Archive for category Islam

Liow’s admission that the Cabinet did not discuss Hadi’s private member’s bill or RUU 355 yesterday is a shocking confession of spineless misconduct and abdication of responsibility of the five MCA, Gerakan and MIC Ministers

The admission by the MCA President and the Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai that the Cabinet yesterday did not discuss the Federal Government-led Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act amendments is a most shocking confession of spineless misconduct and abdication of responsibility of the five MCA, Gerakan and MIC Ministers in Cabinet.

Are we going to repeat the rigmarole of previous Parliaments where UMNO Ministers gave priority to PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill and greeted by dutiful dismay by MCA, Gerakan and MIC Ministers and MPs who feigned shock claiming that they did not know of such a move beforehand?

Is an UMNO Minister going to propose government takeover of Hadi’s private member’s bill in the current meeting of Parliament, and MCA, Gerakan and MIC Ministers going to jointly put up a farce that they had never agreed to such a parliamentary move in Cabinet and therefore need not assume any responsibility?

How can Liow claim that “there’s no new development on the RUU 355 Bill” when the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi announced last week that the government will take over Hadi’s private member’s bill at the current meeting of Parliament?

Liow and the other four MCA, Gerakan and MIC Ministers are really presenting real-life spectacle of the traditional monkeys with eyes that see not, ears that hear not and mouths that speak not! Read the rest of this entry »

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Has UMNO called the bluff of MCA, Gerakan and MIC and virtually challenged them to leave Barisan Nasional over UMNO’s support for Hadi’s private member’s bill?

Has UMNO called the bluff of MCA, Gerakan and MIC and virtually challenged them to leave Barisan Nasional over UMNO’s support for Hadi’s private member’s bill?

The latest report is that UMNO is calling the bluff of MCA, Gerakan and MIC and virtually challenged them to leave Barisan Nasional over UMNO’s support for PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 or Act 355, and UMNO’s stand that the Barisan Nasional government takeover Hadi’s private member’s bill.

But are MCA, Gerakan and MIC prepared to leave Barisan Nasional over UMNO’s support of Hadi’s private member’s bill and insistence that the Barisan Nasional Federal Government takeover Hadi’s private member’s bill?

The latest report about UMNO’s support for Hadi’s private member’s bill is that UMNO has agreed that Hadi’s private member’s bill would not apply as far as Sabah and Sarawak are concerned, and in the process, secured the non-opposition of the Sabah and Sarawak BN Ministers and MPs.

However, the real issue is not the merits or demerits of Hadi’s private member’s bill but the crucial and critical one as to whether Barisan Nasional has changed its character from a consensus-based coalition of 13 component parties into a political coalition operating solely under the dictates of UMNO hegemony – at least as far as the Peninsular parties like MCA, Gerakan and MIC are concerned. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will Liow, Wee, Ong, Mah and Subramaniam succeed at the Cabinet meeting on Friday to get Zahid to withdraw his statement that the government will adopt and move Hadi’s private member’s bill in Parliament and clarify it is UMNO but not BN stand?

Last Friday, Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi announced that the government will take over PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill in Parliament to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 or Act 355, but the MCA, Gerakan, MIC and other Sabah/Sarawak Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders claim that they knew nothing about it and never agreed to it.

At this stage, we need not go into the merits or demerits of such a bill, although there are attempts by irresponsible, divisive and destructive quarters to brand those who criticize or even oppose Hadi’s private member’s bill as anti-Islam, forgetting that the Sarawak Chief Minister, Datuk Abang Johari Tun Openg (a Muslim himself) had upheld the stand of the previous Sarawak Chief Minister, Adenan Satem (another Muslim) and directed all the 25 Sarawak Barisan Nasional MPs (which included four Muslim Federal Ministers) to reject Hadi’s private member’s bill motion .

Before we discuss the merits or demerits of Hadi’s private member’s bill, the first question to be dealt with is whether Barisan Nasional has changed its character from a coalition based on consensus, where everyone of the 13 Barisan Nasional component parties must give consent and agreement before a policy, measure or decision can be regarded as Barisan Nasional policy, measure or decision into one where the Barisan Nasional is only a coalition in name but accepts UMNO hegemony, where what UMNO leaders want and desire become the law in Barisan Nasional!

