Archive for category Religion

Slippery slope, lawyers say of Pahang ban on holy books in hotels

by Ida Lim
The Malaysian Insider
April 25, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 ― A Pahang Islamic body’s recent decision to ban hotels from carrying books on non-Islamic religions signals another step on the path towards further erosion of Malaysia liberties, said several lawyers yesterday.

Raising alarm over the Pahang Islamic and Malay Customs Council (MUIP)’s move, the lawyers said failure to speak up now would see religious bodies steadily take on a bigger role in regulating the daily conduct of non-Muslims and Muslims.

Lawyer Eric Paulsen said the recent ban highlights a “growing Islamisation in Malaysia and growing encroachment of Islamic authorities in the day-to-day lives of all Malaysians, whether Muslims or non-Muslims”.

“There is now a growing acceptance that this is an Islamic country and that Islam must have its way over non-Muslims and Islam is sacrosanct and their policies must trump all other people’s rights,” the co-founder of civil rights group Lawyers For Liberty (LFL) told The Malay Mail Online.

He agreed that the move to officially ban non-Islamic religious materials from Pahang hotel rooms could lead to a slippery slope where more liberties are lost, claiming that both federal and state authorities appear to favour the Muslims’ rights taking precedence over non-Muslims’ rights.

“Where does that policy stop?” he aked.

Paulsen added that Pahang’s Control and Restriction of the Propagation of Non-Islamic Religions Enactment 1989, which MUIP relied on for the ban, was wide and arbitrary, viewing the state law as going against the Federal Constitution’s rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Silence by the federal authorities over the state department’s move also risks being construed as tacit approval, he added. Read the rest of this entry »

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Three things we learned from: the Seremban child abduction

By Justin Ong
The Malay Mail Online
April 13, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — On Wednesday, S. Deepa’s joy of winning custody of her two children from estranged husband Izwan Abdullah, a Muslim convert, just days earlier turned to terror when he abducted their son from her Seremban home.

But that terror must have been eclipsed by the shock of learning that the police cannot — or will not? — do anything as the man was granted custody of the children by a shariah court last year.

At first glance, the matter had appeared less tangled than the convoluted custody battles that usually accompany child conversion cases, but it soon transpired that such matters inexorably become complicated when religion is involved.

Here are the three things we have learned from the case so far. Read the rest of this entry »

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Khalid Abu Bakar should step down as IGP if he is not prepared to uphold the law in the Seremban child abduction case and enforce High Court order giving custody to the mother

Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar should step down as Inspector-General of Police if he is not prepared to uphold the law in the Seremban child abduction case and enforce the High Court order giving custody to the mother.

The failure and refusal of the Inspector-General of Police to uphold the law and to ignore the Seremban child abduction case is the height of irresponsibility for the top policeman in the country, despite the fact that a police report has been lodged by the mother S Deepa that her son was snatched by her estranged Muslim convert husband although she had won a custody through the civil court.

It is reported that her husband Izwan Abdullah has also obtained a similar order from the Syariah Court.

I agree with the former de facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz that the IGP was mistaken in thinking syariah law allowed a Muslim convert to abduct his child after losing custody to the mother and that the father was clearly wrong to have taken his son without his estranged wife’s permission as the High Court has given her custody of their two children. Read the rest of this entry »

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An earthly beginning

By Dyana Sofya | MalaysMailOnline
Apr 10, 2014

The Bakau program organised by Jaring NGO and Impian Malaysia took place at Pontian Johor, last Saturday. I managed to drag my anti-social younger brother to join in the fun planting mangrove seedlings in the muddy mangrove site.

We had 500 mangrove seedlings and close to 100 volunteers participating in the program. The program was video-recorded and I was asked whether I was disgusted being in a muddy mangrove site for the activity. I replied saying I had no problem being with nature and I was actually enjoying myself while doing good for the environment. Also, a thought that crossed my mind was, even, we human beings originated from earth.

We, Muslims believe that we are made of earth. It is stated in the Quran, Surah Al-Mu’imun (The Believers : 12, “And indeed We created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay (water and earth).”

The earth, the humble stuff beneath our feet. Whenever I am reminded of this fact, massive wave of humility rushes over me and the voice of my mother would rang in my ears, ‘Wherever you go and whatever you do, jangan sombong’, she always reminded me. Read the rest of this entry »

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No Muslim tried to leave religion over past decade, minister says

By Zurairi AR
The Malay Mail Online
March 24, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 24 — Not one Muslim applied to convert out of their faiths in the Shariah Courts over the past decade, a minister said today, laying to rest previous claims of apostasy repeatedly made by religious hardliners.

