Archive for category Religion

Again, Putrajaya shows its bark is worse than its bite

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 »

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Dr. Mahathir’s latest gaffe on Bible burning

— 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 »

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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 »

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Of burning holy books and sparking chaos

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
29 October 2014

Leave it to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to figure out that burning a holy book is showing it the same respect as Muslims burning Qurans that are old and no longer used.

And of course, it must be done with good intentions, said the former Malaysian prime minister who defended his protege Datuk Ibrahim Ali over the Perkasa chief’s threat to burn Bahasa Malaysia Bibles last year.

“They (Perkasa) have to show respect to the Bible, burn it as how they burn the Quran.”

Dr Mahathir also defended Ibrahim’s statement, saying it was not seditious as claimed by critics, as his intention was not to provoke.

“In other words, he was giving an opinion that could be accepted by Muslims as it was not seditious,” he added.

The acerbic politician is not alone in thinking that Ibrahim’s words were no threat as even the Attorney-General Chambers (AGC) have justified the Perkasa chief’s statement as defending the sanctity of Islam.

Both Dr Mahathir and the AGC see no wrong and wonder what the fuss is all about. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Najib to announce a “zero tolerance” policy for any threat to burn any holy books of any religion in Malaysia to be a role model of moderation for other countries as part of his Global Movement of Moderates campaign

The explanation by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) on Monday on why the Attortney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail has not prosecuted the Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible has added salt to the wound, as it failed not only to win over doubters but have been received with scorn and rejected outright by majority of the critics.

What is worse, it reinforced the perception that the AGC’s arguments that Ibrahim Ali should enjoy immunity and impunity from legal sanctions because he was defending the sanctity of Islam and was protected by Article 11(4) of the Constitution were not only shallow, superficial and cock-eyed but reflects a Public Prosecutor who has failed in his duties to be a responsible and trustworthy upholder of the rule of law and the protector of inter-racial and inter-religious unity and harmony in a multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation.

The Monday statement from the AGC said Ibrahim had made the threat of burning the Bible “in the context of an incident in Jelutong, Penang, where copies of the Bible were distributed to members of the public, including Muslims” and “After the context had been studied as a whole, Ibrahim Ali’s statement does not fall into the category of having seditious tendencies”.

Does this mean that there are certain “context” where it is fully permissible to threaten the burning of the Bible? Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Dog Issue – A Petty Problem?

by MASTURAH ALATAS
CounterPunch
October 27, 2014

On Sunday, 19 October 2014, as I was scrolling through Facebook posts, one image struck me in a way no other has in a long time. I have several Malaysians on my friends list, so it is not unusual for me to see pictures of hijabed Malaysian women show up in my news feed.

But this one of a young Malay woman, her head covered with a yellow tudung, was completely different. It accompanied a Malaysian Insider report headlined ‘ ‘I want to touch a dog’ event an attempt to insult Malaysia’s clerics’. What was striking about the image was that it showed this woman actually holding a dog, a Pomeranian, its open mouth, tongue dangling, just inches from her smiling face.

The event was held in the middle class suburb of Bandar Utama just outside Kuala Lumpur, and drew hundreds of participants. It was aimed to break the taboo that many Malaysian Muslims have against dogs, remind participants that dogs are God’s creatures, too, and educate them about dog rescue and cleansing practices after handling a dog.

I instantly recognized the subversive value of the image. A Malay touching a dog? But we are told that Malays don’t touch dogs because they believe their religion, Islam,—in particular the Shafi’i school of Sunni Islam that is practiced in Malaysia—tells them that dogs are unclean. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let all Malaysians be inspired by the Deepavali message of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair

Happy Deepavali to Malaysian Indians in particular and Malaysians in general.

The Deepavali Festival of Lights celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair.

Let all Malaysians be inspired by the Deepavali message to build a free, just, democratic, prosperous and competitive multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation which is a model of unity, harmony, moderation and tolerance to the world – instead of being a troubled and divided country.

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Religious, ethnic hatred top global threat for Malaysians, poll finds

by Boo Su-Lyn
Malay Mail Online
October 17, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 ― Nearly one-third of Malaysians see religious and ethnic hatred as posing the greatest danger to the world, according to the latest survey finding by Pew Research Center, a concern shared by Indonesia amid simmering religious tensions in both countries and the rise of violent militant Islamist groups.

