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Old 07-17-2002, 06:28 AM   #1
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for anyone who cares to read (re: no freedome of religion for Muslims in Malaysia)

http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/200207160032841.php
Note: UMNO is the ruling party of Malaysia, led by PM Dr Mahathir. PAS is the more hard-line Muslim opposition.

Excerpt:

Quote:
The Barisan Nasional government, or rather Umno, on the other hand forbids any Malay from giving up the religion he/she was born into, i.e. Islam, considers it a very serious crime, and is discouraging this measure at all costs by a strict enforcement measure through the religious authorities.

But in the eyes of many, Umno is doing this more to preserve and safeguard its political interests rather than the religious well-being of the Malay Malaysians. Though the civil law of the land derived from British laws to which Umno subscribes is not framed in such a way as to punish Muslims who choose to forsake Islam, Umno through the Islamic authorities have cracked down very hard on such people.

Thus the very few Malay Malaysians who ever dared to venture out of their religion have been harassed, intimidated and ostracised to make them repent and return to the fold of the ummah (community). While many of those who ‘strayed’ have succumbed to the pressure, others have chosen not to, and are paying a heavy price.

One of these is Jamaluddin Othman better known as Yeshua Jamaluddin, a Malay Malaysian born a Muslim, but converted to Christianity. He was among those arrested under the ISA in the 1987 Operation Lallang with more than a hundred politicians, educationists and civil right movement leaders.

While in detention he was severely abused and tortured, forced to reenact the Crucifixion, but he steadfastly stuck to his faith, reading the Bible and singing hymns for inspiration. Jamaluddin filed a habeas corpus writ and the then independent judiciary, looking at the case from a legal point of view, decided that the appellant's freedom to profess any religion did not threaten national security as documented in the directive for his ISA detention.

As such, there were no grounds to detain him and the judges ordered his release from ISA detention in October 1988. The present whereabouts of Jamaluddin are unknown and he is thought to have left the country.

But he has written a book called Circumcision of the heart to document his experience under ISA detention.

I have personally come across many Malay Malaysians who given the choice, would prefer not to be Muslims, for a variety of reasons, especially the restrictions that Islam (relative to other religions) imposes on them. But they dare not speak their minds openly for fear of the severe intimidation through the religious authorities.

They feel that in the age of modernity and globalisation compatible with democracy, they as matured adults, should be allowed to choose their own religion like everyone else — and not have to be told to take a certain path to God by people who claim such a divine right — as in the by-gone dark era of the Middle Ages, replete with bloody religious wars such as the Crusades in the Holy Land, the Ottoman subjugation of Eastern Europe and the Inquisition in Spain.

Others especially Muslim women, feel that they ought to follow the faith of their non-Muslim husbands rather than the other way round, which is what is happening in Malaysia.

Many also feel that Malay Malaysians are just as human as anyone else, subject to human frailties, and as such find difficulty in coping with the restrictions imposed on them by Islam. They point to the fact that the rate of crimes like incest, adultery and drug addiction among Malay Malaysians is the highest in the country despite the harsh punishments Islam metes out against such crimes. It is a reflection of the explosion of their suppressed feelings.

Had it not been for the politicisation of Islam in Malaysia by Umno and PAS, apostasy would not have been a crime among Malay Malaysians. It would merely be regarded as the exercise of one of the basic tenets of human rights, the freedom of the individual to choose his own religion.
In addition, minors (18 and under) in Malaysia are bound to their parents' religion, according to a local Act.

(ARRRGH)

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Old 07-17-2002, 07:56 AM   #2
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"Had it not been for the politicisation of Islam in Malaysia by Umno and PAS, apostasy would not have been a crime among Malay Malaysians. It would merely be regarded as the exercise of one of the basic tenets of human rights, the freedom of the individual to choose his own religion."

Not necessarily. If there is a predominantly Muslim country that actually embraces religious liberty and pluralism, I don't know of it.
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Old 07-17-2002, 10:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by agentorange

Not necessarily. If there is a predominantly Muslim country that actually embraces religious liberty and pluralism, I don't know of it.
Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, and at least in formality, has religious freedom. How practical that is for people converting out of their faith in terms of reprisal from their family and village is another matter, but the government is separate from it, unlike in Malaysia.
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Old 07-18-2002, 02:09 AM   #4
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Foray:

Thank you for posting this; I hope people will read it and at least think about it.

It is true that even in "secular" nations, such atrocities are carried out by families, tribes, etc., outside of the context of "the law," yet "the law" conveniently turns the other way when this stuff happens, even in "secular" nations such as Turkey, Jordan and Indonesia. Even in reformist Iran, as recently as 1996, a Christian Bishop was executed as part of a religious death sentence; his crime? converting from his birth religion to another, then telling other people of his birth religion about Christianity. Turkey allows families to pursue "honor" killings if their daughter is raped. Sometimes I wonder to myself what happened to the 200,000 Persian Jews who lived in Iran prior to The Revolution in 1979; now there are about 1,000 of them living in Iran.

My prayers are witht he Malay Malaysians who strive to follow their own spiritual destiny, whatever faith that may be. Sometimes we all find ourselves on the Cross because of our beliefs.

