Archive for category Islam

Call for Parliamentary Select Committee to mobilise support for moderation and draft laws and measures to deal with the Islamic State threat

DAP welcomes the White Paper “Ke Arah Menangani Ancaman Kumpulan Islamic State” and the Prime Minister’s motion seeking Parliament’s support with Government’s efforts to deal with the Islamic State threat and to “menyeru semua lapisan rakyat Malaysia mempergiatkan usaha dan komitmen mereka untuk bersama-sama menyokong Kerajaan menangani ancaman berkenaan”.

Before I proceed further, let me state that the White Paper on the Islamic State is one of the three unfinished business which Najib should have completed in the present meeting of Parliament which ends tomorrow.

While welcoming the White Paper on Islamic State, I want to place on record the people’s disappointment and disapproval that the Prime Minister has refused to complete the other two unfinished business before Parliament adjourns tomorrow, viz:

Firstly, the Report of the Royal Commission of Illegal Immigrants in Sabah (RCIIIS), which is meant to end once-and-for-all the 40-year problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah which had multiplied 15 to 19 times in four decades from 100,000 in the seventies to 1.5 million to 1.9 million at present.
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Seruan supaya sebuah Jawatankuasa Pilihan Parlimen ditubuhkan bagi menggembleng sokongan untuk kesederhanaan dan menggubal undang-undang untuk menangani ancaman Islamic State (IS)

DAP mengalu-alukan Kertas Putih “Ke Arah Menangani Ancaman Kumpulan Islamic State” dan usul Perdana Menteri untuk mendapatkan sokongan Parlimen ke atas usaha Kerajaan bagi menangani ancaman IS serta untuk “menyeru semua lapisan rakyat Malaysia mempergiatkan usaha dan komitmen mereka untuk bersama-sama menyokong Kerajaan menangani ancaman berkenaan”.

Sebelum saya teruskan, izinkan saya menyatakan bahawa Kertas Putih mengenai IS adalah salah satu daripada tiga urusan Najib yang belum selesai yang sepatutnya siap dalam sidang Parlimen kali ini yang berakhir esok.

Sambil mengalu-alukan Kertas Putih mengenai IS, saya ingin merakamkan kekecewaan dan rasa tidak senang rakyat kerana Perdana Menteri telah enggan untuk menyelesaikan dua lagi urusan lain yang belum selesai sebelum Parlimen ditangguh esok, iaitu:

Pertama, Laporan Suruhanjaya Diraja Pendatang Tanpa Izin di Sabah (RCIIIS), yang bertujuan untuk menamatkan masalah 40 tahun pendatang tanpa izin di Sabah yang telah bertambah sehingga 15 malah 19 kali ganda dalam tempoh empat dekad dari bilangan 100,000 orang pada tahun tujuh puluhan hingga 1.5 juta hingga 1.9 juta pada masa ini.
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Its Malaysia under threat – not Malays or Islam – if we aim to be one of the top countries in the world in terms of competitiveness, good governance, rule of law and crackdown on corruption

The Prime Minister and UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak asked yesterday: “Where have we gone wrong?”

He lamented that whether UMNO had built mosques, set up parent-teacher associations, or provided housing, none of these efforts had translated into political support because UMNO leaders hoarded handouts for their own supporters instead giving it to the community.

Najib asked: “Where have we gone wrong? Is Umno too busy with its internal affairs until it is more important to defend our branch chiefs or higher positions, than to find supporters for Umno?

“Or is it that when we do something – whether to give houses, condominiums, or kind of aid – we give it to our lieutenants rather than our community.”

Najib struck a responsive chord as he received a loud applause and shouts of “”Yes” when posed these questions in his speech at the opening of the Federal Territories Umno convention yesterday.

These are pertinent questions although Najib avoided the real problem plaguing UMNO rule in Malaysia – the rampant corruption and abuse of power highlighted by Najib’s questions.

