Archive for category Religion
Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
May 14, 2013
I wish to echo the honest sentiment of Azmin Hassan, director of the National Unity and Integritation Department, in urging a cessation of racist statements by the media and politicians of ethnic-based parties and NGOs. As an academic, a father of five children and as a member of the rakyat in this beloved country of ours we must seek a surer solution that such racial riots in 1969 shall not repeat in our future.
We, the rakyat, and I, the civil servant, as well as Azmin must intervene amidst such irresponsible statements by our so-called national leaders as well as a once-respected national daily.
My call is slightly different than others in resolving this racial stalemate. I am now a grandfather at the age of 51 and may still harbour a chance of my witnessing my grandson voting in a fair election hopefully by a more professional and multi-racial based Election Commission without leaders that seem to favour one group above another.
What I would like him to do is to choose a party, any party that no longer carries any race-based ideology or for that matter any ‘religious’ ideology, whether Islam, Christianity, Buddhism or Hinduism. That is our Malaysian Dream. No more race-based or religious-based political parties.
NGOs who wish to cater to Malays, Chinese, Indians, Dayaks, Islam, Christianity and other religions are welcome to participate in the democratic process within the rules of ‘adab’ or courteous discourse, far from the venom of those spouted by one Zulkifli Noordin. Read the rest of this entry »
by Ragesh Kumar Lingam
Apr 24, 2013
Malaysia is known as a multi-racial country and we have been promoting that ever since independence.
The current prime minister has long called for nambikei (trust) from the Indian community for BN.
My question is on BN’s decision to field Zulkifli Noordin as BN’s candidate for the Shah Alam Parliament seat.
Zulkifli is well known for his racist remarks towards Indians especially to the Hindus in Malaysia.
This has been proven and everyone is well aware of this. Although we understand he has apologised, what does it matter now. Read the rest of this entry »
2 April 2013
The Sun Daily
THE images on television were horrific. Smoke billowing from the embers in a village in Myanmar and a mob burning down a branch of the iconic Fashion Bug chain in Sri Lanka. These are the results of religious bigotry. Groups calling themselves “religious” have succeeded in manipulating and contradicting the tenets in every religion – moderation and non-violence.
Common sense should remind us that fanatical organisations and individuals have no place in society and religion, when used as a tool for political expedience, the results could be persuasive. In Sri Lanka, Buddhist monks are leading right-wing groups against the Muslims while in Myanmar, a group called 969 is leading the onslaught against the Rohingyas.
Islamophobia and any other forms of religious chauvinism and extremism have no place in modern society. Fortunately for right-thinking Malaysians, we can confidently affirm that acceptance and understanding of each other’s religion has been a major factor in bringing about a strife-free country.
But occasionally, a handful break that confidence by making utterances that are totally deplorable, unacceptable and above all nauseating. Read the rest of this entry »
RK Anand| April 1, 2013
Free Malaysia Today
Bishop Paul Tan is incensed over the video which shows MP Zulkifli Noordin belittling the Hindu faith and demands action from the ’1Malaysia’ government.
KUALA LUMPUR: The video recording of a member of Parliament belittling the Hindu faith has prompted a Catholic priest to question the government’s double standard in dealing with such matters.
Bishop Paul Tan pointed out that the present ruling government had not hauled up any Muslim who uttered seditious words and made seditious gestures against those of other religions while it acted against those who stated unpleasant things about Islam.
The head of the Malacca-Johor diocese was responding to the video of Kulim Bandar Bahru MP Zulkifili Noordin who mocked how statues of Hindu deities could not prevent a flood in Masjid India here.
The video, which was uploaded on YouTube, had since gone viral.
Zulkifli is also the vice-president of Perkasa, whose president Ibrahim Ali had also earned the wrath of Tan when he called for the torching of Malay bibles that used the term Allah.
The bishop recounted how he had in the past called on the government to take action against both Ibrahim and Perkasa patron and former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad over this issue.
