Archive for category Islam

If Liow and Mah do not know how to requisition for an emergency Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting to repudiate Azalina’s Ministerial motion in Parliament and uphold Barisan Nasional consensus of March 2015, I am prepared to show them how

I am most surprised that apart from making empty and meaningless threats of resigning as Ministers, both the MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and the Gerakan President Datuk Seri Mak Siew Keong had done nothing to undo the unilateral and arbitrary Ministerial motion by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Said Othman to fast-track the Hadi hudud bill in Parliament last Thursday.

It is now almost a whole week since Azalina stood up in Parliament to fast-track Hadi’s hudud bill, and Liow and Mak should explain why none of them is requisitioning for an emergency Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting to uphold the consensus reached by all the Barisan Nasional leaders in March 2015 on this issue and to repudiate Azalina’s Ministerial motion as not representing the collective decision of the Barisan Nasional Cabinet?

Or is there an unwritten rule somewhere which is unknown outside the Barisan Nasional that forbids any Barisan Nasional component party from requisitioning for an emergency Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting to undo what happened in Parliament last Thursday?

In fact, I would believe that if Liow or Mah or both take the initiative to get the support of the other Barisan Nasional component parties, they should have no problem in getting three-quarters of the 14 BN component parties from supporting the requisition for an emergency meeting of the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council to undo Azalina’s unilateral and arbitrary Ministerial motion last Thursday.

So why are Liow and Mah impotent, unable to requisition for an emergency meeting of the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council? Read the rest of this entry »

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Liow Tiong Tai and Mah Siew Keong should stop being pawns of UMNO-PAS political plot to polarize Malaysians into Muslims and non-Muslims and make “hudud” the primary issue in the two upcoming Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections

Although MCA president Liow Tiong Lai and Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong have threatened to resign from the Cabinet if PAS President, Hadi Awang’s hudud bill is passed in Parliament, both of them made it very clear that MCA and Gerakan would remain in the Barisan Nasional coalition.

It is quite unfathomable why two highly-educated persons like Liow and Mah, who have risen to become Cabinet Ministers in the land cannot see the gross contradiction in their positions.

Be that as it may, Liow and Mah should stop being pawns of a deep UMNO-PAS political plot to polarize Malaysians into Muslims and non-Muslims and make “hudud” the primary issue in the two upcoming Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections next month.

There is clearly a concerted attempt to create a “hothouse” political atmosphere and an artificial “national crisis” in the country by polarizing Malaysians into Muslims and non-Muslims over the “hudud” issue, after the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, moved an unprecedented Ministerial motion in Parliament after lunch last Thursday to give priority to Hadi’s private member’s bill motion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Expert: No ‘Islamic state’ in Quran

Sheith Khidhir Bin Abu Bakar | May 30, 2016
Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: There is no such thing as an Islamic state and no obligation to create one, according to Law Professor Abdullah Ahmed An-Na’im from Emory University, Atlanta, United States.

Speaking at a lecture entitled “Islam and the Secular State” at the Sunway University here today, Ahmed said that the term “Islamic state” was not mentioned in the Quran or the sunnah (sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad), nor was it known in any of the languages until the 20th century.

“We do not have this obligation in the Quran or sunnah,” he said. “Islam does not have a prescribed order for a political state.”

In fact, he added, an Islamic state was an “impossibility” as there was no criteria to measure what an Islamic state was.

There were differing views in classic Islamic knowledge on jurisprudence and there was no independent authority that could verify an Islamic state.

“Arabia and Iran both claim to be Islamic states, but to each of them they are heretics,” he quipped. Read the rest of this entry »

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Liow should meet Najib on three-point agenda: Cabinet meeting on 20th May rejecting Hadi’s private member’s bill, whether Hadi’s private member’s bill was about hudud and to restore status quo ante by sacking Azalina and Rosnah

There is a chorus of MCA, Gerakan and MIC Ministers threatening to resign from the Cabinet over Hadi’s hudud private member’s motion which was given priority in Parliament on Thursaday as a result of the Minister’s motion moved by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Othman Said and seconded by the Deputy Works Minister, Datuk Rosnah Abdul Raashid Shirlin.

This chorus was started by the MCA President and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and followed up by the Gerakan President and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, MIC President and Health Minister Datuk S. Subramaniam, MCA Deputy President and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Wee Ka Siong.

