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Our schools are not ‘medan dakwah’

Azly Rahman
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COMMENT | A gentle reminder to Malaysian educationists: A school is not an arena of proselytisation. It is a garden of liberal learning, of curious young minds, exploring. A school is not a "medan dakwah" (a platform for preaching) and "dakwah" is not a neutral word. It is a theocratically-charged term. One who studies linguistics knows the nature of language and social construction of reality.

In order for the modern Malay culture to move forward with better identity, pride, and dignity, cleanse Malay language of Arabic words, borrowed from Wahhabi ideology. Bring back the beauty of Sanskritised Malay and inject it with large doses of the language of science, strong liberalism, and altruistic post-modernity.

A school as "medan dakwah" is a madrassah. Not a public school wherein "child-centred philosophy celebrating diversity" reigns.

Forty years after the Islamisation Agenda of the Mahathir-Anwar Era, we are seeing language of theocracy colonising public schools. In fact, the process is intensifying.

Dakwah means Islamic preaching

The word "dakwah" is not neutral if one studies the connotation, denotation, discursive formation, and hegemonic foundation of it. A word is a concept, is an organic linguistic formation, and cannot be separated from its genealogy and dialectics of its usage.

From “dakwah” a constellation of words emerges: usrah, tarbiyyah, halaqah, harakah, qaeda, tabligh, shariah, ummah, and of course "jihad fisabilillah”. "Dakwah" is not a proper word to be used to denote and connote "teaching, learning, mental liberation" in a liberal multicultural nation...

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