This will be the case if the Zahid can announce that the Barisan Nasional Federal Government will take over Hadi’s private member’s bill in Parliament even without have to discuss and get the agreement of the Ministers and leaders of the other 12 BN component parties outside UMNO. Read the rest of this entry »

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Conspiracy by MCA, Gerakan, MIC and other 12 BN parties to hide the “elephant in the room” – that National Front has changed its character from a 13-party coalition of equals based on consensus to a coalition based on UMNO hegemony and UMNO wishes where no consensus from the other 12 parties are needed?

Is there a political conspiracy by MCA, Gerakan, MIC and the other 12 Barisan Nasional parties to hide the “elephant in the room” – that the National Front has changed its character from a 13-party coalition of equals based on consensus to one based on UMNO hegemony and UMNO wishes where no consensus from the other 12 parties are needed?

Is this why MCA, Gerakan, MIC and other non-UMNO Ministers from Sabah/Sarawak BN parties are at a loss, for they have no idea when PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill motion would be given priority in Parliament to be debated and voted, although there is no consensus whether in the Cabinet or BN Supreme Council for the Barisan Nasional Federal Government to give priority to Hadi’s private member’s bill motion in Parliament or for the Federal Government to takeover Hadi’s private member’s bill after Hadi’s motion is adopted by Parliament.

I had asked MCA, Gerakan, MIC and all the other 15 non-UMNO Ministers to force an issue at the Cabinet as there is no consensus for the government to give priority to Hadi’s private member’s bill or for government takeover of Hadi’s private member’s bill, but there is so far, only thunderous silence from the Cabinet. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Sarawak Chief Minister, the four Sarawak PBB Malay-Muslim Federal Ministers and 25 Sarawak MPs anti-Islam because they reject Hadi’s private member’s bill?

In Parliament earlier today, during the parliamentary debate on the Royal Address, I specifically asked whether the Sarawak Chief Minister, Datuk Abang Johari Tun Openg, the four Sarawak PBB Malay-Muslim Federal Ministers – Nancy Shukri, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department; Datuk Fadillah Yusuf, Minister for Works; Datuk Wan Junaidi, Minister for Natural Resources and Environment; and Rohani Abdul Rahman, Minister for Women, Family and Community Development – and the 25 Sarawak Members of Parliament are anti-Islam because they reject PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill?

If the answer is in the positive, are we saying that we have an anti-Islam Sarawak State Government? This is clearly unthinkable, unbelievable and impossible.

If the answer is no, why are people going around hurling the epithet of “anti-Islam” against all and sundry for rejecting Hadi’s private member’s bill?

The position of the Sarawak Chief Minster and the Sarawak Barisan Nasional is very clear.

In a news report dated Feb. 16, 2017, Abang Johari was quoted as saying that he would repeat former Sarawak Chief Minster, Adenan Satem’s directive to the 25 Sarawak Barisan Nasional MPs to reject Hadi’s private member’s bill.

Abang Johari said after chairing his first cabinet meeting: “That is the stand of Tok Nan before and we will follow that stand.” Read the rest of this entry »

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If 45 non-UMNO BN MPs withdraw support from Najib because BN has changed character from a coalition based on consensus into one under UMNO hegemony, PAS’ 14MPs would not be enough to save Najib’s premiership and government

The central issue today is not whether PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill motion to amend RU355 would be supported in the present meeting of Parliament, and the merits and demerits of Hadi’s private member’s bill, but whether Barisan Nasional has changed character from a coalition of 13 political parties based on consensus into a coalition under UMNO hegemony, where the other 12 non-UMNO parties do not matter at all as “what UMNO wants, UMNO gets”.

All the leaders and even Ministers from the other 12 non-UMNO parties in the Barisan Nasional have expressed their opposition to Hadi’s private member’s bill, including the entire Sarawak state government with the Sarawak Chief Minister, Datuk Abang Johari Openg directing the four PBB Muslim Ministers and all the 25 Sarawak BN MPs to reject Hadi’s private member’s bill motion.

