Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Tickets for a ride we didn't choose

More news that tells you what you already know: Islam’s grip isn’t about to be loosened anytime soon, whatever else the media may be saying about PM Pak Lah’s moderate 'Islam Hadhari.'

Case #1: Four Malays who were arrested for deviant teachings (one has since died) had their appeal against the Syariah Court thrown out by the Federal Court. Although the defendants claimed they had renounced Islam and therefore need not submit to the Syariah Court order, the Federal Court’s rejection effectively denies a Malay Muslim his absolute right to give up Islam and practice a religion of his choice! The appellants have been in detention since November 2000 for refusing to submit to Syariah Appeal Court order to attend repentance classes. Read it HERE.

Case #2: In another widely-watched case, a Hindu bank clerk S.Shamala's fight for custodial rights after her husband embraced Islam and converted their two children (5 and 4 years) without her knowledge ('in a shroud of secrecy' so declares the judge) reaches a stalemate. High Court judge Faiza Tamby agrees to visiting rights, but puts his foot down on the religious position of the children. The learned judge warns Shamala she would lose her right to actual custody "if there were reasonable grounds to believe that she would influence the children’s present religious beliefs (Islam) or make them eat pork." The judgment borders on doublespeak, but you make up your own mind by reading the Star report HERE.

These are all disturbing signals that Malaysia’s already on the slippery slope to losing her secular constitution. Farish Noor writes: "Lest it be forgotten, any attempt to introduce an Islamic State in Malaysia will lead to a radical (and irreversible) change to the constitutional framework of the country. The conversion from a secular state to an Islamic state is not simply a matter of semantics…..The reality is that the introduction of a religious state in Malaysia will bring about changes that none of us are really prepared for, and what is more these changes can never be reversed once they are installed. Instead, the Malaysian public has been sold tickets for a journey the course of which none of us have anticipated or charted."Full article HERE.

Kairos Malaysia’s previous comments on the Islamic-Secular State debate provides a context to the ongoing imbroglio. Read them HERE.

No comments: