Holy smoke! Islamophobes around and abound

Posted on May 31, 2008


By Helen Ang


Blogger Abdul Rahman Abdul Talib challenged Haris’ views on the schoolgirl white uniform in his blog Malaysia Waves. (See Comment #53 in People’s Parliament ‘Blouse’ post)

A day earlier, Rahman had blogged: ‘Is Malaysia Truly A Secular State?‘, asking “Is the DAP really sincere about upholding our constitution? Or DAP (and Karpal Singh) [sic] real interest is really to eradicate Malays and Islam from the face of the Malaysian earth?”


He continued: “After 50 years, Muslims around the world have realized that secularism have [sic] destroyed the Muslims and made Muslims go backwards.” And declared later in summation: “My personal belief is that the ideology of the Malaysian Constitution is Malay Supremacy and not Islam or secularism.”

He also posted on the Siti Fatimah apostasy case, carried in Tranungkite, a Dewan Pemuda PAS-administered media outlet which has a wide readership. http://www.tranungkite.net/v7/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=9936

In it, Rahman took a shot at Haris and Malik Imtiaz because he believes their likes are “ideologues” who promote a “secular liberalism ideology”, and that the two lawyers disrespect the Syariah Courts.

In the Utusan Malaysia report on Siti Fatimah, the paper said, “Dalam tuntutannya juga, beliau menyatakan bahawa sepanjang memeluk agama Islam, dia masih lagi menyembah berhala Tok Pek Kong, berhala Kuang Tin Ne dan berhala Ti Kong (Dewa Langit) mengikut ajaran agama asalnya, Buddha dan memakan daging khinzir“.

To claim that praying to Tua Pek Kong (a historical person deified), Kuan Yin Ma (Goddess of Mercy) and Thni Kong (Celestial God) is following the teachings of Buddhism is incorrect, and reveals the ignorance of Siti Fatimah and the Malay reporter, and for their mangled spelling besides.

If anything, the description of Siti Fatimah’s religious practices are Taoist, whereas Buddhism is the teachings of the Buddha (like Christianity is the teachings of Christ).




The condescending word ‘tolerance’ (read ‘understanding’) only goes in one direction in Malaysia. I know enough to be aware that Muslims in Malaysia are sunni, not shia, and the sanctioned Islamic teaching in our country is Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

But many Muslims are not aware that Taoism should be differentiated from Buddhism. Though to be fair, even some Penang Chinese themselves are confused, which only goes to show the lack of formal religious intruction for Chinese compared to for Malays. Whereas ancestor worship and Confucianism (quasi-religious thought) are separate and something else. There are Malaysian-Chinese who practice all of the above. That many Malays do not know this could be due to their being a protected species that the authorities evince must be insulated from exposure to any other religious system.

The narrow-mindedness inherent in Malaysian thinking is manifest in the second caveat Siti Fatimah eats pork, so this automatically disqualifies her as Muslim. Well, Islam also forbids stealing. Does looting from the national piggy bank preclude one from being Muslim too?

This insularity in thinking is not confined to Malays alone. What about the general presumption that Malaysians who do not profess any faith are of a low moral stature? You can bet there are monotheists or polytheists who will confidently pass judgment on an atheist, “You’re unprincipled because you do not pray.”

Shouldn’t these kinds of stereotypes and prejudices be debunked? No, I do not think Haris is at all wasting his time. In fact, on the contrary, I think we’ve spent woefully too little time on monitoring religious bigotry. So that it’s become all too easy for the Muslims to hurl slurs like ‘Islamophobe’ and ‘kafir’ as a catch-all retort to criticisms of them and their chauvinistic dogma.

But can you name me other prominent Malay or Muslim writers (besides Haris’ co-accused Imtiaz) who have challenged the blinkered dogmatism in our country? If not, then stop asking Haris to desist.

Anak Bangsa Malaysia is the seeking of space to accommodate our multifarious differences, and it is a People’s Parliament agenda. When one day it is your father’s remains that are bodysnatched by the LMNs (Little Mullah Napoleons) or your sister who is losing custody of her children to her Muslim convert husband, then your indifference would have come home to roost.

If Haris is willing to take up the cudgels on these issues, he has my support if not the naysayers’.