- Young Singaporean Muslim
The Malaysian Insider
July 21, 2013
When I first saw the “Halal Bak Kut Teh” picture on The Real Singapore Facebook page, I was irritated but I didn’t think much of it. I believed the guy was an idiot and that’s it. But I was surprised that the backlash has gotten so big over just a few hours.
I was disappointed to see so much hate comments being posted by fellow Muslims over this one photo and some even go far as to post threats of violence and death threats. And now, the couple is facing up to 15 years in jail and heavy fines over this one photo, which really saddens me as thieves and people with assault charges usually get much less.
Why am I not offended? I actually have a different perspective on the issue. I subscribed to a few foreign news channels like Al Jazeera and The Young Turks and I have seen the faces of REAL HATE.
I have seen people like Pastor Terry Jones, who called for the burning of the Quran. I have seen a group of Islamophobic Americans gather to throw hateful slurs at a mosque event in California. I have seen the absolute disrespect of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and his blasphemous film which he called “The innocence of muslims”. I have seen the bigotry and also the sympathy of the people of Texas in ABC news experiment “What would you do?” when Muslims are discriminated. I have seen a Hispanic woman pushing a Muslim man onto an oncoming train, killing him, just because he was Muslim. And the worst of late, I have seen the genocide of the Muslim Rohingya people by the so called “Buddhist” Burmese.
The face of hate comes in many sickening form. But when I see Alvin’s face, I don’t see a hateful person; I just see the face of a troll.
Understanding hate and dark humor.
Maybe it is because of my age and my exposure to the internet, I understand dark humor and some can be really funny. I am a fan of South Park with their highly intelligent yet crude but funny jokes and satires. But in the end, dark humor is essentially a joke that can either be funny or fall flat and just be stupid.
I would say that Alvin’s Halal Bak Kut Teh photo is just a piece of really bad dark humor that is not funny. There is no real malice in this photo. He did not insult our prophet, he did not call for the Quran to be defaced and he did not go out to injure a fellow Muslim. At most I could say that he is insensitive for suggesting that a dish most commonly made with pork is halal.
We are getting into an uproar over FOOD? Let’s change the situation a bit and say Alvin did the same photo BUT with frog legs (which is also haram). How much of an uproar will that make?
Being respected. As Muslims, we always ask that our religion be respected. But it would be hard to respect someone if he acts like an overly sensitive baby who would throw a tantrum over such a small issue. We need to be mature. If you find the photo insensitive, feel free to make a video or make an article to address how insensitive the post is or simply bring this matter to facebook admin let them handle it. To issue threats of violence, instigate suicide and even death threats over a food related matter is simply unacceptable.
Justice. Quoting from the Holy Quran 2:190
“Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.”
The concept is simple, if you are called to defend our faith, do so without transgression. If you are threatened with words, you are to fight back with words ONLY. If you are threatened with fists, you are to fight back with fists at most. If you are threatened with a sword, you may fight back with a sword.
What Alvin did does not warrant jail time for up to 15 years or even such a heavy fine. Prison is a place where we keep thieves, robbers, rapists and murderers, people who have committed crimes against property and person. To treat Alvin, whose crime is bad humor, like a harden criminal is indeed transgressing the limit. At most, all he deserves is a small fine and mandatory community work (maybe at a mosque so he could learn a thing or two about being with Muslims).
In all, we must keep things in perspective in issuing justice so that our emotion doesn’t cloud our reason. We should not turn an issue about food into something that could divide a nation and we must act more maturely if we want to be respected. – The Real Singapore, July 21, 2013
* Young Singaporean Muslim submitted this article to The Real Singapore, a news portal on life in Singapore.