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Thread: Religion: Hudud - Muslim leaders, please wake up

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Religion: Hudud - Muslim leaders, please wake up


    Nation has been taken over by islamic fascists.

    APRIL 14, 2014 Zaid Blog

    Muslims leaders, please wake up

    I will be slain and spit on for saying this, but it’s true: much of what has gone wrong with Malaysia today must be attributed to the failures of Muslim leaders in the country, particularly the ones in the Peninsula.

    Their counterparts in Sabah and Sarawak are not fixated on “Islamising” the country, and have not expressed any regret over the historical events that led to the birth of Malaysia. They are quite happy to live in harmony, so long as the Federal Government provides them with adequate security – a fair expectation. They have shown maturity in the way they deal with the multitude of cultures and religious beliefs in their respective communities. They did not even bring up the Allah issue, although they were the most affected, and it has never crossed their minds to introduce hudud law.

    Peninsular Muslims leaders, however, suffer from what behavioural psychologists call “the inadequacy syndrome”. This is manifested by these leaders’ constant need to enhance their own self-esteem, even though they end up creating bigger problems as a result. They feel unappreciated and therefore need to posture more in the extreme to gain the desired recognition. They can only be sedated by giving them the rope to hang DAP, suspend Malaysiakini and bring about Islamic criminal laws to replace the Penal Code.

    We just have to take a broad look at Malaysia to understand why we have lost our bearings and are now drifting aimlessly. The Muslim leaders in UMNO and PAS are weak and unwilling to admit that this country was founded on the principles of a secular democracy. Yet they are also afraid to embrace the Islamic theocracy that’s demanded by Islamists for fear of losing their comfortable lifestyle and privileges. This hypocritical uncertainty is causing all sorts of problems to the system of governance.

    If we are a democracy then we must protect basic human rights. Our civil court system must be the superior one when it comes to determining the application and constitutionality of all laws in the country. If, on the other hand, we are an Islamic state first, then human rights are subject to the overriding power of Muslim laws and tenets. The shariah courts must then determine and establish first legal principles.

    These are the matters we have to be clear about – these are the fundamental issues that must be decided once and for all. It’s not enough for the Barisan Nasional to let MCA do the talking for them, ostensibly defending a secular government while UMNO continue their double act of being pro-Islam. Similarly, DAP leaders defend secular principles on behalf of the Pakatan Rakyat while Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and PAS stick to the Islamist agenda.

    These Muslim leaders are a weak bunch, fearful of being honest with the people because what’s paramount for them is holding the seat of power. The people should realise that they have been fooled for a long time, and must now collectively stand up and be counted. We cannot live with this charade forever.

    The Police yesterday admitted openly that they are not able or willing to act against anyone who disobeys a court order, apparently because they were told that there are two conflicting orders on the same subject matter – one from the shariah courts and the other from the civil courts. A senior police official declared that a father could not possibly abduct his own son, regardless of what the court says. This same policeman will one day say that a husband could not possibly rape his wife, or that any sexual crime requires four witnesses, regardless of what the law says.

    Now the Police have become the ultimate interpreters of the laws of the land. No one dares to correct them or to interpret for them. They have become what they are because our politicians are always afraid to stand up for the right thing. These Muslims leaders don’t dare table the necessary changes to the laws on civil marriage or to Muslims family laws in Parliament (which were amended years ago and are still waiting for Parliament to pass them).

    Just the other day our Deputy Prime Minister chided those who questioned the accepted meanings of the fundamental provisions in the Constitution. By this I mean people like me, who believe that our Constitution is secular. Our highest courts have declared and interpreted the substantive nature of these provisions and pronounced our Constitution as secular. This interpretation has not been reversed by another superior court since 1986.

    Despite this clear pronouncement, the DPM and the Islamists still maintain that Islamic laws have superior rights under the Constitution because of Article 3. We would be hard-pressed to find Muslim leaders in Sabah and Sarawak being interested in the new meaning of Article 3, not when most of their people are still seeking better wages and housing.

    Let’s just say for argument’s sake that the peninsular Muslims are right in their interpretation. Can we have the PM and the DPM give their unequivocal endorsement of this point? Can we now amend the Federal Constitution to make this interpretation explicit, so that everyone knows where to go? Add hudud as a substantive criminal law in the Penal Code and don’t limit it to Kelantan. Instead of playing with words, these Muslim leaders must have the stomach to say what they want this country to be.

    This strange perception that we have a dual legal system is false – we have only one. Personal laws for Muslims are part of the main system and they are not meant to override the main body of laws in the country. Yet no one is prepared to publicly declare that the civil High Court is the superior court under the Constitution. The shariah courts are limited in terms of its jurisdiction and applicability. It is only for Muslims in selected matters.

    It’s illogical to say we have two systems coexisting in parity when they are totally different in scope and power. Our civil courts must be able to make a ruling to determine if the Shariah Court has applied the law correctly; otherwise, what we get is the chaos we are seeing today.

    If these weak Muslim leaders in the Peninsula want to put shariah above all else, the leaders in Sabah and Sarawak need to take a stand. The right thing to do is amend the Federal Constitution and declare that Islamic laws are the foundation of all laws. Then the Shariah Court will be superior to the High Court. We might not even need the High Court by then. It would then also be opportune to declare that the Quran is the highest law of the land and that the Federal Constitution is subject to it. At least then we would know where we stand. These leaders must not be allowed to continue confusing everybody, including our policemen.

    The hudud issue has resurfaced with Muslim groups and politicians in the peninsula wanting hudud to be implemented (no such call has been made in either Sabah or Sarawak). Not one leader in UMNO or PAS has so far dared to oppose this motion. All right, let’s do it for the entire country then, and for all Malaysians to feel the full effects of Islamic criminal law. I am okay with this as long as it applies to everyone. What I find objectionable is the attitude of these weak leaders. Why the ridiculous suggestion to move a Private Members Bill to achieve this objective? Why is the law being made applicable only in Kelantan? Why exclude non-Muslims from the application of hudud? If you are genuinely fighting for Islam, go all the way.

