Archive for category Islam
by Eileen Ng
The Malaysian Insider
January 09, 2014
Several top Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders are sitting out of the latest row over who can use the word “Allah”, believing reticence is better than stepping on a political landmine, say analysts.
There have been no statements from top leaders of MCA, MIC and Gerakan, who mainly represent non-Malays and non-Muslims in BN, since a firestorm ignited over Christians insisting they are not bound by a Selangor royal decree and the seizure of some 300 Malay and Iban Bibles by the state Islamic authorities.
“It is a no-win situation for them, so in this case, silence is golden,” Professor James Chin, a political analyst with Monash University Malaysia, told The Malaysian Insider.
He also said that component parties were caught in a bind as anything they say would offend either religious or political groups. Read the rest of this entry »
Was AG Gani Patail remiss in his duties in failing to carry out a comprehensive briefing of top government officials on the 10-Point Solution to resolve the Bible controversy which would have averted the Jais raid on BSM?
It has been reported that the Selangor police have wrapped up their investigation against Father Lawrence Andrew over his allegedly seditious remarks on the “Allah” issue.
According to a report on Astro Awani, Selangor police chief Datuk Mohd Shukri Dahlan said that the investigation papers for the case will be submitted to the Attorney-General’s office as early as today.
The police chief also confirmed that the case is being investigated under Section 4 of the Sedition Act 1948.
Including Andrew, the editor of Catholic weekly The Herald, a total of 99 individuals have had their statements recorded on the issue.
Malaysians are asking why the police acted so swiftly on the Father Lawrence case when it has as yet to act on the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) and the confiscation of Malay and Iban Bibles, which were not only illegal and unconstitutional but clear violation of the 10-Point Solution endorsed by the Federal Cabinet in April 2011 to resolve the Bible controversy.
The Jais raid and the confiscation of the Malay and Iban Bibles would not have taken place if there had been good understanding and proper respect for the 10-Point Solution, both in letter and spirit, by both Jais and the Malaysian police. Read the rest of this entry »
by V. Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
January 08, 2014
Selangor’s religious authorities were wrong to seize Malay and Iban language Bibles and must return them as the ban on using the word Allah is only for the Catholic weekly Herald, say lawyers and politicians.
They said the Bible, be it in any language, was never banned in Malaysia and as such, the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) had no right to seize the holy books from The Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) last Thursday as the Allah issue only centred on the Herald case.
Human rights lawyer Andrew Khoo Chin Hock said the Court of Appeal ruling last October that barred Herald from using the word Allah had included Bibles in the 10-point solution endorsed by the federal Cabinet in 2011.
“So Jais’s raid and seizure has no basis at all because the 10-point solution covers the holy book,” Khoo told The Malaysian Insider, referring to the agreement that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government had made with the Christian community ahead of the Sarawak state election. Read the rest of this entry »
by Mariam Mokhtar
Jan 6, 2014
Najib Abdul Razak: Entrepreneur. String-puller. Property speculator. Globe-trotter. Magician and part-time prime minister. Being the Malaysian PM is without doubt, a dream job.
Pampered while crossing the globe in luxury, dining at the finest restaurants, lounging in the best hotels and bedecking his spouse in the finest jewels.
The nation is on the cusp of another racial and religious conflict, but Najib is nowhere to be seen, or heard; a testimony to his expertise in performing the disappearing trick, he is the poor-man’s Tommy Cooper.
Be warned! Competition is fierce for this dream job. Although the job seems to be up for grabs every five years, just like a crooked race, the fix is in and the outsider always seems to win.
Today, when community tensions are simmering, and pro-Umno Baru NGOs are threatening Christians, Najib has again failed to censure the extremists. His head is stuck firmly in the sand, his lips are sealed together and he is hiding behind the extremist NGOs.
The recent troubles may appear to be a steep escalation in religious extremism, but they aren’t. The timing of the assault on the Christian community is critical. The Perak mufti’s intervention is revealing.
What we see is Umno Baru’s dirty politics at play. What appears to be a radical rise in extremism is an illusion being staged by pro-Umno Baru NGOs, and given excessive publicity by the mainstream media. Read the rest of this entry »
Mohamed Hanipa Maidin
Jan 5, 2014
At present we are witnessing religious bigotry rearing its ugly head. As a Muslim, I am asking myself what kind of Islam is my fellow Muslims are trying to portray.
Many religious issues are unfortunately being mishandled by the BN government. The muted prime minister lacks political courage to find any effective solution to heal the wounds.