Liow has said that he will meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to convey MCA members’ concerns over Hadi’s private member’s bill.

What Liow should do is to meet the Prime Minister on a three-point agenda and inform the Malaysian public the outcome of his meeting with Najib.

The three-point agenda are: Read the rest of this entry »

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Liow and Mah should demand Prime Minister to restore status quo ante, sack Azalina and Rosnah as Minister and Deputy Minister for unilaterally prioritizing Hadi’s bill and Cabinet repudiation of their motion in Parliament on Thursday

MCA president Liow Tiong Lai and Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong have threatened to resign from the Cabinet if PAS President, Hadi Awang’s hudud bill is passed.

Liow is the Transport Minister while Mah is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

Liow said: “I’m trying to stop it, I’m trying to get all the (BN) component parties to stop it.

“I am urging both sides of the political divide to come together and stop this Bill.”

Instead of making meaningless statements after the horses had bolted, Liow and Mah should restore the status quo ante before the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, stood up in Parliament after Thursday’s lunch break to propose the Ministerial motion to give priority to Hadi’s hudud motion, which was listed as Item 15 in the Order Paper, leapfrogging 14 other items including five items of official business.

Azalina’s motion was seconded by the Deputy Works Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Raashid Shirlin.

Two actions must be taken to restore the status quo ante – firstly, the sacking of Azalina as Minister and Rosnah as Deputy Minister for unilaterally proposing and seconding the motion in Parliament, which had violated both the spirit and commitment of Barisan Nasional that such a motion would not be supported by BN MPs and secondly, the Cabinet repudiation of the Ministerial motion by the Azalina and Rosnah on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tunisian Islamists Al Nahda move to separate politics, religion

Gulf News
Reuters
May 23, 2016

Unlike the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Al Nahda was able to survive in Tunisia despite initial conflict with secularists

Tunis: Tunisia’s Islamist party Al Nahda will separate its political and religious work, its chief said on Friday, moving away from its tradition of political Islam.

Al Nahda was the first Islamist party to come to power in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring revolutions and it took part in the first government coalition after the overthrow of Tunisia’s autocratic leader Zine Al Abedin Bin Ali.

It won the first post-uprising election by appealing to many Tunisians who saw its Islamist identity as an antidote to the years of corruption and repression under the Bin Ali government in one of the region’s most secular nations.

Free elections, a new constitution and a compromise politics between secular and Islamist parties have helped Tunisia avoid the turmoil seen in several other Arab nations.

“Al Nahda has changed from an ideological movement engaged in the struggle for identity, to a protest movement against the authoritarian regime, and now to a national democratic party,” Ghannouchi told supporters at a rally. “We must keep religion far from political struggles.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Tunisia’s Nahda party ditches Islamist tag

Heba Saleh in Cairo
Financial Times
May 22, 2016

Tunisia’s Nahda party, a member of the governing coalition and the biggest force in parliament, has ditched its ‘Islamist’ label, saying it would end its religious activities and devote itself solely to politics.

The change, adopted in a vote by an overwhelming majority of delegates at a weekend party conference, is unprecedented in the region for an Islamist group. It also marks another milestone in the evolution of a once-repressed movement persecuted under the secular dictatorship of Zein al-Abidine Ben Ali but which staged a strong come back after the 2011 revolution.

Under the leadership of its founder, Rachid Ghannouchi, Nahda has demonstrated political flexibility by striking a historic bargain with influential secular groups. This prevented the democratic transition from unraveling and helped make Tunisia the only success story among Arab countries which staged uprisings in 2011.

Addressing the Nahda conference, held in a stadium and attended by 1,300 delegates, Mr Ghannouchi said: “Nahda has evolved from defending identity to ensuring the democratic transition, and today moves on to focus on the economic transition.”

He also said that religion would be kept apart from “political struggles” and mosques should be completely neutral and play no role in politics. Read the rest of this entry »

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Learning Islam From Muslims, and Muslims Learning Islam

Bakri Musa
16th May 2016

A Review of Shahab Ahmed’s What Is Islam. The Importance of Being Islamic

Second of Two Parts

In the first part of my essay I recalled Shahab Ahmed’s elegant albeit oxymoronic phrase “coherent contradictions” to describe the dizzying diversity and puzzling perplexities that are the norms in Islam, then and now.