I want to specifically ask Hadi and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom whether they dare to say that the PBB President, Abang Openg, the four PBB Muslim Ministers – Nancy Shukri, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department; Datuk Fadillah Yusuf, Minister for Works; Datuk Wan Junaidi, Minister for Natural Resources and Environment; and Rohani Abdul Rahman, Minister for Women, Family and Community Development – and all 25 Sarawak BN Members of Parliament are anti-Islam as they are committed to reject Hadi’s private member’s bill motion?

Can Hadi and Jamil Khir explain why there are so many Ministers and MPs in Barisan Nasional who are anti-Islam?

Or could Hadi and Jamil Khir be in the wrong, in wrongly accusing those who reject Hadi’s private member’s bill as anti-Islam? Read the rest of this entry »

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As Abang Johari Openg has instructed the four PBB Muslim Ministers and 25 Sarawak BN MPs to oppose Hadi’s Bill, is Asyraf Dusuki accusing Nancy Shukri, Fadillah Yusuf, Wan Junaidi and Rohani Abdul Karim as well as the Sarawak Chief Minister and PBB President as anti-Islam?

The UMNO Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Asyrah Waijdi Dusuki is up to great mischief yesterday when he made the false and insidious allegations that the DAP is anti-Islam and is seeking to strike fear among Malaysians, especially non-Muslims, by portraying a Bill to enhance the Shariah courts to be the pathway to hudud implementation.

Let me ask Asyrah a direct question: Is he seriously suggesting that those who oppose PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill motion to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 are anti-Islam?

In that case, I want to further ask Asyrah whether he is accusing the PBB President, Datuk Abang Johari Openg, and the four PBB Muslim Ministers, Nancy Shukri, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department; Datuk Fadillah Yusuf, Minister for Works; Datuk Wan Junaidi, Minister for Natural Resources and Environment; and Rohani Abdul Rahman, Minister for Women, Family and Community Development as anti-Islam as the Sarawak Chief Minister had last month reaffirmed the directive of his predecessor, the late Adenan Satem, to all the Sarawak BN Federal Ministers and the 25 Sarawak Barisan Nasional MPs to reject Hadi’s private member’s bill motion?

Is Asyrah further accusing the former Sarawak Chief Minister, Adenan Satem for being anti-Islam for having issued such a directive to all the 25 Sarawak BN MPs last November?

Or will Asyrah concede that both Muslims and non-Muslims can oppose Hadi’s private member’s bill motion without in any way being anti-Islam? Read the rest of this entry »

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MCA, Gerakan, MIC and all the other 15 non-UMNO Ministers should force the issue at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow that there is no consensus for the government to give priority to Hadi’s private member’s bill or for government takeover of Hadi’s private member’s bill

Yesterday, I called on MCA, Gerakan and MIC Ministers to stop making confusing, contradictory and misleading statements on PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill motion to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355) and to take a clear-cut and unequivocal stand firstly, that they oppose any government priority to Hadi’s private member’s bill motion for it to be debated and voted in the present meeting of Parliament; and secondly, they oppose any Federal government take-over of Hadi’s bill after the passage of Hadi’s private member’s bill motion.

All that the MCA Deputy President and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong could say was to make the ridiculous and baseless allegation that I was using “dirty tactics” to trap MCA and the other BN component parties.

I do not know whether to express sympathy or commiseration with the MCA Deputy President that the MCA and non-UMNO Ministers who feel and are behaving like mouse caught in a mousetrap of their own making, especially when they dare not even blame the UMNO leadership for putting them in such an unenviable plight.

MCA leaders like Wee can only blame themselves if they feel “trapped” on Hadi’s private member’s bill motion, all because of their lack of political principles.

MCA, Gerakan, MIC and all the other 15 non-UMNO Ministers should force the issue at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow that there is no consensus for the government to give priority to Hadi’s private member’s bill or for government takeover of Hadi’s private member’s bill, and make it very clear that there is no way that Hadi’s private member’s bill motion would be debated and voted on in the present session of Parliament. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let Liow, Wee, Ong and Mah declare whether they will resign as Ministers the moment Hadi’s private member’s bill motion is given government priority and come up for debate and vote in Parliament

MCA, Gerakan and MIC Ministers have been making confusing, contradictory and misleading statements on PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill motion to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355).

