Archive for category Islam

Islam needs heroes, not zeroes who kill in its name

COMMENTARY by Jahabar Sadiq, Editor
The Malaysian Insider
17 December 2014

Yesterday, 132 schoolchildren and nine adults were mowed down by gunfire in a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. A day earlier, two hostages died as Australian police ended a siege at a Sydney chocolate shop.

The link between both? It was done by people who professed to be Muslims. It was not a matter of what sect or school of thought they belonged to, they were simply Muslims like a majority of us here in Malaysia.

The Peshawar gunmen belonged to the Tehrik-E-Taliban or Pakistan Taliban out to seek revenge against the Pakistan army for an offensive that began last summer and resulted in some 1,000 deaths.

This was an insurgency’s pure revenge and hate against the government of the day. It was also the same group that shot Pakistani schoolgirl and now Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai in 2012, purportedly because women do not need education in an Islamic caliphate or state.

In Sydney, an Iranian asylum seeker named Man Hosni Monis with a criminal past invoked his Islamic credentials when he took over the Lindt chocolate cafe that ended up in tragedy.

It really does not matter if both incidents have nothing to do with Islam as we know it. Or linked to more than a billion peace-loving Muslims across the globe. For the world, it is all done and declared in the name of Islam. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Malays should back the ‘I am #26′ petition

By Hafidz Baharom
Dec 18, 2014

I was recently roped in to support the ‘I Am #26′ petition, a subsequent reaction to the letter of the G25, a group of eminent Malays who long for thorough moderation and not just words without action.

Written by a columnist for The Malaysian Insider, it has at the time of my writing this gained 3,760 signatories in the last four days, averaging 1,000 people a day.

And quite wholly, I agree to what the petition stands for, because it is, in fact, what an Islamic society is supposed to be; thorough, enlightened and in the spirit of brotherhood or sisterhood.

Personally, the five points of the petition to the prime minister requires urgent and immediate attention, and as such, I am wondering what the hesitance is about. Read the rest of this entry »

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Opposing hudud does not mean opposing Islam

— Nadira Ilana
Malay Mail Online
April 23, 2014

APRIL 23 — I’m just not sure what’s a ‘nice’ way to have a conversation about a set of laws that legitimises amputations, slavery and public stoning in God’s name. There are many reasons why I think that hudud has no place in the modern world.

Hudud neglects what we know today about economics and social science. We know that robbers don’t all rob because they’re bad, it’s because they’re often poor, sick or desperate. We know that sociopathy and psychopathy are personality disorders and that people are a product of their environment therefore evil acts are not Satanic manifestations in men. In that respect, not all women and men can be judged the same.

We know that just because four men didn’t witness a rape, it doesn’t mean that a woman has committed adultery. A woman is not the proverbial tree fallen in the forest so a rape kit will do just nicely to prevent her from getting stoned. Consider that if accusations of adultery are punishable too then Mahathir should get a huge walloping for what he’s dragged Anwar through.

Another inconsistency with hudud is that in Islam you can’t amputate livestock if you want to consume their flesh because it’s inhumane but then if a man steals you can amputate his hands. I don’t see the justice here. Taking away the hands of a man who steals because he is hungry is a low blow. Read the rest of this entry »

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Are Malays starting to leave the country?

The Malay Mail Online
December 18, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — The South China Morning Post has suggested that Muslim Malays are starting to leave Malaysia as the country’s lurch towards authoritarianism and fundamentalism starts to bite.

A report in the weekend edition of the Hong Kong paper, titled: “Malay Muslims fleeing country as fundamentalism takes hold” painted a grim picture and suggested an exodus of members of the majority race but gave no numbers or hard data.

It cited a female researcher so disgusted with the state of affairs after her shared accommodation with other women was searched for the presence of a man by Islamic authorities on a morality raid that she has resolved to leave the country in two years.

“An anonymous phone call to the religious department alleging a man was seen entering her flat was all it took for the religious officials to descend on her home,” the paper said, adding that six or seven men from the Selangor State Islamic Department (Jais) had entered her flat.

Unaccompanied by any woman, the men were said to have searched all the bedrooms, closets and even under the bed.

“I don’t feel safe in this country anymore,” the researcher was quoted as saying. “It’s like you are guilty until proven innocent. Anyone can make a phone call to accuse another person out of malice or vengeance and, without proof or investigation, the religious authorities will come to your place.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Will MCA, Gerakan, MIC and the Sabah/Sarawak BN component parties leave Barisan Nasional if UMNO Assemblymen in Kelantan support hudud implementation in the Kelantan State Assembly special meeting on Dec. 29?

The man who is today preening himself with pride in successfully carrying off the “greatest political coup in UMNO history” will be none other than the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, who hatched his political plot par excellence with a statement in Parliament on March 27 which completely took PAS leaders by surprise – that the Barisan Nasional Federal Government was prepared to assist the Kelantan PAS State Government to implement hudud laws.