But Malaysians, Umno and non-Umno, Malays and non-Malays, should be asking a larger question of “Where have we gone wrong” affecting not just UMNO, but the Malaysian nation and people, Malays and non-Malays.

All Malaysians, UMNO and non-Umno, Malays and non-Malays should ask “Where have we gone wrong” that after 57-year UMNO rule and six UMNO Prime Ministers, a former Chief Justice (Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad) could deliver a keynote address (ucaptama) at the so-called National Unity Convention yesterday warning that the Malays could suffer a fate similar to Red Indians in the United States unless PAS and UMNO unite to allegedly stop DAP from attaining federal power. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tunisians Are Shaken as Young Women Turn to Extremism

by Carlotta Gall
New York Times
Nov. 20, 2014

TUNIS — Leila Mustapha Saidi returned home on a recent day to find her daughter Henda missing, along with her computer. Mrs. Saidi, who had watched her daughter grow religious and “obsessed” with the conflict in Syria, said she feared she had run off to join Islamist fighters there.

Instead, the police called four days later. Her daughter Henda Saidi was holed up in a house outside Tunis with a group of suspected insurgents. A day later, security forces stormed the house. Of six people killed in the raid, five were young women.

“They classified her as a terrorist,” Mrs. Saidi said bitterly.

After more than two years of mounting attacks and assassinations, Tunisians are no longer surprised by shootouts between gunmen and anti-terrorist units, even in the capital. But the standoff in which Ms. Saidi was killed nonetheless shocked many here for the sheer number of women involved. Read the rest of this entry »

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GMM: Can democrat Islamists curb extremism?

Free Malaysia Today
November 14, 2014

Global Movement of Moderates hold roundtable discussion on the moderate approach of democracy versus war.

KUALA LUMPUR: Democrat Islamists can be a solution to curb extremism worldwide as they provide a moderate approach in today’s global world through the ballot box, said academicians and politicians.

International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) lecturer Dr Maszlee Malik said Democrat Islamists, made famous after the Arab Spring, allowed Muslims to control their fate through the ballot box rather than war or in the hands of leaders who were dictators, thus ending any grievances they might have had.

“The idea of democrat Islamists has existed for a long time. Radical groups emerge because they found there was no hope for Muslims to enjoy justice, human rights and good governance,” he said at a roundtable discussion on Democrat Islamists organised by the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) together with IIUM’s Fiqh Department.

Chairman of London-based Al-Hiwar TV channel Dr Azzam Tamimi, said that the success of the Arab Spring was a promising event that allowed for democracy in the Middle East and at the same time made the militant group Al Qaeda into an irrelevant movement.

“The success of the Arab Spring as we saw in Tunisia and Egypt was very promising, showing that this is the way forward. Some of the leaders of Al Qaeda were actually stressing fear that this model was succeeding, because it was proving them wrong,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Beat Isis on its turf, fight them online, experts tell Muslims

by Anisah Shukry
The Malaysian Insider
8 November 2014

The militant group known as Islamic State (Isis) successfully recruited hundreds of Muslims, including Malaysians, for its terror attacks by capitalising on social media and online propaganda, but experts believe that civil society can reclaim the Internet and beat the terrorist group at its own game.

“The challenge of the Isis propaganda is that it is appealing, sexy, counter-cultural, anti-establishment,” said Abdul-Rehman Malik, a London-based journalist, educator and organiser.

“The role of us in civil society is to be savvier about what Isis is, and to subvert their narrative through humour, through bold moves.”

He told The Malaysian Insider that this responsibility did not have to lie with the government alone, but any person who had access to the Internet could join the fight against Isis.

Rehman has spent nearly a decade leading a British non-governmental organisation (NGO) called Radical Middle Way, which utilises Internet forums to engage British youths to counter the jihadist message. Read the rest of this entry »

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Going the Taliban way to keep grip on Malaysia

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
8 November 2014

It is no longer a question of what else will certain groups of Malay Muslims take offence to in Malaysia.

