Articles, Opinions & Views: No one is free from religion 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 one is free from religion in Malaysia - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Malaysiakini : “To you, I'm an atheist. To God, I'm the loyal opposition.” - Woody Allen
COMMENT | The last time I wrote about Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, he was busy informing the Malaysian public that BN was committed to making Malaysia an Islamic state. As usual, I was irate that our glorious opposition was waffling as they normally do when it comes to anything “Islamic” that confronts them.
“Meanwhile, the opposition is doing nothing about this. Nobody in the opposition has ever made statements that reaffirm the primacy of the Constitution or the opposition’s agenda of ending the Islamisation process. We do not even know if this is one of the reforms that would ‘save Malaysia’ that the opposition intends to carry out.”
This time, it is even worse. Why on god’s good green earth would an Amanah parliamentarian bring up the non-issue of atheism in Malaysia? Check that. If some “moderate” Muslims make the claim that there is no compulsion in Islam, and Amanah is marketing itself as a moderate Muslim political entity, why would this issue be of importance to “saving Malaysia”? Aren't these types of questions the province of religious thugs who would clamp down on anything remotely egalitarian in this country?
Remember when the Islamists expressed concern over the atheist plague and one provocateur claimed that the reason why some Muslims left their religion was because they wanted to experience pleasure, I had to remind him that this was not the case here in Malaysia. “If anything, what the official narratives of Islam in this country have demonstrated are that Muslims have to be prevented from seeking ‘illicit’ sex, alcohol, smoking, music videos, movies, books, pornography, the company of the opposite sex and of course, excessive laughter. Now the reality is that many Muslims have sex, drink alcohol, smoke, watch music videos, movies and pornography (online), mingle with the opposite sex, and laugh a lot.
"Hence as Muslims, they already experience pleasure but what prevents them from openly experiencing pleasure are the religious police who are paid to ensure that they stop having pleasure. Of course, if you are a rich Muslim, then you are exempt from the overt policing that your average Muslim is subjected to.”
It seems to me that Amanah does not believe in free speech or expression. Amanah merely continues the Umno/PAS narratives that Muslims are at risk from ideas other than from their holy book. No evidence is tendered as to how youths are influenced by atheists, only ab initio this is a bad thing. Is this the kind of "moderate" Islam we can expect from the opposition?
When Asyraf claims that there is no freedom from religion in this country - which is religious fascism by the way – what does the opposition think about this? Is this one of those situations where the opposition claims that it an Umno trap to distract from the larger issues? Well, it was an opposition member that brought it up. Is this another situation where the opposition ignores the issue hoping it would go away until the next time issues like these crop up?
A placebo
Pundits who claim that Muslims are not free from religion in this country are missing the point. Muslims are bound to Islam and they can embrace no other religion or no religion at all, even if they wanted. They are not free from religion, they are not free from Islam. Apostasy laws, rehabilitation camps, state sanctions against Muslims who attempt to leave Islam is evidence of this. This is not a provocative statement, this is a fact, acknowledged by politicians, the state security apparatus, the law and Muslim activists. In other words, they are not free from religion. Specifically, they are not free from Islam. All other religions are irrelevant.
As reported in the Diplomat in August, Dr Zachary Abuza, a professor at the National War College who focuses on Southeast Asian politics and security issues, said, “Malaysia has become steadily more intolerant, and this has been a top-down government policy.” Abuza described the clergy as state-sponsored with vetted sermons.
“The people most at risk are clearly the ethnic minorities, atheists, and Christian Malays, which is actually unconstitutional. I was just in Malaysia, and the intolerance displayed by Malays is growing. I don’t know one Chinese or Indian that is not alarmed at where this is headed.” Constitutional experts have come out strongly against Ashraf’s “no freedom from religion” statement but the reality is that this is not a general declaration about religion. This is about Islam. What the deputy minister really means is that in Malaysia there is no freedom from Islam. The former inspector-general of police (IGP) warned atheists not to cause unease amongst Muslims. Hindus, Christians and Buddhists have shown no interest in stopping people from leaving their faith.
Religious provocations like threats to burn holy texts, disrespecting religious symbols or icons, investigations into possible proselytising, claims against other religions, banning of words, imposing dress codes in public institutions, unilateral conversions, religious kidnapping in custody cases, rehabilitation centres, seditious comments against specific religions, unlawful conversions of minors, and the host of other provocations comes from the practitioners of the state-sponsored religion and not from minority belief systems.
When I made my case that the Rukunegara was nothing but a placebo, the first line in the piece was “what if you had no belief in God?”, which is the first line in the Rukunegara. If non-Muslims think they are free from religion in this country, they are mistaken. They are bound by Islamic dictates just like their Muslim brethren, but all this is lost in the fog of partisan politics and political expediency. As usual, folks think that this is a joke. This is not about forcing you to have belief in god. This is about forcing you to accept that belief in god means that you are subjected to the same dictates of people who have no choice when it comes to their religious beliefs. Nobody in the establishment cares if you believe in god.
The underlying theme is that you must be mindful of the fact that the majority’s belief in their god trumps your individual religious beliefs or lack thereof. Atheism is merely a convenient scapegoat to co-opt the beliefs of others into a state-sanctioned belief system where the state sanctions behaviour or ideas it considers deviant in the name of the state-sanctioned religion, in this case Islam.
It really does not matter if, in fact and law, there is no basis for the claim that there is no freedom from religion in this country. The reality is that so long as the state controls a specific religion and how it is promulgated in this country, all of us are not free from religion, no matter how we choose to self-identify when it comes to our religious beliefs or lack thereof.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:39 AM  

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