Articles, Opinions & Views: No way out for Muslims in Malaysia By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
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“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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No way out for Muslims in Malaysia By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Malaysiakini : “I will not change my ethnicity. I was born Chinese and I will die Chinese, I will not become Malay.”
- Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (Macma) Malacca president Lim Jooi Soon

COMMENT Of the latest Court of Appeal decision in dismissing the attempts of three bumiputera converts to renounce Islam, DAP’s Zairil Khir Johari, the honourable gentleman from Bukit Bendera, claimed, “Central to this issue is the question of whether the civil or syariah courts should decide in such cases.”
I beg to differ. In my opinion, the central issue is how Islam has been weaponised in this country (and many parts of the world) by the state. This is not a legal issue but a political issue. Nowhere is this clearer in a constitution that privileges one community over the others.  Nowhere is this clearer when on the eve of an important election, the head of a ruling coalition makes it clear that he will use his influence - influence that I may add is supposed to be anathema to an independent judiciary - to correct a grave injustice that was the Rooney Rebit case.
If this was not clear enough, state PKR chief Baru Bian clearly states that the Rooney case was resolved politically which would mean - my opinion not his - that any such cases could be resolved politically. Of course, this whole issue brings up the question as to why Malaysia even needs a judiciary if the executive is going to step in whenever it is politically expedient to do so, but perhaps that is an issue for another article.
Baru as a Sarawakian has been in the forefront of the Umno’s state’s provocations against non-Muslims in this country. Unlike other oppositional politicians who find themselves shackled by allegiances or political correctness, the PKR operative has clearly articulated stands against the mendacity of the clerics and bureaucrats who would impose Islam on Malaysians even though many of us do not profess the faith.
An example of this would be the “dress code” advocated by Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria on non-Muslims out of “respect” for Muslims. Here is the exact response from Baru - "(There is a) mistaken belief that it is the duty of non-Muslims to remove all temptation from Muslims so that they are spared the necessity of mustering their self-discipline to resist normal urges of the flesh. Is this what the practice of Islam is about?"
Unfortunately, for Baru and many of us, this is exactly what Islam is about. There are laws which could be introduced by Muslims courageous enough to propose them which would end this tyranny, however merely introducing more legalese into the matter would never suffice.
There are many Muslims in this country like Zairil, who because of religious beliefs, seek out justice for their fellow Malaysians when it comes to the way how Islam is practiced in this country. For example, Thasleem Mohd Ibrahim from Jihad for Justice in the Indira Gandhi conversion cases was quoted in the press as saying, “I’ve categorically told the Perak Islamic Religious Department that the unilateral conversion of the kids is haram because it’s an injustice.”
However, I am sceptical of Zairil’s proposed amendments to our current legal procedures. As I said this has more to do with the way how Islam is practiced in this country and the fallout from living in a country where race and religion are not mutually exclusive.
The converts
Furthermore, I wish Muslims would stop quoting verses from the Quran as evidence that there is no compulsion in Islam. I understand the need to speak the same religious language but has it ever crossed the minds of the so-called “liberal” Muslims that the people who control the religion, the people with actual power, are not speaking the same language?
A few years ago, I wrote this in one of my numerous articles about Islam: “What exactly is a ‘true’ Muslim or ‘true’ Christian for that matter? Someone who believes that religion should not be politicised? Someone who believes that you should not mock another’s religion? Someone who believes that religion should not intrude in the private lives of members in any given society? Someone who believes that there should be a separation of church/mosque and state? These are not ‘true’ religious values but rather true secular values or secular humanist values, if you like.”
It all goes back to how race and religion are entwined in this country. Last year, the Malay Mail ran an interesting article on Chinese converts resisting attempts to change their names upon conversion. According to one convert, “My name may change but my face remains the same. Here, Malaysians say that if someone converts to Islam it means they’re becoming Malay. If I do not change my name, then I remain Chinese.”
However, this goes beyond mere changing of names as another convert observed, “This cultural celebration does not go against Islamic law; the Mooncake Festival, the Dumpling Festival, the Chinese New Year celebrations, these are more cultural than religious… Judging from history when Ibn Waqas preached in China, he easily accepted the culture since Islam did not kill the culture; the faith changed, not the culture.”
As Hew Wai Weng observes in this article, “Unlike conventional dakwah activities, which aim at strengthening the faith of Muslims, Chinese Muslims dakwah movements aim to universalise Islam and invite non-Muslims to get closer to the Islamic faith. Differentiating Chinese ‘cultural’ traditions (budaya) from religious rituals (agama), Chinese Muslim leaders argue that Chinese culture does not contradict with Islamic principles. Instead, it can facilitate the spread of Islamic messages, which I call here ‘dakwah pendekatan budaya’ (preaching by using [Chinese] culture) or ‘cultural dakwah’.”
And while there have been moderate Muslim entities on a state and federal level who have embraced some of these activities as the article articulates, the tension between those who convert and the keepers of the faith are deepened by bureaucrats whose agenda is in keeping with the Arabisation of our country.
Furthermore, this cultural exchange through conversion when it comes to Islam in Malaysia is a one-way street. In 2006, the BBC did a piece on the life as a secret Christian convert. The article exposed the so-called “sensitivity” of those who leave the religion.
An interview with a secret convert revealed the danger of converting which Muslims converts are not exposed to. “If the authorities find out, I will be in big trouble. They will create hell between me and my family, and hell in my life so that I will no longer get any privileges or employment" not to mention the loneliness of her struggle “My church says if the authorities come, they are not going to stand up for me. I have to stand up for myself.”
But why doesn’t this convert just migrate? “I could migrate, but the problem is I want to stay in Malaysia, because this is my country. And I love my family. I just want to live peacefully.”
Unfortunately, when it comes to the way how Islam is practised in this country, living peacefully means never leaving the faith.
posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 4:14 PM  

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