This was a plot to save UMNO and BN, which former Election Commission Chairman/Secretary for 25 years have said are in their “death throes”, and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin conceded that UMNO/BN would be ousted from power if the ruling coalition loses just two per cent of voter support in the next general elections – by creating division in Pakatan Rakyat over the issue of hudud implementation.

But there is also a bonus in the plot – in providing a life-line to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is facing relentless attack and the greatest pressure in his five-year nine-month premiership over the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal.

Najib has attracted brickbats over the mega 1MDB scandal not only from Pakatan Rakyat led by MPs Tony Pua and Rafizi Ramli but also from inside UMNO led by none other than the formidable fourth Prime Minister of 22 years, Tun Mahathir, and others like Tun Daim.

The Kelantan Special State Assembly on Dec. 29 on the implementation of hudud would be like manna from heaven for Najib, as it would provide precious diversion and distraction from the mega 1MDB scandal! Read the rest of this entry »

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Hudud: 20 soalan untuk PAS

– Eric Paulsen
The Malaysian Insider
15 December 2014

Walaupun ditentang hebat pelbagai pihak, PAS dalam kebijaksanaannya masih lagi berkeras sekarang waktu yang sesuai untuk melaksanakan hudud di Kelantan dan akan mengadakan sidang Dewan Undangan Negeri Khas pada 29 Disember ini untuk mengemukakan satu pindaan terhadap Rang Undang-undang Kanun Jenayah Syariah II 1993 (Pindaan 2014).

Hudud merupakan sebahagian undang-undang jenayah Islam yang memperuntukkan hukuman paling keras yang dapat dibayangkan, lantaran versinya di Kelantan termasuklah merejam sehingga mati (dengan batu bersaiz sederhana), kematian diikuti dengan penyaliban, pemotongan anggota badan dan sebatan.

Hukuman sedemikian sudah tidak ada tempatnya pada zaman ini atau mana-mana masyarakat moden dan demokratik kerana ia melibatkan penyeksaan, hukuman kejam dan tidak berperikemanusiaan.

Walaupun PAS dan penyokong hudud tidak bimbang dan secara membuta-tuli yakin semuanya akan baik-baik belaka dengan pelaksanaannya, meskipun tiada asas bagi andaian hudud akan berjalan dengan lancar di Malaysia, sepertimana ia gagal di kesemua negara yang melaksanakan hudud seperti di Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria Utara, Afghanistan dan Pakistan.

Malah, sebaliknya yang benar, hudud menjadi perkataan yang menunjukkan ketidakadilan yang dilakukan atas nama Islam, terutamanya terhadap kanak-kanak perempuan dan wanita.

Kita ketepikan sebentar isu sama ada keadaan adalah bersesuaian di bawah falsafah perundangan Islam bagi hudud dilaksanakan, sama ada ia menepati Perlembagaan atau wajar diamalkan dalam sebuah negara seperti Malaysia.

Ramai rakyat Malaysia mempersoalkan, seberapa adil, saksama dan praktikal untuk hudud dilaksanakan di Kelantan sahaja manakala negeri-negeri lain di negara ini atau warga bukan Islam seolah-olah sepatutnya tidak akan terjejas langsung.

Oleh demikian, saya kumpulkan 20 soalan yang paling kerap ditanya untuk PAS –dan saya berharap PAS akan bertanggungjawab memberikan jawapan yang sewajarnya dan bukan hanya sekadar menyeru nama Allah, yang kebiasaannya menutup ruang dan mengakhiri semua perbincangan lanjut. Read the rest of this entry »

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Patriotism by universal standards is alive again in Malaysia – Concerned Malaysians

The Malaysian Insider
14 December 2014

We the undersigned Malaysian citizens from all walks of life hereby register our hopes, admiration and, above all, our support to the call for rational dialogues that was recently penned by 25 right-minded, inspired and courageous citizens.

The widely-published Letter penned by 25 eminent and determined Who-is-Who in Malaysia certainly ignites a bright and encouraging light at the end of Malaysia’s darkened tunnel of politics.

We concur with the issues raised by this group of distinguished Malaysian Malay-Muslims and appeal to the country’s leadership and especially the ruling political party to address the concerns raised vis-à-vis the “continuing unresolved disputes on the position and application of Islamic laws in this country”.

Indeed Malaysia’s ability and “responsibility” in “demonstrating that justice is done and seen to be done”, is the very cornerstone of this multiracial, multi-religious and multicultural population once dubbed with hope as the “Rising Asian Tiger”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ex-envoy urges moderate Malays to take stand

By Zakiah Koya
8:36AM Dec 12, 2014

Former Wisma Putra head honcho Ahmad Kamil Jaafar has vowed that the ‘Eminent Malays statement’ signed by him and 24 others will not be a flash in the pan.