To the contrary, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said 4,520 individuals embraced Islam in just four years between 2008 and 2012, according to the Federal Territories Religious Department’s (Jawi) records.

“So far, there were no Muslims, including new converts, who left the religion, based on the lack of applications to convert out of Islam in the Shariah courts,” Jamil said in a written reply to Kampar MP Dr Ko Chung Sen in Parliament here.

Ko had requested the number of non-Muslims who converted into Islam in the last ten years, and the number of Muslims who converted out in the same period.

However, Jamil said there were applications by those who were mistakenly registered as Muslims, particularly those in Sabah and Sarawak, who had asked to switch religions.

He said those registered as Muslims by mistake usually have names that sound like Muslims’ names. Read the rest of this entry »

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A nation responds to loss of MH370

by Bridget Welsh
Malaysiakini
March 10, 2014

COMMENT The loss of MH370 will be a defining moment in the country’s history. While attention rightly focuses on comforting families, finding the plane and what has caused this tragedy, the event has shown the depth of caring among Malaysians.

Across faiths, ethnic groups and borders, Malaysians have reached out to each other and to friends. Pride has been put aside in accepting international help and social media on the whole has shared more messages of hope than division. In the shared sadness of loss, the tragedy had revealed and reinforced a strong sense of community.

The image of an interfaith prayer led by former PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was perhaps the most powerful moment over the weekend, as it reflected what had been happening in society itself as Malaysians from all walks of life reached across their differences for those affected by the missing plane. It did not matter what word was being used, as the sentiment was the same.

Crises like these reveal character. They tell us who can handle pressure, test leaders and what are the real priorities. The character that was revealed is a society that cares for each other.

Despite all of the anger and stupidity surrounding recent events – from red paint throwing to unjust legal decisions – the ties among Malaysians are strong and resilient.

The silent majority of people who go about their lives, take planes, go on vacation and work, came out this weekend in the phone calls made to each other, recollections of classmates and on Facebook. This same silent majority is the one who is fed up with politicians abusing power and attacking each other, and wants more emphasis on solving the country’s problems and more dignity in political engagement.

They put Malaysia, its citizens and visitors first. If anything, this is a silver lining of the tragedy. Read the rest of this entry »

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IGP Khalid and AG Gani must explain why they have abdicated from their responsibility to uphold the rule of law and preserve the peace in Malaysia in allowing Perkasa to break laws and commit breaches of peace outside Federal Court

It has been reported that the 500-odd people mobilised by Perkasa outside the Federal Court in Putrajaya this morning hearing the appeal on the use of the term ‘Allah’ turned unruly and threw objects at the front-door of the Palace of Justice, with many trying to breach the police barrier and enter the court building.

This is the report from The Malaysian Insider by Jennifer Gomez entitled “Perkasa supporters upset by church lawyers, try to get into courthouse”:

“The crowd outside the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya turned unruly just before the Federal Court stood down with many trying to breach the police barrier and enter the court building.

“Shouting and screaming, some members in the crowd threw a microphone and water bottle at the glass door entrance to the building.

“The crowd was 4m from the main door as police stood guard.

“Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said that the crowd advanced towards the main glass door of the Palace of Justice as they had got word that Catholic Church lawyers questioned why the use of the word ‘Allah’ by Christians was being made an issue now when it had been in use in the weekly Herald for 14 years prior to 2009.

“’The supporters heard that this was the submission made by the Catholic Church lawyer, so they got upset.’ He added that no one had instructed them to advance.”

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Are the Police and MCMC investigating and taking any action against cyber lies and falsehoods about Muslims being converted to Christianity calculated to incite racial and religious animosity and hatred in country?

Are the police and the Malaysian Multimedia and Communications Commission (MCMC )investigating and taking any action against the lies on the Internet about Muslims being converted to Christianity calculated to incite racial and religious animosity and hatred in the country, in the larger plot to pit race against race and religion against religion in Malaysia?

It is recently reported that a photo of a women’s rights activist, Yu Ren Chung and several others attending a government function has been circulating in cyberspace as ‘proof’ of the country’s Muslims being converted to Christianity.

The photo circulating in blogs since 2012 shows him among with a group seated on wooden benches, many of them women wearing headscarves.

In actual fact, the photo was taken at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation’s (Istac) main hall in Bukit Tunku, Kuala Lumpur, and not at a church as alleged by the blogs. Read the rest of this entry »

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Yes, Ally Hazran Hashim and Siti Kassim are among the unsung heroes and heroines of Malaysia and I welcome the public to pinpoint and identity more “unsung heroes” out to save Malaysia from the voices and forces of hate, bigotry and intolerance

On Saturday (1st March) I issued a statement calling on Malaysians to pay tribute to ordinary Malaysians who are the country’s unsung heroes who dare to stand up for a better Malaysia whether in terms of a better education system, clean elections or inter-religious harmony, for they are the salt of the earth who will ensure that Malaysia will achieve her greatness instead of becoming a failed state.

