Muslims as a race?

In a heated argument between the controversial PKR MP Zulkifli Noordin and DAP MP Chong Eng in Parliament, the former accused the latter of being a ‘racist’ because she ‘had tried to portray the Muslims that protested at the Bar Council forum as aggressive and irrational’. This is in reference to the recent protests against the Bar Council’s forum on ‘Conversion to Islam’ on Aug. 9.

I’m a bit baffled by this ‘equation’ although it’s true that in Malaysia all Malays are by definition Muslim. 

But isn’t Zulkifli forgeting that Muslims are a community of believers made up of a diversity of ethnic and cultural origins? Aren’t there ethnic Indians and ethnic Chinese, among others, who are also Muslim in this country?

Isn’t this diversity a richness in Islam, humanity and within the Ummah, something to celebrate about?

Put another way, if we were to take a broader perspective, we would find that there isn’t one particular community that monopolises Islam or dominates the Ummah.

The point here is, ‘race’ doesn’t count for much in Islam. Piety, compassion and a sense of social justice do. 

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9 Responses to “Muslims as a race?”


  1. 1 Kopi Anan 21 August 2008 at 12:33 pm

    True Muslims speak by TRANSCENDING the own original ethnic origin.

    They are supposed to speak from the “soul” or that part of their “rational animality” .

    However, they cannot divorce themselves from the skin of the animal origin that is, a Malay, Javanese, Bugis, Minang, Bugis etc.

    Diversity makes Islam universal, especially now with White Caucasian Muslims.

    If you go to UIA you may see dark skinned Nigerians from Sokoto who are Arab-Huasa speaking and subscribe to the Maliki school.

    You may also see Indo-Pakistan who are largely Urdu speaking but Hanafis.

    A few odd White Caucasian may tell a different story.

    Imagine a Maori Muslim schooled in the Traditions of Indonesian Pasentren {pondok schools] and Sudan Arabic speaking University.
    This Maori speaks fluent Arabic.

    Let the True Muslism stand out and speak from his real “nature” that of a slave of his/her Master and Lord and behaving as a Khalifah or Vicegeremt on earth [ each according to his degree or level].

    But you do not have to abandon your race or ethnicity just ABANDON the bad cultures and habits of the race !

  2. 2 siewkhim 21 August 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Muslims are human beings that practised Islam. We have all kind of races in this world that are practising Muslims.

    Hence Muslim is not a race. It is really pathetic politics to hear this kind of thing. Anuar Ibrahim MUST get rid of the scums in his party. Otherwise it will turn into the damn f…..g shitty UMNO.

  3. 3 Oleandar 21 August 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Well spoken Mus!

  4. 4 Volcano 21 August 2008 at 12:53 pm

    He thinks that ISLAM belongs to the Malay race. May Allah lead this KATAK out of his well to Mecca.

  5. 5 tan, tanjong bungah 21 August 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Hi everyone,

    It’s sad that many Malay Muslims still can’t distinguish between race and religion. The religion is not exclusive to the Malays only!

    It’s a fact that there’re many times more Chinese Muslims than Malay Muslims in the world. By not being able to distinguish between race and religion, such Malay Muslims are doing a great disservice to their religion in their effort to convince non-Malay Malaysians on the tenets of good Muslims.

    It’s time that the politicians stop hijacking their religion for political motives!

  6. 6 wak jawa 21 August 2008 at 2:51 pm

    ADA LAGI MELAYU YANG TAK TAU NAK BEZAKAN ANTARA AGAMA DAN BANGSA.PATUT LAH BILA DI TANYA APA KAH TAMDDUN MELAYU ,DIA KATA TAMADDUN ISLAM ADALAH TAMADDUN MELAYU-ITULAH DEPA BELAJAR DARI BUKU SEJARAH MALAYSIA.

  7. 7 debat apa? 21 August 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Muthu was an Indian and one day converted to Islam. Is Muthu a Malay? I am sure Muthu (name may changed to say, Abdullah) is still an Indian.

  8. 8 Mai 22 August 2008 at 5:33 am

    You could make a similar case to Jews, in a sense.

    Anyways, people who practice Islam are Muslim. It is not a race, but a religion. As individuals above me have already mentioned, many, many races from all different countries around the world practice Islam.


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