All the three MCA Ministers – MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Deputy President Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong and MCA Secretary-General Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chua – and the Gerakan President Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong have said that they would resign as Ministers if Hadi’s private member’s bill is passed by Parliament.

This is an empty threat as Hadi’s private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355) will never be passed by Parliament, as after Hadi’s private member’s bill motion (which is equivalent to the first reading of the private member’s bill), the UMNO/BN Government will take over Hadi’s Bill.

This has been clearly announced by the UMNO Minister in the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom who said that the Barisan Nasional government will take over Hadi’s bill from there, and it would become a government bill from second reading stage onwards.

As the International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan has said publicly, from that stage, BN component parties will not be able to object to amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355) as the bill has been taken over by the Federal Government, and all the BN component parties are compelled to support the bill as part of the ruling coalition. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on 15 Non-UMNO Ministers out of the 35-strong Najib Cabinet to submit to Najib their resignation from the Cabinet which is to take effect the moment Hadi’s private member’s bill motion is given government priority and comes up in Parliament for debate and vote

UMNO Secretary-General Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor has said that he is confident that UMNO’s allies in Barisan Nasional will finally accept UMNO’s explanation and understand the government’s decision to give priority to Hadi’s private member’s bill on RUU 355 and not only to support it, but to take one step further, for the Barisan Nasional government to take over Hadi’s private member’s bill after Hadi’s private member’s bill motion had been passed by Parliament.

Recently, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said that Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355) enabled the government to circumvent the due constitutional process, as requiring consensus from all states, the National Islamic Council and the Rulers’ Conference.

This is what Jamil said: “You can’t bring it to the Rulers Conference if you don’t have consensus from 14 states, but a private member’s bill requires only one state or one person to table it.”

Jamil said that when Hadi’s private member’s bill motion moves to the second reading stage, it would be taken over by the government and read out by him.

Furthermore, the International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said that BN component parties will not be able to object to amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355) once the bill is taken over by the Federal Government, as the BN component parties are compelled to support the bill as part of the ruling coalition.

From these statements from the three UMNO leaders, it is crystal clear that the Barisan Nasional Federal government will give priority to Hadi’s private member’s bill motion in the current meeting of Parliament to be debated and voted on after the debate on the Royal Address, although MCA, Gerakan, MIC and Sabah/Sarawak BN parties claim that they oppose Hadi’s private member’s bill motion as violating the Malaysian Constitution and the Barisan Nasional consensus principle. Read the rest of this entry »

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G25: We don’t need divisive PAS bill

Group of 25
Malaysiakini

COMMENT

We, G25, anxiously appeal for a promise from each honourable Member of Parliament to not support/cancel the debate on PAS’ private motion to amend Act 355, which will now be debated in Parliament.

We hope the honourable MPs would ponder upon and note that any amendment to Islamic laws should be done within the framework of the Federal Constitution.

Specifically, Article 4 provides for the superiority of the federal law and civil courts over state Islamic enactments and syariah courts.

This ensures the existence of only one system of justice governing all Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »

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MCA, Gerakan, MIC and Sabah/Sarawak BN Ministers should stop “play footsie” with Hadi’s unconstitutional RUU 355 and make a clear-cut decision at tomorrow Cabinet that BN will neither take over Hadi’s private member’s bill nor give it priority for voting in March/April Parliament

Tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting will be the last one before the resumption of Parliament for a month-long meeting from March 6 to April 6.

MCA, Gerakan, MIC and Sabah/Sarawak BN Ministers should stop “play footsie” with PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s unconstitutional RUU 355 and make a clear-cut decision at tomorrow Cabinet meeting that the Barisan Nasional will neither take over Hadi’s private member’s bill nor give it priority for voting in March/April Parliament.

