Archive for category Islam
NEWS ANALYSIS BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
October 17, 2013
There is irrationality and irony in the Cabinet’s decision that the word Allah can be used in worship and in the Bahasa Malaysia bibles in Sabah and Sarawak – because one cannot compartmentalise religion by regions.
Nor can the Cabinet override the court’s decision.
Or the fact that the Bahasa Malaysia section of the Catholic weekly, the Herald, is actually meant for East Malaysians where most of the Catholics speak and read the national language more than anywhere else in the country.
After all, what are the chances that a non-Catholic would be able to lay his or her hands on one of the 14,000 copies printed weekly in Malaysia for some one million Catholics in the country?
If anything, the Cabinet decision that the Court of Appeal ruling would not affect Christians in Sabah and Sarawak shows that at the end of the day, everything is about politics. Read the rest of this entry »
Oct 16, 2013
COMMENT The Malaysian Bar is deeply concerned by the decision of the Court of Appeal delivered on Oct 14, 2013 in what is commonly referred to as the ‘Herald’ or ‘Allah’ case.
The concerns arise from the court’s interpretation of Article 3(1) of the federal constitution on the status of Islam and other religions and Article 11(1) and (4) on the fundamental right to profess and practice a religion.
Any interpretation of the constitution must invite the greatest scrutiny as it impacts on the fundamental freedoms guaranteed to all citizens. Read the rest of this entry »
By Boo Su-Lyn
The Malay Mail Online
October 17, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 — Malaysia’s court ruling on Muslims’ exclusivity over “Allah” could inspire Indonesians of the faith to lay the same claim over the Arabic word, Jakarta Post warned in an editorial yesterday.
The English-language daily in Indonesia noted that religious exclusivism was equally strong in Indonesia, “if not stronger” than in neighbouring Malaysia, citing previous debates like whether non-Muslims should be allowed to say the traditional Arabic phrases “Assalamu’alaikum” (peace be upon you), “Alhamdulillah” (praise be to God) and “Insya Allah” (God willing).
“It’s only a matter of time before someone takes the cue from Malaysia and starts raising objections to non-Muslims using the word Allah,” Jakarta Post wrote in an editorial titled “No one has monopoly claim to God: On the use of ‘Allah’ in Malaysia”.
“No one who believes in the power of one supreme God can really claim exclusivity. There is no such thing as the God for Catholics, just as there is no such thing as the God or Allah for Muslims,” added the newspaper.
Jakarta Post stressed that “those who claim exclusivity to God undermine their own faith, and inadvertently or not, preach polytheism”. Read the rest of this entry »
Barely a month after the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Federation of Malaysia, the recent Allah Judgment has raised many important questions for the founding of and the future of our country.
The first point of the 18 point Sarawak agreement and the 20 point Sabah (then North Borneo) agreement emphasized the freedom of religion that must be enjoyed by Sarawak and Sabah as minimum demands for the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.
It should be noted that in the Cobbold Commission Report of 1962, the views of the Chairman and the British members of the Commission were for the insertion into the state constitutions of Sabah and Sarawak a specific provision to guarantee the freedom of religion.
It should also be noted that the Malayan members of the Commission, Ghazali Shafie and Wong Pow Nee both agreed that while Islam would be the national religion for the Federation, they were ‘satisfied that the proposal in no way jeopardises freedom of religion in the Federation, which in effect would be secular’.
Given the importance of the freedom of religion to the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak, would there have been widespread support for the formation of the Federation of Malaysia if the Court of Appeal Allah judgment was the law of the land?
What would have been the reaction of the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak to the findings of the judgment prohibiting the usage of the word “Allah” in the Herald and that the usage of the name “Allah” is “not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity”?
Or would history have been overturned and Malaysia, as we know it today, comprising of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak not be in existence?
Read the rest of this entry »
Oct 15, 2013
The Court of Appeal was wrong in its decision banning Christian weekly Herald from using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God in Bahasa Malaysia, said a constitutional law expert.
“By linking religious rights under the chapter on fundamental liberties with Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution which effectively makes Islam the benchmark for everybody, this runs counter to the general meaning of Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution itself,” Dr Abdul Aziz Bari told Malaysiakini today.
“The plain meaning of Article 3(1) is simply this: that despite the fact that Islam has been made official religion, non-Muslims may go on practising their religions freely without restriction,” said the former Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) law lecturer.
He said that the implication of the decision is that it might make non-Muslims feel “unsafe” and this is contrary to the essence of the Article 3 in the constitution.
