I am a Muslim and I am not that offended

– Young Singaporean Muslim
The Malaysian Insider
July 21, 2013

When I first saw the “Halal Bak Kut Teh” picture on The Real Singapore Facebook page, I was irritated but I didn’t think much of it. I believed the guy was an idiot and that’s it. But I was surprised that the backlash has gotten so big over just a few hours.

I was disappointed to see so much hate comments being posted by fellow Muslims over this one photo and some even go far as to post threats of violence and death threats. And now, the couple is facing up to 15 years in jail and heavy fines over this one photo, which really saddens me as thieves and people with assault charges usually get much less.

Why am I not offended? I actually have a different perspective on the issue. I subscribed to a few foreign news channels like Al Jazeera and The Young Turks and I have seen the faces of REAL HATE.

I have seen people like Pastor Terry Jones, who called for the burning of the Quran. I have seen a group of Islamophobic Americans gather to throw hateful slurs at a mosque event in California. I have seen the absolute disrespect of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and his blasphemous film which he called “The innocence of muslims”. I have seen the bigotry and also the sympathy of the people of Texas in ABC news experiment “What would you do?” when Muslims are discriminated. I have seen a Hispanic woman pushing a Muslim man onto an oncoming train, killing him, just because he was Muslim. And the worst of late, I have seen the genocide of the Muslim Rohingya people by the so called “Buddhist” Burmese.

The face of hate comes in many sickening form. But when I see Alvin’s face, I don’t see a hateful person; I just see the face of a troll.

Understanding hate and dark humor.

Maybe it is because of my age and my exposure to the internet, I understand dark humor and some can be really funny. I am a fan of South Park with their highly intelligent yet crude but funny jokes and satires. But in the end, dark humor is essentially a joke that can either be funny or fall flat and just be stupid.

I would say that Alvin’s Halal Bak Kut Teh photo is just a piece of really bad dark humor that is not funny. There is no real malice in this photo. He did not insult our prophet, he did not call for the Quran to be defaced and he did not go out to injure a fellow Muslim. At most I could say that he is insensitive for suggesting that a dish most commonly made with pork is halal.

We are getting into an uproar over FOOD? Let’s change the situation a bit and say Alvin did the same photo BUT with frog legs (which is also haram). How much of an uproar will that make?

Being respected. As Muslims, we always ask that our religion be respected. But it would be hard to respect someone if he acts like an overly sensitive baby who would throw a tantrum over such a small issue. We need to be mature. If you find the photo insensitive, feel free to make a video or make an article to address how insensitive the post is or simply bring this matter to facebook admin let them handle it. To issue threats of violence, instigate suicide and even death threats over a food related matter is simply unacceptable.

Justice. Quoting from the Holy Quran 2:190

“Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.”

The concept is simple, if you are called to defend our faith, do so without transgression. If you are threatened with words, you are to fight back with words ONLY. If you are threatened with fists, you are to fight back with fists at most. If you are threatened with a sword, you may fight back with a sword.

What Alvin did does not warrant jail time for up to 15 years or even such a heavy fine. Prison is a place where we keep thieves, robbers, rapists and murderers, people who have committed crimes against property and person. To treat Alvin, whose crime is bad humor, like a harden criminal is indeed transgressing the limit. At most, all he deserves is a small fine and mandatory community work (maybe at a mosque so he could learn a thing or two about being with Muslims).

In all, we must keep things in perspective in issuing justice so that our emotion doesn’t cloud our reason. We should not turn an issue about food into something that could divide a nation and we must act more maturely if we want to be respected. – The Real Singapore, July 21, 2013

* Young Singaporean Muslim submitted this article to The Real Singapore, a news portal on life in Singapore.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 21 July 2013 - 8:05 pm

    What was most wrong about the affair was the state took a side when the opportunity to do something great was to NOT take a side. Both the couple and those that bay for their blood deserved each other, it had nothing to do with the rest of us.

    The state could have stepped up and stated their stand and said the matter is between the couple and those that wanted their heads. The state could have said that those that think them wrong could do all they wanted within and the law and the law would protect them as they would protect the couple for those who wanted to harm the couple. THAT would have been GREATNESS.

    The real crime was the state chose instead to be not only not great but to do wrong.

  2. #2 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Sunday, 21 July 2013 - 10:42 pm

    Young Singaporean Muslim (YSM),
    Wow! Your reasoned approach truly impressed me.

    But then this is Malaysia….
    where cows live in condos…
    where they give bribes to win elections…
    where they siphon Rakyat’s money to give commissions for submarines…..
    where they lie, cheat, steal and commit adultery…

    Oh, this is Malaysia….
    And they call themselves Muslims too.

    YSM, I like your Islam…. but don’t come to Malaysia… UMNO practises it differently, I think.

  3. #3 by sheriff singh on Monday, 22 July 2013 - 12:33 pm

    Mr Singapore Muslim. you are in Singapore where the ‘oppressive laws’ there gives you more freedom and leeway to lead your lives.

    Here in1Malaysia, some peoples are extremely sensitive, get offended very easily and like to vent their frustrations and emotions on other fellow citizens. And our laws are there and are liberally interpreted to allow them to do so. Our government and the many institutions are very fearful of these people and frightened to silence and inaction and hope they will just go away. All these inaction and silence have become our ‘tradition’ and have sprouted many chieftains and ;Little Napoleons’ to emerge and exert their power.

    So Mr Muslim Singaporean, ‘oppressed’ you may be but you are really very well off over there than here. Over there should you decide to take non-halal food, no one really cares a hoot but in 1Malaysia, all hell will break loose.

    However, Mahathir and his Gang still thinks otherwise, that you are all ‘oppressed’ and victimised by an evil government and got very bad deals. But that is Mahathir, a loony, educated in Singapore. What did you all do to his brains?

  4. #4 by sheriff singh on Monday, 22 July 2013 - 12:39 pm

    Incidentally, did you take a close look at what AVIVI were eating?

    Was it really bak-kut teh? Was it VEGETARIAN mock bak-kut-teh?

    Was it Ox-tail-soup or Soup-ekor or Soup-kambing?

    How do you know? Were you there ?

  5. #5 by assamlaksa on Monday, 22 July 2013 - 2:09 pm

    Bak-kut-teh made from chicken, seafood and vegetables are easily available. Therefore why can’t these versions be made Halal and let the Moslem enjoy this delicacy?

    • #6 by cemerlang on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 - 9:21 am

      Hats off to a peacemaker. If you visit China, you come home to Malaysia. Just turn whatever that is haram to halal. Bak is meat. Any kind of meat. Kut is bone. Any kind of bone. Teh is tea. Any kind of tea. You find replica foods all the time. Malaysia is talking about innovation, creativity, business. This is when you can use whatever is in you to modify or even create something new. Why must it be when you say bak, it must mean pork ?

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