The rigmarole and charade of BN government giving priority to Hadi’s private member’s bill motion even over official government business in Parliament, yet not putting the private member’s bill motion to a vote, has gone on long enough and distracted attention from urgent and important national business – whether it be the unprecedented weakening of the ringgit and the sufferings caused to low-income Malaysians because of all-round price increases; the sense of insecurity despite claims by the authorities of the fall in the crime index; or the rampant corruption in the country climaxing in Malaysia ridiculed world-wide as a “global kleptocracy” because of the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB kleptocratic money-laundering scandal. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hadi’s bill: A violation of the shariah

By Nurul Haq Shahrir
Free Malaysia Today
February 25, 2017

It is not whether the shariah should be reintroduced or reinforced as statutory law, but rather how can medieval Islamic jurisprudence be adapted to meet the needs of justice in modern societies.

COMMENT

The two leading Malay-Muslim political parties, PAS and Umno have been competing to be the greater defender of Islam since the early eighties – a necessary stratagem in bolstering the credibility of their Islamic credentials in the eyes of the Malay electorate.

Due to the multi-religious composition of the governing coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN), Umno which is the leading party of Barisan Nasional cultivates its image as the promoter of a moderate, pragmatic form of Islam and contrasts itself against the ostensibly backward, conservative brand of Islam as advocated by PAS whose calls to “Islamise” the laws of the country from as early as the 1980s were emboldened by the recent tabling of the motion to amend the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, or what is commonly referred to as Act 355, by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang in November 2016.

The Malaysian government’s earlier move on May 26, 2016 to expedite for parliamentary deliberation the private member’s bill introduced by Hadi too surprised and unsettled many. The move has been construed by many as a step towards the implementation of Islamic penal code (also referred to as hudud).

Others, in particular the prime minister and his cabinet members have dismissed this reading and clarified that the bill would only augment the sentencing power of the shariah court, which only involves Muslims.

Obviously, one cannot deny that this move has also been interpreted as nothing more than a ruse to boost the political credentials of Umno and PAS in the face of the coming general election.

It would eventually come to nothing. It is all part of the ruling coalition’s political gambit to win the next election. That is totally understandable and politically imperative to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

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Enacting harsh laws makes us less Islamic

By Ahmad Farouk Musa
Islamic Renaissance Front
February 20, 2017

Every rule that turns justice into tyranny, mercy into cruelty, good into evil and wisdom into triviality does not belong to the Shariah.

Much has been debated about the amendments to the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965. A massive demonstration in support of the bill was held last Saturday and tensions are running high.

PAS has insisted that the main aim of the proposed amendment is not to introduce hudud but to strengthen the shariah laws and shariah courts.

But if that is true, then PAS for sure must have identified the weaknesses. To the general observer, the weaknesses are apparent and appalling. Read the rest of this entry »

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RUU355’s six intolerant and fanatical practices

— Joshua Woo
Malay Mail Online
February 19, 2017

FEBRUARY 19 — There were about 25,000 people gathered for the RUU355 rally yesterday. Non-Muslims were among the supporters for the proposed amendment.

One of the non-Muslims, who self-identified as a Roman Catholic, was recorded saying that he was there because he believed that we should “respect each other’s religion”.

(https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=2qWPAGzeTnM) One Muslim participant pleaded with non-Muslims to “respect the Muslims. Do not protest Act 355.” (https://sg.news.yahoo.com/ruu-355-rally-kelantan-mb-094420651.html)

They are right that we should respect each other’s religion. Unfortunately, supporting RUU355 is nothing of that sort. Therefore those who are pro-RUU355 have wrongly imply that anyone who does not support the motion are not respecting others’ religion.

What I want to point out here is that the support for RUU355 is not only disrespectful of Islam but actually approves and respects at least 6 extremely intolerant and fanatical practices that are detrimental to many, including Muslims: Read the rest of this entry »

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My name is Mujahidin, I am a Muslim and I reject Hadi’s bill

Mujahidin Zulkiffli
Free Malaysia Today
February 19, 2017

“Maybe many will question why I reject Abdul Hadi Awang’s proposed amendments to Act 355. If I am a Muslim, aren’t I compelled to accept shariah law?”