Abdul Aziz also noted that the court decision yesterday sounded like a “policy decision” – a decision that is not strictly based on law. Read the rest of this entry »
– Nazry Bahrawi and Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib
The Malaysian Insider
September 11, 2013
When the World Trade Center twin towers came crashing down 12 years ago, it was not just non-Muslims who were shocked – many Muslims were equally horrified. Consequently, it led to deeper introspection. For many Muslims, it was a turning point.
Just over three decades ago, prominent Arab intellectual Sadik Al Azm wrote a devastating critique of the Arab world’s political stagnation after the Arab defeat at the hands of Israel in the 1967 war. The loss gave impetus to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism worldwide. The solution to Muslims’ social, economic and political humiliation, it was believed, lay in returning to “Islam” as a complete ideology. Islam-ism would rival all other isms, from secularism to capitalism to communism.
At the heart of Islamism is an orientation that upholds the supremacy of “Islam” versus everything else deemed “unIslamic”. Syed Qutb, in his famous treatise Ma’lim fi al-tariq (Milestones), pretty much sums up the tension between what he deemed an “Islamic society” versus the “jahili (paganistic) society”.
Over nearly three decades, certain frustrated Muslim youths became attracted to this orientation known as Islamic fundamentalism. It was also a period of struggle for many Islamic movements to establish “daulah islamiyah” or the notion of an “Islamic state”.
This project failed, and its proponents continue to be frustrated by authoritarian secular regimes and their own intellectual deficiency in defining and operationalising the notion of an “Islamic state”. French sociologist Olivier Roy, in his insightful 1996 book, termed it “the failure of political Islam”.
Since the 1990s, the world has seen an increase in violent acts committed by Islamist movements which draw upon such frustrations. This culminated in the attack on New York’s twin towers.
If the 1967 defeat of the Arabs had propelled the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, 9/11 has paved the way for rethinking and critical reflection.
Could Islam accommodate the separation of religion and state, thus admitting that secularism is not anathema to Muslim political thought? Could Muslims be at home with modern values without positing these as an antithetical to the Islamic notion of what is “traditional” and “authentic”?
Was the dichotomy between “Islam” and “the West” tenable or even intelligible? These were some of the issues that posed a new challenge to Islamic fundamentalism. Critical Muslim scholars such as Mohammed Arkoun (Algerian), Nasr Abu Zayd (Egyptian), Abdullahi An-Na’im (Sudanese), Nurcholish Madjid (Indonesian) and Abdolkarim Soroush (Iranian) continue to push the boundary of Muslim sociopolitical thought — and ultimately challenge the dominance of fundamentalist conceptions of Islam. Read the rest of this entry »
Zairil Khir Johari
The Malaysian Insider
August 28, 2013
A climate of fear and tension appears to be gripping the Muslim world today – not only in the ever-conflicted Middle East, but even here in Malaysia. In recent months we have seen an increasing zeal on the part of the authorities, certain politicians and right-wing groups.
The gross overreaction in the handling of issues such as the surau in Johor, the “dog lady” video incident, the use of the word “Allah”, and the growing persecution of minorities such as the Chinese, the Christians and the Shias, have revealed uncharacteristic fanaticism. Since when have we become such an intolerant society?
The worst part is that most of these sentiments do not assume any rationality.
Take the virulent stance against the Shias, for example. During one of the terawih prayers that I attended in the recent Ramadan, a popular cleric had been invited to deliver a tazkirah or sermon.
In his sermon, the cleric nonchalantly informed us all that the Shias were not really Muslims, and that they worshipped a different religion altogether.
I thought this extreme view was perhaps an isolated one, until I read that the Kedah state government is planning to gazette a fatwa that will effectively treat Shias as deviants.
Now, if Shias are deviants and regarded as non-Muslims, why do we invite them every year to participate in our annual Tilawah Al-Quran competition at the Putra World Trade Centre?
In fact, since 1961, nine Iranians (read: Shias) have won the men’s recital competition. Furthermore, why is Iran accepted as a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)?
What about the thousands of Iranian students that we are willing to accept as students in our universities every year? Read the rest of this entry »
by Azrul Mohd Khalib
The Malay Mail Online
Aug 12, 2013
AUG 12 — While I was listening to the Hari Raya Aidilfitri sermon at the National Mosque the other day, I was struck by its gloomy, depressing and combative tone. Rather than a message of celebration and rejoicing at the achievements represented by the conclusion of the holy month of Ramadan, the sermon was one which spoke in strident tones about the enemies of the faith, and attacks and threats to the ummah.
One of the elements identified in the sermon as being a threat to Islam (along with secularism and feminism, strangely enough) was pluralism.