The issue of shia, the ongoing fiasco over the use of ‘Allah’, the attempt to amend Article 3 (1) of the Federal Constitution declaring the sect of ahlul sunnah as an official version of Islam, the statement by Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria linking the participants of peaceful assembly in Dataran Merdeka as traitors, thus it would be lawful to execute them, the raid by Jais leading to the seizure of Malay Bibles and the arrest of two Christian adherents, are but few examples depicting the fragility of religious issues.
Islam has nothing to do with all this. Neither has Christianity, I sincerely believe. Unfortunately, Islam has been always misjudged through the prism of irresponsible acts of its adherents.
It has been said that Islam is being hidden by Muslims themselves through their conduct and behaviour.
To quote Alexender Pope, “a little knowledge is dangerous thing”.
Knowledge of Islam or rather the lack of it, has contributed to this state of affairs. Read the rest of this entry »
Anisah Shukry | January 3, 2014
Free Malaysia Today
Malaysia’s leaders and Islamic scholars are just using Islam to serve their own interests, says former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia would be better off separating religion from politics, rather than using matters of the faith as a tool to crackdown on political dissent, said former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.
Weighing in on Harussani Zakaria’s statement that those who protested at the New Year’s Eve anti-hike rally were bughah (traitors), Mohd Asri said he was disgusted at the blatant misuse of religion by “so-called scholars”.
“Religion has been used as a political weapon to the point that an announcement was made permitting the bloodshed of the weak. I’m not asking for separation of religion from politics, because that is not a habit of Islam.
“But at the same time, if religion is merely used as a weapon to serve political interests, it is better for the two to be separated,” the Islamic scholar wrote on his blog drmaza.com yesterday.
Harussani, who is the mufti of Perak, reportedly said yesterday that it was haram (forbidden) for Muslims to participate in the mass protest against the rising cost of living.
“…all the protestors should be arrested for being traitors to the government and accordingly in Islam, bloodshed is permitted on the bughah,” Harussani was quoted by Malay daily Berita Harian. Read the rest of this entry »
by Sheridan Mahavera
The Malaysian Insider
January 04, 2014
What’s up with the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais)? This seems to be the catch-all phrase when describing its raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia office on Thursday where some 300 Bahasa Malaysia and Iban Bibles were seized.
And the more some leaders and pundits struggle to come up with answers through the fog of silence that shrouds Jais, the more it looks like “politics” instead of “law” emerges as an explanation.
This latest incident also highlights (again) the persistent contradictions and problems in the ruling Barisan Nasional’s (BN) handling of the “Allah” issue.
Also, it reflects a deep gap in the understanding of Islam, not just among Muslims, but also the authorities who are supposed to be in charge with regulating its practice. Read the rest of this entry »
The Malay Mail Online
January 3, 2014
Jan 3 — The Malaysian Bar is concerned by reports that Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (“JAIS”, the Selangor Islamic Religious Department) had on 2 January 2014 conducted a raid on the office of the Bible Society of Malaysia (“BSM”), confiscated more than 300 copies of the Alkitab (Bahasa Malaysia bible) and Bup Kudus (Iban bible), and arrested the President and the Office Manager of BSM. It is also reported that the President and the Office Manager have been required to present themselves to JAIS officers on 10 January 2014.
It is alarming that the religious body or enforcement agency of one religion would purport to have jurisdiction or purview over other religions. This is not what is envisaged under the Federal Constitution. The actions of JAIS are purported to have been carried out pursuant to the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment No 1 of 1988 of Selangor (“said Selangor Enactment”), in particular sections 9 to 13 thereof.
The said Selangor Enactment is stated in its preamble to have been enacted pursuant to Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution, which provides that State law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam. The purpose of the said Selangor Enactment is therefore an enactment against the propagation of other religions to Muslims or the proselytisation of Muslims. Read the rest of this entry »
by Boo Su-Lyn
The Malay Mail Online
January 2, 2014
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 — As religious tensions from the five-year-old “Allah” controversy spilled over into the new year, senior Christian clergymen here have appealed for mutual respect from Malaysian Muslims with a reminder that they too have the right to practice their faith according to the precepts of their own religion.
Asked for their wishes for the year ahead, several church leaders here said they want the constitutional rights of Christians recognised and an end to the hate-mongering fueled by the tussle over on word – “Allah” – which has divided Malaysians along geographical and racial lines.