I named three persons, viz:

· *Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari, the head of Suara Guru Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM), who is facing mean, petty and punitive persecution although he had rendered great national service in spearheading the protest against the woes of the badly-planned and poorly-conceived student-based assessment (SBA) system; and

· *Royal Malaysian Air Force pilot Major Zaidi Ahmad who is facing court martial for his patriotic duty of speaking up about the indelible ink fiasco in the recent 13th General Elections; and

· *Azrul Mohd Khalib, social activist, who led a Malaysians for Malaysia group to spearhead a “Walk for Peace” movement among ordinary Malaysians who care about the country to push for national healing in the face of the worst racial and religious polarization in the nation’s 56-year history. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let us pay tribute to three unsung heroes who dare to stand up for inter-religious harmony, clean elections and a better education system – Azrul Mohd Khalib, Major Zaidi Ahmad and Mohd Nor Izzah

Let us pay tribute to ordinary Malaysians who are the country’s unsung heroes who dare to stand up for a better Malaysia whether in terms of a better education system, clean elections or inter-religious harmony, for they are the salt of the earth who will ensure that Malaysia will achieve her greatness instead of becoming a failed state.

Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari, the head of Suara Guru Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM), who is facing mean, petty and punitive persecution from the “Little Napoleons” in the Education Ministry with the Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin too “busy” to intervene, is one such unsung hero in Malaysia.

What is Nor Izzat’s crime? None, instead he had rendered great national service in spearheading the protest against the woes of the badly-planned and poorly-conceived student-based assessment (SBA) system. He should be rewarded for his positive contribution in forcing the Education Ministry to suspend the SBA instead of being subject to mean and petty punitive actions.

Another unsung Malaysian hero is Royal Malaysian Air Force pilot Major Zaidi Ahmad who should be rewarded instead of being penalised for speaking up about the indelible ink fiasco in the recent 13th General Elections and is now awaiting court-martial for his great service as a patriot to the country.

Nor Izzat wants to have a better education system for our teachers and children. Major Zaidi wants the country to have a clean election system which Malaysians can stand tall in the world.

A third unsung hero Malaysians should pay tribute to is social activist Azrul Mohd Khalib who led a Malaysians for Malaysia group to spearhead a “Walk for Peace” movement among ordinary Malaysians who care about the country to push for national healing in the face of the worst racial and religious polarization in the nation’s 56-year history. Read the rest of this entry »

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Extremists: Ignore them or isolate them?

– Ramon Navaratnam
The Malaysian Insider
February 26, 2014

I refer to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s well meaning advice to “just ignore extremists”.

With due respect sir, there are many Malaysians who will sincerely agree with me that this is not the way to deal with extremists.

Their inflammatory statements and worse still, dangerously provocative and evil acts, based on racial and religious hatred, must instead be nipped in the bud!

Their seditious statements and incendiary acts which undermine our fragile national unity have to be exposed, and those responsible from any quarter should be named, shamed, arrested and prosecuted. They have to be publicly exposed and harshly dealt with rather than inadvertently encouraged to do their dirty work stealthily, secretly, and without scrutiny from the rule of law!

Malaysians should not tolerate extremists and extreme acts of any kind in our multiracial, multi-religious and highly complicated and sensitive society. Read the rest of this entry »

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IGP should stop talking tough and start acting swiftly against irresponsible and reckless elements who want to cause racial and religious disharmony and strife through incessant incitement of racial and religious animosities and hatred

Enough of the Inspector-General, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar talking tough as he should start acting swiftly against irresponsible and reckless elements who want to cause racial and religious disharmony and strife through incessant incitement of racial and religious animosities and hatred.

Why is Khalid talking about the use of any law, including Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), inciting racial tension when the police has not even sent investigation papers to the Attorney-General’s Chambers to arrest and for charges to be laid against those responsible for the self-styled “Council of Islamic NGOs’ “chicken and slap” demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 6 where a slew offences had been committed including criminal intimidation, sedition, incitement of violence against a woman, incitement of violence against a Member of Parliament, incitement of another May 13 riots?

