Archive for category Religion

A paradox, but two by-election victories make UMNO/BN leaders more desperate for general election victory and there will be greater demonization campaign against the opposition – such as painting me as anti-Malay, anti-Islam or even anti-Chinese

This is a paradox – but the two by-election victories in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar have made UMNO/BN leaders more desperate for victory in the 14th General Election and I expect a greater demonization campaign against the Opposition – such as painting me as anti-Malay, anti-Islam and even as anti-Chinese.

I will give three examples post twin by-elections:

Firstly, I would place in such a category the statement by the former Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad who alleged that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s support of opposition parties DAP and Amanah in the recent by-elections were “detrimental to Malays”.

He said that the former prime minister could try and oust Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak from within Umno, but should steer clear of lobbying for support within the Pakatan Harapan opposition alliance as the chances of Malays retaining power once they have lost it is “very slim”.

Could the former Chief Justice answer the two questions which had been posed by the National Laureate Pak Samad:

“How are Malays under threat? How can religion (Islam) and Malays be threatened when those in power have been Malay for over five decades?

“What have they (Malay leaders) been doing for five decades (if Malays can be under threat)?”

Whatever happens in the 14th General Election, whether Najib is toppled as Prime Minister or UMNO loses the Federal Government, the Malays in Malaysia will continue to exercise political power in Malaysia as there is no way they will lose their political power. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rise of Malaysia’s ‘racist’ strain of Islam

By Lim Teck Ghee
9 Jun 2016, AM 10:05 (Updated 9 Jun 2016, AM 10:08)

COMMENT A recent article comparing the treatment accorded by the government and the larger Islamic community to two recent Muslim visitors notes that the question as to why preacher Zakir Naik and scholar Abdullahi An-Na’im and their messages are resounding differently with the Malay Muslim community is a crucial one for Malaysians to ask.

The contrast in the themes articulated by these two visitors in their lectures and public engagements cannot be more different.

That of the scholar is a vision of a more humanistic and intellectually more rational and defensible Islam. The other by the preacher stems from a conservative and extremist position. Based on advocacy of Islam as a superior religion, Zakir offers simplistic but popular – with the Muslim masses – opinions on topics such as dealing with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenders (LGBT) people and other non-Islamic minorities, apostasy, the treatment of other faiths in Islamic states, the evils of secularism, etc.

Similar questions have been asked by others as to why Islam in this country has taken a hard line position and turned its back on its traditionally moderate roots and associated Hindu-Buddhist values and mores. Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t have to invent the wheel, just have the political will to do what is right and just to implement the Cabinet decision of April 22, 2009 or resign as Ministers

All eyes are on the Cabinet meeting today – will the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his 36 Ministers in the jumbo Cabinet end one of the greatest injustices of the seven-year Najib premiership – the Indira Gandhi injustice where a mother had been forcibly separated from her 11-month old baby daughter not for one or two years but for seven long years!

For seven long years, the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, Parliament and the Judiciary have all failed Indira Gandhi and her daughter, and the Constitution, the laws, the courts and the system of governance have been manipulated to deny Indira and her daughter their fundamental rights as a mother and a child to be to see, hold and touch each other!

There is no need for the Cabinet today to invent the wheel. Just have the political will to do what is right and just to implement the Cabinet decision of April 22, 2009 that there should be no unilateral conversion of children and that the children of parents where one parent chooses to convert to Islam must continue to be raised in the common religion at the time of the marriage. Or resign as Ministers!

Furthermore, the Minister should demonstrate that it is not only a Cabinet of compassion and humanity, but of justice and competence by directing the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and all relevant agencies to ensure that within 48 hours, Indira Gandhi should be able to re-unite with her daughter whom she had not seen for seven long years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Our freedom to celebrate diversity

The Malaysian Insider
24 December 2015

Today is Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birthday and Malaysia is one of the rare Muslim countries to celebrate the occasion with a public holiday thrown in. Not many celebrate it, let alone gazette a holiday for it.

Unlike Christmas, which is celebrated worldwide except in two countries this year and forever – Brunei and Somalia. It would appear that public celebrations of Christmas and in the case of Somalia, New Year, is inimical to their beliefs.

That is their excuse. And the limit to their citizens’ freedom and rights.

But we in Malaysia are a lot more fortunate. We have the freedom to celebrate diversity, celebrating Christmas and New Year despite the views of a narrow section of public that wishing Merry Christmas is not quite kosher. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let Nik Aziz and Karpal be the example for all Malaysians to promote harmony, goodwill and tolerance across race, religion and culture so that Malaysia can be a model of peaceful multi-religious diversity for the world

2015 Christmas Message in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, 24th December 2015

Christmas Day tomorrow in 2015 is especially significant as today is the birthday of Prophet Muhammad on Maulid-ar-Rasul, an overlapping which underlines religious diversity both in Malaysia and the world.