Somehow, in less than 10 years, pluralism has become from being a proud attribute of multicultural and multi-ethnic Malaysia to one that has been vilified and has left certain people trembling in their boots.
In case anyone is unsure, the Oxford dictionary defines pluralism as being a condition or system in which two or more states, groups, principles, sources of authority, etc., co-exist. In the context of Malaysia, a condition in which numerous distinct ethnic, religious or cultural groups are present and tolerated within a society. Somehow, someone, somewhere has deemed pluralism to be the equivalent of a four-letter word.
Pluralism lives and breathes in Islam. It is embedded in the rich traditions of Islamic academia where from antiquity the religion prides itself in the diversity of views and the value of rigorous academic discourse and dialogue. Thus, the discourses and arguments of Muslim jurists and scholars of the likes of Al Kindi, Al Biruni, Ibn Sina are spoken in the same breath as the Greek and Roman philosophers such as Socrates, Cicero and Marcus Aurelius.
The best example of religious pluralism in Islam comes from the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself who offered a delegation of Christians from the kingdom of Najran his own mosque, Al-Masjid al-Nabawi, for their prayers. What is this gesture if not recognition of the plurality of religion by the Prophet? Didn’t other religions not only survive but also flourish under early Islam? What does it say to others that pluralism is now considered a bad thing? Read the rest of this entry »
Leven Woon | August 10, 2013
Free Malaysia Today
Johor Bahru DAP division secretary Alan Tang today claimed that someone forged his identity on a new Facebook account and uploaded a Hari Raya greeting with an image of a roasted pork head.
PETALING JAYA: Johor Bahru DAP division secretary Alan Tang today vehemently denied posting a Hari Raya greeting that featured a roast pork dish on social network site Facebook, claiming that his identity had been forged.
The image showing a roasted pork head sandwiched between the Malay traditional snack lemang (glutinous rice) and ketupat (dumpling) surfaced on the first day of Hari Raya and quickly earned the ire of the Muslim community.
Tang, when contacted, told FMT that he could not “have been so dumb to produce such a greeting”.
“I’m the one always advising my friends and comrades against touching on issues pertaining to race, religion and royalty, and it is even more impossible for me to do it myself,” said the 28-year-old Tang.
A print screen of Tang’s facebook account with the greeting was circulated on several pro-BN websites, but a search on Tang’s account found no such posting. Read the rest of this entry »
I wish all Muslims in Malaysia Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
This is an auspicious occasion for non-Muslims in Malaysia to join their Muslim compatriots to commemorate a national celebration to underline a greater national unity, harmony and solidarity built over 56 years of Malaysian nationhood.
Recent events particularly in the past three months have given rise to valid and legitimate concerns about the success of Malaysian nation out of the diverse races, languages, religions, cultures and territories in the country in the sixth decade of Malaysian nationhood.
Immediately after the recent 13th general elections, Utusan Malaysia bannered a front-page headline: “Apa Lagi Cina Mau?”
This question should not have been asked, just as questions like “Apa Lagi Melayu Mau?”; “Apa Lagi Indian Mau?”, “Apa Lagi Kadazan Mau?” or “Apa Lagi Dayak Mau?”
It may be understandable for such questions to be asked in the first decade of nationhood, but something is very wrong when such questions are asked in the sixth decade of nationhood.
Read the rest of this entry »
From Aneesa Alphonsus
August 1, 2013
Chetz Togom or Maznah Mohd Yusof is my best friend. Today, she’s being harassed, hounded and harangued for a video she made three years ago on how she spent that particular Hari Raya with her dogs. I was there when the video was shot and since TV stations are not taking the trouble to find out why she made that video, I’m going to tell them and all the others who are screaming for Chetz’s blood why she made that video.
It was late morning when she took her dogs for a walk. When she came home, Chetz cleaned herself, then she washed the dogs’ paws as she planned on bringing them into the house for some treats. When I asked her why she did it this way, she said, “No special reason, I just want people to know that having dogs isn’t a dirty thing. We clean them and we clean ourselves well.”
That was it. It has nothing to do with all the fuss about “ambik air sembahyang dengan anjing” (taking abolution with the dogs) that some irresponsible media quarters are harping on as are some bloggers who don’t know head or tail, pun not intended, about the situation.
Then there is the question of the takbir Raya. Chetz put it in the video because it reminds her of her late grandmother who raised her, plus the fact that it is significant to Hari Raya. What is the harm in that? How does this show disrespect to Islam? Read the rest of this entry »
- Shenaaz Khan
The Malaysian Insider
August 01, 2013
The arrest of dog trainer Maznah Mohd Yusuf is appalling and reflects the flimsy fabric of the Malaysian Muslim faith.