    Let the PM/DPM move the Bill and let Anwar support it. Let’s go full steam and ensure all Malaysians are subject to the same laws and punishments. Stop pussyfooting around the issue. Why should non-Muslims be excluded? It’s this exclusion that has made non-Malays, particularly DAP, gung ho and comfortable with PAS. DAP want PAS to get to power because that will help them gain power as well, and they are comforted by the promise that hudud will not be applicable to them. They are no different from the MCA leaders in the BN, whose job is to make sure the laws are not applicable to the Chinese. Who cares about the Malays and the Muslims who do not want hudud?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    We adopt hudud at our peril

    Category: Contributors Published: Wednesday, 30 April 2014 09:06 Written by Yin Ee Kiong

    “This unwillingness to confront Islamism risks the 21st Century being characterized by conflict between people of different cultures” – Tony Blair ( TheGuardian, 23 April 2014)

    Tony Blair’s call to confront radical Islam echoes that of many liberal tolerant politicians who have seen how radical Islam has eaten into the fabric of their society. Countries like the Netherlands, France, Germany and the UK who have for years bent backwards to accommodate Muslim immigrants have had enough.

    People are voting for extreme right parties in droves as a reaction to radical Islam. The problem is mostly caused by the inability/refusal of radical Muslims to adapt to the host culture. Not just that, they demand that institutions cater to and/or conform to their Islamic principles. Most of the time, the governments of those countries bend backwards to accommodate them.

    At this point it is pertinent to ask if any Islamic country (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain) has tried in any way to accommodate the religious needs or lifestyle of the non-Muslims in their society? In the Gulf States there are no churches. Christians worship in private houses discreetly, ever so afraid of being found out. None of the Islamic countries practise religious or cultural tolerance.

    Yet Muslims who come from such countries which do not tolerate other religions demand and expect the full extent of their ‘rights’ in the countries they emigrate to, like Britain. If only it were as simple as that – asking that their religious needs be met – but it’s not. Communities have seen radical Islam intrude into their lives. Demands have been made which impinge on their rights.

    Dubbed ‘Operation Trojan Horse’ British authorities are investigating an alleged plot by Muslim fundamentalists to Islamise public schools in England and Wales by infiltrating school boards and appointing Muslim head teachers or pushing out those who did not bend to their views.

    There have been complaints by ex-head teachers that they have been forced out by the majority Muslim board of governors for challenging their orders to scrap sex education, or stop citizenship classes because they were deemed “un-Islamic” and introduce Islamic Studies into the curriculum or to only allow halal food in the school, or segregate boys and girls.

    The head teacher of Ladypool Primary School in Birmingham, Huda Aslam, who was appointed by a majority Muslim school board, banned Santa Claus, or the singing of carols (except for non-religious songs like Jingle Bells), the giving of presents or the mention of Jesus as the Son of God. Yet these are traditions that have been celebrated for centuries.

    Muslim groups say that such allegations are unfounded and motivated by Islamophobia. But Khalid Mahmood (Lab. MP – Birmingham) a practising

    Muslim, attested that many school board members are Salafists and Wahhabis who are intent on imposing their views in the classrooms and the day-to-day running of schools. He believes British education officials have previously resisted getting involved in disputes with Muslim boards for fear of being called racist or anti-Islam.

    We shall have to wait for the findings of the investigation to know the truth of the matter.

    The point is complaints about radical Islam are not confined to one country. It is widespread across Europe. And it is not an overnight phenomenon either; critics in Britain say it has been going on for well over 20 years but because authorities have not taken any action for fear of being branded anti-Islam it has been allowed to fester. The problem has in fact become global. Even the largest Muslim country in the world, Indonesia, is worried about the rise of radical Islam.

    The mayor of Bogor has ignored the Supreme Court order to allow a church to be opened for worship. This issue has been going on for years and the congregation has taken to worshipping on the street outside their church. The police will not act and the president is impotent. Everyone is afraid of the extremists. With a change of mayor this year, the members of the church hope the new mayor will fulfill his election promise to lift the ban.

    There was a case where a person was convicted of killing an Ahmadhist and he was given a six-month sentence. Was the judge biased or afraid? The homes of Shiites have been burned and the people driven out by Sunnis in one district in Java. The government dared not take action against the perpetrators. Today organisations like the National Anti-Shia Alliance are openly calling for the persecution of Shiites.

    Extremist groups are inciting hatred against anyone who holds different views. But the minority sects are fighting back despite the lack of support from the authorities. Ahmadists have ignored the call by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) to stop their activities, citing Pancasila, the state philosophy and the constitution of 1945 which guarantees freedom of religion.

    In Aceh the government has enforced hudud and applied it to non-Muslims. (Under the peace agreement with the central government Aceh was given autonomy on religion).

    Except for pockets of religious fanatics, Indonesians are in general tolerant and liberal (especially post Suharto’s “new order” regime). North Sumatera had a Christian governor despite being a Muslim majority province. Jakarta’s deputy governor is a Chinese Christian. He will be governor should Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo win the presidency in July which pundits expect him to.

    In the recent parliamentary election (April 2014), none of the Islamic parties made much headway. They could not gather enough votes to have bargaining power with the secular parties. This is a rejection of politics in religion if you like and a rejection of religious extremism.

    When local Muslim extremists tried to pressure the director (a Christian lady) of a regency in Jakarta to resign, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo the governor would not give in; saying that religion or gender had nothing to do with his appointments, that only merit and ability mattered. The extremists ended their protests because the majority in the community took heart from Jokowi’s firm stand and did not support them. So it can be done. If these religious bullies are stood up to, they will back down – that’s how bullies are – they are basically cowards.

    Such firm leadership is encouraging; yet unless the president takes strong measures against religious extremism, Indonesians are afraid Islamic radicalism will infect their society.

    What about the rise of radical Islam in Malaysia?

    We are not immune to radical Islam judging by recent events. But although it has gained prominence recently, it is not an overnight phenomenon. It can be said that radical Islam has its roots in the early 1970s when a new type of Malay students entered university.

