Islamisation will tear Malaysia apart, says Marina Mahathir

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Illusions of Democracy contains a series of essays on democracy in Malaysia. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, January 18, 2018.

MALAYSIA is on a slippery slope if the nation carries on with its Islamisation agenda, which will not only divide society, but also promote violence, said Marina Mahathir.

Citing a recent example of a man slapping a Muslim woman for not wearing a headscarf in public, the socio-political activist said Islamisation is not going to be positive or healthy for the nation.

“What could possibly have given the man the idea that he is entitled to harangue and slap a Muslim woman for not wearing a tudung as happened recently in Penang,” she said at a book launch at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall last night.

The footage of a man slapping a woman for allegedly not wearing a headscarf some two weeks ago went viral on social media.

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Illusions of Democracy in Malaysia

View Facebook event here

SIRD is pleased to invite you to the launch of Sophie Lemière’s latest edited volume, Illusions of Democracy: Malaysian Politics and People Volume II. Building upon her earlier volume Misplaced Democracy, it features a group of prominent international and local scholars covering topics such as the 1MDB scandal, islamisation, refugee populations, zakat payment, ISIS discourse in Malaysia as well as LGBT rights. It offers an up-to-date and wide ranging overview of Malaysian politics and the status of Malaysia as a semi-democratic or semi-authoritarian country.

Launching the book will be Marina Mahathir, with Sophie Lemière of the Weatherhead Center, Harvard University, Angela Kuga Thas, and Lawrence Ross forming the panel, to discuss Malaysian democracy and its allusions through the lens of political science, anthropology and LGBT rights.

Included also will be cartoonist Zunar.

Religious fundamentalism in Malaysia: reality vs rhetoric

Source: Asian Correspondent

Hijabs for sale at a market in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Source: Shutterstock. Image taken from Asian Correspondent.

WHEN it comes to tackling religious fundamentalism, the Malaysian government struggles to reconcile the commitments it makes on the international stage with the realities of life for the Malaysian people, according to UN Special Rapporteur Karima Bennoune.

Under Prime Minister Najib Razak, the Malaysian government has long touted the merits of a cohesive and inclusive multi-religious society in the Muslim-majority nation, and continues to declare its commitment to a “moderate and progressive” form of Islam.

In comments made in response to Bennoune’s thematic report on fundamentalism, extremism and the cultural rights, Najib placed the success of the nation at the feet of its ethnic and religious diversity.

“In Malaysia’s experience ensuring a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-ethnic population have freedoms to practice their cultures, traditions and religious belief has been essential and integral to our nation building and progress,” he said in March 2017. Read more

UN envoy says govt’s contradiction over religious extremism worrying

Source: FMT News

UN special rapporteur Karima Bennoune questions discrepancy between rhetoric and reality on Islamic fundamentalism and extremism in Malaysia. Image taken from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The UN special rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Karima Bennoune has revealed that while the Malaysian government has voiced its rejection of Islamic fundamentalism and extremism, there was concern over perceived contradictions.

In a report on her preliminary observations during a visit to Malaysia from Sept 11 to 21, Karima Bennoune reported on some of these contradictions as told to her by the different sectors of Malaysian society whom she met.

“They expressed concern that the contradiction to these stated commitments was part of the growing Islamisation of Malaysian society and polity based on an increasingly rigid and fundamentalist interpretation of Islam,” Bennoune said.

“It is critical to ask what accounts for this striking discrepancy between rhetoric and lived reality recounted by many and what its consequences are for the enjoyment of cultural rights.” Read more

Diversifying perspectives in understanding religion — Mohd Izzuddin Ramli

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY MOHD IZZUDDIN RAMLI

opinion-clipart-gg60666501FEBRUARY 10 — For most people, religion is the fundamental element in human life. It is perceived in many ways by the believers, either as an identity marker or something that is sacred and embraced as the pillars that they hold onto in their lives. Unsurprisingly, religion particularly Islam has increasingly become a hot topic in Malaysia. It is especially so when Islamisation creeps into every stratum of society.

Religion that is perceived as something personal is gradually becoming social and, worse, a state matter. But what is also worrying is that Islam as is practised in Malaysia is governed by religious institutions that have a monopoly over the interpretation of the religion. In other words, aspects of Islam receive singular, as opposed to diverse, interpretations prescribed by the state institutions. The inclination to be exclusive and monolithic is ostensible not only in intra-religious relations but also in inter-religious relations.

Sunni and Shia conflict that has been going on for decades in countries like Syria, Pakistan and Bahrain, has also reached the shores of Malaysia albeit the intensity of the split is not as high as we can visually perceive in those countries. Yet, we can still see the clash between the conservative and the progressive with all the erroneous labels such as Jews, liberal, Illuminati, traditional and so on that are thrown at each other.

There are such cases that can be seen at the inter-religious level. The relations between Muslims and Christians experiences a setback by cases such as the removal of the cross from a church that happened in Taman Medan, Selangor in 2015 as well as the use of loudspeakers for azan by Muslim. Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA) has once again stirred up controversy by asserting that Malays should not wish Christians “Merry Christmas” and celebrate together with them. Read more