It is not hard to understand why P Ramasamy feels hard done by. The man who has been a friend to Muslim communities in various parts of the world has ironically been accused of being anti-Islam at home.
The Penang deputy chief minister II told The Malaysian Insight he was a vocal supporter of Hamas in the Arab-Israeli conflict, a key player in helping Aceh to achieve autonomy, and a voice for the Filipino Muslim community in war-torn Mindanao.
But because he has criticised Indian-Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik, he has been branded anti-Islam and anti-Malay.
He said he’s not against Zakir’s religion but against bigotry.
“First, Zakir Naik has a fondness of criticising and belittling other religions in his preaching. That is not acceptable in multiracial, multi-religious Malaysia,” he said.
“Second, when he compares Islam with other religions, he would insult other religions.”
Zakir filed a summons on October 16 to take Ramasamy to court.
The 70-year-old DAP politician said he was not rattled by the suit and is ready to slug it out in court.
“If he wants to summon me, I am not afraid. Anyway, that’s his right.”
Recently Ramasamy’s participation in peace efforts in Sri Lanka, which was fighting the Tamil Tigers insurgency decades ago, has caused him to be associated with terrorism.
He was summoned to the Bukit Aman police headquarters yesterday for questioning over two articles he wrote on two news portals.
‘New government but the same old police force’ was published on September 17 on Malaysia Gazette, and it was followed by ‘Who am I, peacemaker or terrorist?’ on September 22 on Malaysiakini.
Ramasamy said police also showed him two video clips of him in 2010. One video was of him welcoming Indian politician Seeman to Kuala Lumpur. Seeman had been linked in the past to the Tamil Tigers.
The other video clip was of Ramasamy making a speech in Chennai, India, at the end of the Sri Lankan civil war.
Ramasamy said his support for the Tamil Tigers was well known and had never been a problem – until now.
He believed the calls from some quarters for his arrest over his supposed terrorist connection were linked to his condemnation of Zakir.
Ramasamy said he had also taken part in other peace negotiations around the world, including in Sweden over autonomy for Aceh in 2004 and 2005.
The Indonesian government of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on August 15, 2005 agreed to grant special autonomous status to Aceh, after decades of conflict driven by the Free Aceh Movement insurgency.
Ramasamy, who was then a political science lecturer at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, had advised the insurgents to accept the deal to end the war.
“I was a very relieved man when the agreement was reached. I was relieved because I had succeeded in putting an end to the killings there,” he said.
About 15,000 people were believed to have died in the Aceh war from 1976 to 2005. – TMI