The Washington-based research group’s Greatest Dangers in the World survey released yesterday showed 32 per cent of Malaysians who cited religious and ethnic hatred as the biggest global threat today.

In contrast, 22 per cent Malaysians surveyed pointed to nuclear weapons, 16 per cent said environmental damage, 13 per cent cited increasing income inequality and 12 per cent highlighted AIDS and other diseases as major global threats.

In neighbouring Indonesia, home to the world’s biggest Muslim population, 26 per cent of its people polled also cited religious and ethnic divisions as the main threat to the world compared to other Southeast Asian nations like Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines which are more concerned with environmental issues.

Concerns about religious and ethnic hatred ranked the highest in Malaysia among Asian countries, followed by Bangladesh (30 per cent), Indonesia (26 per cent) and India (25 per cent). Read the rest of this entry »

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Alternative to Sedition Act is in Penal Code

– Adrian Lim
The Malaysian Insider
17 October 2014

I come from a Chinese Christian family. I have been labelled “pendatang” and “Cina Babi” all my life, but the Sedition Act is still irrelevant to me.

Well, many have said that Datuk Ibrahim Ali should be charged with sedition for threatening to burn the Christian Bible. There are also racists and even principals who have labelled the Chinese as “pendatang” or even “Cina Babi”.

Technically, these people have committed an offence under the Sedition Act for “promoting feelings of ill will and hostility between different races” – Section 3(1)(e) of the Sedition Act 1948.

Yesterday, Khairy Jamaluddin claimed that the walk against sedition has not made an impact because most Malaysians want safeguards against racially or religiously offensive speech.

Is that so? Do we not have safeguards in place?

In fact, I do not need the Sedition Act to protect me. I do not need the Sedition Act to criminalise people like Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman, Ridhuan Tee, Zulkifli Nordin or the infamous Ibrahim Ali. Read the rest of this entry »

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Terrorising the Christian minority

Boo Su-Lyn
Malay Mail Online
OCTOBER 17, 2014

OCTOBER 17 ― De facto law minister Nancy Shukri sparked an outrage when she said that Datuk Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted over his threat to burn Christian bibles because the authorities had concluded that the Perkasa president was merely defending Islam.

According to her, the Attorney-General’s Chambers had decided that Ibrahim’s alleged call for Muslims to torch Malay-language bibles containing the word “Allah” was in line with Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution that prohibits the proselytisation of other faiths to Muslims.

Malaysian law does not address hate crimes per se; Ibrahim was investigated under Section 298 of the Penal Code that outlaws wounding the religious feelings of another.

News portal Free Malaysia Today quotes Ibrahim as saying at a press conference on January 19, 2013: “Muslims must unite to protect their religion. They must seize those Bibles, including the Malay editions, which contained the term Allah and other Arabic religious terms, and burn them.”

The Malay right-wing group chief was purportedly responding to a claim that Christian bibles were being distributed to students, including Malays, at a secondary school in Penang.

The government’s explanation that Ibrahim was merely trying to protect the sanctity of Islam gives the false impression that Islam is under attack in the country, and hence, it is fine to do whatever it takes ― even burning the holy books of a minority religious group ― to defend it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nancy Shukri, Yours is Not to Reason Why?

By Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! News
12 Oct 2014

De facto law minister Nancy Shukri is being bombarded left, right and centre for her written reply in Parliament to the question of why Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali has not been charged for his alleged threat last year to burn Malay-language Bibles. And she deserves it.

She has tried to cover up her blunder by insisting that she was not defending Ibrahim Ali’s act and that her critics got her wrong for saying she was. I agree she wasn’t. I agree some of her critics, like Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang, misread her reply – because, as she has claimed, she was merely conveying a justification handed to her by the Attorney-General’s Chambers without herself subscribing to it. She never said in her parliamentary reply that it was all right to burn Bibles to defend Islam. That is true.

Nonetheless, she can’t get away with not facing up to her responsibility. Her passing of the buck to the A-G’s Chambers is not acceptable as an excuse for not doing her job right, which amounts to not doing her homework and not thinking before acting.