“What sort of justice is this? It is no justice but bigotry which the Almighty God himself would be ashamed of,” he said.
“God sees, hears and knows everything. In spite of the fact that final justice is rendered by the Almighty God, we humans are not exempt from taking the right means to right what is wrong. Read the rest of this entry »
By VICTOR L. SIMPSON Associated Press
VATICAN CITY March 14, 2013 (AP)
Before they even saw his face, Pope Francis had already won over the Roman masses.
The announcement that he would be known by the same name as St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of Italy, sent the crowd into ecstasy.
He did even better with his first words, when the 76-year-old Argentine said the cardinals had reached to the “end of the earth” to find the bishop of Rome — recalling the beloved Pope John Paul II, a Polish cardinal who told his first crowd in 1978 that cardinals had called him “from a far country.”
The former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is the son of an Italian immigrant and his Italian is only lightly accented.
“Let us pray for the whole world, that there may be a great spirit of fraternity,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »
By Amin Iskandar
The Malaysian Insider
Jan 31, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — The authorities must speed up action against Datuk Ibrahim Ali over his Bible-burning threat, says retired Attorney-General Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, adding any further delay in acting against the veteran politician could be held against the establishment ahead of Election 2013.
The vocal Ibrahim, who heads right-wing Malay group Perkasa, had sparked a firestorm last week when he reportedly called on Muslims to torch Malay-language copies of the Christian holy book that describes the Christian god as “Allah”, an Arabic word many Muslims here believe to be exclusive to their community.
“The issue is not the burning of the Bible. What is in the issue is, did he utter those words?” Abu Talib told The Malaysian Insider in an interview.
“If so, whether those words were seditious within the Sedition Act, reading it as a whole and in the context it was made. So, whether the Bible was burned is not material though helpful in the prosecution of the case if he is charged,” he said.
The government’s former top lawyer noted the police reports filed complaining about Ibrahim’s provocative remarks were related to the “Allah” dispute that has been simmering for the past four years.
He said there was no reason for the law enforcers to procrastinate deciding whether or not to prosecute the independent federal lawmaker who has been accused of inciting tension among Malaysia’s Muslim majority camp and followers of other faiths. Read the rest of this entry »
By Allan CF Goh
Religion In Protest
Religion is there for mankind
To discover his soul and its kind
It’s there for his spiritual need
Be better based on enlightened deed
Religion must preach righteousness
Built up with karma of real kindness
So as to enhance his belief
To bring benign religious relief
Religion clothed in intemperance
Demeans its true holy forbearance
Read the rest of this entry »
— Bob Teoh
The Malaysian Insider
Jan 24, 2013
JAN 24 — Sabah churches want the government to act decisively against the latest round of anti-Christian frenzy.
“We see the increasingly provocative attacks against the Malay-language bible — Alkitab — by certain quarters as a direct attack on the rights of Bumiputera Christians in Sabah to religious freedom as enshrined in both the Sabah and the Federal Constitution,” Rev Datuk Jerry Dusing, chairman of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Commission of Sabah Affairs (NECF COSA) said.
“We, therefore, urge the authorities to act immediately against such groups and individuals to the full extent of the law before the anti-Christian frenzy gets out of hand,” he said in a statement.
Dusing said it must be remembered that Sabah has always enjoyed complete religious freedom since time immemorial. Sabah was guaranteed certain safeguards known as the 20-points as a condition for the formation of Malaysia. It is no coincidence that the first of these twenty points pertains to religious freedom.
He also said the majority of Christians in Malaysia are Malay speaking Bumiputeras mainly in Sabah and Sarawak whose use the Alkitab as their Bible for their liturgy and devotional reading.
As many East Malaysians are working or studying Peninsular Malaysia, the Alkitab is also extensively used by them over there. Any attack on the Alkitab is an affront to their faith and religious liberty.