I am reminded of two events, the first the Monday incident in Mandera in northeast Kenya where Muslims protected Christians in a bus attack by Somali Islamist terrorists, telling the terrorists, “You’ll have to kill us all” and other, the January 2013 Thaipusam visit by the then PAS Mursyidul Am and Kelantan Mentri Besar, Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat to the DAP National Chairman and MP for Bukit Gelugor, Karpal Singh in the latter’s Penang home where Nik Aziz’s 82nd birthday was also celebrated.

Let Malaysians regardless of race, religion and region be inspired by both these events, in particular the example of the two great Malaysian leaders, Nik Aziz and Karpal Singh, to promote harmony, goodwill, tolerance across race, religion and culture so that Malaysia can be a model of peaceful multi-religious diversity for the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Christmas wish

Lyana Khairuddin
The Malaysian Insider
23 December 2015

It is really easy to get caught in the hype and commercialisation of Christmas.

Let’s be realistic here, Christmas no longer represents merely a religious holiday that marks the birth of Jesus, but rather an occasion for merrymaking with friends over food, that great unifier of mankind.

Of course, in Malaysia, our turkeys are halal-certified and our merrymaking involves being served orange juice in wine glasses. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bigotry wrapped in prayer is still bigotry

Azrul Mohd Khalib
The Malay Mail Online
December 18, 2015

DECEMBER 18 ― When I first heard of last week’s seminar “Ancaman gerakan pemurtadan Kristianisasi” (Threat of the Christianisation movement), my first reaction wasn’t to sigh in exasperation at the wanton abuse by the administrators of the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Lendu campus of the trust and mandate to educate young minds.

It wasn’t my outrage that this is yet another example of how ignorant and misinformed dogma and bigotry have somehow percolated and seeped into the minds of our educators at one of our institutions of higher learning.

I was dismayed that the Police DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM) saw fit to attend and present at this seminar. Our women and men in dark blue are supposed to enforce the law, keep the peace and protect the lives and property of all Malaysians.

PDRM’s presence and participation at such an event, while not ― as the IGP rightly points out ― unlawful, sends the wrong message and provides legitimacy and credibility to something that is more suited to the fringe, paranoid and crazy-eyed crowd.

PDRM’s participation in this kind of seminar by virtue of its presence, provides support and endorsement to the idea that Christians, their faith and their actions could, or in this case, should be considered and viewed as national security threats.

I cannot emphasise enough that this viewpoint is not only wrong and malicious, but also that this is actually religious bigotry disguised as righteousness. Read the rest of this entry »

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Laying the foundation for fanaticism

– Sheela R.
The Malaysian Insider
16 November 2015

Imagine yourself to be seven years old. A tender age where your foremost consideration would be if you get to play your favourite game with your friends, watch a television programme or simply decide on which ice-cream flavour to indulge in.

Now imagine yourself at that age in a class, where a teacher talks of hell and heaven and the myriad punishments awaiting sinners and unbelievers.

The stuff of nightmares is introduced progressively to you, in the guise of imparting religious values. These visions terrify you, but you don’t have the maturity or intellect to challenge the teacher. Read the rest of this entry »

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Do Paris terror attacks highlight a clash of civilisations?

Gideon Rachman
Financial Times
November 16, 2015

Multiculturalism is not a naive liberal aspiration — it is the reality of the modern world

Ever since the late Samuel Huntington predicted that international politics would be dominated by a “clash of civilisations”, his theory, first outlined in 1993, has found some of its keenest adherents among militant Islamists. The terrorists who inflicted mass murder on Paris are part of a movement that sees Islam and the west as locked in inevitable mortal combat.

Leading western politicians, by contrast, have almost always rejected Huntington’s analysis. Even former US President George W Bush said: “There is no clash of civilisations.” And everyday life in multicultural western nations, most of which have large Muslim minorities, offers a daily refutation of the idea that different faiths and cultures cannot live and work together.

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, that core idea needs to be reaffirmed. And yet a necessary restatement of liberal values should not prevent a sober acknowledgment of some malign global trends. The fact is that hardline Islamism is on the rise — even in some countries, such as Turkey, Malaysia and Bangladesh, previously regarded as models of moderate Muslim societies. At the same time, the expression of anti-Muslim prejudice is entering the political mainstream in the US, Europe and India.

Taken together, these developments are narrowing the space for those who want to push back against the narrative of a “clash of civilisations”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tun Dr Ismail’s son wants Jakim abolished

by Anisah Shukry
The Malaysian Insider
9 November 2015

There was a time in the country’s history when the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) did not exist, Putrajaya did not tell Malaysians how to practise their faith, and no one batted an eye when Muslims owned dogs.