For more than three weeks, not a single person had been able to step forward to point out where DAP National Vice Chairperson and MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok’s “Onederful Malaysia CNY 2014” video is anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-Rulers, although I said I would ask Teresa Kok to withdraw and apologise for the video if there is such evidence.
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Amid growing religious tensions, this group walks for peace in Penang

by Looi Sue-Chern
The Malaysian Insider
February 16, 2014

Hours after a mosque in mainland Penang was defiled with a slab of meat believed to be pork, a group of people visited places of worship in George Town promoting peace and love.

Dressed in purple – the colour that signifies religious tolerance – the group carried carnations and roses, as well as purple balloons as they walked together to visit the St George’s Church, the Goddess of Mercy Temple, the Sri Mahamariaman Temple and Masjid Jamek Lebuh Acheh.

The group’s mission to promote inter-religious tolerance came some 12 hours after a mosque in Cheruk Tok Kun on mainland Penang was defiled with a slab of meat believed to be pork, which was thrown at one of its entrances.

Social activist Azrul Mohd Khalib from the group said the event, “Walk in the Park” by a loose group called Malaysians for Malaysia, is aimed at demonstrating that Malaysians are standing up for their fellow citizens, following increasing concern over tensions related to racial and religious issues.

“We reject violence, aggression, bigotry and discrimination. This is not the Malaysia we want. We can actually exist together in harmony.

“We want to speak for ourselves and stand up against groups like Perkasa and Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA) and their prejudice,” he said, addressing the people who had gathered at the Esplanade field at 5.30pm today, before setting out on their mission of peace. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lessons of faith, harmony and provocation over the weekend

BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
February 17, 2014

Malaysians learnt a few things over a rather hot weekend, from opposition leaders who reached out to all, to ordinary Malaysians preaching harmony and the few troublemakers who appear to incite trouble.

Some might still think opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is a political chameleon but his visit to a Kajang church yesterday proved one thing – he was willing to take the bull by the horns and reach out to all Malaysians irrespective of their faith.

Perhaps he was just there for their votes, those less charitable of him would say.

But the PKR de facto leader did something that no Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders has done in a long time – meet Malaysians outside their community and be the leader of all Malaysians, not just their own race or co-religionists.

Have we seen any BN leader face a crowd of ordinary Malaysians, not from their party or race or religion, and answer their blunt questions? In most cases, it is stage-managed events filled with either a pliant media or those paid to tweet photographs of these leaders.

Anwar is not alone, of course. PAS leaders such as Khalid Abdul Samad and Mujahid Yusof Rawa have also gone to meet and reach out to people from different faiths over the years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysians must form ‘peaceful resistance’ against racial and religious strife, says Ambiga

by Eileen Ng
The Malaysian Insider
February 11, 2014

Malaysians must band together for a “peaceful resistance” against ongoing racial and religious strife facing the country, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan (pic) said last night when recalling founding prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s legacy for Malaysia.

The former co-chair of electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 said those who want to fight racism and bigotry must unite and stand together with the oppressed. Malaysia’s political mercury spiked in the past few months with a church attacked with a firebomb over the Allah issue and threats against an opposition lawmaker over a satirical video clip.

“How do we stop groups who are bent on dividing us? When they speak the language of racism and bigotry, we must respond with the language of unity and togetherness.

“When they speak the language of ignorance, we must speak the language of knowledge. When they attack our brothers and sisters, we must defend them.

“We must respond from a position of knowledge if we see such ignorance. When they create fear, we must respond with courage, when they divide, we must unite.

“We must make this message loud and clear – the more you divide us, the more we will unite,” Ambiga said to applause from the audience at the Tunku Abdul Rahman legacy forum in Kajang. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on IGP to form a special team to investigate the incessant incitement of racial and religious hatred, conflict and tension to create another May 13 riots in the past few months and to nip the nefarious and treacherous plot in the bud

Today is the 111th birth anniversary of Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Sadly, there is nothing much to celebrate to mark the greater realization of Tunku’s Malaysia Dream – to make Malaysia a haven of peace, harmony and happiness – as 44 years after Tunku stepped down as the founding Prime Minister of Malaysia, the country has never been more polarized racially and religiously as today.

Nobody can now claim that Malaysia is a haven of peace, harmony and happiness?

In fact, Malaysia suffered the ignominy ten days ago when a Pakistani website gloated go that “Malaysia no longer land of peace and tolerance” after the latest outrages against racial and religious harmony in Malaysia – the Molotov cocktail attack on a church in Penang a day after the provocative banner, “Allah is Great. Jesus is the son of Allah” was hung outside five churches in Penang without the knowledge of church authorities and the vandalism of eight gravestones in a Christian cemetery in Kuantan.