In fact, her admission of conveying only what the A-G’s Chambers told her actually makes her look worse. It clearly shows that she was merely acting as a messenger instead of doing her job as a minister. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Allah’ struggle not over, moderate Muslims should lend support, says UN official

by Jennifer Gomez
The Malaysian Insider
6 July 2014

The struggle for the right of non-Muslims to use the word Allah in Malaysia is not over, a United Nations official said, suggesting that moderate Muslims and intellectuals get on board to lend weight to the church’s fight.

UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, said many Muslims believe the court ruling undermines the credibility of Islam.

“A vast majority of Muslims will agree that it undermines Islam by turning Allah into a personal name of the Islamic God,” he said in a phone interview from Germany.

Muslim scholars and clerics, both locally and worldwide, have criticised the ban, pointing out that the word predates Islam and it meant “God” in Arabic.

Former Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, known to supporters as the “voice of reason” and to critics as a “promoter of liberalism”, was one of those who had criticised the ban. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Allah’ ruling makes ‘criminals’ of Bumiputera Christians, says Sarawak group

The Malay Mail Online
June 27, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — Bumiputera Christians have become “instant criminals” after the Federal Court ruled to uphold a lower court decision against allowing the Catholic Church the use of the word “Allah” for God, the Sarawak Ministers’ Fellowship (SMF) said.

The umbrella group representing evangelical missions in the state noted that the bulk of Bumiputera Christians were from East Malaysia where the bibles in their native tongues or in the national language contained “Allah”, but adding that thousands of Sarawakian Christians worked or studied in the peninsula where their word for God was now barred to them.

“Are they to become instant criminals the day they start reading their bibles in their mother tongue?” the group’s chairman, Rev Daron Tan said in a statement.

Tan claimed that Bumiputera Christians in Sarawak had been referring to God as “Allah Taala” for the past 150 years, a situation that is now untenable due to the apex court’s decision on Monday.

He noted that the Federal Court ruling on Monday “had made criminals of Malaysian Christians when they pray and address God as ‘Allah Taala.’” Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Mais chief shows up an effete Putrajaya in Bible issue

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
25 June 2014

Thank you, Datuk Mohamed Adzib Mohd Isa. Thank you for confirming what commentators and lawyers have been saying since the Federal Court decided not to give leave to the Catholic Church to appeal to the apex court to overturn an order stopping it from using the word Allah in its weekly newspaper.

A few hours after the court decision, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement saying that the court decision would only impact the Catholic Herald.

At the same time, Putrajaya assured Christians that they could use Allah in their worship services and proudly proclaimed that the infamous 10-point solution put together in April 2011, just before the last Sarawak elections, was still in place.

Among other things, the 10-pointer allows the import of Malay-language bibles. Read the rest of this entry »

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The difference between compromise and cowardice

Erna Mahyuni
The Malay Mail Online
June 25, 2014

JUNE 25 — Let the Allah issue rest, someone said to me. “In the end, when we stand before Him, none of this will matter.”

This is a very Malaysian way of looking at things. Don’t talk about this — too sensitive. Don’t stage a play or make a film about that — too incendiary.

We step on eggshells all the time, trying not to anger that person or this person.

But let us be frank here; there only seems to be one race we seem to be very afraid of offending while there seems to be no problem kicking around cow heads or throwing Molotov cocktails at churches.

We cannot keep sweeping things under the carpet in fear of civil unrest. We cannot keep banning books and films and telling minority religions to stop “threatening” the majority faith. Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP wants Jamil Khir referred to rights and privileges committee over Islamic state claim

by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
17 June 2014

DAP wants Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom to be referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee for his claim in Parliament yesterday that Malaysia was not a secular state.

Oscar Ling Chai Yew (DAP-Sibu) filed a motion under Standing Order 36(12) to refer Jamil to the committee for allegedly confusing the House.

Speaking to reporters later, Ling said Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia has agreed to call Jamil Khir for an explanation.

In his written reply to Ling, Jamil said the formation of Malaysia was based on the Islamic administration of the Malay sultanates and that the Malay sultans were heads of Islam in their respective states.

“This was reinforced by Article 3 of the Federal Constitution which places Islam as the religion of the federation, though other religions can be practised peacefully anywhere within the federation,” he said in the reply.

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, who was also present today, said the first three prime ministers – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Hussein Onn – would have been “horrified” with Jamil’s answer.