“We are not expecting Malaysia to be a Christian country. The main thing is respect.
“Respect and recognise that each individual has the right to choose whatever they believe,” said Rev Datuk Jerry Dusing, president of the evangelical Sabah Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB).
“That’s the central tenet of human rights,” the head of Sabah’s second-largest church told The Malay Mail Online in an interview on his hopes for 2014. Read the rest of this entry »
– Muhammad As’ad
The Malaysian Insider
December 28, 2013
To be a religious believer we have to follow certain strict rules which cannot be violated. For instance as Muslims we believe that Allah is the only God and the Prophet Muhammad is His messenger; we must regularly observe the five daily prayers, zakat, fasting during the month of Ramadhan, and the haj at least once in a lifetime — all these are the five pillars of Islam. As Muslims, we cannot evade those five pillars except for some specific exceptions.
Another important step is to make religion a part of our life. The number of Muslims in this country is remarkable. How can we say that we are not religious?
However, Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perception Index showed that Indonesia was ranked 118 out of 176 countries; worse than in 2011 when Indonesia was ranked 100. The Indonesia Ulama Council (MUI) even issued an edict in 2000, stating that bribery, corruption and gratification are forbidden.
Nonetheless, these rules fail to deter corruption. For instance, the treasurer of MUI, Chairunnisa, who is also a lawmaker of the Golkar party, was arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) along with the former Constitutional Court chief Akil Mochtar. We probably have religious piety but we certainly do not have social piety.
In terms of religiosity, we are quite remarkable. We can see many Indonesian people celebrating religious activities, rituals and commemorations. Nevertheless, this religiosity does not seem to influence our life. Read the rest of this entry »
– Hafiz Ahmad
The Malaysian Insider
December 24, 2013
The recent series of racial and religious polemics have caused a big storm in our country. It is worse when some politicians take advantage of these issues to become heroes so that people will applaud them as true Islamic/Malays protector. In return, they expect to get more votes in the next election.
They know that the Malays easily become irrational when it comes to racial and religious issues. The Malays have been trapped in a dogmatic circle for too long thus preventing them from thinking rationally.
I am truly impressed with Mujahid Yusuf Rawa’s effort, organising a dialogue to strengthen the bridge between Islam and Christianity; others, including the ulama and ustaz and those in Islamic institutions such as Jakim and Jais, have failed to do it.
The Malays are terrified with a lot of imaginary enemies then suddenly Mujahid came up with an idea to have a dialogue with this “imaginary enemy”. I feel such a relief when knowing there is at least one politician with thoughtful idea. This is the true Islamic teaching and understanding. Read the rest of this entry »
– Hafiz Ahmad
The Malaysian Insider
December 22, 2013
The Malays are in a state of delusion. They cannot differentiate between their real problems and the delusional ones. I could not understand why they are paranoid with liberalism, pluralism, Shiism and Christianity, as these have no effect in their daily lives.
Some Malays don’t even understand what liberalism really means. If anyone can explain what is the real threat of liberalism in our lives, I will be very grateful. Please enlighten me, I’m so confused.
While people are struggling to put food in their mouths, there are those busy pointing their fingers at the 9% Christian population, claim that Christians are trying to establish a Christian state in Malaysia.
With the exception of Vatican, there is no Christian state in this world. Even Italy with a strong Catholic population does not claim to be Christian country.
Are Malays out of their mind? Muslims comprise 61.3% of the country’s population and Christians only 9.2 %. Where is the threat? It is worse when some religious bigots called Pembina fire up this delusional issue by organizing forums to make Muslims believe there is a threat from Christians. Read the rest of this entry »
December 21, 2013
SHAH ALAM, 21 DISEMBER – Rakyat turun ke jalanraya dan mengadu kepada Tuhan kerana kerajaan sudah tidak lagi mendengar keluh kesah mereka, bukan bermakna rakyat mahukan sebarang bentuk negara tetapi mahukan keadilan.
Demikian analisa bekas mufti Perlis, Prof Madya Dato’ Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin terhadap revolusi berganda di Mesir yang akhirnya menyaksikan Presiden ke-lima negara tersebut, Dr Mohamad Morsi digulingkan.
Beliau mengulas lanjut soal meletakkan label ‘negara Islam’ yang bagi beliau bukanlah perkara yang terlalu penting.
