AVOID MUSLIM MALAYSIA
15 Suspected ISIS Members Planning Terror Attacks Have Been Arrested in Malaysia
Malaysia lost its tolerance
Stephanie Sta Maria
May 19, 2012
Irshad Manji says that moderate Muslims in Malaysia are not only 'useless' but that their 'silence and passivity' allow extremists to get away with violence and intimidation.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Muslim moderates have two choices; either become reformists and contribute to society, or remain as they are and fuel Malaysia’s economic downturn.
So went Canadian author, Irshad Manji’s, message to the religious figureheads of a country that she said has lost its sense of openness, tolerance and pluralism.
The liberal Muslim activist was in Malaysia to launch a Bahasa Malaysia translation of her latest book “Allah, Liberty and Love” despite Putrajaya having banned all her public events here.
Islamic Affairs Minister Jamil Khir Baharom said earlier today that the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and the Home Ministry had forbade any events by the Ugandan-born writer due to concerns that her ideology would have negative implications for Muslims here.
But Irshad and her local publisher, ZI Publications, succesfully pulled off the launch in KLSCAH where the 50-odd crowd were eager to hear her views on Islam especially in Malaysia.
In a brief interview after the book signing, Irshad told FMT that Malaysia’s reputation as an “open, tolerant and pluralistic” country was long gone.
And the reason for this, she believed, was because the moderate Muslims were in fact not very moderate.
The 44-year old New York University (NYU) professor then likened the Muslims in Malaysia to the Christians in America during the 1960s.
“When (civil rights activist) Martin Luther King said that the Bible was being use to justify racism, the Christians told him to stop creating tension,” she explained. “And he reminded them that tension already existed if the Bible was being used for such purposes.”
“I think the same message needed for Muslims today especially in Malaysia where the word moderate seems to have this wonderful tone to it but the reality is very different.”
‘Useless’ moderate Muslims
Irshad said that the moderate Muslims in Malaysia were not only “useless” but that their “silence and passivity” allowed extremists to get away with violence and intimidation.
She emphasised that the moderates should end their passivity and start being of use to society and Islam which she equated to becoming reformists.
If they resisted this change, she warned, then Malaysia should brace itself for an economic bust.
“The thriving economy in this digital age requires a population that is able and willing to think creatively and critically,” Irshad explained. “And as I understand it, the education system in Malaysia is not so big on critical thinking.”
“So this message is not just about faith. If Malaysians are apathetic because they don’t want to rock the boat and lose their material comforts then they need to understand that their children may not have those same comforts if they have been raised in an education system that does not encourage critical thinking.”
Irshad, whose work is banned in most Arab countries, further urged Muslims to have more faith in themselves.
“Many Muslims think that they are practicing Islamic teachings by uttering Quranic verses,” she said.
“And then they allow their emotions to heighten and get defensive over a world event that they perceive to be demeaning to them,” she added.
Malaysia and the Myth of Islamic Tolerance
Posted by Rich Trzupek on Jan 22nd, 2010
Malaysia is often held up as the model of what a modern Muslim-majority nation can be. The ruling class, the bumiputra (literally “princes of the earth”) are largely, though not entirely, Muslim. But when Malaysia’s High Court ruled in late December to lift a government ban on non-Muslims using the word “Allah,” Christian churches became the targets of fire-bombing attacks. This eruption of violence suggests that there is trouble brewing just beneath the surface even in this supposed paradise of Islamic moderation.
At last count, eleven Christian churches and one Sikh temple have been attacked in Malaysia. That makes twelve attacks against places of worship in half a month’s time. What does it say about Islamic values when the impetus for these attacks was the use of a particular word?
Everyone agrees that the word “Allah” pre-dates the birth of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. In Malaysia, as in most of the Muslim of the world, Allah simply means God, the same God that, according to the Quran itself, both Christians and Jews worship. Nonetheless, use of the word Allah among non-Muslims has long been prohibited by law in Malaysia. A December 31 ruling by a Malaysian court overturned that law, a move that upset many of the nation’s Muslims, who make up about sixty per cent of the populace. They claim that non-Muslims will use the word to corrupt Muslims into accepting infidel beliefs.
