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Train Guns at Islam’s Real Enemy

The uproar over The Star’s front page blunder on Saturday has left Amanah Communications Director Khalid Samad dumbfounded. He told FMT he couldn’t understand why some Muslims were angered more by a newspaper’s layout than by the hijacking of Ramadan by terrorists.

“I’m more angry with those who desecrated the good month of Ramadan and the good name of Islam by their acts of terrorism on the eve of Ramadan,” he said. “I think we should be more concerned about that and how terrorism has continuously given Islam a bad image.

“I’m surprised that no one seems to be angry over the acts of terrorism that happened in the Philippines, Indonesia, Britain and Egypt, all on the eve of Ramadan. Instead, many are focusing their anger on mistakes done by writers, graphic designers and so on.”

Several editors of The Star met Home Ministry officials on Monday over the controversial front page, which featured the headline “Malaysian terrorist leader” and a photo beneath it that showed Muslims at a congregational prayer. The picture had no connection with the headline.

Political leaders from both sides of the divide, along with some members of the general public, condemned the front page, which they said made all Muslims look like terrorists.

The Star promptly issued an apology for its “poor judgment”.

According to the daily, it was the newspaper’s practice to publish front page pictures of Muslims performing tarawih prayers on the first day of Ramadan as a mark of respect for the holy month.

Khalid agreed that The Star had made an error of judgment, but he said Muslims should forgive the daily “in the spirit of Ramadan”.

“What The Star has done is a bit silly and insensitive and opens up room for misinterpretation, but it has admitted the mistake and has apologised for it,” he said. “So I don’t think there’s any need to try to turn it into a bigger issue than it really is.”

He said he was also upset that some Muslims had exploited the error to make the generalisation that all non-Muslims were disrespectful of Islam and Muslims.

He alleged that this represented a hidden agenda pursued by some quarters.

“Unfortunately,” he said, “some are trying to make an issue out of the front page to create tension between Muslims and non-Muslims, such as by barring non-Muslims from fast-breaking events. I think this is very backward.

“We want to create a better relationship between the communities instead of tension. But some are trying to interpret acts of friendship as acts of animosity, and I think that’s a very ridiculous thing to do.”

More from FMT
-The office of MP for Shah Alam-

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