    Unlike the students of the ‘50s and ‘60s, these students were “more rural in origin . . . more deeply attached to religious rituals . . . and seemed to be less analytical and less critical in their thinking. Less confident and less secure both emotionally and intellectually, these students do not want to encounter new ideas and new theories . . . and become dogmatic advocates of a narrow backward Islam. It is at this point that the religion becomes a tool, an instrument to serve their own interests. They have a vested interest in seeing that their type of Islam triumphs.” (Chandra Muzaffar, Islamic Resurgence in Malaysia, pp30 & 31)

    Many from that generation are now in positions of power in the civil service, police, armed forces, academia and religious bodies. Many have made a career in politics, some becoming ministers. Perhaps this explains the rise of radical Islam; why the government does not prosecute those who incite religious (and racial) hatred. Why despite the fact that every international scholar of Islam (including many local ones) declaring that there is nothing in the Quran that forbids non-Muslims from using the Arabic word “Allah”, the government still panders to the extremists who demand their narrow views be enforced.

    This explains why the bureaucrats in local governments have for years done everything within their power to impede the building of places of worship of non-Muslims. The Shah Alam Catholic Church took nearly 30 years to build due to government harassment. This is why we have so many shophouse churches today because permission to build was almost impossible to obtain.

    And now the legality of such churches is questioned under the “building use” by-law. There are no provisions for burial land for non-Muslims in many town plans and applications for burial land are met with bureaucratic foot-dragging.

    Radical Islam has frightened the non-Muslims so much that many have tried to second-guess what is required of them to the extent that they comply even before they are ordered. Many mission schools have removed symbols of their religion so as not to offend the ‘sensitivities’ of the Muslims. Yet over the years, thousands of Muslim students (including the current prime minister who is an alumnus of St John’s Institution) have passed through these schools without being offended . . . or converted.

    But sensitivity should apply to both sides; today doa is said at school assemblies without regard for the sensitivities of the non-Muslims. And students must take Islamic Civilization as a foundation subject in universities. While school canteens must be halal, serving beef is acceptable despite the presence of Hindu students.

    Putting up a stand is not about being against Islam per se, it’s about standing up to religious bullies; it’s about fair play, tolerance and a ‘live and let live’ philosophy as practised by the Tunku and his government.

    That was a time when a tolerant and benign Islam was practised. Non-Muslims did not feel discriminated against and moderate Muslims did not feel pressured to conform or threatened. There was more inter-racial mixing and the nation was more cohesive.

    It’s also about not letting fundamentalist Muslims dictate the agenda for our country. If liberal, tolerant Muslims think it won’t affect them, they should think again because hudud impinges on every aspect of their lives too. Look at the ridiculous situation in Aceh where the authorities have decreed that women cannot ride a motor bike straddle (they can ride side-saddle). This has affected thousands of Muslim women who depend on the ‘moto’ to ‘cari makan’.

    But it is more serious than just riding a bike. These radicals will not tolerate any views other than theirs. The Shiites and Ahmadyists in Indonesia have suffered under those supposedly of their own faith just because they interpret the Quran differently. We have our own example in 1985 where 14 Muslims were shot and killed in Memali.

    We are told that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, so what went wrong?

    Far be it for me to comment on how Islam should be practised but it is worth noting the comments of Nurrohman Syarif a lecturer at the State Islamic University (UIN), Bandung: “. . . the best way to minimize the influence of the theology of ‘hatred’ is by promoting the theology of peace and tolerance.”

    He goes on to say “First, differences should be accepted as God’s plan (Surah al-Maidah 5:4. This verse shows the purpose of God in allowing differences is clearly to test a believer, in competing with one another in virtuous deeds. Unfortunately many Muslims . . . are more concerned with orthodoxy or interpretation of correct beliefs, which is actually the domain of God, instead of orthopraxis or correct living.”

    Second, there should be no coercion in religion or belief (al-Baqarah 2:2.56).

    Religious freedom is vital to demand responsibility for the follower regarding his belief. How can someone be asked for responsibility if he or she has no choice at all?

    So even the Prophet Mohammed is forbidden to coerce or intimidate others in matters of belief.

    Third, there should be no insults toward people with different beliefs or faiths (al- An’am 6:10.

    Fourth, because God is said to have the highest authority in determining deviation or heresy, the final decision on different sects should be left to God (al-An’am 6:159 and al-Nahl16:125).

    Fifth, as a community is supposed to be moderate (wasatan), Muslims are not allowed to claim their monopoly on heaven or paradise (al-Baqarah 2:62 and al-Maidah 5:69).

    Sixth, all human beings irrespective of their skin colour, religion, gender, race, ethnicity, or political affiliation should be treated as honorable persons as fellow descendants of Adam (al-Isra 17:70 and al-Hujurat 49;9-13).

    To counter the theology of hate, Muslims should endorse a theology of peace and harmony by accepting diversity as a blessing (rahmat). While religion cannot totally be separated from politics, politicization of religion should be avoided.

    Politicization here refers to abuse of religion as a political tool to gain or preserve power by categorizing those with different beliefs or political orientation as an enemy. Since the theology of hate is often accompanied by an intimidating, egocentric way of thinking, critical thinking should be given space to minimize it.

    For Muslims, such thinking is part of ijtihad (individual reasoning), which was highly endorsed by the Prophet Mohammed.” (Nurrohman Syarif – Jakarta Post, 25 April 2014).

    If only the government observes the six points listed above by Nurrohman Syarif there will be no institutional racial discrimination, or discrimination and persecution of other religions. If Muslims apply ijtihad they will not be misled by religious extremists and demagogues.

    Has radical Islam taken hold in Malaysia? In my optimistic moments I’d like to think not yet (not fully) but the threat of a radical Islam that combines religion with politics and which opposes a pluralistic society is real. Unless moderate, tolerant Malaysians (including Muslims) take a stand it will take hold.

    “The threat of this radical Islam is not abating . . . This struggle between what we may call the open-minded and the close-minded is at the heart of whether the 21st Century turns in the direction of peaceful co-existence or conflict between people of different cultures” Tony Blair.

    In our country’s context it is a struggle between tolerant, liberal and peaceful Malaysians of all races and religion and the narrow-minded few who want to impose their own brand of Islam on everyone.

    Should the extremists who spread the “theology of hatred” win against those who preach “the theology of tolerance and peace” it will turn a peaceful and tolerant country where different races and religions have lived side by side for a very long time into a Taliban state. We adopt Hudud at our peril. It’s too depressing to ponder such an outcome.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Why hudud worked then, why it won’t work now – Afifi Albarr

    MAY 01, 2014

    These 'chopping-hands-of-starving-thieves' arguments are not going to work. Instead, they it will only add fuel to the implement-hudud camp.