Anything from a) places of worship of other religions must not be built in Malay-majority areas and b) alcohol cannot be sold in shops in Malay-majority areas, and even pictures of idols cannot be placed alongside Halal signs – has raised hackles among Muslim groups.

For them, it is not ridiculous to say that such things can shake their faith or affect their image. No detail is too small or trivial for them to assert their dominance or flex their muscles to get their way.

But the so-called guardians are also the same guys who won’t think twice of about plundering the nation or visiting an entertainment outlet and then insisting on a halal meal. Read the rest of this entry »

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Indonesia has to raise its voice to speak out for moderate Islam

– Rizvi Shihab
The Malaysian Insider
6 November 2014

One of the many challenges facing the current government is re-establishing Indonesia’s unique geographical, cultural and ideological identities.

Presently, there is a concerted governmental effort to augment Indonesia’s power by introducing its “maritime-axis” foreign policy to fully take advantage of its strategic geographical position.

But in addition to this maritime emphasis, I believe Indonesia needs to start disseminating its ideological character globally as a world ambassador of religious moderation. Members of the international community often wonder about the silence exhibited by the majority of moderate Muslim countries. This provides opportunity for Indonesia to step up and become the leader of this quiet group.

If the United States is known as the ethnic melting pot, Indonesia should strive to be acknowledged as the religious melting pot where members of all faiths live in tranquil harmony. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s moderate Muslim face takes a beating

The Malaysian Insider
6 November 2014

When Malaysia’s urbane Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak travels abroad, he invariably touts his country’s widely accepted reputation for moderate Islam, but that image is taking a beating at home.

Increasingly strident Islamist pressure, often initiated by Najib’s own government, is causing deepening dismay in the traditionally tolerant multi-faith country.

The trend is rooted in the decades-old regime’s attempts to strengthen its weakening grip amid repeated electoral setbacks, as a formidable opposition taps into broad sentiment for liberal reform.

But the ruling establishment is setting the country on an uncertain path, critics warn. Read the rest of this entry »

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Greater democratic space and a just and inclusive economy are the two great challenges for democrats, whether socialist, Muslim or any other denomination

I would firstly like to thank the organisers for allowing me the opportunity to address this distinguished audience gathered here at the inaugural “World Forum of Muslim Democrats” conference.

The objective of the forum, as stated in its concept paper, is to “moderate and ameliorate the negative voices of intolerance, extremism and exclusivism with the voices of moderation, tolerance, understanding and inclusivism.” Our discussion here is most timely, given the recent rise of religious bigotry and extremism all over the world.

In war-torn Middle East, a militant force that originated as a regional branch of al-Qaeda has forcibly gained control over parts of western Iraq and north-eastern Syria, styling their unrecognised territory as the “Islamic State.”

Whilst claiming religious authority over Muslims the world over as a born-again “caliphate,” the Islamic State has in fact been carrying out a systematic campaign of sectarian brutality particularly against Muslim minorities. Just yesterday, reports have come in about the massacre of 322 members of an Iraqi tribe in the western Anbar province, including some 50 women and children whose bodies were dumped unceremoniously into a well.

Though the Islamic State has committed great crimes through its inhumane “executions” and ruthless massacres, they have committed a greater crime by misusing the name Islam in the propagation of its abhorrent ideology. Read the rest of this entry »

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Drown out the Isis siren song with a clarion call

– Jamil Maidan Flores
The Malaysian Insider
3 November 2014

In that wide swath of land that straddles the border between Iraq and Syria, some 31,000 jihadists are fighting under the black banner of the so-called Islamic State (Isis).

Some 15,000 of them are foreign fighters from 80 countries, mostly European. As of early this year, they included some 200 Malaysians, 100 Indonesians and dozens of Filipinos.