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Old 07-18-2002, 07:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4


Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, and at least in formality, has religious freedom. How practical that is for people converting out of their faith in terms of reprisal from their family and village is another matter, but the government is separate from it, unlike in Malaysia.
Sula, point taken, but I'm afraid that the religious freedom in Indonesia may be just a formality. From reports that I've seen, approximately 8000 people have been killed in the last year and a half in battles between Christians and Muslims, with some half million people displaced. There have been claims that the Muslims have been aided by members of the military. There have also been thousands of forced conversions by the Muslims, at the risk of decapitation. I know that the government can't stop every squabble between the groups, but the scale of the terror here implicates them - they are either ignoring the problem, or they are inept at controlling it. Not only that, but the government also refuses to grant permission for churches to be built in many instances, since, according to law, there must be agreement in the local community before building can begin. When you live in a land that is over 80% Muslim, it's no surprise that there is rarely agreement. Combined with the fact that many churches in the most volatile areas have been bombed/burned, religious freedom becomes a farce.
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Old 07-18-2002, 09:33 AM   #6
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agentorange, you don't have to tell me what the religious situation is like in Indonesia; I grew up there. And my parents were still living there during the overthrow of the Suharto government and the slaughter in the Malukus. Not to mention that the situation in Central Sulawesi has taken place on what is essentially my childhood stomping grounds. I'm completely aware that there is disparity between what is stated and what is done. In many cases of religious persecution, the government is too weak to stop it and usually doesn't care to anyways. (although when pressured by the international community and given bad press, they have been known to step in) However, it is an important distinction to me to note that Indonesia is NOT a Muslim state. People within the government have argued over this since I can remember, Arab nations have spent a lot of money trying to seduce the Indonesian government into capitulating and creating an Islamic state, and radical elements are always trying to enforce their intolerance over what is generally a tolerant nation. But as of yet, they have to succeed. The differentiation is important to me because I hold out hope that Indonesia will live out her credo of "Unity in diversity" fully someday and not succumb to the pressure to become like some of her neighbors.
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Old 07-18-2002, 10:39 AM   #7
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Thanks all for your contributions.

I know... that... Westerners probably lump Malaysians together with overzealous Middle Eastern countries. It is true that some remote factions in Malaysia are composed of zealots but for a long time we have lived in harmony with all races and religions. Truly, I was brought up in multicultural bliss. It is only recently with all this jihad business and links to Al Qaeda... that we have been viewed by the international community as overzealous Muslims.

edit: May I add that we have never had extreme Muslim punishments (in Arabic it is called 'hudud' law). Only recently has the government of one state, Terengganu, passed the implementation of this dreaded hudud law which states that thiefs will get their hands chopped off, etc. The issue is being fiercely debated among Malaysians today... Frankly, and no offence to Muslims on this board, I am against the hudud being carried out because of several things. First, the leaders who want to implement it say that it will eventually be explained and assimilated into non-Muslims... i.e non-Muslims like me could be trialed under the hudud! This is what I've heard. Also, even if this law weren't applicable to me, the fact that my Muslim friends could even get their hands chopped off or something, would affect me as well.

I don't know if I can contribute further to this thread; for the subject makes me very angry.


Anyway, anyway... carry on.


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Old 07-18-2002, 11:17 AM   #8
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It does make me glad that people far away like you guys give a damn about what happens in a remote place (to you) such as Southeast Asia.

Malaysia provides your canned pineapples, I believe.

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Old 07-19-2002, 08:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
agentorange, you don't have to tell me what the religious situation is like in Indonesia; I grew up there. And my parents were still living there during the overthrow of the Suharto government and the slaughter in the Malukus. Not to mention that the situation in Central Sulawesi has taken place on what is essentially my childhood stomping grounds. I'm completely aware that there is disparity between what is stated and what is done. In many cases of religious persecution, the government is too weak to stop it and usually doesn't care to anyways. (although when pressured by the international community and given bad press, they have been known to step in) However, it is an important distinction to me to note that Indonesia is NOT a Muslim state. People within the government have argued over this since I can remember, Arab nations have spent a lot of money trying to seduce the Indonesian government into capitulating and creating an Islamic state, and radical elements are always trying to enforce their intolerance over what is generally a tolerant nation. But as of yet, they have to succeed. The differentiation is important to me because I hold out hope that Indonesia will live out her credo of "Unity in diversity" fully someday and not succumb to the pressure to become like some of her neighbors.
Sula,
If my reply came across as condescending or preachy to you, I apologize. Judging from previous posts about your parents' mission work and your handle, I assumed that you had ties to Indonesia. I know that my reply was aimed at you, and appears quite pointed in retrospect, but I was primarily concerned with providing information for others who may be less informed about the situation. I know that I probably bludgeoned you with data from a country that I know little about, but I thought that your original post was slightly misleading, or at least understated the extent of the problem. After all, I would guess that the extent of damage/casualties in Indonesia dwarfs that of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict over a comparable period of time, though we rarely hear about it. I simply intended to educate...regardless of who needed to hear it.


Anyway, this is a topic that I am becoming quite passionate about. I can see that you are as well, and I obviously touched a nerve. I'm sorry.

