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Old 12-28-2005, 10:40 AM   #1
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Malaysia and Secularism

Someone was telling me here that Malaysia is a more or less secular country...Obviously I didnt believe it then ..

Then I got this on BBC today


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asi...ic/4563452.stm

A Malaysian mountaineering hero will be buried as a Muslim, against the wishes of his Hindu wife, who denied he had converted to Islam before his death. The decision follows a High Court ruling that it cannot override the country's Islamic courts in matters of religious conversion.

Lawyers say the case highlights problems faced by non-Muslims dealing with Malaysia's Islamic justice system.

M Moorthy, 36, was a Hindu when he became a national hero in 1997 as a member of the first Malaysian expedition to conquer Mount Everest.

However his family, who want him to have a Hindu funeral, were not allowed to appear before the court to dispute his conversion because they are not Muslims.

The family went to the civil court and argued that Mr Moorthy was a practising Hindu right up to a recent accident when he fell from his wheelchair and lapsed into a coma.

They say he was even interviewed for local television two months ago about his preparations for the Hindu festival of Diwali.
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Old 12-28-2005, 11:36 AM   #2
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I live in Malaysia. I've always considered it a Muslim country, even though others are free to practise their own religion. ("Most Malaysians are Muslim but the country's constitution guarantees freedom of worship for all.")

Here's what it's like in Malaysia.

If you are not Muslim:

you are not allowed to proselytize to Muslims

you may be woken up at 5am by Muslim prayers from your neighbourhood mosque (most don't think twice about it anyway, it's become such a way of life; however it has been publicly debated on the appropriate volume at which these prayers are made)

you have to put up with cars double-parked by Muslims on busy roads when it comes to Friday prayers

you have to put up with staff and civil servants who go on 2-hour lunch breaks every Friday for prayers

you have to endure endless firecrackers in the wee hours during Hari Raya festivities

you may convert to Islam (and many do so for the wrong reasons ie to get away with some legality or other under the Syariah law)

you may not serve your Muslim friends/guests with utensils that have been touched by pork

If you are Muslim:

you may not, in practice, convert to any other religion because if you do you will face great social pressure from your community (many who do try to convert inevitably leave the country)

you may not eat pork, touch (wet) dogs, or drink alcohol (even though in practice, Muslims are seen openly at clubs and downing alcohol, but don't let the authorities catch you at a random raid)

you have to put up with cars double-parked by Christians/Catholics at busy roads when it comes to Sunday church

you should not be caught eating in the day during the month of Ramadhan, unless you have a good excuse

you have to endure endless firecrackers in the wee hours during Chinese New Year celebrations

you may have more than one wife (in practice this is not widespread)

----



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Old 12-28-2005, 11:49 AM   #3
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Thank you for the direct insight.

Which, if any, of these items would you like changed?
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Old 12-28-2005, 11:58 AM   #4
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Interesting point of Foray's regarding some Muslims drinking alcohol - that would accord with my own experiences. The times dates and locations, I will not divulge.

Acrobatman, I did say Malaysia was RELATIVELY secular and I see no reason to revise that opinion. It is not a theocracy in the sense that Iran is (not that you suggested it was).
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Old 12-28-2005, 12:12 PM   #5
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Well, nbcrusader, most of the items I listed above are the small stuff. I find these small differences/"inconveniences" rather cute and charming; so absorbed are they within our daily lives that we hardly stop and think about them. The 5am prayers, for example; in other countries neighbours would probably yell at each other for making such a racket at an ungodly (pun intended) hour, but over here we non-Muslims understand and accept the practice of our Muslim friends.

It's one of the reasons I really love this country, because even though people may get irritated with each other, at least we are not at each other's throats.

Dont get me wrong, Malaysia is a racist nation and has a long way to go before achieving true democracy; but theres one thing I'm grateful for whenever I visit "more civilized" countries - and that is our ability to be very culturally tolerant people.

However, to answer your question proper, I would change the fact that Muslims are not allowed to convert to other religions, for that is not a true democracy.

It is also preposterous that many convert to Islam purely to escape having to pay more alimony or something like that.

It is preposterous that men may take more than one wife whereas women don't do the same. It is infuriating that a woman, be she Muslim or not, is seen as sexually "looser" than a woman who wears a headscarf.

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Old 12-29-2005, 01:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by financeguy


Acrobatman, I did say Malaysia was RELATIVELY secular and I see no reason to revise that opinion.
read this from BBC link

"cannot dispute because they are not Muslims "


rather than calling malayasia relatively secular, it proper to call iran relatively more theocratic.

you know what i mean - you cant call something relatively good just because he/it is less bad.

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Old 12-29-2005, 01:39 AM   #7
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Originally posted by financeguy
Interesting point of Foray's regarding some Muslims drinking alcohol - that would accord with my own experiences. The times dates and locations, I will not divulge.

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