And the former deputy prime minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman’s eldest son, Tawfik Ismail, wants those days back.

The main step is to dissolve Jakim, Tawfik said during an interview in conjunction with the release of “Drifting into Politics”, a collection of his late father’s writings during the nation’s formative years, edited by Tawfik and academic Ooi Kee Beng. Read the rest of this entry »

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I am Muslim, I don’t have a ticket to heaven

Fa Abdul | August 13, 2015
Free Malaysia Today

How can we eradicate racism when we have half brained teachers who teach absolute nonsense to our children?


Nine year old Alicia who goes to Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Hartamas came home from school last week and asked her mom if she will end up in hell when she dies.
“Mommy, Lina said her teacher told the Agama class that when we die, the Malays will go to heaven and non-Malays will go to hell. Is it true?”

Eleven year old Yasmin who goes to Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Desa was confused over who her friends should be and decided to seek her mom’s advice.

“Ummi, my Ustaz says it is haram to be friends with Olivia and Annie. He said it is because they are not Muslim. But I like Olivia and Annie, they are my best friends. Will God be angry with me if I talk to them?”

Both incidents you just read about aren’t made up. The names have been changed to protect the identities of the children but the stories are very much real. Read the rest of this entry »

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In recurring religious conflicts, Muslim MPs ask where Malaysia is headed

by Joseph Sipalan
Malay Mail Online
June 27, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 ― Muslim lawmakers from both sides of the political divide have raised concerns over the seeming trend of Muslims imposing their beliefs on others, questioning if this is reflective of a wider agenda that is backed by Putrajaya to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state.

The federal lawmakers noted that the federal government appeared either unable to stop or even condoning of incidents in which Islamic sensibilities are imposed on the larger society by religious authorities and individuals.

“This issue bothers me because as our forefathers taught us, religion should be about faith and (is) personal,” Umno’s Pulai MP Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed told Malay Mail Online via text message.

“I suspect the longer-term objective of these groups is to usurp power through religious means and therefore avoid being legitimately elected.

“While I respect their motives and intentions, the elected government of the day must control the actions of these groups and act in the interest of all the citizens of the country,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »

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The demonisation of secularism

Zairil Khir Johari
The Malaysian Insider
17 June 2015

Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s own understanding without the guidance of another. This immaturity is self-incurred if its cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of resolution and courage to use it without the guidance of another. The motto of enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude (dare to know)! Have courage to use your own understanding! (Immanuel Kant)

The discussion on secularism in this country is a problematic one, chiefly because the term has become trapped in the narrow framework of identity politics dominated by the hegemony of ethno-religious nationalist discourse. As a result, secularism is now an emotive expression invoked as a label to paint its targets as anti-religion. In the Malaysian context, that always means anti-Islam.

Malaysia’s Department of Islamic Development (Jakim), the foremost religious authority in our country, for example, has issued warnings against conspiracies by “enemies of Islam” to manipulate them through ideas like secularism, pluralism, socialism, feminism and positivism. In May last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, added “human rightism” to the list of offending ideologies that threaten the faith of Muslims.

Why has secularism come to be so demonised? Read the rest of this entry »

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Umno’s hypocrisy nauseating!

By P Ramakrishnan
Free Malaysia Today
June 16, 2015

Some Umno leaders seem to have taken leave of their common sense. They don’t make sense when they speak and there is no logic in what they say.


The reaction from two Umno leaders exposes their hypocrisy when they came out with their ridiculous statements with regard to the DAP’s willingness to build a mosque in Kampung Pasir Tumboh in Kelantan.

According to Kelantan Umno liaison chairman Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, “The DAP’s plan to build a mosque in Gua Musang is an insult to Muslims in this country.”

Meanwhile, not to be outdone by Mustapa , Kelantan Umno Religious Affairs Bureau chairman Datuk Ashraf Wajdi Dusuki repeated the same silly statement: “The DAP’s plan to build a mosque in Gua Musang is an insult to Muslims in this country.”

Except for coming out with a sweeping statement claiming outrageously that it is an insult to Muslims in this country, none of them has cared to state in what way it would be an insult to Muslims if a mosque was to be built by DAP. Read the rest of this entry »

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Death camps are a ‘blight on the soul of the nation’

Malay Mail Online
June 2, 2015

JUNE 2 — The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) is deeply saddened by the discovery of mass graves of migrants at the Malaysian/Thai border in Perlis. We are distressed to read reports that they were victims of abuse and torture at the hands of human traffickers and that several members of our police force may have been complicit.

The exploitation, torture and killing of our fellow human beings at these “death camps” on Malaysian soil are a blight of our nation and humanity. These victims deserve more than the indignity of un-mourned deaths and unmarked graves and their souls call for our prayers and for justice.

