Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Controversy continues...

The Moorthy case is entering a lull with the Deputy PM Najib saying the conversion issue is all over and settled, to the dismay of the Hindu Rights Action Force who quickly voiced objections. Meanwhile, much to the consternation of concerned individuals, the nightly vigil outside the High Court was discontinued on the advice of police.

MIC President, Samy Vellu, it appears, is standing with the Indian community which thus far has been the most vocal in their concerns, considering the brouhaha was triggered by events affecting one of their own. Malaysiakini reported that a two-hour meeting with a delegation from the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism (MCCBCHS) was held at his office the other day to discuss recommendations to be submitted to the PM.

Samy Vellu said during the meeting, which was also attended by experts and lawyers, that some changes should be made to the governing laws on non-Muslims as certain states adopted laws that might not be very acceptable to non-Muslims. He referred particularly to the case of automatic conversions of children of a muslim convert without necessary consent of his non-muslim wife.

Senior lawyer Haris Ibrahim said among other things, that right and remedy are fundamental to justice and “if Moorthy’s case doesn’t wake the public up to what’s happening, God help this country. [But] I don’t see why God will bother if we ourselves won’t bother.” And that is the blunt reality.

Syariah Lawyers Association president Mohamad Burok on the other hand doesn’t think there is an issue and questions where the confusion lies. With regards to Muslims leaving the faith, he says rules dealing with apostasy are in the works but if you’re curious as to how it’s shaping up, here’s the short version: “The principle is, in Islam, once we are in, we cannot leave. That is binding among all Muslims. It is a matter of aqidah (faith). This is a serious matter.”

He adds: "It may not be specific for those born Muslims or Muslim converts but there will be a method for Muslims to apply to leave the religion through the syariah court. It is not meant to allow Muslims to become apostates. In the process, we will try to tarbiyah (educate) them so they will remain in the religion. We will continue to try to rehabilitate and reform their faith in Allah."

Referring to clamour for amending the contentious Article 121 (1a), Bar chairperson Yeoh Poh Seng cautions against haste in reviewing or amending the federal constitution but adds that, “Any amendment to the constitution, if and when necessary, will only prove useful and constructive if it further promotes fundamental rights and liberties, not if it erodes or dilutes them."

That the issue is delicate cannot be overstated. In fact, in most if not all Muslim countries, dialogue is practically impossible and non-existent. There is a wide chasm between propaganda and reality, and most of us get no further than hand-wringing as far as making a stand is concerned. While I do not believe in confrontational politics, I also do not rule out compromise. The point is where to draw the line; and if there is a line, will there be enough people standing together maintaining that boundary? I remain in prayer.
The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. Prov 21:1


MaoBi said...

Mr Tan

The quote

The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. Prov 21:1

is IMHO wildly out of context. Proverbs was written by the king and this quote may be a self referential third person reference.

To say that the actions of any ruler are always directly driven by the hand of the Lord cannot logically be true. If we are to believe that all men are free-willed to do both good and evil then are rulers any less able to partake of this free will and act as such?

Also how do you explain the actions of Idi Amin, Pol Pot or Hitler.

Sometimes the heart of a given king may not be guided by the lord. Although the heart of the king writing proverbs may have very well been guided by the lord it may not be true in every case.

Would love to hear your comments on this.

David BC Tan said...

As you would already know, the book of Proverbs is a collection of sayings spelling out general principles of right living for all people, kings included (eg, Pro 16:13, 29:7, etc). In 21:1, God’s sovereignty and human free will are obviously referenced (see vs 21:2, 3). Men such as Pol Pot and Hitler will have their hearts weighed and their actions judged.

Yet ultimately if God so pleases, He has the power to direct a king’s decisions wherever He pleases, towards an end that fulfils some greater good that we may or may not fully comprehend. So my prayer is simply that while we do all that is necessarily right and just, we shall leave it to God to move the king’s heart (or in the Moorthy case, people in authority) in the right direction as well.

I do not know how it will go, or if I shall live to see God’s answer to my prayer. But surely we can believe that the will of our God who weighs the hearts of all people, will not be thwarted.

Thanks for visiting.