“Pakistan pun ada enakmen undang-undang Islam, tetapi lihat negara dia punyalah kotor. Bukankah kebersihan itu sebahagian daripada Islam. New Zealand lebih Islam daripada Pakistan,” ujarnya dalam wacana ‘Ikhwan Muslimin: Musuh atau kawan’ di sini, hari ini. Read the rest of this entry »
– Dyana Sofya
The Malaysian Insider
December 18, 2013
Dear Zahid Hamidi, what happened to innocent until proven guilty?
The controversy surrounding Zahid Hamidi and Mat Sabu where the minister claimed that Mat Sabu is a Shiite, followed by the Ministry of Home Affairs’s 10 pieces of evidence to back the claim, has become the laughing stock throughout the nation.
Soon after, the ministry covered up by saying that the 10 pieces of evidence are only Grade B evidence, and that it would soon provide Grade A evidence to prove the Minister’s claim.
Not just that, Mat Sabu was asked to prove his innocence or rather his non involvement with Shiite movement.
Dear Minister of Home Affairs, what happened to rule of law where one is innocent until proven guilty? Read the rest of this entry »
The Malaysian Insider
December 17, 2013
The ongoing religious persecution of Mat Sabu and many others before him portends a grave future for religious freedom in this country. We are not only denied political freedom (in the manner that governs the media and the electoral process), but also liberty in matters of personal belief.
We are already witnessing a new wave of attacks against Shias which are more commonly associated with the Middle East and Pakistan. Sunni-Shia warfare has turned the Muslim world upside-down with senseless killings and now it has arrived on our shores, thanks to our Minister in charge of security.
I believe that religious freedom as a legal right has been denied, bastardised and distorted in this country. Many years ago, when Kamariah Ali and her husband pleaded before the judges to allow them to be the kind of Muslims that they understood God meant for them to be, they were denied.
The judges ruled that the State had the right to define Islam, and that only this version was acceptable. The judges went on to say the State also had the right to punish those who deviated from this version of Islam. Read the rest of this entry »
By Boo Su-Lyn
The Malay Mail Online
December 10, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — Umno’s increasing focus on Islam will likely spark inter and intra-religious tensions here, and even affect the country’s development, analysts have said as they warned of the dangers of placing one religion, or denomination, above another.
The political observers noted that in recent months, Umno appears to have entered a competition to “out-Islamise” Islamist PAS, the one opposition party seen as its biggest competitor for the Malay-Muslim vote, the country’s key voting demographic.
Wan Saiful Wan Jan, chief executive of libertarian think tank Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), even said Umno’s 67th general assembly last week seemed very much like a gathering by PAS two decades ago.
“I must say it’s really disappointing to see the Umno assembly becoming like what PAS was 20 years ago,” Wan Saiful told The Malay Mail Online yesterday.
“PAS has moved on. Umno has suddenly become Muslim again… it’s really sad to see the prime minister outside the assembly talking about progressive, liberal views.
“But, in his own party, at the annual gathering, it’s like attending a PAS gathering 20 years ago,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »
By Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid
7 December 2013
The transmission of Islam in the Malay-Indonesian world remains entrenched in history as one of the foremost examples of peaceful proselytisation of religion on a trans-continental scale. So successful was the continuous process from around the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, that the Islamic faith (agama) became comfortably embedded as a definitive criterion, apart from the Malay language (bahasa Melayu) and rulership (kerajaan), of Malayness – in reference to the broad category of Southeast Asia’s indigenous population who were previously adherents of animism and variants of Hindu-Buddhist religious traditions prevalent in the archipelago. The sources, modalities, timing and other details of the genesis of Islam among the Malays had always been diverse – there were sufis or Muslim mystics and shias; Arabs, Chinese, Indians and Bengalis; sayyids, sheikhs and itinerant missionaries; merchants, traders and political escapees from the flux engulfing their lands of origin or transit.
With its kaleidoscopic provenance as the backdrop, Islam as understood and practised by Malay-Muslims prior to the era of the nation state never bore monolithic traits. On the contrary, accommodation of mores from a variety of civilisational traditions prevailed, as strongly reflected in the assortment of religious practices deriving from various ethno-cultural traditions that eventually assumed the label of being part of Malay-Muslim heritage. Hence we find for instance, in Penang, the boria musical tradition which traces its ancestry to Shiah festivities. Religio-cultural marhaban and berzanji troupes who commonly perform during Malay wedding receptions, in turn, owe their origins to rhythmic salutations of the Prophet Muhammad popularised by sufi congregations. Islam in Malaya, up till independence on 31 August 1957, had remained steadfast to the spirit of wide interpretation, as personified by its perennial willingness to accommodate the intricacies of local customs known as adat, and to tolerate the arrival of new cultural strands such as the Kaum Muda and even the West. The celebrated public debate in Kelantan on whether a dog’s saliva could be considered impure or not in 1937 was indicative of the spirit of tolerance of diversity of views that prevailed in pre-independent Malaya. The differences of views between the traditional and reformist ulama notwithstanding, the terrain of Islam in Malaya was invariably pluralist from the pre-colonial through the colonial epochs. Read the rest of this entry »
– SM Mohamed Idris
The Malaysian Insider
December 07, 2013
Kami dukacita di atas cadangan oleh Timbalan Presiden Umno Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yang mahu meminda Perlembagaan Persekutuan untuk menjamin ajaran Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah sebagai kepercayaan umat Islam di Malaysia dan merayu supaya mempertimbangkan semula perkara itu kerana ia mempunyai implikasi serius ke atas perpaduan umat Islam dan komitmen antarabangsa Malaysia.
Kami percaya cadangan yang dibuat itu adalah respons kepada kempen anti Syiah pada masa ini yang sedang dijalankan oleh kumpulan tertentu yang dipengaruhi dan disokong oleh ulama Salafi yang bersikap melampau.
Islam itu satu dan tiada Islam Sunni atau Islam Syiah. Terdapat perbezaan mazhab dan orang Islam bebas untuk mengikuti mana-mana mazhab. Sebarang cubaan untuk menafikan hak sesuatu mazhab akan hanya membawa kepada perpecahan dan konflik dalam kalangan umat Islam dan melemahkan usaha yang sedang diusahakan untuk menyatupadukan umat Islam bagi menghadapi cabaran dari kuasa hegemoni, diktator dan pemerintah autokratik.
Pada Julai 2005, berdasarkan fatwa yang dikeluarkan oleh 24 ulama paling kanan dalam agama Islam termasuk Ulama Sunni, Sheikh Al Azhar Dr Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, Sheikh Dr. Yusuf Abdullah Al-Qaradawi, Mufti Pakistan Muhammad Taqi Uthmani dan Ulama Syiah Ayatollah Al-Sayyid Ali Khameni dan Ayatollah Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Sistani, Raja Abdullah II dari Jordan telah menganjurkan satu persidangan Islam antarabangsa yang dihadiri oleh 200 sarjana Islam terkemuka dunia dari 50 negara yang telah menerima fatwa tersebut, iaitu: Read the rest of this entry »
By Stuart Grudgings
10:42 p.m. CST, December 5, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Malaysia’s ruling party, stung by an election setback in May, is burnishing its Islamic credentials, aiming to gain ground among majority ethnic Malay voters in a move that could heighten concern over growing religious intolerance in the multi-racial Southeast Asian country.
The coalition led by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) suffered its worst election result, hurt by the desertion of ethnic Chinese voters and many urban dwellers, including Muslim Malays, its traditional bedrock of support.
Ahead of the party’s annual general assembly this week, Prime Minister Najib Razak shored up his support by making concessions to the party’s conservative wing, rolling back his previous liberal social reforms, boosting steps to favour ethnic Malays economically and stressing UMNO’s role as a protector of the Islamic faith.
That has enabled him to push forward with unpopular economic steps to tackle the country’s chronic fiscal deficit, most recently the announcement of a 15 percent rise in electricity tariffs from January.
Read the rest of this entry »
– Ahmad Mustakim
The Malaysian Insider
November 23, 2013
The issue of sectarian differences in Malaysia has been ongoing for months. Muslims have been quarrelling (some countries end up committing genocide over it) over the differences in doctrines of Islam. Have Muslims ever wondered to what end this quarrelling will bring us?
After Prophet Muhammad’s death, his companions and the next generations differed on religious matters, parallel to the growing empire and the number of people converting to Islam. It was from the political end, not religious, that the ummah was divided.
According to the Amman Message, all eight mazhab (school of thoughts), including Sunni, Shia, salafi, ibadhi, asharism and Sufism are considered Muslims and, therefore, it is forbidden to declare Muslims in the mazhab as kaffir (takifiri).
It is sad to see how the clerics and ulama could not cooperate wisely with their differences in ideology. Such a situation leaves the Muslim public in confusion over theology. You see, the great scholars of many sects did not make it compulsory to follow their teachings. Read the rest of this entry »