The contention that the act of walking a dog past a mosque and washing its paws are akin to burning the Quran is ludicrous and displays a dreadful disposition towards dogs.
The chorus of outrage led by seven NGO’s i.e. Pertubuhan Martabat Jalinan Muhibbah Malaysia (MJMM), Selangor State NGO Secretariat, Malay Army Veterans Association (PVTM), Badan Amal Tarbiah Sejagat Malaysia (BATAS), Pak Long Nusantara, Cahaya Haluan Amanah Insan Malaysia and Ikatan Rakyat Insan Muslim Malaysia (IRIMM) exhibits the abysmal ignorance of Muslim “champions” in this country.
This clan have clearly vacated their minds of knowledge and dogged it with doctrine.
Hitherto the video, these sinless soldiers have remained silent on almost all other un-Islamic practises. They appear to not be “insulted” by some Muslim men collecting wives as if they were stamps, leaving many women and children in a state of destitution.
They are certainly not “insulted” by how corporations and hotels have turned the humble act of fasting into a feasting fiesta of gluttony! And rape and incest by their brethren is mere kitchen matter, unworthy of their divine intervention.
Yet, this harmless video has compelled them to don their guerrilla garbs and Ray bans and start their pilgrimage up the pavement of righteousness! Read the rest of this entry »
— Arif Fahmi Md Yusof
The Malay Mail Online
July 31, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — The uploading of a video of a Malay Muslim celebrating Hari Raya in the facebook with his three dogs invites voluminous responses from Malaysians especially Muslims. Most of the Muslims consider the video as insulting Islam. Many regard this video as insulting episode in the Holy month of Ramadhan for Muslims. Regrettably, in this Holy month of Ramadhan, many use a very offensive and indecent language in the social media, commenting this video.
What is insulting here? It is about the dog. Muslims generally are sensitive to dogs. For majority of Muslims particularly in Malaysia, dogs are impure. Many Muslims try to avoid contacts with dogs. The intention of the person who uploaded the video may be good, to appreciate the similarities between the creation of God and to promote kindness towards animals especially the dog. Unfortunately, the cultural perspective in Malaysia is against this idea.
Many people often adhere to an idea they heard without examining whether it is legally correct. Therefore, it is usual to find people who easily believe in erroneous ideas that may have no basis or evidence. In Islam it is pertinent to understand its teachings and observe them. The primary consideration in dealing with other beings, especially animals is promoting kindness and avoiding cruelty.
An act of kindness to the dogs is recorded in one hadith where a man gave a dog water to drink using his shoe as the vessel to contain the water. The hadith praises the man, and Allah forgives his sins as a result of his kind act of providing the dog water. Read the rest of this entry »
Muhyiddin should apologise for jumping the gun in falsely blaming non-Muslim “callousness towards Islam and Muslim sensitivities” for the latest controversial 1.44 minute video
Two days ago, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin expressed concern over racial polarisation in the country “as the trend now is as if the people are getting more hypersensitive”.
Muhyiddin is right except that he has himself been the problem instead of being the solution to the problem of racial polarisation.
This is best illustrated by Muhyiddin’s strong reaction yesterday deploring “the callousness of some towards Islam and Muslim sensitivities” which he said could spark unrest and create discord among the people.
He said he was perplexed as to why some quarters were out to undermine Islam and Muslims.
He said: “Is this a manifestation of the assumption of some quarters that we (Muslims) are weak and that they could walk all over us? Or that we are afraid to react when others insult the sanctity of Islam?
“Could they be simply ignorant and not understand the values of faith?
Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
Jul 25, 2013
COMMENT The two incidents that have been the talk of the day in the Internet media that have raised concerns on the questionable tolerance and magnanimity of Islam and Muslims are the Alvivi sex blogger couple’s alleged disrespecting of Islam and the demands of right-wing groups Perkasa and Jati for the Vatican envoy to leave Malaysia over his remarks on the Allah row.
From the events that had unfolded, it does seem to be that Muslims in general – and Islam in particular – are a people and a religion that are most intolerant and do not know the meaning of forgiveness or magnanimity.
In this short essay, I will present stories and examples of Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, teacher of all Muslims in the world and for all times, on how he exemplified the true spirit of magnanimity, forgiveness and tolerance.
In other words, I do not know who these people are who have painted Islam in such light – the Attorney-General’s Chambers officers and the judiciary who denied bail to the sex blogger couple and the three Malay-Muslim politicians (Hasan Ali, Ibrahim Ali and Zulkifli Noordin) who boisterously demand that the Vatican envoy leave this country for supporting the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Malay Bible.