“We now see our religious freedom yet again under threat as the anti-Christian frenzy threatens to get out of hand. A right wing Malay group has even called for bibles, including the Alkitab, to be seized and burned. This is irresponsible and incendiary hate speech,” said.
Although he did not name the group, he was referring to Perkasa which made the threat three days ago. Read the rest of this entry »
by P. Ramakrishnan
9 January 2013
When God is politicised we are in big trouble. That is what is happening in Malaysia. And that’s why we are in such a big mess.
Religious zealots have come out with edicts that defy logic and override the supreme law of the land, the Federal Constitution.
They have paid scant attention to the High Court ruling way back in 2009 that the word “Allah” can be used by the Christians.
The government has appealed against this decision. But nothing has happened for more than three years. Seemingly it is meant to be so! There is no urgency to solve this matter as soon as possible. Most people think that the delay is deliberate and politically motivated.
The claim by some members of certain organisations who had aggressively demonstrated on the premise that Muslims and Christians will be confused if “Allah” is used by non-Muslims is ridiculous and laughable. There is no merit in their claim. There is no justification for this view. What is the basis for this ridiculous claim?
Why is the word “Allah” confusing? And confusing to whom? What is so confusing about the word? It had been in use for thousands of years; yet we have not come across anyone in any part of the world who was ever confused because the word “Allah” was commonly used by Muslims and non-Muslims. Read the rest of this entry »
— Pak Sako
CPI/The Malaysian Insider
Jan 08, 2013
JAN 8 — There are major contradictions in the claim that the word “Allah” belongs only to Muslims and Islam, and does not apply to non-Muslims and other religions (JAKIM), and in the insistence that non-Muslims must convert to Islam to use the word “Allah” (Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria).
The contradictions are as follows:
1. If we disallow non-Muslims from using the word “Allah”, are we implying that Allah has no relation to the non-Muslims, that Allah did not create the non-Muslims, but to whom Allah must belong if He is the Creator of all things?
2. If we say Allah is not the god of the non-Muslims, does this not imply that besides Allah there must exist a second god, specifically for the non-Muslims, the former god of Muslim converts? Does this not clash with the Islamic concept of tauhid, which proposes that there cannot possibly be another god apart from Allah, and that no being can perform the work of a god other than Allah?
3. If we maintain that “Allah” has no relevance to other religions, who then ultimately created these religions if not Allah, the Creator of all things? Are we suggesting that Allah got it wrong before unveiling Islam? But if tauhid is to stand and Allah is the sole Creator, and if Allah is infallible, perfect and all-knowing, does it not mean that Allah happily created, with no games intended, all the variety of religions and religious philosophies including Christianity and Hinduism?
4. Therefore how can it be wrong for a Hindu, a Christian or a freethinker to refer to “Allah” as our one common god? Must Sikhs, who are not Muslims, stop using the word “Allah”, though “Allah” appears numerous times in their holy book, which is not the al-Quran?
5. If non-Muslims must convert to Islam before referring to “Allah”, is that to say Allah was not their Creator prior to them converting? But how can that be if Allah created everything and there is no god other than Allah? If we say non-Muslims are non-believers who do not recognise Allah, then why deny them the use of the word “Allah” to recognise this Supreme Being and Ultimate Cause?
The restrictions on the use of “Allah” conflict with the core tenets of Islam. They conflict also with those of other religions. Read the rest of this entry »
— Amirah Ali
The Malaysian Insider
Jan 07, 2013
JAN 7 — When a friend informed me about the desecration of churches and mosques in Malaysia on January 7, 2010, I felt extremely angry, disappointed and worst of all, helpless. I had been reading about the “Allah” issue for a few days while juggling my university assignments at graduate school overseas. The shock and anger from the news made me forget about the horrible freezing winter. As I started to think about my beloved Tanahair, I asked to myself, “God, why?”
