Archive for category Religion
– Julian Leow
The Malaysian Insider
27 January 2015
My Dear People of God,
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7
We have come to the end of a long journey which began in 2008 when we were told that we cannot call God in the way the majority of our Catholics in Malaysia have been used to for centuries.
We mounted a challenge in the court to exercise our constitutional right to manage our own religious affairs. The Church took the position that the minister’s restriction went against the spirit as well as the letter of our Federal Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »
Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
23 January 2015
As the world experiences the worrying expansion of global radicalism, reports of violence and killings committed in the name of religion evoke all sorts of emotions – it propels humanity into extreme ends: you either strongly disagree or strongly agree with the atrocities committed in the name of God, religion and faith.
Many of us are still trying to make sense of the recent attacks in Paris, the battles fought by Isis and the massacres carried out by Boko Haram. These aggressions aren’t just about a series of offensive cartoons or the overzealousness of installing an Islamic caliphate or even the evil of Western education, but it is a declaration of war against freedom of expression and human rights. Most of all, it signals the breakdown of logic – the raison d’être of religious wisdom and prudence; it indicates an abrupt shift to feverish radicalism.
Every heinous attack committed by religious extremists leaves many of us wondering: what is it about religion that makes one more inclined to embrace violence and lose one’s sense of humour or common sense? Where do you draw the line between jest and insolence? Read the rest of this entry »
by V. Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
11 January 2015
The chief justice of Malaysia has turned down a request by the Catholic Church to convene a minimum nine-man panel to deliberate its review application against the ban on the word Allah when the case comes up on January 21.
The church was instead informed that only a five-man bench would be constituted to hear the matter.
The decision by Tun Arifin Zakaria was conveyed to the Catholic Church by the special officer to the chief justice, Dr Alwi Abdul Wahab, in a letter dated December 31.
The letter which was sighted by The Malaysian Insider, said that the request for a full bench could not be entertained. There were no reasons given on why the request was dismissed.
On December 23, a lawyer for the church had sent a letter to Arifin, urging for at least nine Muslim and non-Muslim judges to hear its arguments on fundamental constitutional provisions relating to religion.
The letter, which was also sighted by The Malaysian Insider, had said the church wanted a quorum that reflected the multi-cultural and multi-religious diversity of Malaysian society, given the nature of the issues raised. Read the rest of this entry »
COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
30 December 2014
There is the law and no one, including religious authorities, can overstep the limits of the law even if they invoke religion as a right.
For too long now, some state religious authorities in Malaysia have issued fatwas (opinions) and treated them as immutable regulations that can be imposed at will and without recourse.
Today, the Court of Appeal affirmed that these state religious authorities have no such power when it upheld a lower court’s ruling that the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) was wrong in raiding and seizing copies of a controversial book from a Borders bookstore in Kuala Lumpur.
The book, “Allah, Liberty and Love” by Irshad Manji, was seized before a fatwa banning it was issued and, as such, Jawi’s actions were deemed illegal and unconstitutional. Read the rest of this entry »
Let Malaysian Christians and all patriotic Malaysians reaffirm on Christmas 2014 to provide greater support to policies and politics of inclusion where all Malaysians, regardless of politics, race, religion, gender or age can stand as one to promote tolerance, harmony and unity
Christmas 2014 Message
I had hoped that the police return of the 31 Christian hymnals meant for Orang Asli parishioners to Catholic priest Father Cyril Mannayagam in Tangkok, Johore on December 18 would start a virtuous cycle of inter-religious respect, tolerance and acceptance of Malaysia as a plural nation to end the rhetoric and politics of hate, extremism, intolerance and bigotry which had recently hounded, haunted and disgraced Malaysia.
But this was not to be, and there had been no surcease or let-up in the rhetoric and politics of extremism, intolerance and bigotry, as evidenced by the ISMA demand that Muslims should not wish “Merry Christmas” to Christians, the warning that Christmas celebrations were only a ploy by the Christian community to proselytize among the Muslims, and the tearing up by a Perkasa protestor of a DAP banner wishing “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” in front of the Perak DAP headquarters last Friday.