As such the MCCBCHST calls on Malaysians of all faiths to hold prayer sessions for the solace and rest of the victims and to ask for those responsible for these “death camps” to be brought to justice.

We call upon regional and national leaders to legislate and enforce sustainable humane solutions to the long-standing challenge of refugees, migrants and stateless people being exploited and abused by human traffickers across our borders. Read the rest of this entry »

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Multi-religious society: Destructive or constructive?

Dyana Sofya
The Malay Mail Online
May 15, 2015

MAY 15 — Last month, I had the honour of being selected to participate in the Australia-Malaysia Institute (AMI) Muslim Exchange Programme Visit.

The purpose of the programme was for us, the participants, to discover different perspectives on current cultural issues in an increasingly multi-ethnic and multi-religious migrant society such as Australia.

Through the programme, we were also able to exchange ideas and experiences with various communities there.

As the main objective of the programme was to broaden our understanding of inter-community relations, the state of Victoria was an obvious place to visit. Victorians originated from more than 200 countries, speak more than 230 languages and dialects, and follow more than 130 religious faiths. While their origins couldn’t be anymore diverse, they all migrated with one aspiration in mind – to find a better life for themselves and their children.

A memorable highlight of the visit was when we had afternoon tea and lamingtons (a traditional Australian treat of sponge cake squares coated in chocolate and grated coconut) at a kosher café in Balaclava.

As interesting as the lamingtons were, we were more enthralled by the conversation we had with Abraham, a rabbi and Mohsin, an imam. Read the rest of this entry »

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Your faith may be weak, but mine isn’t

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
24 April 2015

I am a Muslim and a Malaysian who has no problem with other religions displaying their religious symbols. As a matter of fact, I have no problem sitting down and having a cup of coffee with my non-Muslim friends in a “kedai kopi Cina”, or having them eat in front of me during Ramadhan because my faith will not shatter into pieces, by the temptations of such petty things.

I know I am not the only one, and that there are countless other Malaysian Muslims who were repulsed by the idiocy displayed, in Taman Medan a few days ago. Malaysians aren’t stupid – even if the powers that be are adamant about keeping us dim-witted and daft.

We don’t need to be reminded of how gullible, some of our fellow Malaysians have become because of our inept system, favours the illogic and reward random acts of violence. Read the rest of this entry »

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Strengthen the foundational structure of our nation – G40

The Malaysian Insider
19 April 2015

We are a group of Malaysians deeply concerned about the state of our nation. Never before in this country’s history have such stresses and strains been made to bear upon the foundational principles of nationhood which now threaten to subvert the bonds that have held all Malaysians together and kept the nation comprising the territorial components of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak intact.

Constructed when Malaya achieved independence in 1957 under the Merdeka Constitution, the basic structure was re-examined and re-established when the federation of Malaysia came into being in 1963 with the concerns of the Borneo states taken into consideration.

Malaysia’s constitutional history records the fact that this country is a secular nation with Islam as the religion of the federation. Read the rest of this entry »

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I would accept a copy of the Quran

By Kuo Yong Kooi
Mar 3, 2015

COMMENT If someone handed me a copy of the Quran, I am happy to accept it with no ill will in my heart. I have concluded long ago that all religious texts in this world are guidelines to improve human behaviours.

The unfortunate part is many people misinterpreted religious text all the time. If someone has got it right, then it does not matter what religion you are from, their action shows.

In my opinion, the rules that the fundamentalists Muslims want every Muslim to follow are not that much different from the monastic rules for the Buddhist monks and nuns. The only big difference is their approach.

Buddhists see the rules as a path for their followers to practice if and only if they want to attain Nibanna (enlightenment). The themes that Buddhism carried all through a person’s religious life are basically an invitation to explore and the gradual training. It is a personal inward journey. No amount of compulsion can facilitate a personal journey.

If a Buddhist decides to go to the beer festivals and have vice activities, that is his or her Karma. It is as simple as that. That is their business. If you want Nibanna, the monastic codes are much stricter than the rules imposed by the Taliban or IS.

A Buddhist monastic cannot have sex, drugs/intoxicants or entertainment. The Taliban can have up to four wives. Read the rest of this entry »

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50 shades of religious harmony

by Emmanuel Joseph
The Malaysian Insider
3 March 2015

Somehow, over the years, ‘harmony’ in Malaysia, much like ‘democracy’ and ‘liberty’, has been reduced to more of a buzzword than an accepted social norm.

We are, now, in effect, at best, an occasionally harmonious country. When it suits tourism and business interests, we put on this façade of a melting pot of culture, race and religion.

But the once-very-real concept of accepting each other as brothers and sisters of different faiths and cultures appear to have been replaced with a more practical, clinical version of harmony. Read the rest of this entry »

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