Jenderal Rehavam Ze’evi, yang kelak menjadi menteri perumahan Israel dan tewas karena serangan Hamas pada tahun 2001.

Ze’evi sendiri yang menjadi pimpinan proyek dan terbang ke Singapura dengan nama samaran Gandhi. Rehavam Ze’evi yang telah menggunakan nama Gandhi berjanji akan membangun kekuatan militer Israel sebagai kekuatan militer yang belum pernah ada di wilayah Asia Tenggara. Dengan dibantu oleh Ellazari dan Letnan Kolonel Yehuda Golan, Ze’evi mulai bekerja. Salah satu yang dibangun dengan serius adalah buku panduan yang diberi nama "Brown Book" atau Buku Coklat, blue print buku panduan militer Singapura yang benar-benar dibuat Israel.

Buku Coklat adalah buku panduan untuk perang langsung atau combat. Setelah buku ini selesai, buku panduan lanjutannya digarap pula dengan nama sandi Buku Biru atau "Blue Book" yang mengatur segala macam strategi pertahanan dan gerakan intelijen. Buku Coklat diterjemahkan ke dalam bahasa Inggris dan segera dikirim ke Singapura dari Israel.

Tanggal 24 Desember 1965, enam orang perwira Israel tiba di Singapura. Mereka mengemban dua tugas yang berbeda. Tim perwira pertama bertugas untuk membangun dan membentuk kementerian pertahanan Singapura, tim ini dipimpin oleh Kolonel Ellazari. Dan tim kedua, yang dipimpin oleh Yehuda Golan bertugas untuk menyiapkan pasukan bersenjata. Persiapan pasukan bersenjata ini pada mulanya merekrut 40 sampai 50 orang yang telah memiliki pengalaman di bidang militer untuk dilatih lebih lanjut.

Terkuat di Asia Tenggara

Tapi kini, kekuatan yang berasal dari 40 – 50 orang yang dibangun oleh Israel itu telah menjelma menjadi kekuatan militer terbesar di Asia Tenggara, bahkan mengalahkan Indonesia. Anggaran militer Singapura itu 4,4 milyar dolar US. Jauh sekali dibanding dengan Indonesia. Mereka juga punya industri militernya sendiri. Jadi tidak melulu bergantung pada negara-negara asing produsen senjata. Sama persis dengan Israel. Israel, meski dia juga bergantung pada negara produsen senjata dari Barat, tapi dia juga membangun persenjataan mereka sendiri. Singapura sudah bisa membuat dari senjata ringan, mesin hingga artileri, mereka sudah mampu membuat sendiri.

Angkatan bersenjata Singapura, keseluruhan, berjumlah 60.500 pasukan. Jauh di bawah Indonesia. Jumlah itu sudah termasuk 39.800 wajib militer dengan masa dinas 24 sampai 30 bulan. Tapi mereka juga memiliki pasukan cadangan berjumlah 213.800. Jadi, jumlahnya meliputi seluruh penduduk dan populasi Singapura.

Singapura benar-benar telah menjalankan total defense war. Mereka punya wajib militer untuk seluruh penduduk, setiap saat semua warga negara Singapura bisa dimobilisasi, dipersenjatai.

Setiap penduduk Singapura itu sudah ada registrasi militernya, kepangkatannya. Ketika terjadi ancaman atau serangan, maka mereka per daerah atau per wilayah sudah bisa langsung melapor dan bergabung pada markas-markas yang sudah ditentukan. Orang-orang sipil itu tahu pangkat mereka apa, berapa anaknya buahnya dan tugasnya apa. Bahkan senjatanya pun sudah disetor di masing-masing markas. Ini benar-benar seperti konsep Israel, bahwa semua penduduk dewasa adalah tentara. sipil yang militer. Bukan militer yang membangun supremasi di atas sipil.

Angkatan Darat mereka memiliki 50.000 pasukan, tidak terlalu banyak. Angkatan Laut 4.500 dan Angkatan Udara 6.000. Tapi yang menarik adalah, Singapura itu punya Forces Abroad, pasukan-pasukan yang di tempatkan di luar negeri. Bukan pasukan untuk misi internasional, tapi pasukan Singapura sendiri, kebanyakan adalah Angkatan Udara.

Singapura menempatkan pasukannya di Prancis, Australia, Brunei, Afrika Selatan, Taiwan, Thailand dan Amerika. Penempatan pasukan itu disertai dengan penempatan pesawat tempur, pesawat pengintai tanpa awak sampai pesawat pengisi bahan bakar di udara yang kebanyakan di parkir di Amerika.