But Malaysian moderates of goodwill and reason must not despair by such setbacks but must persevere in their mission for harmony, tolerance and moderation in the country.
Let Malaysian Christians and all patriotic Malaysians reaffirm on Christmas 2014 to provide greater support to policies and politics of inclusion where all Malaysians, regardless of politics, race, religion, gender or age can stand as one to promote tolerance, harmony and unity.
Read the rest of this entry »
— Charles Ganaprakasam
The Malay Mail Online
December 21, 2014
DECEMBER 21 — On this stunning, life-giving harmonious day, I would like to convey my Christmas wishes to my fellow brothers and sisters who are rejoicing this holy day as a birth of Jesus on earth to redeem us from our sin which we committed by God given free will.
We should not celebrate Christmas without knowing the proper mode of celebrating it. Some celebrate this pure delightful day solely with their friends and family gathering with gleaming smiles and once it’s done, then Christmas is over and they are glad of it.
The most wonderful and meaningful way of celebrating Christmas is through serving the deprived people with pure heart and remembering them as one of our brothers and sisters. We should serve them notwithstanding by where they belong racially, culturally and religiously.
Whether the underprivileged person is in someone’s own neighbourhood or in a distant area, we must not neglect our duty to serve them. Man’s responsibility to help his fellow beings is the central essence of teaching by Jesus Christ.
The notion of serving others not only mentioned in Christianity by Jesus, but also in the teaching of Buddhism and Islam. In Islam it’s compulsory for every Muslim to pay a certain amount of money from their earning as “zakat” for the poor people. Additionally, the Hindu religion traditionally believes that act of serving the needy is for repentance for their sin in this or their previous lifetime to discharge them from cycle of death and rebirth. Read the rest of this entry »
Let the police return of the 31 Christian hymnals start a virtuous cycle of inter-religious respect, tolerance and acceptance in the country for the next 12 months and end the rhetoric and politics of hate, extremism, intolerance and bigotry
The Police deserves commendation for the return of the 31 Christian hymnals to Catholic priest Father Cyril Mannayagam in Tangkak last night and an amicable settlement of the latest religious standoff in the country over the police seizure of the books which were meant for Orang Asli parishioners.
The police and various government agencies should learn from such an uncalled-for spat and be aware of their role and duty to be extra-sensitive to promote and not to undermine inter-racial and inter-religious understanding and relations.
I fully share the sentiments of the Sabah Speaker and former Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak, who expressed dismay at the “never-ending problem” of religious controversies over the Allah word issue, hudud and the confiscation of Bibles, hymns and other Christian literature published in Bahasa Malaysia and that “Just as one incident is solved, another one cropped up”.
Let all Malaysians hope and pray that the Sabah Speaker is not correct when he blogged that “it is beginning to look like this is going to be part of the Malaysian ‘culture’ for a long time to come”, urging that Sabah and Sarawak should not “slide down the slippery slope that some states in West Malaysia appear to be heading for” but should continue to take the lead in “maintaining the solidarity between those of different religious faiths”.
Let the police return of the 31 Christian hymnals in Johor start a virtuous cycle of inter-religious respect, tolerance and acceptance in the country for the next 12 months and end the rhetoric and politics of hate, extremism, intolerance and bigotry which had dominated and poisoned inter-racial and inter-religious relations in the country. Read the rest of this entry »
Endorse call on Police to end the year of police harassment of Christians by apologizing and returning the 31 hymn books so that Christmas this year could mark a new beginning for all Malaysians regardless of faith for inter-religious tolerance, understanding and harmony in Malaysia
All Malaysians of goodwill will endorse the call by the former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan on the authorities to stop harassing Christians.
The police and other enforcement officers must be educated on the 10-point agreement so that they become exemplars in promoting inter-racial and inter-religious tolerance, understanding and harmony instead of being the vanguard of insensitivity and disrespect for the diverse religions and cultures in Malaysia.
