End the smear campaign


— Islamic Renaissance Front
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 08, 2012

NOV 8 — We at the Islamic Renaissance Front condemn and lament the irresponsible mischaracterisation of Nurul Izzah Anwar’s statement on religious freedom.

She merely summarised the gist of the well-known Quranic verse in Surah al-Baqarah which clearly stressed that there is to be no compulsion in matters of faith, for truth and error has already been clearly stated.

Because of that she has been subjected to the crudest level of character assassination from those seeking to stoke controversy and gain political mileage for the upcoming elections.

Islam is not an ethnicity

In particular, the danger lies in the unmistakably ethnic nature of the sentiments that are motivating the on-going smear campaign against her. The erroneous assumption being encouraged is that Malays can only be Muslims.

This, to be sure, goes against the elementary confusion of an ethnicity with a religion. Here, we should pause to reflect on how that very confusion is also discernable in conservative Zionist thinking, which some Malay Muslims who are so enraged by Nurul Izzah’s statement are also supposed to oppose.

More importantly, the smear campaign is un-Islamic in how it particularly contravenes a clearly stated principle in the Quran which calls for the freedom of conscience: no human being is to be forced to believe in something he or she does not want to.

The evidence is plain for all to see. Consider another example in the following passage:

“And [thus it is] had thy Sustainer so willed, all those who live on earth would surely have attained to faith, all of them: dost thou, then, think that thou couldn’t compel people to believe”. [Quran,10:99]

In other words, the belief that Malays must be made to remain Muslim goes against the principle of reason and justice — the cornerstone of Islamic epistemology.

It thus makes no sense to believe that the principle of non-coercive assent is to be upheld only for non-Muslims and it would be null and void once a person converts to Islam. Those who believe that are mistaking Islam for Hotel California, where you can check out anytime you like, but can never leave.

More worryingly, that outlook all too easily assumes that Islam is morally inconsistent; never mind the problem that it would also require a strong Islamic state to force Muslims into conformity.

Freedom matters

Virtue is only virtuous — and not opportunistic, accidental, foolish or political — when it is done out of free will.

Thus, rather than police and threaten others into good behaviour and belief, much time, effort, cost, conflict and ill will can be spared through compassionate and transparent communication whereby our convictions and the ethical choices we make, emerge from out of a clear grasp of the principles and values that colour our moral horizons.

This — seeing the straight path after the seriousness, honesty, patience and labour of inner reflection — is enlightenment.

We believe it takes no moral, social or political cost at all to err on the side of charity and trust, and let every individual set on his or her journey to arrive to that very point of self-consciousness. After all, no one forced Muhammad to the cave.

All this, very sadly, is far from the minds of Muslims today. Muslims all too easily react in anger, without taking any time to consider the ethical ramifications of their demands. They mistake self-righteousness for injustice; the suppression of freedom for happiness and in the process they cannot tell the difference between on one hand, the inner monologues of victimisation that has shaped their egos and on the other, their conscience.

In that frenzy of rage, the personal has been drowned by the political. There is no Muslim condition to speak of, just enraged mobs. The only “winners” to speak of in the meantime are those seeking to exploit religion for ethnocentric ends.

The Islamic Renaissance Front calls upon all our friends and comrades who believe in the freedom of conscience to speak out against the rising tide of religious chauvinism and speak truth to power.

* This letter bears the names of Ahmad Farouk Musa, Ahmad Fuad Rahmat, Rizqi Mukhriz, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, Ehsan Shahwahid, Muhammad Anas Daniel and Shawn Syazwan of the Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF).

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  1. #1 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 8 November 2012 - 1:45 pm

    ‘……clearly stated principle in the Quran which calls for the freedom of conscience: no human being is to be forced to believe in something he or she does not want to….’

    Right. A ‘bin’ or ‘binti’ in one’s name as is forced on innocent Sabah bumiputras does not make them Muslims. This administrative error must be corrected administratively without having to go through all the processes of the Syariah courts which does not seem interested to correct the administrative errors but applies the ‘gotcha’ principle.

    ‘……the belief that Malays must be made to remain Muslim goes against the principle of reason and justice…’

    The Constitution has to be amended then but who will initiate it? Who will be brave enough to openly say Malays can believe in anything they want without having the full weight of everything brought down upon them? It is unthinkable at this point of time. It will have to be the Malays themselves to initiate the move to say that they should be free to believe in whatever they want.