Kalau dibandingkan dengan kekuatan militer Indonesia? Jauh sekali. Seandainya Indonesia membom Singapura, mereka bisa membalas dengan lebih kuat lagi dari yang bisa dilakukan Indonesia. Jika sekarang kita terbang dengan pesawat komersial ke Singapura butuh waktu 1 jam 20 menit. Tapi kalau untuk melakukan serangan pre-emptif strike, Singapura hanya butuh waktu kurang dalam 30 menit.

Didikan Israel yang sangat disiplin memang menghasilkan kekuatan yang bukan main. Salah satu disiplin yang diterapkan Israel pada para kadet Singapura adalah bangun pukul 5.30 untuk memulai aktivitasnya. Bahkan salah seorang kadet pernah membantah dan memberikan alasan kepada kolonel Golan dengan mengatakan, “Kolonel Golan, orang-orang Arab tidak ada di sini dan tidak akan menduduki kepala kita. Mengapa kita melakukan latihan segila ini?” Dan menjawab komplain para kadet itu, Goh Keng Swee memerintahkan para kadet itu untuk melakukan apa yang diperintahkan Kolonel Golan, jika tidak, mereka akan melakukannya lebih berat lagi. Hanya dalam setahun, latihan yang dibangun oleh Israel ini telah menghasilkan 200 komandan militer yang terlatih.

Selain kekuatan militer darat, Israel juga merancang strategi combating water bagi Singapura. Pada awalnya, mereka membuat sebuah sampan yang mampu mengangku 10 sampai 15 anggota pasukan untuk patroli laut bahkan ke rawa-rawa. Kekuatan tempur laut yang dibangut oleh Israel memang disiapkan untuk menghadapi negara-negara maritim seperti Indonesia dan Malaysia.

Balas Jasa buat Israel

Pada tahun 1967, pecah Perang Enam Hari antara Israel dan negara-negara Arab. Pecahnya perang ini membuat tim Israel di Singapura sempat ketar-ketir, sebab, moral pasukan yang mereka bangun di Singapura bisa saja habis sampai ke dasar cawan jika Israel menderita kekalahan perang. Namun, seperti yang tercatat dalam sejarah, Israel menang mutlak melawan negara-negara Arab dalam Perang Enam Hari tersebut.

Bisa dipahami, kekuatan dan sistem militer Israel di banding negara-negara Arab lainnya, jauh berada di depan. Kemenangan itu pula yang mengantar disepakatinya perjanjian rahasia pembelian 72 Tank AMX-13 light dari Israel yang konon kelebihan produksi. Pembelian dengan diskon ini cukup mengagetkan, pasalnya, pada tahun itu, Malaysia sendiri tak memiliki satu tank-pun.

Dan Singapura memang sengaja menyisakan kejutan tersendiri untuk hal ini. Pada peringatan kemerdekaan, 9 Agustus 1969, dalam parade militer para undangan dikejutkan dengan pameran kekuatan Singapura. Termasuk Menteri Pertahanan Malaysia yang diundang untuk menyaksikan 30 tank buatan Israel yang merayap di jalanan. "Sungguh momen yang dramatis," ujar Lee mengenang saat itu.

Dan sejak itu pula, terbuka secara umum hubungan Israel dan Singapura. Berikutnya adalah balas jasa yang harus diberikan Singapura pada Israel. Pada sidang umum PBB tahun 1967, negara-negara Arab mensponsori resolusi untuk menveto Israel. Tapi delegasi Singapura yang hadir pada waktu itu menyatakan diri abstain sebagai tanda satu barisan dengan Israel.

Selanjutnya, pada tahun Oktober 1968, Lee Kuan Yew menyetujui pembukaan perwakilan dagang Israel di negara tersebut. Setahun berikutnya, secara resmi tahun Mei 1969, Lee memberikan izin pada Israel untuk membuka kedutaannya di Singapura.

Kondisi yang berlainan terjadi di Indonesia. Dari tahun ke tahun, Indonesia yang menjadi negara besar tetangga Singapura kian tak menentu nasib strategi pertahanan dan militernya. Kondisi itulah yang membuat posisi tawar Singapura pada Indonesia meningkat, bahkan terkesan arogan. Indonesia saat ini berada pada masa transisi yang membuat posisinya lemah.

Pada zaman Soeharto yang kuat, mereka susah untuk mempengaruhi atau masuk lebih jauh ke dalam kebijakan Indonesia secara politis maupun dari sisi supremasi militer. Kekuatan militer di Indonesia masa jayanya ada di bawah Soekarno. Ketika Soeharto berkuasa dengan sistem junta militernya, tidak ada perhatian secara khusus untuk membangun militer Indonesia secara profesional. Seperti kebanyakan rezim pemerintah junta militer, konsentrasi mereka terpecah-pecah untuk mematai-matai rakyatnya sendiri, mengontrol kekuatan politik lawan di dalam negeri, dan itu berakibat tidak terbangunnya militer Indonesia yang profesional. Sekarang ini baru kita melihat hasil ketidak profesionalan itu.