    The Muslims who support hudud's implementation firmly believe that they are not after people in desperation, so not only does this argument not hold water, it will increase the zeal to 'educate' and by extension, promote the implementation of hudud.

    Questioning bribery and corruption in awarding contracts or whatnot, which does not fall under hudud, is off the mark and irrelevant. Irrelevant because anything outside hudud is up to us.

    If we think bribery and corruption are worse than petty-theft, we're always free to implement harsher punishment than simply chopping off hands. If we're fine with fines or jail terms or even let them walk (as we're currently practising), so be it – but only so long as hudud is in place.

    How do you argue against that? You can't. You get what you want for you, you have to give them what they want for them.

    So it's time for people who think implementing hudud is a bad idea, to think of arguments against hudud's implementation in Malaysia, rather than simply hitting around the bush ...
    and with half-boiled arguments at that.

    And it is unwise to name-call such as 'barbaric' or 'medieval' if there is any sincere intention to peacefully coexist. If we expect people to be civil, don't we owe it to ourselves first?

    Here's why I think we cannot implement hudud in Malaysia.

    Unlike the time and place of the Prophet, we live in a multicultural, multi-religious society.

    What does this mean? It means, at the time of the Prophet, the Jews lived by the Torah, the Christians by the Bible, atheists were burned and polytheism, as well as animism, went extinct in Arabia.

    To analogize, the fabric of Arabian society 1,400 years ago was more of a monochrome with very few shades of grey, while we here today are in the whole spectrum of colours, from red to yellow, all shades of brown from dark chocolate to latte, and all the colours of the rainbow thanks to technology and globalization. And I'm not talking about our skin.

    It is true that Muslims will not subject non-Muslims under hudud, because the Prophet did not subject non-Muslims to the laws of the Quran.

    He, instead, subjected the Jews to the Torah, and Christians to the Bible. This is fair.

    Why? How? Because the criminal punishments of the Quran, labeled by men as hadd or hudud, is not too different from that of the Torah and the Bible.

    It was easier to keep things in order because while they're not the same, they were similar.

    Thieves got their hands chopped off, highway robbers killed, adulterers stoned, apostates beheaded, so on so forth (yes, the last two are debated, but honestly we’re not going to go far tackling that).

    Muslims added lashing to those who consume intoxicating potions, as per the hadith. There were no other laws to live by.

    That's how he did it, and that's how it was like during the Caliphs' rule (when they did not suspend hudud because the situation did not permit it i.e situations where hudud would have been the ironic end of Islam, a thing some Muslims are not considering because, I don't know, they outsource thinking to idiots maybe).

    We cannot do that today in Malaysia. Christians in Malaysia, today, do not source their laws from the Bible. And what few Jews we have, too, cannot live by the Torah save bare minimum.

    Suppose they do live by the Books, what about others? We have Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, people of the Chinese 'religions', those who worship ancestors, those who do not source their laws from holy books – isn’t this why Malaysia a secular country?

    (For those who claim Malaysia is an Islamic country, please, our economy is not even Shariah-compliant. A good portion of the government's income is through sin tax, and if it's haram to drink a cup of milk with a drop of pig's blood, you can do the math).

    So if we attempt to do what the Prophet did, Malaysia will fail at it because it's just too complicated.

    What was supposed to ensure order will be the instrument of chaos. People here do not refer to their God(s) for law for one good reason – fairness.

    It is not that hudud is unfair. Let's use the infamous theft example.

    If you steal under no dire circumstances, knowing full well that if you're caught you'd have a limb amputated, then it is ruled that you stole out of malice.

    Why anyone would argue in favour of malicious acts and person is beyond me, but whether we should prefer to cut his hand or cut his freedom and time out of life, that is why we are discussing this.

    The harsh punishment in hudud and the strict requirement to prove a case is to ensure there was malice and it needs to be dealt with severely. This is to me, fair, on its own merit.

    Hudud, therefore, is a wager for a society proud of its excellent moral and ethical conduct, that they are willing to be bodily dismembered if they break the law.

    So I laugh a little wondering if Muslims think they are accepting this wager because of their moral excellence?

    They are showing to the world how terribly misguided they are if they think hudud will solve their problems, because hudud is a guarantee of moral excellence, and not a solution to moral problems.

    Back to the point, however, what is unfair is that non-Muslim thieves do not get their hands chopped off as well (including the Christian and Jewish Malaysian thieves which, under the Prophet's style, they would be too, because this was in accord with their Books).

    If the law is to be fair, it needs to be fair across the board. If the law is to be harsh, it needs to be harsh across the board.

    Save for the under-aged and mentally challenged, there should be no different set of laws for a different segment or class of the community, because this way hudud will not and can not achieve what it was set out to do - to demonstrate the fairness and justice of Islam.

    Failing this, instead, in all probability, it will become an ordeal (fitnah) for Islam itself.

    It will not only cause non-Muslims to shy away from Islam, you can bet that Muslims will too.

    Brings another headache: how do we track all these closet apostates marrying our family members desecrating our lineage?

    True, if I do not intend to commit a crime, I have nothing to fear from the implementation of hudud. And I am not afraid of hudud.

    Nonetheless, I would like to believe that I do not live in a careless society that lets a thing pass without proper scrutiny. There are obviously more angles to look at and are being looked at by many others, but suffice for now that I bring to our attention that there are stark differences in time, place and condition between now and then, that must be considered so that in our pursuit of justice, we do not sacrifice its essence of fairness, and mistake harm for good. – May 1, 2014.

    * Afifi Albarr is a reader of The Malaysian Insider.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Hudud is the start of the slippery slope to hell

    Last updated on 03/05/2014 - 07:37
    02/05/2014 - 09:30

    OUTSPOKEN: You are wrong to think that hudud will not affect the non-Malays. Historical and cultural treasures, like the Bamiyan statues in Afghanistan and the ancient Sufi shrines in Timbuktu, Mali were destroyed because they were perceived as idols. Recently, one retired judge criticised the statues outside Batu Caves and the Buddhist temples in Penang. What had he in mind?

    The women of Afghanistan have to fight for the right to an education. Saudi women are banned from driving. The women and children of these countries are frequently abused. The Muslim countries with hudud are not free of rape, incest, adultery or corruption.

