Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Stopping those who spew hate in the name of religion

Stopping those who spew hate in the name of religion

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
May 07, 2014
Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia said yesterday at a UiTM forum that Muslims in Malaysia are so caught up with hedonism that they do not care about the Allah issue. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, May 7, 2014.Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia said yesterday at a UiTM forum that Muslims in Malaysia are so caught up with hedonism that they do not care about the Allah issue. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, May 7, 2014.

 If there are any police officials still interested in being honest brokers and if the rule of law means anything anymore in Malaysia, a whole clutch of speakers at yesterday's seminar on the Allah word and Christianity should be arrested and charged with sedition.

In some other countries, they would be charged with hate crimes because hate is what they were trying to make Malaysians do. Hate Christians and hate Malaysians of the Christian faith.

One of the speakers talked about the number of Christians overtaking Muslims in this country – a scenario as remote as Datuk Ibrahim Ali or Datuk Zulkifli Noordin becoming pastors.

But hey, why let the absence of facts get in the way of a nice yarn? Forget about the much higher birth rate among Muslims compared with non-Muslims and forget about the empirical evidence which shows that more Christians have been forced or duped into converting to Islam in Sabah and rural communities.

This speaker used the same discredited figures once used by Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, who cited an anonymous study that up to 250,000 Muslims in Malaysia had become apostates, including 100,000 who converted to Christianity.

The speaker conveniently forgot that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said last month that 4,520 individuals embraced Islam in just four years between 2008 and 2012, according to the Federal Territories Religious Department’s (Jawi) records.

The despicable thing is the fact that the intention yesterday was to stoke hatred towards Christians and introduce religious strife where it did not exist.

Students and ordinary Muslims are being taught to hate their fellow Malaysians, despite a peaceful co-existence from the day Malaya and later Malaysia was formed.

The book titled 'Obligation to preserve the sanctity of the name Allah' seeks to explain why non-Muslims cannot use the word Allah. It was distributed at yesterday’s forum at UiTM – The Malaysian Insider pic, May 7, 2014.The book titled 'Obligation to preserve the sanctity of the name Allah' seeks to explain why non-Muslims cannot use the word Allah. It was distributed at yesterday’s forum at UiTM – The Malaysian Insider pic, May 7, 2014.Surely that is more dangerous than the late Karpal Singh stating a legal position or Batu MP Chua Tian Chang stating his intention to bring down Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Or that Seputeh MP Teresa Kok had produced a parody video.
So why isn't the police taking action? What is it waiting for?

Is Malaysia a country where the authorities see nothing wrong about a group of people maligning another faith in the name of their own religion? Or should we even be surprised at the lack of action?
After all, a group of men were allowed to parade with a cowhead to protest the construction of a Hindu temple in Shah Alam in 2009, knowing full well that the animal is considered sacred to Hindus.

They were fined paltry sums and only one served a week's jail.

Can we hope for stronger action this time around against those who spew hate and speak ill of other faiths? Or is moderation just a convenient buzzword to impress visiting dignitaries and counterparts in other countries?

Putrajaya must draw a line of what is acceptable and not unacceptable. No one should insult a religion just to show how superior their own faith is. Religion is supposed to unite people, not divide them.

And those who use it to divide people should be arrested, charged and convicted for bringing their own faith into disrepute and Malaysia into chaos. The police can start with those at the forum in UiTM yesterday. – May 7, 2014.

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