Once again, we are presented with evidence of Islamic intolerance and insecurity. To his credit, Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib condemned the attacks, which undermine both his “One Malaysia” policy and his re-election prospects. But no matter how much tolerance the leader of this nation may preach, the actions of his co-religionists speak much louder. Emboldened by an increasingly aggressive, violent, world-wide Islamic resurgence over the last few decades, this episode reveals what expatriates who have lived in Malaysia have long claimed: that the supposed harmony of Malaysia is nothing but a glossy veneer that barely covers up the inequities and prejudices of this society.
The Malaysian constitution grants special privileges to the bumiputra, or as they are called in the constitution, Malays. Malays are defined as those citizens who profess the religion of Islam, habitually speak the Malay language and conform to Malay customs. The constitution directs the King of Malaysia (Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy) to safeguard the special position of the Malays and to ensure that a certain percentage of public services and scholarships and other similar educational privileges are reserved by the federal government for the benefit of Malays.
The bumiputra enjoy other advantages as well. A certain percentage of stock in publicly-traded companies is reserved for the bumiputra. Traditionally, they pay less for real estate than other Malaysian citizens. This is clearly a separate and unequal society. Which is not to say that Malaysia is not governed in a more liberal fashion than reactionary Muslim nations like Iran and Saudi Arabia. Western clothing can be found on the streets of Kuala Lampur. Christians, Buddhists and Hindus, if less than equal compared to their Muslim masters, are at least allowed to practice their faith in relative peace.
Or rather they were
allowed to worship in relative peace. The government of Malaysia has officially
condemned the attacks, even as it tries to have the troublesome court ruling
that set off the firestorm reversed. Troops have been dispatched to protect
non-Islamic houses of worship, but it seems unlikely that many of the
2.3 million Christians who live in Malaysia feel safe going to church.
Even in this most mainstream of Muslim-ruled nations, supposed Islamic tolerance has been once again shown to be a matter of style, not substance.
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
August 4, 2006
LUMPUR, Malaysia -- At a time of rage and intolerance throughout much of the
Muslim world, Malaysia stands out as a source of hope that Muslims and
non-Muslims can live together in a Muslim-majority nation.
The Southeast Asian nation, whose flag bears the Muslim crescent and moon, has made considerable economic gains.
Its majority Muslim population has coexisted peacefully with the 40 percent
non-Muslim population, mostly Chinese and Indian.
In addition, no major incident of violence has been committed in the name of
Islam on Malaysian soil.
It's no wonder Muslim and Western leaders hold Malaysia in high esteem.
The hat-tipping is set to continue when Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi
delivers a keynote address at the sixth Asia-Europe Meeting in Finland next
The European Union wants Mr. Abdullah to share Malaysia's success in the
areas of race relations and interfaith issues.
If the past is any indication, Mr. Abdullah will claim tolerance and unity
as enduring traits of the Malaysian people. He will swear by Islam Hadhari (Civilizational
Islam), a political and ideological interpretation of the faith that stresses
moderation and technological and economic competitiveness.
But back home a different reality is unfolding under Mr. Abdullah's watch,
one that raises questions about his commitment to Islam Hadhari and may have
far-reaching implications for what is known as a "model Islamic democracy."
Hard-line Muslims have grown irate in recent months over efforts to
establish a commission to enhance understanding among Malaysia's various faiths.
The latest protest was on July 22, when a private organization named Article
11 gathered in an upper-floor hotel ballroom in the state of Johor Bahru.
The organization wants the Malaysian government to guarantee equality and
freedom of worship as the supreme law of the land. About 300 Muslims scowled
from behind a police line at the hotel entrance, brandishing signs that said,
"Don't touch Muslim sensitivities," "Destroy anti-Muslims" and "We are ready to
sacrifice ourselves for Islam."
In May, hard-liners threatening to storm an Article 11 venue brought the
forum to an abrupt end.
Mr. Abdullah has responded to the tensions by cracking down -- not on the
hard-liners, but on Article 11.
"Do not force the government to take action," he warned the organization.
He accused Article 11 of playing up religious issues and threatening to
shatter Malaysia's fragile social balance by highlighting "sensitive" issues.
It is an article of faith in Malaysia that "sensitive" issues should not be
Yet it is these same issues -- race, religion and a longtime affirmative action program benefiting the majority Malays -- that are dear to many Malaysian hearts.
The issues are discussed passionately, albeit behind closed doors, within one's own racial community. Mr. Abdullah has issued a stern warning to journalists to stop reporting on issues related to religious matters.
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