COMMENT

I am a Muslim. I am far from a perfect Muslim but I believe in Allah.

Maybe many will question why I reject Abdul Hadi Awang’s proposed amendments to Act 355. If I am a Muslim, aren’t I compelled to accept shariah law?

My first response is that this is not Allah’s law. It is a man-made law. It does not state in the Quran and hadiths that punishments is paid in ringgit or any currency for that matter.

There is no summons or punishment prescribed in shariah, What is prescribed is compensation in place of Qisas (law of retaliation). So my question is where does the punishment of paying a fine come from?

From Allah? Or has Hadi become God?

In the Quran, Allah says: Allah will not burden his people with that which they have no ability to bear (Surah Albaqarah).

Who can afford to pay the RM100,000 fine which Hadi is seeking? Only the rich and if the proposed amendments are passed, where is the social justice should the fine be too heavy for the poor? Read the rest of this entry »

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Is UMNO such a hegemon in BN that it could disregard MCA, Gerakan, MIC and Sabah/Sarawak BN component parties as to unilaterally support and take over Hadi’s private member’s bill in Parliament next month?

Constitutional expert Prof Datuk Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi yesterday told a forum in Kuala Lumpur that PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill is about enhancing punishments for crimes that are clearly outside the legal jurisdiction of the states and therefore unconstitutional.

Furthermore, Hadi’s private member’s bill could create inequality between Muslim and non-Muslim criminals, which would violate the equality provision of Article 8 of the Constitution.

Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Asri Zainul Abidin expressed disappointment that the issue could not be properly debated as Muslims would be accused of being anti-Islam when they try to discuss the matter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jewish people give Muslims key to their synagogue after town’s mosque burns down

Jon Sharman
Independent
2nd Feb 2017

Donations to rebuild the Islamic centre are adding up

Jewish people in a small Texas city handed Muslim worshippers the keys to their synagogue after the town’s only mosque was destroyed in a fire.

The Victoria Islamic Centre burned down on Saturday and had previously been burgled — the cause is being investigated by federal officials.

But the town’s Muslim population will not be without a place to worship while their building is reconstructed, thanks to their Jewish neighbours. Read the rest of this entry »

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How the travel crackdown is affecting North American debate on Islam

ERASMUS
Economist
Feb 1st 2017

Why Muslim pundits feel let down

AMIR AHMAD NASR is about as pro-Western as anyone born deep inside the world of Islam could possibly be. Born to Sudanese parents whose professional lives took them to many countries, he is bilingual in Arabic and American English. He believes passionately in liberal democracy and the free exchange of ideas. He has no patience with those who think that authoritarian systems of government, whether secular or Islamist, are better suited to certain countries. The globe-trotting author and digital activist has recently settled, gratefully, in Canada.

Mr Nasr used his Western freedom to do something that he could not have managed if he were still living in the Islamic heartland. With disarming humour, he described his own spiritual path in a successful book with an almost self-explanatory title, “My Islam: How Fundamentalism Stole My Mind and Doubt Freed My Soul”. This recounts how he went through a phase of believing not only in Islam’s literal truth but in the duty to despise people outside the tent of strict Sunni orthodoxy, and then his evolution through many stages into what he calls himself now: a cultural Muslim and spiritual humanist. Read the rest of this entry »

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Who Hasn’t Trump Banned? People From Places Where He’s Done Business

By RICHARD W. PAINTER and NORMAN L. EISEN
New York Times
JAN. 29, 2017

President Trump’s executive order banning travel to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries is being rightly challenged in the courts for, among other things, its unconstitutional interference with free exercise of religion and denial of due process. Overlooked in the furor is another troubling aspect of the situation: President Trump omitted from his ban a number of other predominantly Muslim nations where his company has done business. This adds further illegitimacy to one of the most arbitrary executive actions in our recent history, and raises significant constitutional questions.

The seven countries whose citizens are subject to the ban are relatively poor. Some, such as Syria, are torn by civil war; others are only now emerging from war. One thing these countries have in common is that they are places where the Trump organization does little to no business. Read the rest of this entry »

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