Why has Malaysia, which until recent years have been an oasis in the world for inter-religious tolerance, understanding and harmony, become an outpost for extremism, intolerance, immoderation, hatred and bigotry both on matters of race and religion?
Christmas is only a week away. Read the rest of this entry »
The seized hymn books should be returned to Catholic priest Cyril Mannayagam without any delay and police personnel sent for “sensitization” courses to respect multi-religious rights and sensitivities as well as keep up with legal developments
It is sad, shocking and outrageous that 20 days before Christmas, a religious festival which is accorded recognition as a national public holiday, like Hari Raya Puasa, Hari Raya Haji, Deepavali and Vesak Day, Malaysia is marred by another insensitive incident – the police action in Tangkak on December 5 detaining a Catholic priest Cyril Mannayagam and seizing 31 copies of a hymn book intended for Orang Asli Christians.
Cyril posed no threat to national security and was not doing anything which could by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as subversive or subterfuge as all he did was to ask a bookshop to photocopy 31 copies of a hymn book, titled “Mari Kita Memuji Allah Kita” meant for the Orang Asli parishioners in his congregation at the Church of St Andrew in Muar.
Adding insult to injury, the Tangkak police action was unlawful – an instance of the police breaking the law when they should be upholding the law.
This is because the law the police was using against Cyril, Section 298A of the Penal Code on causing disharmony, disunity or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will on grounds of religion, had been struck down as invalid by the then Supreme Court in 1988 in the case of Mamat bin Daud v Government of Malaysia.
The Supreme Court held that Section 298A of the Penal Code was unconstitutional as it was a provision in the Penal Code and as such had no power to legislate over Islamic matters.
Christmas festivities have started and the 31 hymn books unlawfully seized from Cyril should be returned immediately to the Catholic priest for Christmas celebrations by the Orang Asli Christians.
Let us all spread Christmas joy instead of Christmas grief! Read the rest of this entry »
Will UMNO General Assembly next week send out a clear and unmistakable message that UMNO will be the vanguard and not be the major obstacle to a movement of moderates against extremism in Malaysia?
I applaud the Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s call to the majority of Malaysians to be united and speak up against extremism as the country cannot afford to have extremists given its diversity in terms of race, culture and religion.
Speaking at a Barisan Nasional youth retreat dinner in Kuching last night, Adenan said the country could become a worse place not because the minority did not do enough, but the majority did nothing.
The Sarawak Chief Minister warned that the danger of extremism is looming in the country and it is for the moderates to speak up for moderation, pointing out that the majority cannot be silenced for the fanatics and extremists do not speak for the country.
Adenan’s speech is like a breath of fresh air after the surfeit of suffocating statements, speeches and demands in recent weeks and months giving the world the impression that extremism has taken over the country and that Malaysia’s multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious diversity, tolerance, harmony and goodwill have suddenly become a liability instead of an asset – which seemed to be further reinforced by Malaysia’s shocking jump in the Global Terrorism Index 2014 to the Top 50 countries in the world to be watched for terrorism problems. Read the rest of this entry »
Let the Global Terrorism Index 2014 be a wake-up call to all political parties, NGOs and Malaysians that we jeopardize the future of Malaysians if we do not check the rhetoric and politics of hatred, intolerance and extremism and hew closely to the path of moderation
Malaysia has climbed 42 places in an international terrorism indicator that has cited religious extremism as the primary cause of terror attacks worldwide.
In the 2014 edition of the Global Terrorism Index produced by the Institute of Economic and Peace, Malaysia is now 48th in a ranking that has Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan at the top, having risen from 91st spot in the 2012 issue of the report.
Malaysia’s score on the index measuring the number of terrorist incidents, fatalities and casualties as well as damage to property has also risen steadily from 2012, going from 0.415 out of a possible 10 to the current 3.04. Ten signifies the highest impact of terrorism.
Regionally, the Philippines, (9th/7.29), Thailand (10th/7.19) and Indonesia (31st/4.67) scored worse than Malaysia. Singapore was 124th, with a score of zero, indicating no negative effects from terrorism.