I would like to explain to my Malaysian brothers and sisters who are Muslims and non-Muslims about the true Islam as exhibited by the Prophet himself. What these Malays have shown did not definitely come from the tradition of Muhammad (peace be upon him).
I can cite many events and incidents to show that Prophet Muhammad was perhaps the epitome of tolerance, forgiveness and magnanimity, but I will just point out a few. Do not trust me on these accounts but let history be the judge. Read the rest of this entry »
- 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. Read the rest of this entry »
- Tunku Munawirah Putra
The Malaysian Insider
July 17, 2013
The Islamic Civilisation and Asian Studies (Titas) could have been an enlightening liberal arts subject, had it not been forced onto students to take it up. It is most unfortunate to see it being robbed of its purity with the kind of politics entrenched in its enforcement.
It is like experiencing the abolition of PPSMI (the teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English) all over again, in terms of how and why the decision was made.
The Titas issue seems to be following a similar pattern as the abolition of PPSMI, which was done close to a by-election. Titas and the Kuala Besut by-election is just like PPSMI and the Manik Urai by-election. Both decisions were made known about a week prior to the date of the by-elections. Hence, however well-meaning the decision could be by certain quarters, it is still a controversial decision that got bulldozed through, in an attempt to appeal to the voters in the area. Why else is it announced just before the by-elections, when it could have been held back until the by-elections are over to avoid such suspicion? Read the rest of this entry »
– Ravinder Singh
The Malay Mail Online
July 07, 2013
JULY 7 – Nazri is correct in saying that it is an “open secret” that the Conference of Rules (COR) can object to any law (or any sections, words or phrases in it). That is the prerogative of the Rulers.
On the other hand, it is common sense that if the COR does object to any part of a law that has been sent to it after going through the Cabinet and Parliament, the COR must send it back to the Cabinet / Parliament for the parts objected to to be reviewed, amended or dealt with in any other way deemed proper by the Cabinet / Parliament.
It is also common sense that after having approved / amended a bill, it is not the function of the COR to send it for printing / publication / gazetting. This is the duty of the executive.
So how is it that up today not only Nazri but the whole Cabinet and Parliament do not know whether the COR had actually objected to the Cabinet decision of April 2009 on the issue of the conversion of minors? Read the rest of this entry »
Nazri’s statement that new bill on unilateral conversion of minors to Islam unfair welcome especially as the 1993 Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territorities) Act provided for both parental consent when bill was debated in Parliament
The statement by Minister for Tourism, Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, that the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013 on unilateral conversion of minors to Islam is unfair is welcome, especially as the 1993 Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act provided for both parental consent when the bill was debated in Dewan Rakyat in May 1993.
What was passed by Parliament in May 1993 on Section 95 in “Part IX – Conversion to Islam” states (English and Bahasa Malaysia):
“ 95. For the purpose of this Part, a person who is not a Muslim may convert to Islam if he is of sound mind and –
(a) has attained the age of eighteen years; or
(b) if he has not attained the age of eighteen years, his parent or guardian consents to his conversion.”
“95. Bagi maksud Bahagian ini, seseorang yang tidak beragama Islam boleh masuk Islam jika ia sempurna akal dan –
(a) Mencapai umur lapan belas tahun; atau
(b) Jika ia belum mencapai lapan belas tahun, ibu bapa atau penjaga mengizinkan kemasukannya.”
However, when it was gazetted, there was a minor but far-reaching variation in its Bahasa Malaysia version for Section 95(b) permitting unilateral conversion of minors to Islam when Parliament had always intended dual parental consent, as the gazetted Bahasa Malaysia version reads:
“(b) jika dia belum mencapai umur lapan belas tahun, ibu atau bapa atau penjaganya mengizinkan kemasukannya.” Read the rest of this entry »
- Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 17, 2013
The Islamic Renaissance Front observes the protests in Turkey very closely. We believe there is much at stake in how AKP (The Justice and Development Party) will engage with the demonstrators at this point, especially with regards to the relationship between Islam and Democracy.
It is well known that the AKP, under the leadership of Reccep Tayyip Erdogan, rose to power with ideas for a modern and inclusive balance between politics and Islam. Despite its official ideology as a conservative party, it has nonetheless assured the Turkish people and the international community that it will abide by principles of transparency and openness in governing.
But we can discern some regressive trends after three terms. For one, Erdogan’s refusal to engage with the demonstrators, while blaming social media for stoking unrest, shows how far he has clearly strayed from his democratic ostentations. Read the rest of this entry »