  2. #2 by Sallang on Thursday, 8 November 2012 - 3:09 pm

    I cannot comment on Islam, but, I used to tune in to Astro 111, and I noticed that the women actresses are so modern in their dressing, with colorful hairdo, and of course low cut neck lines.
    If even in Saudi Arabia, these women are not being condemned,are we to believe that they are not Muslims?
    Were they being born a Saudi Arabian, but not a Muslim?
    I cannot understand their language, but just for ‘cuci mata’.

  3. #3 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Thursday, 8 November 2012 - 3:21 pm

    What alternatives do those umno buggers have, if they chose not to smear? Honestly, they will have nothing else to talk about except to praise the good job pakatan had done as state governments. And that wont do.

    In other words, we should expect more smear from umno. More unbaked and uncooked arguments. More lies. More spins. More threats.

  4. #4 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 8 November 2012 - 3:27 pm

    ///The Constitution (the part that says a Malay must be a Muslim) has to be amended then but who will initiate it?///

    As far as I can see no political party dares. UMNO – well, definitely no. The formula of Malays=Muslim=Special privileges is the bedrock of its ideology. It helps corner the majority voting bloc. Neither PKR/Anwar nor PAS will.

  5. #5 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 8 November 2012 - 3:37 pm

    BN walk away from a smear campaign?? Where do these people come from?? Will a cat stop eating fish? Will the sun stop rising in the east?

    This is UMNO/BN we are talking about. Not slander and smear when they have a chance? Its just not their nature. Like the proverbial Scorpion that stings the frog carrying across the river, they can’t help themselves even if both of them are doomed from their action..

  6. #6 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Thursday, 8 November 2012 - 4:06 pm

    /// Islam is not an ethnicity ///

    There are probably more Muslims in China than the entire population of Malaysia.

    And there are Christian Malays in Indonesia.

  7. #7 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 8 November 2012 - 4:32 pm

    There are 90 MILLION Christian Malays in the Philippines.

  8. #8 by digard on Thursday, 8 November 2012 - 5:27 pm

    sheriff singh :

    ‘……the belief that Malays must be made to remain Muslim goes against the principle of reason and justice…’
    The Constitution has to be amended then but who will initiate it? Who will be brave enough to openly say Malays can believe in anything they want without having the full weight of everything brought down upon them? It is unthinkable at this point of time. It will have to be the Malays themselves to initiate the move to say that they should be free to believe in whatever they want.

    This is correct, and yet incomplete. The answer to who will demonstrate the bravery has partially been given: by Nurul, before her retraction. It is totally correct that it must come from the Malays.

    Constitution-wise, the wording must not be taken literally out of context, but in the light and in the spirit of its inception. When the constitution was drafted, no Malay lady was coerced into wearing a headscarf, and neither would anyone be hold up for drinking. It was a time when starting a day with a gin as breakfast and continued by betting on a horse was fully acceptable, even if exercised by a Malay (Tunku, anyone?).
    Therefore, this prescription was more of a social ‘blockquote’ with an intended societal effect, and to help with a clean start of the independent Malaya, rather than an intention to club doubting Muslims back into the motherly lap of a specific religion.
    And in this light, the text of the constitution needs to be read, and applied. (Indonesia, anyone?)

  9. #9 by cseng on Friday, 9 November 2012 - 2:27 pm

    It is absolutely zero tolerance in this matter, no public discussion is allowed, if possible, don’t even think about it.

    Even movie ‘my name is Khan’ invites disputes, that is our level of tolerance in this land. Many of religious offences were put under certain ‘governing system’, enforced by agencies.

    It amplifies the ‘fear’ and ‘insecurity’ of agencies concerned over the matter. But, why? and where the ‘insecurities’ came from?

    Maybe, these ‘fear’ and ‘insecurities’ are created, like a ‘tensioner in the system’ justifying for ‘great unity’ behind religion for whatever reasons they think fit.

    Probably that is the greatest fear of any religion.

  10. #10 by waterfrontcoolie on Saturday, 10 November 2012 - 6:59 am

    I just received a few photographs of a Saidi Princess who was all covered in Saudi and OMG! when she arrived in London[?] Well Sophia Loren would be given a run on her shape and SIZE !!!
    To the average Non-Muslims, it sounds and looks real baffling! In reality all these Actions and In-action are all politically motivated, especially in Bolehland!

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