“They would have been completely horrified by the answer as it is completely against their understanding of the foundation of the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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A generation of Malaysians have lost their trust in Putrajaya, says Anglican bishop

by Jennifer Gomez
The Malaysian Insider
10 June 2014

Malaysia is “losing a generation” that no longer trusts the government, authorities and even each other, given the current trend of religious extremism, says Anglican Bishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing.

Ng, the newly minted president of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM), said his greatest fear for Malaysia is a societal break-up due to hate speeches, racial hatred and religious extremism that is not being monitored.

“This nation has begun to lose a generation of people who no longer trust the government, the authorities, the elders, the religious leaders, and more so each other,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Ng said trust and confidence in Putrajaya have plunged to its lowest level with unresolved issues affecting Malaysia’s multi-religious society, including the seizure of Bibles and the controversy over the use of the word “Allah” by Christians. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should set up a Cabinet committee comprising Home Ministry, NRD and the various state Islamic authorities to provide speedy resolution and rescue from limbo a few hundred cases of Malaysians who were mistakenly registered as Muslims in b/c or i/c

The Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim should give his personal attention to ensure that the Selangor Islamic Department (Jais), which disrupted the Hindu wedding ceremony of factory worker Zarinah Abdul Majid, 32, at a Shah Alam temple on Sunday, make recompense by assisting Zarinah to change her religious status in her identity card as she had been a practising Hindu all her life.

Khalid should ask Jais to give him a weekly report until Zarinah’s problem had been resolved and succeeded in changing to her true religious status.

Jais’ high-handed, arrogant and insensitive action on Sunday in disrupting Zarinah’s wedding ceremony at the Hindu temple in Shah Alam is a “no-no” which shows no respect for other religions in the country and bring disrepute to Malaysia internationally and must never be repeated.
Jais can investigate into complaints but it must never be done in a manner which violates or trespasses the sanctity of other religions and brings ill-repute to Malaysia’s international reputation.

Moderate and right-thinking Malaysians, both Muslims and non-Muslims, are outraged by the high-handed action by Jais, with the Selangor Mentri Besar describing it as an “embarrassment” while the former Perlis mufti Datuk Dr. Mohd Asri Zainual Abidin has likened it as akin to “Talibanisation”.

The most recent Jais action is undoubtedly a most negative and destructive development which not only undermines inter-religious harmony and relations in plural Malaysia but stains the country’s international reputation as a model multi-religious nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hindu group to sue NRD for ignoring bride’s plea on religious status

by Pathma Subramaniam
The Malay Mail Online
June 5, 2014

Kuala Lumpur June 5 — The Malaysia Hindu Sangam, the country’s main advisory body on Hindu worship, said it plans to sue the National Registration Department (NRD) for refusing to change the state religion of Zarinah Abdul Majid, the woman at the centre of the latest row over faith conversions here.

Its president, Datuk R. S. Mohan Shan, said as a public institution, the NRD is obliged to at least investigate the religious background of Zarinah, who alleged that she was unilaterally converted to Islam by her estranged father as a child.

He said the government department should not have delegated its duties to the religious authorities.

“We are looking for lawyers to help us seek legal recourse because they have denied her the right to explain why she wants to leave Islam,” Mohan Shan told The Malay Mail Online.

He said the NRD rejected Zarinah’s first application to switch her religious status in 2007 because she failed to obtain her father’s signature.

In her second attempt, made just months ago, Zarinah’s application was completely ignored, he added.

“If they leave it to the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) or the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to investigate, surely she will not be able to get a favourable response,” said Mohan Shan. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jais acting like Taliban, says ex-Perlis mufti Asri

MD IZWAN
The Malaysian Insider
5 June 2014

The Selangor Islamic authorities’ action to disrupt a Hindu wedding on suspicion that the bride was a Muslim is akin to “Talibanisation”, says well-known scholar and former Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.

Asri rebuked the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) for raiding a Hindu temple in Petaling Jaya where the wedding was conducted, warning that the Islamic authority that it had, by its action, tarnished the image of Islam.

“Jais should be careful in what they do because their actions have given the wrong image not only to Malaysians, but to the world.

“Day by day, the global community is seeing much of the world leaning towards ‘Talibanisation’ because of such actions,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Asri said Jais was naive in its handling of the incident, which would have given rise to all kinds of misunderstandings among Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »

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