    Do you know of any strict Muslim countries where the people are not oppressed or are not trying to escape to the West and claim asylum?

    Divorced Malay women confide that Syariah laws are discriminatory. Many of them fought expensive and time-consuming battles to get what is rightfully theirs, but most gave up halfway.

    First wives complain that their husbands marry again without first obtaining their permission. Men look for loopholes in Syariah laws whilst women claim that the laws are poorly enforced. A fine of a thousand ringgit for the men is not a deterrent.

    The Malaysian judiciary was compromised in the 1980s and today, we don’t have faith in the civil law. Why should we trust the Syariah law, where the more powerful voices invoke the name of God to force others into submission?

    There have been several miscarriages of justice, so it would be wrong to consider hudud. Once a limb is gone, it cannot be regrown.

    Two words describe the cause of the rot in our judiciary and religious institutions: Mahathir Mohamad. In the 1980s, Mahathir compromised the judiciary and started the Allah row.

    The non-Malays believe that Malays are privileged because Malays are the beneficiaries of affirmative action policies. Only Malays qualify for certain government tenders. Only Malays are eligible for certain land applications or scholarships. Fewer hurdles are presented for Malays wishing to enter the armed forces or the civil service.

    Umno Baru courts the Malays and “reward” them with discriminatory policies. Their ulterior motive is not their love of the Malay. These policies are designed to ensure that Umno Baru can count on the Malay vote. “You vote for me, and I’ll give you some titbits”, is the usual Umno Baru mantra. The “cream” is reserved for the Umno Baru elite.

    No one need envy the Malays because they are the most oppressed, most despised and the most restricted race in Malaysia.

    The Malay emerges from his mother’s womb, a Muslim, whether he likes it or not. If he tries to speak a language other than Malay, he will be told that he is unpatriotic. He dare not voice his thoughts, for fear of being accused of blasphemy. He will not eat in a non-Malay restaurant or visit a non-Malay house for fear that he will consume something haram.

    Malays are refused entry to a Church if they want to pay their respects to a Christian friend who has died. Malays may have his eyes and heart set on a non-Malay girl, but they are forewarned that they are courting trouble. Malay girls cannot be alone with their boyfriends, lest they be accused of “khalwat”. Malays can’t visit a friend’s house for Christmas, Chinese New Year or Deepavali because some mullah has deemed it un-Islamic.

    If the Malay woman is single, she would be well advised to make a will, in case she dies before her parents, as it is alleged that the state religious body has more rights over her estate, than her parents. Perhaps, someone could clarify this very disturbing point.

    Most sane and civilised people do things without suffering consequences, unlike the Malays. Their religious indoctrination is reinforced at Friday prayers, where they are forced to listen to political rather than community-based sermons.

    Umno Baru keeps harping on about being the only party which can protect the Malays. Protect them from what? Umno Baru politicians say this because they are anxious about Malays rejecting Umno Baru and joining PAS, thus diluting the Malay vote. It is all about votes. Votes mean power (to dictate terms), control (of businesses) and money (to siphon off).

    PAS is playing a dangerous game when promoting the implementation of hudud. Malays who disagree with hudud will rush into the arms of Umno Baru. Both the Malays and non-Malays must oppose hudud.

    Hudud will signal the end of Malaysia as we know it. In 2001, Mahathir declared Malaysia to be an Islamic state. He is wrong. Malaysia is not an Islamic state. It is a secular state.

    Why did Mahathir say this? He did this because he “did not like PAS harping on about an Islamic state”. Mahathir is the master manipulator and he made a political statement which few dared to challenge.

    In 1962, former Lord President of the Federal Court Tun Mohamad Suffian wrote that under Article 3, Islam in Malaysia is “primarily for ceremonial purposes, for instance, to enable prayers to be offered in the Islamic way on official public occasions such as the installation of the birthday of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Independence Day and similar occasions.”

    We cannot tackle large scale, open corruption, cheating and murder. Our judiciary is compromised. And yet some of us want hudud for crimes covering theft, fornication, adultery and alcohol consumption.

    Are we to end up like Iran or Afghanistan, with public hangings or stoning in which people are seen lusting for more blood and violence? Countries with hudud have not stopped rapes or adultery. Let’s go to the nation and have a referendum on hudud. Let’s have a proper debate, covering all the major stakeholders, like bankers, investors, human rights NGOs, educationists; and then let the people decide.

    Somehow, we must insist that the voting in the referendum is not rigged, as in the political election.

    Mariam Mokhtar is "a Malaysian who dares to speak the truth."

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Prepare to be voted out if hudud implemented, Pakatan warned

    BY ZURAIRI ARMAY 3, 2014
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    Participants at the Hudud in Malaysia forum at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH). From left, Syahredzan Johan, lawyer, Abun Sui Anyit, Honorary Secretary of Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia, Zaid Kamaruddin, Sepang MP Mohamed Hanipa Maidin and Director of Islamic Renaissance Front, Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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    KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 ― Participants at a forum on hudud last night threatened to withdraw their support for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) should Islamist party PAS go through with its plan to implement the controversial Islamic penal code in Kelantan.

    Voicing their concern that the venomous issue will tear the opposition pact apart, the participants urged PAS to focus instead on righting social justice in the country and wresting Putrajaya from ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN).

    “For the last seven years we have been fighting to get rid of demons in Putrajaya. Do not for one moment imagine it is because we love PAS.

    “You get our vote by default. Continue on the path you’re taking, and be prepared to face peril at the ballot box,” warned political activist Haris Ibrahim, who is linked to the Anything But Umno movement.

    The warning was directed towards Sepang MP Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, who represented PAS in the forum.

    In the 2013 general elections, PR won 89 seats in the 222-member Dewan Rakyat against BN’s 133. It also won 51 per cent of the popular vote while BN received just under 47 per cent.

    Haris’ sentiment was echoed by most who took the mic during the question-and-answer session, and the hundreds who packed the auditorium in the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

    “Is that the most pressing issue? Where Umno is gladly at the back of their mind saying ‘thank you’ for giving a God-sent strategy for them to undermine all your effort?” asked a forum-goer who called himself KK Lam.

    “I think it gave rise to a lot of division. Maybe even the split-up of PR itself. Is that what we want to see? “

    Lam expressed his reservation over a purportedly divine law, pointing out that judgment falls into the hands of the high priest class.