These are estimates, of course, but there’s little disagreement on their accuracy, give or take a few hundreds. Give or take a few scores, in the case of the Southeast Asian fighters.

Most of them are young, some with a bright future ahead of them. In spite of air strikes by the US-led coalition that kill hundreds of them in a single sortie, they increase in number every day. In the United Kingdom alone, as many as five young Muslims leave everyday to go to Syria and fight under the black banner. Read the rest of this entry »

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A brother-sister great debate – Isma vs SIS

by Azly Rahman
Malaysiakini
Nov. 1, 2014

The current debate between Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) and Sisters In Islam (SIS); the former a masculinist-Islamist-para-jihadist group and the latter a feminist-Islamist study group, seems to present an interesting case-study analysis of Malaysia’s own 16th Century ‘Protestant- Lutheran Reformation’ breakthrough.

Ironically it is a debate on the word ‘liberalism’, seemingly as confusing a concept as ‘democracy’ and also of ‘Islam’. Here is why, as I see it, the debate is interesting and Malaysians should pay attention to it:

Malaysian Muslims are yet faced with another challenging situation; one which presents an interesting extrapolation of the historical dilemma the Muslims have been facing intellectually.

Coming soon would be a public intellectual crisis that involves the grand and subaltern voices in Islam. Those of the Wahabbi, Salafi, Sunni, Shiite, Sufi, and the ‘denominations derived from traditional and indigenous practices’ (the tariqats primarily) will come out in the open to assert the ‘truth-ness’ of their perspective and practice of Islam.

Essentially now, Islam seems to have many ‘denominations’ based on cultural, geographical, political, economic, and intellectual factors – as a consequence of globalisation. Muslims are all part and products of the various authorships of these ‘denominations’ – thanks to the power/knowledge matrix of the evolution of Islam. These denominations are even mutating, depending on class and consciousness of the adherents. Read the rest of this entry »

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Growing Islamic fundamentalism seen pushing Malays to quit country

by Boo Su-Lyn
Malay Mail Online
October 30, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — Malays could be next in line after the Chinese to leave the country, in a bid to escape the growing religious fundamentalism and authoritarianism that leaves little room for free thought and dissent, according to activists and observers.

While Malaysia bills itself as a moderate Muslim nation, recent developments have demonstrated an increasingly conservative and hard-line approach to Islam here that is intolerant of cultures and practices not sanctioned by religious groups and authorities.

Malaysians for Malaysia convener Azrul Mohd Khalib said the Friday sermons prepared by the religious authorities that paint non-Muslims as enemies of Islam, as well as the use of labels such as liberalism, pluralism and humanism to vilify fellow believers, have dismayed and scared Muslims.

“Thinking Muslims are being marginalised and persecuted,” Azrul told Malay Mail Online yesterday.

“It is creating a climate of fear, suspicion and prejudice. Because of that, Muslims who do not prescribe to that belief system do not see themselves as being welcomed or even tolerated in this country,” the social activist added.

Azrul said many Muslims have started emigrating in the past 15 years based on anecdotal evidence, noting that Islamic authorities prohibit dissent and discussions of the country’s predominant religion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Interview with an Islamic State Recruiter: ‘Democracy Is For Infidels’

Interview Conducted by Hasnain Kazim
Spiegel Online

How does Islamic State think? How do its followers see the world? SPIEGEL ONLINE met up with an Islamic State recruiter in Turkey to hear about the extremist group’s vision for the future.

The conditions laid out by the Islamist are strict: no photos and no audio recording. He also keeps his real name secret as well as his country of origin, and is only willing to disclose that he is Arab. His English is polished and he speaks with a British accent.

He calls himself Abu Sattar, appears to be around 30 years old and wears a thick, black beard that reaches down to his chest. His top lip is shaved as is his head and he wears a black robe that stretches all the way to the floor. He keeps a copy of the Koran, carefully wrapped in black cloth, in his black leather bag.