“We will continue to speak up and this (statement) will not be the end of us,” Ahmad Kamil told Malaysiakini.

He said he signed the statement, despite having served in the civil service for many decades, as he felt something must be done to get moderate Malays to stand up to the extremists who are destroying the country’s multiethnic and multireligious make-up.

Ahmad Kamil, 77, was a diplomat for 34 years before his retirement as secretary-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Until recently, he was special envoy to the prime minister.

“All the issues (mentioned in the statement) have been welling up in the society and I was feeling concerned…

“Some of them (in the government) are going overboard and they are talking of arresting the lot (those who questioned the extremists).

“We (the 25 of us) talked to one another and we wanted to take some kind of action that may influence other moderate Malays… I also want to see everyone come back to the country,” Ahmad Kamil said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fear of Malaysia turning into another Afghanistan prompted open letter

by Eileen Ng
The Malaysian Insider
11 December 2014

A deep fear that her country would become another Pakistan and Afghanistan, where religious extremism is on the rise, prompted Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin to seek other like-minded Malays to sign an open letter asking for a rational dialogue on the position of Islam in Malaysia.

But she is also hopeful that the positive response the letter has garnered will be the start of “something big” to help restore moderation and rationality in Malaysia.

In an interview to explain her reasons for signing and disseminating the letter, the former ambassador said she was worried that groups politicising Islam would lead Malaysia down the path of violence if left unchecked.

“I do not want to see what happened in Pakistan and Afghanistan happen to us, where professionals and talented people are so scared of their own future and their families’ future because extremist religion is on the rise and they leave the country taking their money and skills with them.

“If this happens in Malaysia, it is going to affect adversely our economy and we will be left with non-talented people who will lead the country to ruins,” she told The Malaysian Insider. Read the rest of this entry »

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Support for call for open debate, discourse on Islamic law

– Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG)
The Malaysian Insider
10 December 2014

Earlier this week, a group of Malaysians wrote a letter calling for “open debate and discourse on Islamic law”.

It was penned by 25 distinguished Malaysians – retired civil servants, judges, ambassadors, among others – including Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin, founding member and trustee of Women’s Aid Organisation.

Their message was clear, and the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) fully supports it.

Among the many issues raised, the letter criticised Minister Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom for his “inflammatory statement” against action he had unfairly called a “new wave of assault on Islam.” This includes the action taken by Sisters in Islam to seek legal redress against a fatwa issued against it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call of 25 prominent Malays for moderation will fall on Najib’s deaf ears and only ordinary Malaysians can ensure the triumph of moderation and save the country from the perils of extremism and intolerance

It is indeed the irony of ironies. The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak travels the world to preach moderation, and even founded the Global Movement of Moderates, but at home in Malaysia, he shies away from taking a stand against extremism although the cause of moderation is facing its worst attack on the nation’s history.

This is why the Open Letter yesterday by a group of 25 prominent Malay personalities calling on moderate Malays, Muslims and Malaysians to stand up and be counted and to speak out against extremist, immoderate and intolerant voices have struck such a responsive national chord, coming like a breath of fresh in a very polluted atmosphere.

The 25 signatories said:

“Given the impact of such vitriolic rhetoric on race relations and political stability of this country, we feel it is incumbent on us to take a public position and urge for an informed and rational dialogue on the ways Islam is used as a source of public law and policy in Malaysia.

“More importantly, we call on the prime minister to exercise his leadership and political will to establish an inclusive consultative committee to find solutions to these intractable problems that have been allowed to fester for too long.

“We also urge more moderate Malaysians to speak up and contribute to a better informed and rational public discussion on the place of Islamic laws within a constitutional democracy and the urgency to address the breakdown of federal-state division of powers and finding solutions to the heart-wrenching stories of lives and relationships damaged and put in limbo because of battles over turf and identity.”

The 25 prominent Malays include retired senior civil servants such as former Secretaries-General, Directors-General, ambassadors and prominent Malay individuals who have contributed much to Malaysian society, is a roster of Towering Malays/Malaysians representing the cream of the best produced by the nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Champion open debate and discourse on Islamic law — 25 prominent Malays

Open Letter
December 8, 2014 06:54 AM

DECEMBER 8 — We, a group of concerned citizens of Malaysia, would like to express how disturbed and deeply dismayed we are over the continuing unresolved disputes on the position and application of Islamic laws in this country. The on-going debate over these matters display a lack of clarity and understanding on the place of Islam within our constitutional democracy. Moreover, they reflect a serious breakdown of federal-state division of powers, both in the areas of civil and criminal jurisdictions.