The Global Terrorism Index 2014 is bad news for Malaysia, for overnight, Malaysia has shot into the international radar of the top 50 countries under the world’s terrorism-watch, having overtaken 43 countries in a matter of two years as a country where terrorism is a bigger problem – overtaking countries like Uganda, Belarus, Saudi Arabia, France, Chile, Italy, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Tajikistan, Spain, Jordan, Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Sweden, Germany, Canada and Serbia.
What has gone wrong as Malaysia has always prided itself as a model for the world for inter-racial and inter-religious understanding, tolerance and harmony that we are now in the top 50 countries in the world in the Global Terrorism Index on the negative impact of terrorism, when Malaysia should be one of the countries with score of zero, indicating no negative effects from terrorism. Read the rest of this entry »
Let the amicable resolution to the Selangor issue of the seizure of Malay language Bibles and Malaysia’s assumption of ASEAN Chair usher in a virtuous cycle of moderation and establish Malaysia as a regional and international model of moderation
Congratulations are in order to the Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali in resolving the nearly year-long Selangor controversy over the seizure of the Malay language Bible with the return of the seized copies of the Bible to the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM).
The amicable resolution to the issue of the seizure of Malay language Bibles and Malaysia’s assumption of the annual rotating ASEAN Chairmanship for 2015 are two welcome developments which should be the basis to usher in a virtuous cycle of moderation and establish Malaysia as a regional and international model of moderation.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in the handing-over ceremony of the annual rotating ASEAN Chair in Naypyitaw, Myanmar yesterday that Malaysia, as chairman of ASEAN, would promote moderation as a shared value in order to address conflict and find solutions to issues concerning regional peace and security.
He also called on ASEAN to avoid narrow nationalism which could go against the spirit of an ASEAN community. Read the rest of this entry »
Malays and Islam are not under attack in Malaysia. It is multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia which is under siege by intolerant and extremist forces which are trying to turn moderation into a dirty word in Malaysia
It is the supreme irony of ironies.
While the government continues to propagate the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s initiative of a Global Movement of Moderates, this time at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Summit currently being held in Beijing, Najib had never been so weak and impotent at home to check the forces of hatred, intolerance and extremism rearing their ugly heads.
On the day that Bernama reported that the Prime Minister’s Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) proposal had received praise from the APEC foreign ministers meeting in Beijing before the 22nd APEC Summit, an ex-UMNO Minister had opened fire on Najib’s GMM initiative, claiming that Christian fanatics in Malaysia had seized on Najib’s concept of moderation and exploited it for their own interests.
Former Information Minister Tan Sri Zainuddin Maiddin claimed that the Malays and Islam were under pressure due to the concept of moderation, asserting that there were signs the concept was on the wrong track.
He cited with approval a recent statement by Johor Umno youth vice-chief Khairul Anwar Rahmat, who said that moderation was unsuitable for certain issues, claiming that it reflected the thoughts and opinions of the Umno grassroots.
Read the rest of this entry »
COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
8 November 2014
It is no longer a question of what else will certain groups of Malay Muslims take offence to in Malaysia.
Anything from a) places of worship of other religions must not be built in Malay-majority areas and b) alcohol cannot be sold in shops in Malay-majority areas, and even pictures of idols cannot be placed alongside Halal signs – has raised hackles among Muslim groups.
For them, it is not ridiculous to say that such things can shake their faith or affect their image. No detail is too small or trivial for them to assert their dominance or flex their muscles to get their way.
But the so-called guardians are also the same guys who won’t think twice of about plundering the nation or visiting an entertainment outlet and then insisting on a halal meal. Read the rest of this entry »
– Rizvi Shihab
The Malaysian Insider
6 November 2014
One of the many challenges facing the current government is re-establishing Indonesia’s unique geographical, cultural and ideological identities.
Presently, there is a concerted governmental effort to augment Indonesia’s power by introducing its “maritime-axis” foreign policy to fully take advantage of its strategic geographical position.