Abu Sattar recruits fighters for the terrorist militia Islamic State in Turkey. Radical Islamists travel to Turkey from all over the world to join the “holy war” in Iraq or Syria and Abu Sattar examines their motives and the depth of their religious beliefs. Several Islamic State members independently recommended Abu Sattar as a potential interview partner — as someone who could explain what Islamic State stands for. Many see him as something like an ideological mentor.

He only agreed to an interview following a period of hesitation. But after agreeing to a time and saying he would name a place in due time, he let the appointment fall through. The next day, though, he arranged another meeting time, to take place in a public venue. And this time, he appears: a man with brown eyes behind frameless glasses. He seems self-confident and combative. He orders a tea and, throughout the duration of our meeting, slides his wooden prayer beads through his hands. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Najib to announce a “zero tolerance” policy for any threat to burn any holy books of any religion in Malaysia to be a role model of moderation for other countries as part of his Global Movement of Moderates campaign

The explanation by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) on Monday on why the Attortney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail has not prosecuted the Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible has added salt to the wound, as it failed not only to win over doubters but have been received with scorn and rejected outright by majority of the critics.

What is worse, it reinforced the perception that the AGC’s arguments that Ibrahim Ali should enjoy immunity and impunity from legal sanctions because he was defending the sanctity of Islam and was protected by Article 11(4) of the Constitution were not only shallow, superficial and cock-eyed but reflects a Public Prosecutor who has failed in his duties to be a responsible and trustworthy upholder of the rule of law and the protector of inter-racial and inter-religious unity and harmony in a multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation.

The Monday statement from the AGC said Ibrahim had made the threat of burning the Bible “in the context of an incident in Jelutong, Penang, where copies of the Bible were distributed to members of the public, including Muslims” and “After the context had been studied as a whole, Ibrahim Ali’s statement does not fall into the category of having seditious tendencies”.

Does this mean that there are certain “context” where it is fully permissible to threaten the burning of the Bible? Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Dog Issue – A Petty Problem?

by MASTURAH ALATAS
CounterPunch
October 27, 2014

On Sunday, 19 October 2014, as I was scrolling through Facebook posts, one image struck me in a way no other has in a long time. I have several Malaysians on my friends list, so it is not unusual for me to see pictures of hijabed Malaysian women show up in my news feed.

But this one of a young Malay woman, her head covered with a yellow tudung, was completely different. It accompanied a Malaysian Insider report headlined ‘ ‘I want to touch a dog’ event an attempt to insult Malaysia’s clerics’. What was striking about the image was that it showed this woman actually holding a dog, a Pomeranian, its open mouth, tongue dangling, just inches from her smiling face.

The event was held in the middle class suburb of Bandar Utama just outside Kuala Lumpur, and drew hundreds of participants. It was aimed to break the taboo that many Malaysian Muslims have against dogs, remind participants that dogs are God’s creatures, too, and educate them about dog rescue and cleansing practices after handling a dog.

I instantly recognized the subversive value of the image. A Malay touching a dog? But we are told that Malays don’t touch dogs because they believe their religion, Islam,—in particular the Shafi’i school of Sunni Islam that is practiced in Malaysia—tells them that dogs are unclean. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ridiculous to stop non-Muslims from using ‘Allah’, says Muslim Brotherhood leader

by Mohd Farhan Darwis
The Malaysian Insider
19 October 2014

Prohibiting non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” is ridiculous, says Kuwait’s Muslim Brotherhood leader Dr Tareq Suwaidan.

He said this was because there was no law or ruling within the Islamic realm which prevented the use of the word by non-Muslims.

“I have been following this development in Malaysia, this use of the word ‘Allah’… there is no law in Islam that says so,” he told a forum organised by PAS international committee last night.

He noted that there were many instances in Islamic history where non-Muslims had been encouraged to use the Arabic word “Allah”.