As for “reforming” Islam, the current fetish among Muslims and non-Muslims alike, Ahmed did not have much praise or hope for these reformers, ancient or modern. This was not out of any Islam-does-not-need-reforming sentiment, rather that those reformers limited themselves to reading only the Text (Koran) and then were consumed with their arcane legalistic and hermeneutical interpretations. They ignored the “Pre-Text” and “Con-Text,” or more crucially, how Islam is believed, practiced, and contributed to by Muslims past and present, scholars and ordinary believers alike.

Or in Shahab Ahmed’s words, “how Islam makes Muslims as Muslims make Islam.” Much can be learned about Islam, and about Muslims, from just that. Read the rest of this entry »

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Islam Is Diversity and Contradictions

M. Bakri Musa
10th May 2016

Review of Shahab Ahmed’s What Is Islam. The Importance of Being Islamic

First of Two Parts

While holidaying on an island in the Indonesian Riau Province I came upon a communal graveyard. I was surprised that while the graves had markers, there were no individual identifications, no names or even dates of death. On enquiring, the villagers told me that this was to discourage ancestor worship. In Islam we worship Allah, and only Him. Any deviation would be shirk, a blasphemy.

Yet only a few islands away on Pulau Penyengat, there is an elaborate mausoleum to honor the great poet Raja Ali Haji of Gurindam XII fame. On religious days and special occasions, villagers throng the site; at other times they come to pray for their children’s success at school.

The inhabitants on both islands are devout Muslims. While we could readily comprehend and accept variations in Islam (or any faith for that matter) in different geographic areas and with different cultures, the people on both islands are all Malays. What gives? Read the rest of this entry »

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How Muslim Governments Impose Ignorance

Mustafa Akyol
New York Times
MARCH 16, 2016

ISTANBUL — I recently spent a few days in Malaysia, where I was promoting the publication of the Malay edition of my book, “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty.” The publisher, a progressive Muslim organization called the Islamic Renaissance Front, had set up several talks for me in Kuala Lumpur. As any author would be, I was happy to learn that the team was enthusiastic about my book and had been getting good feedback from audiences and readers. But I was troubled by something else that I suspect many Muslim authors have experienced: My publisher was worried about censorship.

The risk, I was told, was that the Department of Islamic Development, a government body that “was formed to protect the purity of faith,” could ban the book if it was viewed as violating traditional Islamic doctrine.

So far, the Malaysian government has not banned my book. But if it did I wouldn’t be surprised. The department has already outlawed more than a thousand books translated into Malay. Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” was banned because, according to the home minister, it “goes against Islamic teachings,” and even “endangers public harmony” — whatever that means. “Islam: A Short History,” a fairly sympathetic study by the best-selling author Karen Armstrong, was similarly banned for being “incompatible with peace and social harmony.” Read the rest of this entry »

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PAS, oppose a corrupt and oppressive gov’t, not DAP

by Syerleena Abdul Rashid
Malaysiakini
24th March 2016

COMMENT It is most unsettling that PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang would continue to demonise DAP in such an uncouth manner by using religion and race to push through his party’s far right wing agenda.

Given the present stream of hateful rhetoric out there, it is only inevitable and expected that some politicians much like Hadi would exploit the conservative political agenda that only reinforces Umno’s ‘divide and rule’ tactic.

Recently, through Utusan Malaysia, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang had called for the unification of Malays to oppose opposition party DAP, whom according to him, “has bigger plans, more than just controlling the economy” – insinuating that the Muslim Malays in this country will suffer great oppression in the hands of a ‘Chinese chauvinist’ party.

As slanderous as it sounds, remarks like this verify the intricacies of fear mongering by unscrupulous political leaders and this is extremely harmful.

Malaysians must understand that proponents of conservative views necessitate rational discourse based on facts that are absolutely free from emotions and pious fervor. Malaysia is in fact a multicultural country where Islam and Malay rights are protected in our federal constitution. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysians can contribute to the international dialogue among Muslim and social democrats to draw on the values and principles of Islam and social democracy to establish a common core agenda for a free, just and good society

DAP’s contribution in the beginning of this series of dialogues among Muslim and social democrats have its genesis in the fact-finding visit by DAP MPs to Jordan and Egypt in April, followed by a visit to Tunisia and Turkey in October, last year.

It stems from the belief that Malaysians can contribute to the international dialogue among among Muslim and social democrats to draw on the values and principles of Islam and social democracy to establish a common core agenda for a free, just and good society.

