At a time when our community is divided, as with this central issue of fair and free elections, I would expect our ulamas and religious leaders to be our healers, to bring us together, to be the balm to our collective wounds. Instead they became only too willing instruments of the state with their canned state-issued sermons demonizing those who saw merit in the objectives of Bersih 2.0.
Obviously to the thousands of Malays who took part in Bersih 2.0, including one particular old man in his jubbah who had to be helped to walk, those characters cloaked in their flowing robes standing at their mimbar every Friday noon are less pious ulamas to be revered but more propagandists for the state to be defied. They may be Imams, but to the thousands who took part in Berseh 2.0 last Saturday, they are carma imams, to borrow National Laureate Samad Said’s term. Carma is the Malay contraction of cari makan, seeking a living. Idiomatically it refers to those who prostituted their honored craft or profession.
Those GI Imams (Government-issued) have flunked their test; there is no remedial course for them either. That is one of the great casualties of last Saturday’s event. For those carma imams, there is no corner they can return to or hide in.
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