Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Freedom in Malaysia: A Malay Perspective

Why are you kicking up such a ruckus about Malaysia being proclaimed an Islamic state? Are your freedoms threatened? Aren’t you allowed to wear what you want? Aren’t you allowed to operate entertainment outlets that sell alcohol and consume it openly? Aren’t you allowed to consume pork even though pork is haram to Muslims? Aren’t you allowed to erect temples and churches and worship in these places freely? Aren’t you allowed to set up vernacular schools to send your children to? Aren’t you allowed to work where you please and go where you please? Aren’t you allowed to do conduct or operate businesses as you please?

In which Islamic country are gambling and the sale and consumption of alcohol condoned and legalized? These are abominations in the eyes of Islam. In which Islamic state is prostitution outlawed but continues to thrive?

Malaysia is the only Islamic country that allows you to do all these things even though some of the practices are offensive to us. You may hug or kiss in public although these acts are disagreeable to Muslims. We have never tried to stop you from doing all these. So the fact that these are allowed has shown how remarkably tolerant the so-called Islamic government has been.

So leave the Muslims alone. Let them live their lives as they see fit. If one amongst us decides to leave our faith, it is for us to decide on his or her fate. It is not for you to interfere. If one amongst us violates the dress code for Muslims, it is for us to decide on the form of punishment. If one amongst us is caught for khalwat, it is for us to mete out the appropriate punishment. If one of you is caught for khalwat with a Muslim, you cannot be brought to the Shariah court. So what’s the fuss?

If we want to set up a moral police force to safeguard the morals of the Muslims, that is our right. If we want our Muslim women to dress and behave according to the precepts of Islam, that is our right. If we want to set up centres to rehabilitate wayward Muslims, that is our right. A Malay is born a Muslim and so a Muslim cannot abandon his or her faith without the sanction of the Shariah court.

We have not demanded that all those behaviour considered abhorrent to Muslims be eradicated. Instead we allow them simply because that is what you want; that’s how you want to live your life. So don’t encroach upon what is not your concern.

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