THE statement made by the Perak mufti that the giant replica of the Langkawi eagle on the island is un-Islamic, implying that it should be pulled down, is yet another case of religious extremism making inroads into the cultural and recreational life of the country, creating fears that the conservative wings among the ulama are bent on turning back the clock on the socio-economic progress of the country.
Most Malaysians are moderates and realists. They would see the giant eagle as a symbol of the tourist island’s legendary history and that it is an appropriate way of advertising Langkawi to the tourist world as a land with a mystical past. The eagle statue has become an iconic brand which has been recognised as the most visible part of the island’s tourist attraction. I am glad that Kedah politicians have spoken out strongly against the extremist view for the eagle replica in Langkawi to be removed.