    His opinion echoed Haris’, who said earlier that the creeping Islamisation in the country is slowly sliding into tyranny against the public.

    “I am fearful, because once it is implemented there is no turning back,” said celebrated theatre practitioner Anne James, who also attended as a participant.

    “I already feel like a second class citizen in a secular Malaysia. What more in an Islamic state.”

    Apart from Hanipa, other panelists were civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan, Save Sarawak River’s legal adviser Abun Sui Anyit, and Islamic Renaissance Front’s chairman Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa.

    Before the forum started, a coalition of 59 civil society organisations distributed a statement to the audience detailing its stand over hudud.

    According to the groups, Malaysia was formed as a secular federation and a hudud law is unconstitutional, therefore should not be dealt with in Parliament merely by a Private Member’s Bill.

    The coalition includes All Women’s Action Society (Awam), Aliran, Pusat Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower), Sisters in Islam, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), and Projek Dialog, among others.

    In 1993, the PAS state government passed the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code Enactment (II), allowing it to impose the strict Islamic penal code in the state. But the laws have not been implemented.

    PAS is now looking for parliamentary approval to implement hudud. It plans to put forward two private members’ bills in Parliament. One seeks approval for unconventional punishments, some of which are for offences already covered in the Penal Code.The the other seeks to empower Shariah courts to mete out the unconventional punishments.

    According to the Shariah Courts (Criminal) Jurisdiction Act 1965, the Islamic court cannot sentence offenders to more than three years in jail or fine them more than RM 5,000. It also cannot sentence offenders to be whipped more than six times.

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Pakatan can’t sustain strong GE13 win in next polls due to internal strife, disagreements, forum told

    MAY 06, 2014

    PAS's plan to implement hudud may spell the end of the Pakatan pact and the opposition's ability to achieve another political tsunami in the next general election, a forum was told last night. – The Malaysian Insider pic, May 6, 2014.

    Election 2013 could be the last strong win by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) as the issue of hudud, internal party conflicts and a lack of effort to court rural voters will hurt its chances in the next general election, a forum was told last night.

    Speaking at the "GE 14: Will there be another political tsunami?" forum, panellists Liew Chin Tong, Wan Hamidi Hamid and Hishamuddin Rais noted that in the past year since the May 5 polls, the opposition pact had gained little ground in their dream to capture Putrajaya despite winning more seats in the 13th general election.

    Liew said the hudud issue had worsened PR’s chances of triggering a political tsunami in the next election, and urged its Islamist ally PAS to review its priorities.

    “Hudud was a strategy for PAS to affirm its Islamic identity. But does it remain a relevant strategy, or are we just trapping ourselves behind this one single theme? What is our priority? Hudud, or economic justice?” the Kluang MP said at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

    PR won 89 seats in GE13, seven more than in Election 2008 which saw the DAP, PAS and PKR agree to straight fights against Barisan Nasional (BN), causing the ruling coalition to suffer historic losses of five state governments and the federal Parliament's two-thirds super majority.

    Liew noted that hudud only started to become a strategy for PAS in the 1980s, to differentiate itself from Umno after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s government began to absorb Islamic symbols.

    The young DAP leader said PR should refocus its energies on solving people's issues such as traffic problems, health matters and water woes, rather than be sidetracked by hudud.

    He said cooperation between PAS and DAP was vital for PR’s continued survival, quipping: “We know that when DAP does not work together with PAS, the two parties will end up meeting and becoming friends in Kamunting.”

    DAP member and Inisiatif Impian Malaysia adviser Wan Hamidi said capturing Putrajaya required the opposition pact to win more rural votes, but it had done nothing to improve its standing among that particular demographic.

    “In the 13th general election, we saw an urban tsunami, and this was proven in Sabah where the urban and semi-urban constituencies voted for change.

    “But we have failed with the rural voters, and the BN will continue to capitalise on this through its delineation exercise, by breaking up the kampung into small constituencies and ensuring BN wins even if we secure the majority vote.”

    Wan Hamidi said most of PR’s campaign strategy, such as its vow to reduce car prices, was targeted towards the middle class and had alienated the rural poor.

    “It’s a pity Pakatan has not focused its energies on this after the 13th general election ended.

    "Instead, we are arguing about the hudud issue, and this is making the people, whose votes we need, even more disappointed in us,” he said.

    He added that the issue was compounded by the lack of alternative media in rural areas, and BN’s ready supply of subsidies for the rural voters and the poor.

    But Hishamuddin, a social activist, said that PR would never win a general election as long as the election system remained unchanged.

    “It’s not Umno you are up against, but the electorate system and the election commission. There is no way a political tsunami will happen because Umno and the EC will continue its redelineation exercise to guarantee its win,” he said.

    The solution, said Hishamuddin, was to force the government to form a new election commission that would not resort to gerrymandering to maintain the political status quo.

    “Millions will have to go down to the streets, surround Putrajaya, and have the government set up a new election commission to manage a clean and fair election. The current election is a lie, so why don’t we change it?

    “Don’t maintain the illusion that a change in government is possible right now. With the current election system in place, change is impossible,” said Hishamuddin, who was formerly a committee member of electoral reforms group Bersih 2.0.

    Bersih 2.0’s People Tribunal concluded in March that the 13th general election was not conducted in a free and fair manner, and the numerous irregularities were the result of deliberate acts of fraud.

    The tribunal, made up of local and foreign experts, said the election commission must undergo a comprehensive reform, and laws should be changed to ensure the body was independent from the government.

    It also noted that the general election had an excessive number of postal and advance voters, which had allowed BN to win the election last year. – May 6, 2014.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Lessons of Arab Spring go unheeded by political Islam – William Leong Jee Keen

    MAY 08, 2014

    While Anwar Ibrahim said that conditions were not conducive for hudud implementation with Pakatan Rakyat partners and non-Muslims objecting to PAS’s proposal for a private member’s bill in Parliament to allow hudud in Kelantan, Umno gleefully embraced it. The two former foes are joining hands to form a technical committee to ensure the bill’s passage. With this collaboration, the Malaysian political landscape will change. The fight for the Malay hearts and minds will no longer be Umno versus PAS/PKR but Umno/PAS versus PKR. Umno definitely benefits from this arrangement. Whether PAS will benefit depends on whether Malaysians see political Islam in Malaysia as the Egyptians did when Arab Spring turned into an Arab winter of discontent.