But in addition to this maritime emphasis, I believe Indonesia needs to start disseminating its ideological character globally as a world ambassador of religious moderation. Members of the international community often wonder about the silence exhibited by the majority of moderate Muslim countries. This provides opportunity for Indonesia to step up and become the leader of this quiet group.
If the United States is known as the ethnic melting pot, Indonesia should strive to be acknowledged as the religious melting pot where members of all faiths live in tranquil harmony. Read the rest of this entry »
COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
3 November 2014
There is no delicate way to put this: Malaysia is on a downward spiral, led down the dangerous path by overzealous religious authorities, misguided or plain stupid individuals and groups.
And perhaps more alarmingly, the government of the day is either allowing this implosion of a blessed country or has become a clueless bystander to the dismantling of multiracial and multi-religious Malaysia.
Not a day seems to go by without some new group seeking to change the complexion of Malaysia.
Not a day goes by without a reminder that stray words and ignorance are far more dangerous than sticks or stones.
Just another day in Malaysia:
Brouhaha over church site in Petaling Jaya Read the rest of this entry »
— Catholic Lawyers’ Society
Malay Mail Online
October 31, 2014
OCTOBER 31 — The Catholic Lawyers’ Society, Kuala Lumpur (CLS) is deeply disappointed that the Attorney General (AG) will not prosecute Datuk Ibrahim Ali for his calls to the Muslims to seize and bum the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Holy Bibles on the basis that the latter was only defending the sanctity of Islam.
The Federal Government has echoed similar statements through Nancy Shukri, de facto Minister of Law in parliament on October 7, 2014. With respect, both the AG and the Federal Government has done a disservice to the people of Malaysia. By condoning the AG’s decision not to prosecute Datuk Ibrahim Ali, the Federal Government has failed in its responsibility to defend the minorities in the country.
The Christian communities have lived under the threat of constant aggression by some who are bent on creating religious intolerance. However, prosecution of such insidious acts have been few and far between. Some of these examples as reported in the media include: Read the rest of this entry »
COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
31 October 2014
In most countries, civil servants who do not obey cabinet directives are disciplined. But in Malaysia, cabinet ministers have to appeal or cajole civil servants to follow government directives or the law.
The latest is the Royal Malaysian Customs Department’s move to seize some 300 Christian CDs and books containing the word Allah from Sabahan pastor Maklin Masiau in klia2 last week.
Masiau’s case is not the first, and is most likely not the last despite assurances from Putrajaya that it respects the religious rights of all Malaysians under the Federal Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »
— Koon Yew Yin
The Malay Mail Online
October 30, 2014
OCTOBER 30 — As the former Prime Minister of the country, Dr. Mahathir — as with former heads of state all over the world — has been accorded much respect. Not only that, he is given liberties as befitting a leader who has served the country for over two decades, and whose experience and advice is thought of as being given with the best interests of the nation in mind.
But the public also knows that Dr. Mahathir is approaching — if not already reached — the stage of senility and dotage that is associated with old age. Threfore he is given some slack — in fact more than is due to any other political leader in Malaysia. His past controversial statements — many found in his blog and others made at public events — would fill up more than a book but they are mostly ignored as the ramblings of an old leader trying to remain in the public eye. Read the rest of this entry »
Its not dotard but Mahathir’s classic perverse illogic believing the end justifies the means – whether lies, sedition or even treason – causing him to defend Ibrahim’s Bible-burning threat
Tun Dr. Mahathir is at it again – thumbing his nose at civil and rational society, declaring that he sees no harm in Perkasa President, Ibrahim Ali’s Bible-burning call.
Mahathir said it was not a problem calling for the Bible to be burned as long as there were good intentions.
He said Islam allowed for the Quran to be burned and not discarded all over the place, or to be stepped on, if it was no longer used.
“So, burning the Quran with good intention is not a problem”, he said.
This is not dotard but Mahathir’s classic perverse illogic believing the end justifies the means – whether lies, sedition or even treason. Read the rest of this entry »