It is recorded that during Prophet Mohammad’s time, there were about 5,000 people in pre-Islam Mecca and the first batch of Muslims numbered 60 – 70 people.

In pre-islam Medina, there were about 15,000 people. The ratio during the War of Badr in 623 AD had been given as 313 Muslims and 1,100 non-Muslims.

Today, over 1,400 years later, Islam is the second largest religion in the world with some 1.6 billion adherents, and is set to become the world’s largest religion by 2070, ending two millenniums of Christian dominance.

The question which must challenge mankind down the ages is how they could contribute to the development of knowledge and wisdom when Muslims could grow from a few thousand followers to 1.6 billion adherents in 1,400 years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Breaking our silence

Lyana Khairuddin
The Malaysian Insider
2 March 2016

It has been quite a week for all of us affiliated with The Malaysian Insider.

The outpouring of support from the public only amplified the debate on our freedom of expression and access to information. It appears that Malaysians collectively need to stand up for our rights, to be empowered by information and be allowed critical thought process rather than continue to be infantilised by the powers that be.

Further, the decision to block a whole website over one article seems an over exaggeration. The impact is an oppressive silencing of many diverse Malaysian voices that is allowed a platform through this portal.

We are now forced to be outsiders, yet our concerns and voices remain Malaysian. Read the rest of this entry »

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Umat Islam atau menteri keliru?

Amin Iskandar
The Malaysian Insider
21 February 2016

Apabila menteri atau timbalan menggunakan hujah “mengelirukan umat Islam”, persoalan sering kali timbul dalam sanubari penulis, apakah benar umat Islam begitu lemah sehingga mudah dikelirukan atau pemimpin itu sendiri yang sering keliru?

Di sebuah negara di mana majoriti penduduknya beragama Islam, pemimpinnya Islam, media arus perdana dikuasai orang Islam jika mereka masih lagi mudah dikelirukan, ertinya, umat Islam di Malaysia merupakan yang paling lemah di dunia.

Ketika mengharamkan penggunaan kalimah Allah bagi bukan Islam satu ketika dulu, hujah “mengelirukan umat Islam” turut digunakan.

Terbaru dalam isu restoran menggunakan tanda “tiada babi”, Timbalan Menteri Di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki berkata, tindakan akan diambil kepada pengusaha kerana mengelirukan umat Islam. Read the rest of this entry »

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What other intellectual and mental prowess and feats are University of UMNO “graduates” capable of?

In the last two days, “graduates” of University of UMNO have been showing off their intellectual and mental prowess and feats.

The first was the new UMNO information chief, Tan Sri Annuar Musa who declared that the RM2.6 billion donation deposited into Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal banking account is “not a big sum” to face one general election.

Can Annuar share with ordinary Malaysians who do not have benefit of being ”graduates” of University of UMNO what would be “a big sum” to face one general election in Malaysia – RM50 billion, RM100 billion or RM200 billion?

Malaysia’s election laws stipulate that the maximum expenditure legally permissible for a parliamentary candidate is RM200,000 while the maximum legal expenditure for a State Assembly candidate is RM100,000.

With 222 Parliamentary seats and 505 State Assembly seats contested in the 13th General Elections, this meant that the maximum election expenditures permitted by Malaysian election laws came to RM44.4 million by all UMNO/BN’s 222 Parliamentary candidates and RM50.5 million by the 505 UMNO/BN State Assembly candidates, or a total of RM94.9 million – just short of RM100 million!

The RM2.6 billion “donation” to Najib is 26 times more than the legally permissible election expenditures for all the 222 Parliamentary and 505 State Assembly candidates from UMNO/Barisan Nasional.

But this is clearly only “chicken-feed” for fighting one general election as far as the new UMNO Information chief is concerned. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Amman Message and intra-Muslim peace

— Syed Farid Alatas
Malay Mail Online
February 1, 2016

FEBRUARY 1 — Hostility between Sunnis and Shiites has become a dominant feature of intra-Muslim relations today. Indeed, the first decades of the 21st century will be known as a period of protracted conflict between these two major denominations of Islam.