    Political Islam in Malaysia

    PAS proudly acknowledges it is one of the first Islamist parties formed to incorporate religious goals into a political agenda. Its beginning can be traced to the first Pan-Islamic Malaysian conference at Madrasah Ma’ahad al-Ehya as-Sharif at Gunung Semanggul Perak in March 1947. PAS positioned itself as a political party that aims to establish Malaysia as a country based on Islamic legal theory derived from primary sources of Islam, the Quran, Sunnah as well as the Hadiths.

    The PAS Ijtihad and Tajdid

    PAS joined PKR and DAP to form Pakatan Rakyat in 2008. The Islamic state agenda was not part of the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework. Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad in an article dated December 28, 2012 referred to this as a transformation of political Islam post-Arab Spring. He said that PAS in a rare exercise of intellectual renewal or ijtihad and Tajdid (Revivalism) committed the party to and shifted itself prior to the 12th general election in 2008 – to a political trajectory and a manifesto of “Negara Berkebajikan” (the Benevolent State) from the overworked concept of the Islamic state. While playing down the historical demand for the specific implementation of the legal aspects of the shariah and the Islam penal code, namely hudud, PAS changed its priorities to “justice for all” and distanced itself from Malay supremacy and racial-religious bigotry.

    Dr Dzulkefly said that for Islam to be at the centre of national cohesion and solidarity, political Islam must be inclusive, voluntary and just. He pointedly asked whether PAS has what it takes to balance between attracting the trust and respect of the nascent non-Muslim support and discerning Malay-Muslim middle ground citizenry while treading cautiously to maintain traditional supporters wary of PAS’s changing trends.

    Dr Dzukefly Ahmad believed that if PAS truly understood and internalised its strength of being capable of strategically positioning itself in “middle-Malaysia”, due essentially to its embodiment of the Quranic imperatives of “Al Wasatiyyah” (Moderation) and “Rahmatan Lil-Alamin (A Mercy to All Mankind), PAS would be able to proceed on this longer term trajectory to maintain and enhance its support-base and acquire the trust and respect for a mutually rewarding social-politico-religious relationship with all of the nation’s peoples for a “New Malaysia”.

    However, the PAS Muktamar in November 2013 became a turning point with hard-line young Turks taking on the progressives with the conservative ulamas sandwiched between. With spiritual adviser Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat’s retirement from active politics, a younger generation of leaders emerged who had been uncomfortable with the party’s “liberalism” leanings following an infusion of professionally qualified persons as members and leaders.

    These younger leaders see the loss of Kedah and PAS’s unimpressive performance in the 13th general elections winning only 21 out of 73 parliamentary seats contested as reasons to question the path the Islamist party had taken since 2008. They read it as an indication that PAS is losing the support of Malays because they do not want PAS to soften its stand on the implementation of Islamic laws and values. The failure of personalities in the progressive group during GE13 such as deputy president Mohamad Sabu or Mat Sabu, vice-presidents; Datuk Husam Musa and Sallahudin Ayob and Dr Dzuklify Ahmad created momentum for the conservative ulamas to push PAS back to what they see as its proper function as an Islamic movement. The conservatives view the bold measures taken to bolster the party’s appeal to non-Muslims, particularly softening its stance on its Islamic state agenda, as having caused PAS to compromise too much. Some PAS members ask why the Islamic state agenda had to be put on the back burner when it is the fundamental purpose for the inception of the party. The group wants the party to review its cooperation with Pakatan Rakyat partners which to them mark a departure from the PAS original goal.

    It is clear from the private member’s bill proposal that the conservatives have regained their ascendency in the party. It is also clear that in making the proposal the PAS leadership has decided to forgo the support of non-Muslims, reject inclusiveness, cut short the ijtihad trajectory and revert to its traditional ideological base. The question is whether it will attract the Malay support it hopes for. The answer lies in whether PAS is able to take heed of the lessons from the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

    Political Islam in the Middle East

    Like PAS, many Islamist political parties in the Middle East emerged as movements calling for the application of shariah and to restore the caliphate state. By successfully incorporating religious claims within their agenda, these movements were able to launch powerful critiques against those regimes that were undergoing a growing legitimacy crisis. They were also able to derive support from large segments of society that were frustrated with the corruption, authoritarianism and patronage of those existing regimes.

    As protest movements, these Islamist parties never felt the need to develop habits of negotiation and compromise. As a consequence, their ideological rigidity became a source of anxiety for many who did not share their vision. Egyptian writer and activist Woel Nawara and Dr Feyzi Baban, associate professor in political studies and international development at Trent University, said the question was and continues to be whether such Islamist parties will replace secular authoritarian regimes with religious authoritarian ones or whether they will be willing to become a part of the democratic transformation so desperately needed.

    There had always been within the Muslim world and even within these Islamist parties a tension between Muslim conservatives and liberal intellectuals. Islamic traditionalists and Islamists have on the whole gained the dominant voice within Islam, especially since the Islamic resurgence in the 1970s, and had swept all before it. These conservatives saw shariah as divinely inspired and unchangeable, valid for all times and places, and attacked the few liberal voices seeking to reinterpret the Muslim sources in line with modern context and human rights.

    The War Within Islam: New Ijtihad and the Conservatives

    Islamist commentator, Patrick Sookhdeo, observed in 2009 that a small minority of marginalised Muslim progressives had been bravely defying traditional and mainstream Islam. Important leaders started to come out against long-held traditional views, doctrines and practices, openly supporting ideas compatible with modernity. Some experts on Islam said: “The really decisive battle is taking place within Muslim civilization, where ultraconservatives compete against moderates and democrats for the soul of the Muslim public.”

    It was noted that a powerful struggle is ongoing for the soul of Islam. New voices were emerging within mainstream Islamic leaders embracing a new “ijtihad” compatible with modernity and human rights. They would seem to accept the liberal reformist view of prioritising the core values of Islam, distilled from Islamic source texts, as spiritual and moral norms that override literalist, coercive, political and social interpretations. They seem to be willing to reconcile traditional Islamic concepts with modern humanistic values of pluralism, freedom and equality.