Dulu, Indonesia, menurut Ken Conboy dalam bukunya yang berjudul Kopassus, bisa disebut sebagai negara dengan kekuatan militer terbesar di Asia Tenggara. Sebagai perbandingan, pada sidang parlemen Singapura tahun 1999 terkuak sebuah informasi, bahwa negara ini menghabiskan sekitar 7,27 milyar dolar dalam setahun, atau sekitar 25% dari anggaran belanja negara untuk alokasi pertahanan. Dan pada tahun 2000, menurut laporan Asian Defense Journal, tak kurang Singapura memiliki empat F-16B, 10 F-16D fighters, 36 F-5C fighters, dan delapan F-5T fighters.

Sedangkan Indonesia, kini hanya memiliki enam F-16, itupun tak semuanya bisa dan layak terbang karena terus-menerus melakukan kanibalisasi untuk perbaikannya. Dan pada pemerintahan Megawati, terjadi pembelian pesawat tempur Sukhoi, tapi itu pun tak sesuai dengan kebutuhan Indonesia. Pesawat Sukhoi yang dibeli oleh Departemen Perdagangan itu dirancang untuk perang dan melawan tank yang di Indonesia sama sekali tidak dibutuhkan.

Bahkan saking unggulnya kekuatan Singapura yang dibangun oleh Israel ini, sampai-sampai Lee Kuan Yew membanggakan militernya jauh lebih efektif dari militer Amerika. Soal keamanan, menurut Lee Kuan Yew, Israel jauh lebih efektif dan hebat dibanding Amerika. Lee membandingkan kerja Israel di Singapura dan kerja Amerika di Vietnam. Pada Perang Vietnam Amerika tak kurang mengirimkan 3.000 sampai 6.000 ahli militernya ke Vietnam Selatan untuk membantu Presiden Ngo Dinh Diem yang menjadi kaki tangannya Paman Sam. Hasilnya? Amerika dan kaki tangannya tetap tak bisa menang di Vietnam.

Tapi dengan Singapura, Israel hanya mengirimkan sekitar 18 perwira-perwiranya untuk membangun angkatan bersenjata negara muda ini begitu kuat.

Hubungan Singapura-Israel: Ancaman Regional Asia Tenggara

Sejak saat itu berbagai kerjasama dalam jumlah besar tak hanya dalam bidang militer dan pertahanan, tapi juga ekonomi dan politik telah terjadi antara Israel dang Singapura. Dan tentu saja, pada tataran ekonomi dan politik, kekuatan Israel di Singapura telah pula merangsek negara-negara Muslim seperti Malaysia, Brunei dan Indonesia. Termasuk pembelian Indosat dan beberapa bank besar di Indonesia oleh Singapura, secara seloroh usaha aneksasi tersebut telah menjadikan Indonesia provinsi ke sekian dari Israel Raya.

Apalagi sejak Singapura menandatangani kesepakatan satelit mata-mata dengan Israel tahun 2000 lalu. Bisa jadi, tak sejengkal pun wilayah, khususnya area-area Muslim di Asia Tenggara lolos dari perhatian Israel.Tahun 2000 lalu, Israel, Singapura yang difasilitasi oleh Amerika Serikat meneken kontrak kerjasama dalam bidang satelit mata-mata senilai satu milyar dolar Amerika. Dan tentu saja untuk urusan keamanan.

Atas nasihat Israel pula kini Singapura punya interest yang kuat dalam perdagangan dan kerjasama yang dibentuknya untuk empat hal. Empat hal tersebut adalah di bidang komando, kontrol, komunikasi dan intelijen. Dan kini, lewat doktrin ini pula Singapura tak melepaskan kesempatan emas untuk membeli Indosat dari Indonesia.

Akankah Singapura dengan Israel di belakangnya kelak menjadi ancaman bagi negara-negara Asia Tenggara, seperti Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Filipina dan Thailand yang notabene bisa disebut representasi negara Muslim? Jika kelak terbukti Singapura adalah ancaman, sesungguhnya tak mengherankan, sebab kini banyak signal dan indikasi yang menyebutkannya. Terlebih ketika isu terorisme menghantam Indonesia, Singapura menjadi corong paling dekat yang menyakitkan telinga warga Indonesia.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Isa masih berbisa



Tan Sri Isa Samad, mantan MB Negeri Sembilan hari ini diumumkan sebagai calon PRK Bagan Pinang meskipun pilihan ini dilihat sebagai bertentangan dengan pendapat Tun Dr Mahathir, bekas Perdana Menteri. Isa yang sebelum ini disebut-sebut sebagai calon menepati ramalan banyak pihak yang berpendapat bahawa beliau berpeluang cerah untuk memenangi kerusi tersebut. Isa yang terpalit dengan isu rasuh dan pernah digantung kerana isu politik wang semasa pemilihan UMNO beberapa tahun lalu menekankan bahawa beliau berhak dan bebas untuk dicalokan dan bertanding.