Two days ago, some 30 members of six NGOs styling themselves the Council of Islamic NGOs staged a protest in Kuala Lumpur and conducted a pagan ritual where they slaughtered chicken and smeared their blood on a banner featuring Pakatan Rakyat leaders and offered RM1,200 to anyone who would slap DAP woman MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok and provide photographic evidence of their action.

Their actions were not only anti-women but anti-Islam as it is totally against Islam as the religion of peace and compassion. Read the rest of this entry »

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When places of worship are turned into hatred factories

Zurairi AR
The Malay Mail Online
February 7, 2014

FEB 7 — As it is often with the government, the left hand rarely — if ever — knows what the right hand is doing.

How else do you explain that in the same week Prime Minister Najib Razak urged Malaysians to listen to the “voice of reason”, another government agency urged Muslims to do exactly the opposite?

In its Friday sermon last week — which came barely a day after the prime minister’s Chinese New Year address — the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) had brazenly singled out Christians and Jews as the so-called “enemies of Islam.”

I say “brazen” because the sermon-writer in Jakim finally found the guts either by purpose or by mistake, to finally name the usually unnamed “enemies.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Deviant sect gives M’sia two tight slaps

Mariam Mokhtar | February 7, 2014
Free Malaysia Today

The behaviour of the protesters yesterday reminds us of religious fanatics in Afghanistan or deepest Pakistan.

COMMENT

The deviants who claim to be Muslims and who wish to preserve the dignity of Malays by offering a reward to anyone who slaps Seputeh MP Teresa Kok are deranged.

They should know that there are no winners in the escalating tensions within the country. The latest act of bloody provocation has tarnished Islam and brought further disrepute to the Muslim community.

These deviants have also insulted the memory of Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman who was born on Feb 8, 111 years ago. If he was alive today, he would have shed tears to see the country which he led to Merdeka being destroyed by men who are not worthy to be called leaders.

The men who claim to represent the Council of Islamic NGOs slaughtered four chickens and then daubed blood on the faces of opposition representatives, portrayed on a banner. They were upset by Teresa’s satirical video.

Did they feel good making that spectacle? Judging from the news reports, they acted like crazed men. Their behaviour reminds us of religious fanatics in Afghanistan or deepest Pakistan, who have just beheaded a man, and in their euphoria, celebrate by shooting their AK-47s into the air.

If these deviants are not censured, how long will it be before we descend to the point of no return and these loopy individuals bathe themselves in blood, whilst shouting “God is Great”? Read the rest of this entry »

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Teresa Kok: PAS kecam provokasi melampau

Feb 07, 2014 | HARAKAHDAILY

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS kesal dengan tindakan provokasi perkauman melampau akhir-akhir ini.

“Tindakan melampau ini bukan sahaja boleh mencetuskan suasana tidak harmoni dalam negara bahkan ia akan mengundang pelbagai reaksi negatif terhadap Islam,” tegas Naib Presiden PAS, Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.

Katanya, tindakan menyembelih ayam untuk upacara yang bertentangan dengan akidah Islam tidak seharusnya dibiarkan, seolah-olah ianya selaras dengan kehendak syarak.

Beliau berkata, PAS mengesahkan agar semua pihak bertindak mengikut lunas perundangan dan membawa sebarang isu yang dianggap melampau kepada pihak berkuasa.

Lebih sedih, ujar beliau apabila tindakan menggalakkan orang menampar dengan habuan wang itu disasarkan terhadap seorang wanita. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ashamed of the un-Islamic acts of bigots

– Ravinder Singh
The Malaysian Insider
February 07, 2014

As one who went to school with Malay children, then worked and lived with and among Malays, and am still living among Malays and very much in close contact with so many of them in my daily activities, I feel ashamed of the actions of the group calling itself “Council of Islamic NGOs”.

Over the years, from my Malay friends and colleagues, and from reading of Islam, I learnt that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. I still firmly hold to this belief.

I am therefore disillusioned and ashamed by the acts of a few bigots calling themselves the “Council of Islamic NGOs” who held a public demonstration where they slit the throats of two chicken, smeared the blood on poster of persons in the opposition camp, then stomped on the pictures of those persons. The poster had the words in bold “13 MEI 1969 DALAM IGAUAN” (igauan can mean talking in one’s sleep). I leave it to readers to interpret that.

Are these bigots not the real threat to Islam as they bring disgrace to the Islam preached by the Prophet? Were their actions not “syirik”?

Jakim must come out to tell peace-loving Malaysians whether the actions of this small group are in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet. If yes, then an explanation is in order as to how they are so. If not, then what action is Jakim going to take to rehabilitate this small group of bigots who only bring shame to the religion.? Read the rest of this entry »

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