Friday, October 21, 2011

Libyan Dictator Ghaddafi Dies

Libyan dictator Muammar Ghaddafi who ruled the country for 42 years died yesterday. Ghaddafi died in a gunfight in the town of Sirte between his loyal bodyguards and rebels who have taken over the country.

Ghaddafi and his bodyguards were in a convoy of army vehicles when they were attacked from air by NATO forces. Ghaddafi and his men then took cover in a drain beside the road.

Soon, Libyan rebels found them and asked them to surrender. Ghaddafi refused and his men opened fire. The rebels won the battle and Ghaddafi was taken prisoner. He later died of the wounds sustained in the gunfight.

Ghaddafi came to power in 1969 in a coup. He discarded the constitution and ruled with an iron fist.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Zealots To Rally Against A Non-Issue

A radical Muslim organization based in Malaya known as Muslim Organizations Group (HIMPUN) is to launch a massive rally against so-called proselytizing of non-Muslim religions to Muslims.

The basis of the rally itself in the first place is weak. The proselytizing of Islam to non-Muslims is done on large scale from the day non-Muslim children attend primary school. Children are made to hear Islamic prayers daily. Islamic values are disseminated directly or indirectly on a daily basis. History syllabuses are mostly on Islamic religion and its history.

Studying Islam is compulsory even for non-Muslim students at the tertiary level.

Television, radio and newspapers talk about the beauty of Islam and it is not unusual to see, read or hear interviews of non-Muslims who convert to Islam in the mainstream media.

Then there are also bookstores openly selling books which ridicule or criticise other religions with Christianity being the usual target.

Non-Muslim civil servants seldom enjoy the promotions like their Muslim counterparts and this actually entices some non-Muslims to convert to Islam for fast-track promotions.

Non-Muslims who convert to Islam are paid cash in the guise of "wang bantuan muallaf" which is a big pull factor for large non-Muslim families who are poor.

Conversion to Islam is also a pre-condition for non-Muslims who wish to marry Muslims.

On the other hand, proselytizing to Muslims by other religions is a crime in many Malaysian states though the laws are still hazy. The Islamic religious police can storm any non-Islamic place of worship if there is even a rumour about Muslims converting out of Islam.

Muslims who convert out of Islam are unconstitutionally detained in many states like the case of Kamariah Ali of Kelantan and Revathi Masoosai of Malacca.

Muslim civil servants who convert out of Islam also face the prospect of discplinary action.

Non-Muslim places of worship depend on public donations for maintenance and non-Muslim organizations do not have the financial prowess of Islamic authorities nor the government's backing.

Non-Muslim religious programmes are not allowed on all national broadcasts and neither are non-Muslims allowed to say religious prayers in conjunction with their religious holidays on television or radio.

Therefore HIMPUN's rally is mind-boggling. If anything this can easily be misconstrued as a rally against non-Muslims, in particularly Christians.

It is a known fact that there is a growing anti-Christian sentiment in Malaysia ever since the opposition won five states in the 2008 elections. The burning of churches, attempts to ban the Malay Bible despite having been used since pre-independence days, storming church halls during functions despite not having enough evidence to charge attendees and the government's continued tolerance of some of these acts may be testament to this.

After all it is a known fact that the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) had lost significant Malay Muslim votes in 2008, and religion is an issue which could easily attract the Malays.

With the 13th general elections coming soon, a massive rally against so-called "Christianization" could be the atom bomb against political enemies of UMNO.

But what is fearful is the effect it will have on the Christian population in Malaysia. The fact that Christian leaders in Sabah has kept quiet for so long is disheartening and it is only hoped that such ill-feelings towards other religions do not reach Sabahan shores.