" Saya bukan penjenayah", ujar Isa.

Menurut beliau, bekas banduan pun boleh bertanding mewakili Pakatan Rakyat (secara halus merujuk kepada pemimpin de facto PKR, Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim). Bagan Pinang yang berada dalam kawasan Parlimen Teluk Kemang merupakan kubu kuat UMNO. Kerusi ini dilihat agak sukar ditembusi oleh Pakatan Rakyat kerana undi pos anggota-anggota tentera dari empat kem tentera yang berada di DUN terbabit.

Pakatan Rakyat akan menghadapi cabaran getir menentang BN kerana Isa, meskipun dilabel sebagai perasuah masih popular di kalangan grass-root UMNO dan penduduk tempatan di kawasan Teluk Kemang.Pilihan Isa sebagai calon ini menunjukkan pimpinan UMNO agak gentar menentang arus hingga membelakangkan pendapat bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr Mahathir. Tun Dr Mahathir sebelum ini menggesa agar Isa Samad tidak dicalonkan sebagai candidate PRK Bagan Pinang.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Last of Ottoman




Ertugrul Osman – the would-be sultan known in Turkey as the “last Ottoman” – has died in Istanbul at the age of 97.

Osman would have been sultan of the Ottoman Empire had Turkey’s modern republic not been created in the 1920s.

As the last surviving grandson of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, he would have been known as his Imperial Highness Prince Shehzade Ertugrul Osman Effendi.

Born in Istanbul in 1912, Osman spent most of his years living modestly in New York.

NEVER-TO-BE-RULER

ERTUGRUL Osman, who might have ruled the Ottoman Empire from a palace in Istanbul but instead spent most of his life in an apartment in New York, has died of kidney failure while on a visit to Turkey. He was 97.

Osman was a descendant of Osman I, the Anatolian ruler who in 1299 established the kingdom that eventually controlled parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

The younger Osman would have eventually become the sultan, but for the establishment of the Turkish Republic, proclaimed in 1923.

For the past 64 years, Osman - formally His Imperial Highness Prince Ertugrul Osman - and his wife, Zeynep, a niece of a former Afghan king, lived in an apartment on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. At one time they kept 12 dogs in their home, a two-bedroom unit up a narrow, dim stairway, and enlisted neighbourhood children to walk them.

Osman was often asked if he dreamed that the empire would be restored but always answered, flatly, no. ''I'm a very practical person,'' he said in 2006. ''Democracy works well in Turkey.''

In an interview for al-Jazeera television last year, he refused to say an unkind word about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who led the revolution that deposed his family.

Osman, who was born in Istanbul, was the last surviving grandson of an Ottoman emperor; his grandfather, Abdul Hamid II, ruled from 1876 to 1909. In 1924, the royal family was expelled by Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. ''The men had one day to leave,'' Osman said. ''The women were given a week.''

Osman attended school in Vienna and moved to New York in 1939. He returned to Turkey for the first time 53 years later, in August 1992, at the invitation of the prime minister. On that trip, he went to see the 285-room Dolmabahce Palace, which had been his grandfather's home - and where he had played as a child. He insisted on joining a tour group, despite the summer heat. ''I didn't want a fuss,'' he said.

As a young man, Osman ran a mining company, Wells Overseas, which required him to travel frequently to South America. Because he considered himself a citizen of the Ottoman Empire, he refused to carry the passport of any country. Instead, he travelled with a certificate devised by his lawyer. That might have continued to work had security measures not been tightened after the attacks of September 11, 2001. In 2004, he received a Turkish passport for the first time.

Osman often impressed interviewers with his dry wit and knowledge of trends in politics, architecture and pop culture.

When Didem Yilmaz, a filmmaker, interviewed him for Seeking the Sultan, a short documentary film about him, she expected to find him bitter about his life's trajectory. Instead, she said, he was ''kind, understanding and contemplative''. At one point, she added, Osman said to her knowingly: ''If I had a bad life, it would be better for your film.''

Osman married Gulda Twerskoy in 1947. She died in 1985. At a party in 1987, he met Zeynep Tarzi Hanim, an Afghan princess. Nearly 30 years his junior, she had been raised in Istanbul and was living in New York. They married in 1991. He has no other survivors.

NEW YORK TIMES