And if any muslims here thought that I was grouping you in with the vandals, murderers, and creeps by association, I apologize to you also.
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Old 07-20-2002, 09:13 AM   #10
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well....

I remember the Eastern Timor conflict two years ago, when thousands of christians were killed by Muslims....
It was interesting to see, that the United Nation's reaction came very fast.

I remember, that the same organisation watched the GENOCID in Bosnia, where 200.000 (official number) muslims were killed by christians, and did NOTHING.
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Old 07-22-2002, 12:18 AM   #11
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Tarik,

Get off it. Oh poor Muslims. Not worth as much as Christians.

Don't buy into victimologies like this. They are all false! It is Propaganda used to convince one group that they have it harder than anyone else. Propaganda used to divide one group from another. How many times? How many times did it start innocently, then end up in horror and atrocity. Germans were told in whispered rumors that the Jews had victimized them long before Hitler came to finish the job. The Hutus were told about the tutsis. the Orthodox Christians were told horror stories about the Muslims picking on them especially for centuries before the war began in Bosnia.

Maybe most people will never act to avenge their special status as the most victimized group in the world. But only a few like Bin Laden are needed to do the work!!!! All it took was a handful of Muslims to swallow the crap that everybody picks on the Muslims and nobody cares about the Muslims for thousands of people to be murdered 9/11.

What is not mentioned in your post is that East Timor happened after the Bosnian and Rwandan trajedies, after many many hard lessons on what not to do anymore. We were caught with our pants down on those earlier emergencies, without methods in place to deal with them, frozen. Even the Holocaust was stopped much by accident. Noone knew when we were fighting the full horror that was going on. We did not set out with a plan to stop it. We all thought such a thing could never happen again.

The people of East Timor benefitted NOT because they were more valuable Christians. They were spared what happened to others because of how much we all wished we could have done something sooner for the Bosnians!

Say what really caused the delays for Bosnians. It was surprise, lack of preparation, common human inertia, fear of getting involved, NOT religion.
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Old 07-22-2002, 09:07 AM   #12
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Nothing I said was propaganda,

I only compared the UN's reaction in Bosnia and Timor...

And WHY are the bosnians not able to come back to their homes.....thousands of ppl are sitting in tents, hoping to return to the cities they were born.

If the UN learned more, we the palestinian conflict would come to an end....oh, I forgot....the USA is sitting in the World Security Council.....

Israel has NEVER ever accept one resolution of this council, but did they were bombed like Iraq (for not letting the UN inspectors controle their factories)???

OF COURSE NOT....
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Old 07-22-2002, 11:23 AM   #13
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Tarik,

I said that you were buying into a victimology. The victimology is the propaganda put forward by Muslim opinion makers.

Anyone, ANYONE, can make the case that they are the worlds greatest victims by spinning the undisputed facts and figures while artfully eliminating other perspectives.

Muslims are not special. They are not singled out for special persecution.

The crisis in Israel and the Palestinian territories cannot be compared with genocide. That is the first exageration the propagandists use. The conflict there is low grade war of attrition. Atrocites are committed on both sides and BOTH sides are to blame for starting the conflict in the first place but casualties are extremely low compared with most other conflicts.

Whatsmore the fighting there could end today if both parties would just grow up. That conflict is ridiculous and I'm losing sympathy for those people whp continue to see the wordl in black and white contrary to all the evidence.

Go ahead and think you are part of a special victim group. Go ahead and think that all the worlds problem's could be solved by the US just snapping its fingers. I did my best to offer you a wider perspective.
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Old 07-23-2002, 09:22 AM   #14
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Well.....

So I'm buying into vicimology......

Everthing that I mention are facts....

I'm the last one who sees the world in black and white.

Did I say that the muslims are the worlds's greatest victims...

Lets talk about facts,

Fact is, that almost 20 per cent of the world population are muslims, but almost 90 per cent of all refugees are muslims...

The crisis in Palestina is not a genocide?

How would you call it?

I've been there, and I could make a picture about the situation there...

In the autonomic territories, there are more than 100 villages with no water, but Israel does not allow them to buy fountains.

So what the palestinians have to do? They have to buy their OWN water from the israelian, by a price which is averagely 4 times higher.

And some 500 meters from their villages are the jewish colonies, do you know how they are living....?

They have enough water, their colonies are blooming and prospering....

I've talked with settlers, coming from Russia....

They said: What do the palestinian want? There are 52 islamic countries....they can go there...

Since the peace congress begun, the number of settlers increased from 100.000 to 200.000....

I'm really hoping that this conflict will end peacefully, but it's becoming more clear that the israelians don't wanna leave the occupied territories....

Yes, it's true that the palestinian attacks must end, but what is the solution....?

I think that the palestinians as well as all arab nations have to accept Israel in the borders of 1967, but Israel has to leave the occupied territories and destroy the colonies, but the main problems are the status of Jerusalem and the Return of palestinian refugees.......

What would you think is the solution for these two problems???
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Old 07-23-2002, 09:24 AM   #15
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ups....sorry for the mistake....that should be build fountains, not to buy....
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