To me, Malaysia is like a beautiful hidden treasure in the deep sea. It has so much potential. It has so much richness and opportunity, but is also filled with many “eggshells” that one must carefully tread around, especially on religion and race. Growing up in Malaysia, I wondered why I did not feel at home despite living my entire life there.
As a child, I was convinced that something was wrong with me. I could not talk to anyone about my thoughts. When I sought guidance from my teachers, I was scolded for asking certain questions and expressing certain opinions. However, as an adult at graduate school overseas, I discovered there are many people who shared my thoughts and ideas. The same questions I was discouraged from asking in Tanahair are commonly discussed as part of university courses where students were expected to answer by thinking critically. For the first time in my life, I felt I was normal. It was then I realised the answer; it was because I could not be myself in Malaysia.
As I learned more on the desecration of houses of worship in Tanahair, I felt a big urge to do something about it. I did not want to feel helpless anymore. I wanted to express my emotions and thoughts about the issue, although it was a difficult thing for me to do as a quiet and private person. I thought of writing something but nothing sounded right. I felt like giving up many times. Read the rest of this entry »
– Jacob Sinnathamby
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 26, 2012
DEC 26 – It is really interesting how our last two prime ministers – Abdullah Badawi and Najib Razak – have felt the need to talk about themselves as leaders of all Malaysians.
The truly great and effective leaders of countries and businesses never need stand on the roof top and tell people what they are. It is plain for people to see. In short, their track record and actions speak volumes about them, their character and their decency.
Abdullah loved to talk about being a leader of all Malaysians, but we all know now that it was just spin for political expediency.
He hoodwinked many of us into thinking that he actually cared for non-malays and malays equally.
Now, we know that it was just a charade to get Malaysians to believe that he was different from Mahathir Mohamad and give him a huge mandate in 2004.
With the mandate in the bag, Abdullah reverted to type and became Umno’s servant, not the servant of Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »
Dec 26, 2012
Catholic Bishop Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing described Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s remarks at a hi-tea hosted by the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) yesterday as “pious platitudes we are used to hearing on these occasions”.
Speaking to Malaysiakini after reading reports on web news portals on Najib’s remarks at the CFM function which the prelate did not attend, bishop Tan said:
“I don’t want to sound churlish, particularly in this Christmas season of goodwill, but if you shake down the PM’s rhetoric, what have you left – syrupy sentiment and clichés that have little or no connection with realities on the ground.”
In remarks made at the Christmas Day hi-tea attended by the PM and his wife Rosmah Mansor, Najib assured the Christian community that they have not been marginalised.
“I don’t want to be prime minister for only a particular section of the community,” asserted Najib. “I’m prime minister for all Malaysians, and I’ve said that repeatedly.”
Bishop Tan said that no one with experience of how prime ministers have run the Malaysian nation would think to remark that there could be an ethnocentric and exclusivist dimension to the PM’s role.
“It’s odd that Najib has seen fit to remark that he has to be PM of all of our diverse nation and not just one or another part of it,” commented the head of the Catholic Church of the Melaka-Johor diocese whose two-year tenure as president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei ends on Dec 31. Read the rest of this entry »
— Christopher Kannan
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 25, 2012
DEC 25 — The prime minister has not forgotten the Christians, and that is why we can now travel to Jerusalem.
Should I be grateful?
I tell you what. I would be really grateful if my leader shuts up Perkasa, Utusan and Umno types who bash Christians all year round.
I am still upset that the PM has not clobbered Ibrahim Ali or his ilk. The only consolation is some two-bit politician saying we all have to be tolerant and respect the majority of people. It makes us feel like children of a lesser god, and sometimes, being told we are “pendatang”, “kafir” and whatever that might not pass as an outright insult.
And then once a year, the PM comes around like Santa Claus and says that he has not forgotten Christians!
I do think the country will be better served if leaders protect minorities 24/7 365 days a year, not just on Christmas Day. Read the rest of this entry »
— Blue Christmas
The Malaysian Insider
Dec 21, 2012
DEC 21 —I just received a notice that the first school staff meeting in preparation for the 2013 school term would be held on December 24.