    The progressives in the Middle East appeared to be winning this battle when major political Islamic movements evolved their narrative by discarding the exclusive loyalty to the Islamic Ummah and adopted progressive positions. These caused the middle classes and lower middle classes in these countries to shift their support from the traditional secular elites to the Islamic movements. The leaders of Islamist movements in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Kuwait and others published manifestos that accept the principles of political pluralism and the notion of the “modern state” that does not correspond directly to Islamic jurisprudence.

    However, in all the key political Islamic groups there were and continues to be conspicuous divisions between them – on the one hand, savvy leadership that are keen to widen their constituents and not alarm the huge middle classes of these societies and on the other hand, the conservatives ideologically-driven and bent on Islamisation of their societies.

    The overarching objective of almost all political Islamic groups is not to attain parliamentary majorities but to gradually Islamise their states-and their societies. It was relatively easy to consign this objective to the long term when these groups were – in most cases – the opposition focusing on maximising their social and political presence in systems dominated by secular authoritarian regimes. However, when Islamic groups with conservatives holding sway commanded the legislative and executive powers in a country, Islamisation of society takes centre stage.

    Arab Spring

    Arab Spring which saw multiple uprisings that started in Tunisia and made its way to Egypt and other parts of the Arab world in 2011 was breathtaking. The promise of the Arab revolution was – and remains – a break with repressive authoritarian and totalitarian regimes to pave the way towards an era of freedom, dignity and prosperity. Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst Marwan Bishara said never in the history of the region have people been so hopeful, so ready and so adamant to change their lives for the better as they were in 2011. Never has the spread, speed and similarity of uprisings across continents been so breathtaking, and the contagion so instantaneous. Never have the young and the old, men and women, middle-class and working class worked so closely and so satisfyingly. Never have the religious and the secular, the liberal and the conservative marched so trustingly in the streets and public squares of the Arab world as they did at the outset of the Arab Spring.

    After Morsi won the presidential election, despite reminders by the moderates to tread carefully, many of the leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood invoked a “historical imperative” to start an “Islamic Enlightenment” project. Egyptian author, Tarek Osman, in an article written on 23 October 2012 had the prescience to ask whether the Islamic parties would genuinely reach out to their countries’ wider social constituencies or return to their ideological roots. The Muslim Brotherhood could not deny the ideologically-bent conservatives sacrificing the secular on the altar of the sacred. The seeds for the coup d’tat on July 3, 2013 against Mohamed Morsi and the subsequent ban of the Muslim Brotherhood were sown by their attempt to implement the Islamisation policy without dealing effectively with the socio-economic problems. This allowed the intelligence and military under the old Mubarak regime to take advantage of the ensuing anti-Morsi and anti-Muslim Brotherhood sentiments to regain power in one fell swoop under the pretext of saving the revolution from the Islamists.

    Many who voted for the Muslim Brotherhood in 2011 and 2012 saw the well-organised party as an indication of high moral standards and quiet competence that would translate into an effective government. These hopes were dashed. In the words of an international
    consultant who advises regional governments, the Brotherhood turned out to be “high on will, low on skill”. Morsi put far more effort into trying to consolidate his own control than in dealing with Egypt’s dire economic and social problems. His appointments plainly showed a preference for piety over competence.

    Political analysts and researchers report that the majority of the voters supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (Hizb al-Hurriya wa al-adala) because they believed this well-known and well-organised party when it promised to redistribute wealth and shore up Egypt’s crumbling welfare state. When it failed to do so, the voters’ retribution was swift, as evidenced in the rapid constriction of the Islamist vote share from two-thirds of voters in the initial legislative victory to barely a quarter of the voters in the 2012 presidential elections – and the eventual mass movement to expel Mohamed Morsi from power in July 2013. Political Islam’s place in the hearts and minds was always contingent not on religious fervour but on Islamist parties’ real world performance.

    It became increasingly clear that the appeal of the Islamists stems not so much from their religious standing or their promises to impose shariah law as from their superior ability to harness the resentments of Egypt’s poor. With problems proliferating from surging unemployment to crippling power and fuel shortages, it was perhaps not surprising that a large section of this vast underclass took to the streets for a second time.


    PAS in proposing the hudud private bill has in one stroke negated its gains from non-Muslims won over the past 6 years. Is there room for an inclusive political Islam in Malaysia? Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan shows that there is. When the Turkish secular establishment deposed Necmetttin Erbakan, Turkey’s Islamist prime minister and leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) struck back in 2002 and have ruled the country ever since. The return of Turkish Islamists happened only after they made fundamental changes in their ideology and political platform. They moved from Erbakah’s “idealism” to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “realism” and built their model of governance based on meritocracy, transparency and accountability. The AKP's initial success after its first election victory in 2002 was due to its ability to distance itself from the title “Islamist” and define itself as “Muslim Democratic” in addition to its ability to initiate a broader political and economic agenda with democratic reforms at the centre and its promise to become a government free from corruption. Such initiatives allowed the AKP government to build an alliance with groups and movements that might otherwise have been sceptical of allying with a political party with Islamic credentials. Indeed, the success of political Islam in Turkey underscores that inclusion is a crucial factor in altering Islamists’ ideology and mind-set to become more moderate and progressive.

    Lessons from the Arab Spring

    Political scholars and observers note that Middle Eastern societies are not a single monolithic mass of people. They are, instead, complex societies consisting of different ideologies, lifestyles and identities – including different ethnic, religious and cultural identities – with competing interest and objectives. The experience of the Muslim Brotherhood illustrates that Islamist parties have not completed their evolution from being rigid ideological parties, whose sole aim is to remake their societies in their own image, to pragmatic organisations willing to represent and give voice to their followers in a pluralistic political environment. If the Muslim Brotherhood experience points to the need for political Islam to accommodate a pluralistic society, this applies all the more in our multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysian society.

    Political Islam has indeed come to the crossroads. Islamist parties can either hold on to their rigid ideological base, trying to mould their societies to fit within their singular vision, or they can accept their role as an influential force in a democratic pluralistic regime, within which the rule of law must guarantee protection of rights for everyone, including Islamists. Only the second alternative provides a road to stability. The first will only bring more conflict and disharmony.

    PAS needs to do some re-thinking on political Islam. – May 8, 2014.

    * William Leong Jee Keen is Selayang Member of Parliament.

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