“Do not be confused, this is just wrong, I have hundreds. No, thousands of proof on this,” he said, in front of a crowd of 100. Read the rest of this entry »

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Amid fears over IS, academics claim ‘Salafism’ now usurping Malay culture

by Pathmawathy Subramaniam
The Malaysian Insider
October 18, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — Academics warned today of the rise of “Salafism” in Malaysia, an ultra-conservative brand of Islam that they claimed has been seeping into local Malay culture and traditions, and driving the country’s dominant ethnic group further off the path of moderation.

Singapore-based sociologist Dr Syed Farid Alatas said that the Salafi movement — whose followers believe that the earliest teachings of Islam represent the purest form of the religion — defines Islam based on a “narrow point of view” and rejects the religion’s “intellectual traditions”.

The Salafi movement subscribes to the “most extreme of form of extremism”, the National University of Singapore (NUS) associate professor added, citing the growing influence of the Islamic State (IS) jihad in Syria and Iraq as an example.

“This is an imbalance of regulation and respect for the sanctity of personal life,” he told about 100 participants at a roundtable discussion on the threat of religious fundamentalism organised by the Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) today.

In the Malaysian context, Syed Farid added that there now appears to be “great deal” of rejection of previous cultural practices that were once accepted as the norm among Malay-Muslims here.

In its place, locals are now adapting to the Salafi way of life, which they accept as “legitimate and in line with Islam,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Religious, ethnic hatred top global threat for Malaysians, poll finds

by Boo Su-Lyn
Malay Mail Online
October 17, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 ― Nearly one-third of Malaysians see religious and ethnic hatred as posing the greatest danger to the world, according to the latest survey finding by Pew Research Center, a concern shared by Indonesia amid simmering religious tensions in both countries and the rise of violent militant Islamist groups.

The Washington-based research group’s Greatest Dangers in the World survey released yesterday showed 32 per cent of Malaysians who cited religious and ethnic hatred as the biggest global threat today.

In contrast, 22 per cent Malaysians surveyed pointed to nuclear weapons, 16 per cent said environmental damage, 13 per cent cited increasing income inequality and 12 per cent highlighted AIDS and other diseases as major global threats.

In neighbouring Indonesia, home to the world’s biggest Muslim population, 26 per cent of its people polled also cited religious and ethnic divisions as the main threat to the world compared to other Southeast Asian nations like Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines which are more concerned with environmental issues.

Concerns about religious and ethnic hatred ranked the highest in Malaysia among Asian countries, followed by Bangladesh (30 per cent), Indonesia (26 per cent) and India (25 per cent). Read the rest of this entry »

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Terrorising the Christian minority

Boo Su-Lyn
Malay Mail Online
OCTOBER 17, 2014

OCTOBER 17 ― De facto law minister Nancy Shukri sparked an outrage when she said that Datuk Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted over his threat to burn Christian bibles because the authorities had concluded that the Perkasa president was merely defending Islam.

According to her, the Attorney-General’s Chambers had decided that Ibrahim’s alleged call for Muslims to torch Malay-language bibles containing the word “Allah” was in line with Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution that prohibits the proselytisation of other faiths to Muslims.

Malaysian law does not address hate crimes per se; Ibrahim was investigated under Section 298 of the Penal Code that outlaws wounding the religious feelings of another.

News portal Free Malaysia Today quotes Ibrahim as saying at a press conference on January 19, 2013: “Muslims must unite to protect their religion. They must seize those Bibles, including the Malay editions, which contained the term Allah and other Arabic religious terms, and burn them.”

The Malay right-wing group chief was purportedly responding to a claim that Christian bibles were being distributed to students, including Malays, at a secondary school in Penang.

The government’s explanation that Ibrahim was merely trying to protect the sanctity of Islam gives the false impression that Islam is under attack in the country, and hence, it is fine to do whatever it takes ― even burning the holy books of a minority religious group ― to defend it. Read the rest of this entry »

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