Jun 2, 2014
The Muslim NGOs who were prepared to declare jihad, sue the manufacturers and burn down a factory, because their favourite chocolates were allegedly contaminated with pig DNA, deserve our contempt, not our compassion.
Where was their condemnation of the gang-rape of two teenage girls by some 30 men in Kelantan? Why did they keep silent about the abduction, attempted rape and subsequent beheading of a two-year-old girl?
In third world countries like Somalia, Nigeria, Sudan, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, women are treated like replaceable items. Malaysia is no different. Some of our Muslim men treat their women like disposable razors: Once the edge has gone, their usefulness is over and they are discarded. Another will take its place.
Will the Muslim NGOs demand stern action to deal with violence against women? Are chocolates more important than women?
The Kelantan teenagers (14 and 17) who had been lured to a drug den were raped by men who were high on drugs. The arrested rapists looked Malay, and if they were Malay, they are Muslim. Many were allegedly related to one another, including a father and his two sons.
The futures of the teenage girls are all but destroyed. They face rejection by society and possibly family and friends. They may have contracted a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or HIV/AIDS from their rapists. Rape victims often bear the mental and physical scars forever. Our community is ill-equipped to help them.
A few days after the gang-rape, we read about a homeless mother whose two-year-old daughter was abducted by a drug addict and ex-convict, who then beheads the child, after unsuccessfully attempting to rape her.
Why has zakat, the Muslim charity payment, not filtered down the line, to help the mother? She is one of several hundred poor Muslims living in the shadow of the gleaming Petronas Twin Towers, allegedly a symbol of Malaysia’s wealth. Most of us don’t know people like her exist. The women in Malay society are a forgotten people.
No one doubts the mental anguish of the Muslims who had inadvertently consumed the allegedly “porcine contaminated” chocolates, but did they ever stop to think that this cannot have been a deliberate act by the manufacturers?
The silence of the Muslim NGOs reinforces the belief that Malay/Muslim society views women as mere sex objects.
The Malays above, are products of our society, and victims of a breakdown of law and order in Malaysia. Hudud is not the answer. Just keeping to the basics of legislation and enforcement, should help resolve most of our issues. There should be no more “macam mana mau settle”, or justice for the highest bidder, or sweeping things under the carpet because they are deemed “sensitive”.
Will the Muslim NGOs demand that sex education is taught in schools? Will they ask for an equal emphasis on building strong relationships? Young boys should be taught to respect women, and not treat them as objects of derision or pleasure.
Every year, hundreds of abandoned babies are born and dumped. If unsubstantiated stories are to be believed, many unwanted babies are also sold illegally to parents who cannot conceive.
The tip of the iceberg
The gang-rape story is just the tip of the iceberg. Many rapes go unreported because of shame and humiliation.
The Malay way of avoiding the embarrassment of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, is by sending the daughter away, perhaps to a distant relative, until she gives birth. The other option is to marry-off the young children.
In time, as more children are born, financial problems develop as both parents are not educated and have no skills. They divorce, leading to more broken families and a vicious cycle of hopelessness. This is the hidden face of Malay society in the urban and rural areas.
Only a small fraction of the Muslim population are polygamists but divorce is high among Muslim families. Divorce can be attained in a matter of seconds. There is no hassle and little expense, just the cost of sending a text message.
There is a breakdown of the family structure, a lack of a male role model and a father–figure, especially for sons. There is an absence of paternal guidance. Most single parent families struggle to bring up their children.
Our authorities are indifferent to the real needs of Malay society. More religion is not the answer. Anecdotal evidence from people dealing with women’s problems and drug issues say that the more conservative Muslim states record the highest levels of incest, drug and sex-related offences.
Kota Baru OCPD Asst Comm Azham Othman, who is dealing with the gang-rape case, said that in Kota Baru district, there was an average of 16 rape cases a month, mostly of minors, with drugs like amphetamines and ‘pil kuda’ being a contributory factor.
If Kelantan were under hudud, how will the gang-rape victims obtain the testimony of four reputable characters who witnessed their rape? Are drug addicts reputable witnesses? To add insult to injury, the victims will be stoned for having sex before they are married, and with multiple partners.
The Muslim NGOs should demand that Putrajaya disburses funds to help develop Kelantan. Poverty kills. Money can help build more schools and provide good teachers, good clinics, better infrastructure and other modern amenities. Proper education is the key.
A word of caution to the Muslim NGOs. The pig is an animal with at least 185 uses (Christien Meindertsma, author of ‘Pig 05049′). Pigs are not just for food, but are used in the manufacture of many products, from bullets to bread, from cigarettes to cream cheese, from heart valves to heparin, and paper to paint. Jakim and the Chemistry Department had better keep the lid on this Pandora’s box.
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO).