by Mariam Mokhtar
11th January 2016
Just because a Malay talks and writes about the injustice meted out to non-Muslims, it does not mean that the Malay is bashing his own race, nor is he denigrating Islam. Malays, in particular, refuse to acknowledge that most critiques are not about the religion, but are in fact criticisms of the Malays who have misinterpreted a particular phrase, or religious edict.
If PAS, Umno Baru and the respective religious institutions are critical in stopping alleged conversions of Malays to Christianity, why were there no mass conversions of Malays during the colonial era, when none of these political parties nor institutions existed?
Many Malays appear to see the conversion issue as a numbers game. Many Malays are also religious hypocrites.
Hasan Ali, the former Selangor exco member, caused panic within the Malay community when he alleged that Malays were being converted by solar-powered talking Bibles. He also claimed that evangelical missionaries were spreading Christianity by providing financial aid to single mothers and the poor.
Despite the publicity he received and the anger he whipped-up among the Malays, he did not produce a single Malay who had been proselytised. So, what were his reasons for causing mass hysteria, and why was he not punished for threatening national harmony?
Many colleagues, who work in the women’s NGOs, claim that many Malay women, who are victims of domestic abuse, get little help from their own communities.
In the past, the police were reluctant to get involved, so these women used to approach Christian shelter homes for help and refuge. They did this reluctantly, and as a last resort, because others of their own faith and race, rejected their requests for help. So, can you blame Malay women who after years of abuse finally find temporary relief and moral support from a Christian home?
When allegations are made about Muslim proselytisations, all hell breaks loose in Malaysia. The raid on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) was a shameful episode in our history. Again, the supposed Malay converts, to Christianity, could not be produced.
When Muslim clerics convert children, without their parents’ permission, in rural schools of both peninsular Malaysia and in Sabah and Sarawak, the Muslims who criticise Malay proselytisations are silent.
Quick to blame others
The Malays are quick to blame others for undermining their religion, but if they cared to look in the mirror, they would see that they are the ones who are bringing disgrace to Islam. In their eyes, it is always the non-Muslims’ fault. They keep accusing the opposition, in particular the DAP, of wanting a Christian government, a Christian PM and of getting rid of Islam as the official religion of Malaysia.
Apart from lack of personal accountability, where is the Malay sense of self-worth? Why do the majority of Malays criticise a woman’s dress, her drinking habits, or her desire to enter a beauty contest? Why do the same Malays keep quiet about corruption and injustice?
There is a growing trend for some Muslim women to spend a small fortune on religious classes in a particular part of town, because they are taught by a celebrity ustaz or ustazah.
Is this an extension of the footballers’ wives who must be seen with the right people, wearing the right clothes, using the right accessories and driving the right cars, or better still, being chauffeured to and from the classes. Has Islam been reduced to such a low point?
A practising Muslim need not abandon his reasoning and intellect. When a cleric, or a religious authority, does something which appears ludicrous, will the average Malay speak out?
When the Perak mufti said that wives could not refuse sex if their husbands demanded it even if they were on a camel, his comments sparked a firestorm, but where was the criticism from his peers? This man calls himself a learned scholar.
Finally, when will the Muslims show fairness? The case of mother M Indira Gandhi, who was denied access to her youngest daughter whom her convert husband kidnapped and converted seven years ago, is an example of Muslim arrogance over the constitutional rights of a Malaysian and a mother.
This is what happens when a two-tiered system of laws rule the country. Who among the Muslim judges will make the right move to serve justice for Indira? No judge as yet will do the proper thing and grant Indira custody of her daughter, because his career will come to a premature end if he does not bow to the will of his political masters.
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO). Blog, Twitter.