We refer specifically to the current situation where religious bodies seem to be asserting authority beyond their jurisdiction; where issuance of various fatwa violate the Federal Constitution and breach the democratic and consultative process of shura; where the rise of supremacist NGOs accusing dissenting voices of being anti-Islam, anti-monarchy and anti-Malay has made attempts at rational discussion and conflict resolution difficult; and most importantly, where the use of the Sedition Act hangs as a constant threat to silence anyone with a contrary opinion.

These developments undermine Malaysia’s commitment to democratic principles and rule of law, breed intolerance and bigotry, and have heightened anxieties over national peace and stability.
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Is Tunisia a role model for the Arab world?

By Owen Bennett-Jones
BBC News
2 December 2014

When Tunisians vote in their presidential run-off election later this month, it will be the fourth time they have been to the polls in as many years.

Tunisia not only started the Arab Spring, it is now leading the way in terms of democratic development in the Middle East and North Africa.

The current frontrunner for the presidency, 88-year-old Beji Caid Essebsi, has campaigned on two themes – experience and “anything but the Islamists”.

His party, Nidaa Tounes, has attracted the backing of many who formerly supported the man brought down in 2011, President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

While Mr Essebsi is the establishment candidate his opponent, Moncef Marzouki, is a former dissident and leftist who says his top priority is to safeguard the revolution.

Coming from the conservative and poorer South, he tends to attract the religious vote. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tunisian Parliamentary Elections: Lessons for the Arab World

Marwan Muasher, Katie Bentivoglio
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
October 28, 2014

When Tunisians cast their ballots in parliamentary elections on October 26, they shattered three misconceptions about democracy in the Arab world.

1. Islamists will use elections to come to power and then refuse to relinquish it.

For decades, authoritarian Arab leaders have characterized Islamists as political bogeymen, warning domestic constituents and foreign allies alike that, should Islamists be permitted to participate in politics, their electoral victory would be “one man, one vote, one time.” But in Tunisia, the Islamist Ennahda party has shown respect for the political process in times of victory and defeat.

In 2011, Ennahda gained 37 percent of the seats in the National Constituent Assembly (NCA), a transitional body charged with writing the new constitution and laying the foundations for Tunisia’s democratic system. Ennahda formed a power-sharing “Troika” government with two secular parties, Ettakatol and the Congress for the Republic (CPR), demonstrating its ability to compromise and work across ideological lines. Later, following the assassinations of two prominent opposition leaders and an ensuing backlash from secularists, Ennahda prioritized Tunisia’s fragile transition over its own partisan interests and transferred power to a caretaker government that would govern until the completion of parliamentary and presidential elections.

Finally, and most importantly, Ennahda has now proved willing to admit defeat at the ballot box. Read the rest of this entry »

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Muslims must learn about other cultures and religions, says Singaporean academician

by Sukhbir Cheema
The Rakyat Post
Dec 6, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6, 2014: Malaysia should strike a balance between inclusivity and exclusivity of Islam to avoid the rise of extremism, a Muslim scholar says.

In stating so, National University of Singapore Prof Dr Syed Farid Al Atas said extremism was the failure of striking a balance of the two extremes.

Citing recent examples of extremist tendencies in the nation, Dr Syed said Malaysia had to develop a multi-culturalist and cosmopolitan approach in mitigating this issue.

Through education, Muslims , he said, must learn about other cultures, ethnic groups and other religions to develop a sense of admiration and respect.

“We should celebrate diversity by respecting the rights of others via achieving a balance between Islamic rules and spiritual experiences,” he told The Rakyat Post. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib buckles under pressure to renounce the repeal of Sedition Act and becomes hostage to rightists and extremists who are opposed to policy of moderation and GMM

Although the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s buckling under pressure to renounce the repeal of the Sedition Act, which he had promised two years ago in July 2012, has not come as a total surprise to Malaysians, it is nonetheless heart-rending to see the sixth Prime Minister succumbing to threats by rightists and extremists in UMNO and UMNO-sponsored NGOs and becoming a hostage to elements which are opposed to the policy of moderation and the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM).

Now I understand why the sudden urgency for the Prime Minister to table a White Paper and move a motion in Parliament to condemn Islamic State yesterday – which was made without any advance notice to MPs as the decision was apparently made only on Monday night: – i.e. to camouflage Najib’s betrayal of the cause of wasatiyyah and his initiative of the Global Movement of Moderates, which had been the subject of his three speeches to the United Nations General Assembly since Sept. 2010, when he delivered his UMNO Presidential Address this morning.

The rightists, extremists and the opponents of the campaign of wasatiyyah have cause to celebrate, for they have made it very clear that they will be drawing the line in the sand at the 68th UMNO General Assembly whether to tolerate or topple Najib as Prime Minister and UMNO President before his terms were up.
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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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