Twelver Shiites, who form up to 29 per cent of the global Muslim population, are in the majority in Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Iran and Iraq. They also constitute important minorities in countries such as Lebanon, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

The history of Islam is characterised by numerous instances of violence and hostility between Sunnis and Shiites. The confrontations were often initiated by Sunni rulers and, sometimes, by the religious elite who were co-opted by the state. Read the rest of this entry »

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The illiberal threat to Islam

Zairil Khir Johari
The Malaysian Insider
25 January 2016

Central to the idea of liberalism, be it political, economic or social in context, is human agency – the capacity for individual human beings, acting rationally, to make choices deemed to be in their best interest.

However, freedom of choice and conscience alone is insufficient if it is not complemented by the necessary space, both in the personal sphere and the public realm, to act upon those choices without discrimination or victimisation.

Conversely, illiberalism refers to the lack of such fundamental freedoms. An illiberal polity is, therefore, one where diversity is not tolerated, and where being different invites persecution, whether by society or the state.

It is one where conformity is not only approved of, but even coercively imposed. In Islamic terms, it is where ijtihad (independent reasoning) is suppressed and taqlid (to follow blindly) is expected.

In an illiberal state, speech and expression are censored and dissent is suppressed. In most cases, citizens are kept in check through the fear of an existential threat – often through the construction of an “other”. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘The Economist’: While Indonesia fights Islamic State, Malaysia politicises Islam

Malay Mail Online
January 24, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 ― Indonesian social movements are attempting to counter jihadist influence, but the Malaysian government has completely politicised Islam until there is little space for more peaceful interpretations, The Economist said.

In an analysis of the Jakarta bombings published yesterday, the London-based weekly publication noted that supporting or joining the Islamic State (IS) is not illegal in Indonesia, though the Indonesian government is considering preventive detention laws to curb terrorism.

“The country’s two biggest Muslim social movements — Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama — have been trying to counter jihadist propaganda.

“In Malaysia, however, the government itself has thoroughly politicised Islam, leaving little room for dissent from its harshest rules. A study last year found more than 70 per cent of Malaysia’s ethnic-Malay, Muslim, majority support hudud laws such as stoning for adultery. Another found that 11 per cent of Malays viewed IS favourably,” said The Economist in an article titled “After Jakarta.” Read the rest of this entry »

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What Indonesia Knows About Blocking the Islamic State

Joshua Kurlantzick
Bloomberg
January 20, 2016

Smart strategy has made the largest Muslim-majority nation a tough environment for the Islamic State.

In the wake of last week’s attacks in Jakarta, which killed seven people, fears are growing that the largest Muslim-majority nation in the world is going to be hit by a wave of Islamic State-linked bombings and shootings. The potential for mayhem seems obvious. Indonesia’s open society and high social media penetration make it easy for young Indonesians to access Islamist sites and Facebook pages, and the Sunni Muslim insurgency has released several videos in Indonesian in an apparent recruiting effort.

Indonesia is a country of thousands of islands, with porous borders and many soft targets: The militants launched bombs and opened fire in broad daylight in one of the busiest neighborhoods in Jakarta. And Indonesians have fought in Syria and Iraq and returned. The Soufan Group, a consulting security consulting group, believes that at least six hundred Southeast Asians have traveled to Syria to fight with the Islamic State and then come back to their home countries. Indeed, the alleged ringleader of last week’s Jakarta attacks, a militant named Bahru Naim, is currently living in Raqqa, Islamic State’s hub. Read the rest of this entry »

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Enough of this nonsense! Malaysia was created as a secular nation

— Clive Kessler
Malay Mail Online
January 19, 2016

JANUARY 19 — Enough of this nonsense! Enough already!

Malaya and then Malaysia was created as a secular nation.

Denial of this basic fact has become commonplace in recent times.

The pioneers in promoting the revisionist myth that there was or is nothing secular in the nation’s origins or about its Constitution have been the creative legal innovators and myth-makers of the PPMM: Persatuan Peguam Muslim Malaysia (Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association) –- notably Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar — and their like-minded associates in CENTHRA, the Putrajaya-based and Saudi-friendly Centre for Human Rights and Advocacy, headed by on Azril Mohd Amin.

Their lead is followed, and their disruptive views are echoed, by a horde of Utusan Malaysia scribes and ideologues and, in their wake, a claque of well-connected writers and publicists and ambitious politicos.

In the absence of any clear refutation, their increasingly unchallenged view now threatens to become “the default position”, the received and undeniable truth.

But are they right?

In short, no. And for three main reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

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