At first I let it pass and marked the date on my calendar and then I realised it would be Christmas Eve. That is the time when friends and family call on us, when the general mood is about looking back on a wonderful year and planning for an even more wonderful year ahead.
Took a second look at the schedule and it reads a meeting for every day after Christmas Day all the way to December 29. Now that’s the time when families get their children’s stuff ready for school — new shoes, bags, uniforms and water bottles. That is also the time when old friends come back to their hometowns to their aged parents and ask for forgiveness and blessings for a good year ahead. They take the extra time to bond with old classmates and the malls, restaurants and the teh tarik places get filled up with fun, joy and merriment.
Then it dawned on me that this holiday mood happens on Hari Raya Puasa, on Chinese New Year and on Deepavali and all my friends usually get this extended holidays either through annual leave and through the extra days taken by schools. So why is Christmas different? Read the rest of this entry »
by AB Sulaiman
26 November 2012
The case of Nurul Izzah Anwar, the PKR vice president, making the statement that there is no compulsion in religion and that this should apply not only to non-Malays but to Malays as well is now commanding the public domain.
Thanks to Utusan Malaysia and the Internet, the speed at which Nurul’s statement spread was staggering. The very next day, it appeared as a front-page headline in the Malay daily but with a twist: it was reported that she had been ‘suggesting’ Malays could commit apostasy; or showing the way to do so. (Apostasy is considered the greatest sin in Malay reckoning.)
To the Malay-Muslim, she has committed a grave offence for which she must be taken to task.
I will try to identify what really is at issue by way of asking some pertinent and relevant questions. Read the rest of this entry »
— Bob Teoh
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 05, 2012
NOV 5 — Bumiputera Christians in Sabah continue to be “converted to Islam” by the National Registration Department (NRD) simply because they have “bin” and “binti” in their names. Sabah churches are seeking urgent solutions to the crisis but none seems to be in sight.
The NRD has made it clear it would continue to list Bumiputera Christians in Sabah as Muslims as long as they are known by bin or binti. It would also not rectify past entry errors by way of changing the religion listing back to Christianity in the identity cards (MyKad) of those affected.
The NRD would only act upon an order by a syariah High Court to determine whether those Bumiputera Christians whom it had listed as Muslims are not Muslims indeed.
Even if these native Christians get a hearing from the syariah court, both the NRD and Islamic authorities may not turn up, thus causing unnecessary delays.
A current test case has been mounted by a 53-year-old widow and her two adult daughters and supported by the respective local churches. All three are from the Dusun Banggi community. Read the rest of this entry »
by P. Ramakrishnan
The Malaysian Insider
November 03, 2012
NOV 3 — It is difficult to understand the so-called Muslim elites who constantly and consistently convey the erroneous message that Islam is under threat and that Muslims will be easily misled.
They always seem to suggest that Muslims must be sheltered and protected otherwise they can go astray and embarrass their religion.
The latest episode involves the screening of the movie “My name is Khan” by TV3 on the second day of Hari Raya Aidil Adha.
The Muslim youth movement Abim has strongly protested against this film, claiming that the Shah Rukh Khan film “confuses Muslims as it promotes liberal Islam and religious pluralism, and warned Malaysian broadcasters not to air the hit film”.
Abim vice-president Ahmad Saparudin Yusuf “gave examples of scenes in the film such as the Muslim hero marrying a Hindu heroine, saying that it is ‘clearly against Islam’s teachings’”.
He also pointed out “that the depiction in the film of acceptance and mixing of other religions’ worship methods with Islam’s as well as giving zakat or alms to non-Muslims were ‘confusing’.”
This film has been available in Malaysia since March 2010. It has been screened in cinemas and the film’s CD has been widely sold. In the 2½ years that it was around, thousands upon thousands of Muslims and other Malaysians have seen and enjoyed the film. Read the rest of this entry »