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Monday, April 24, 2006

Malaysia PowerPlay Cup: JAKIM 1 - Cabinet 0

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Image hosting by PhotobucketThis man weilds more power than the Cabinet, the Executive arm of the Malaysian Government. His name? Datuk Mustapa Abdul Rahman. And he is the Director-General of JAKIM - the Islamic Affairs Department of Malaysia. And why does myAsylum think he's more powerful than the Cabinet?

Last Monday, April 17, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting made it crystal clear that the Cabinet would decide on what constituted "public immorality". He also stated that local authorities should refrain from drafting their own laws in the meantime.

Then, a few days later, JAKIM decides otherwise (excerpted from the NST, emphasis by myAsylum):

Jakim won't wait for decency guidelines

19 Apr 2006 By Hamidah Atan (New Straits Times)

PUTRAJAYA: Muslim couples caught kissing or committing other indecent acts in public will be dealt with by the Islamic Affairs Department (Jakim) regardless of any advice from the Housing and Local Government Ministry.

Department director-general Datuk Mustapa Abdul Rahman yesterday said non-Muslims found committing indecent acts with Muslims would be handed over to the police while their Muslim partners would be dealt with under the Syariah.

There was no need for its enforcement officers to wait for the formulation of guidelines by the Housing and Local Government Ministry on what constituted indecent acts.

"As the authority directly in charge of taking care of the moral standard and behaviour of the masses, particularly Muslims, we will follow the law in taking action against such couples,
including the non-Muslims.
After all, this is our moral duty and responsibility," he said.

"What will happen to society, the religions and the country if such values are ignored and our people, especially the Muslims, choose to live a lifestyle similar to that of Westerners? This will lead to disintegration and other social problems. Such acts are forbidden by Islam."

Mustapa warned that Muslim couples with no binding relationship "spotted" by enforcement officers at quiet, isolated places would be detained. "Do not expect my men to do nothing when they see unmarried couples or those without any relationship kissing and hugging in public. We will act according to the law."

Mustapa said it was the responsibility of the public to inform the department of any such acts.

(read the full news report here)

In other words, screw the cabinet. Not surprisingly (implications on our tourism industry, no doubt), the next day, Mustapa back-pedalled on the original statement, when this was reported by Islam On Line and the AFP:

Malaysia's Morality Laws Won't Apply to Non-Muslims

Fri., Apr. 21, 2006

KUALA LUMPUR, April 20, 2006 ( & News Agencies) - Non-Muslims caught kissing and hugging in public will not be punished under the morality laws, a senior Malaysian government official said on Thursday, April 20.

"We will take the Muslim only
," Mustafa Bin Abdul Rahman, the director-general of the influential Islamic Development Department of Malaysia, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

He said non-Muslims, even those caught with Muslim partners, would not face action over their indecent behavior.

(the full news report, while it lasts, can be found here)

Of course, in a situation where if one of the couple were Malay/Muslim, he/she would be dragged to the Syariah Court anyway.

You know, it's not like these holier-than-thous can be voted out of office the next time we have an election.

What really disturbs me in the NST article is what Mustapa urges the public:

Mustapa said it was the responsibility of the public to inform the department of any such acts.

Great. Now not only do we have to contend with enforcement officers, each of whom will have their own interpretation of what constitutes immoral behavior, but also every "concerned" citizen with even wider interpretations.

But I suppose married couples who hold hands shouldn't be worried, right? WRONG. It will be your burden of proof to convince the Talibanistas enforcement officers that you are married. I can just imagine the departure or arrival halls at KLIA - enforcement officers lurking around so as to nab anyone hugging or kissing their loved ones returning or leaving. Good place for them to hang out, especially if some dimwit decides that in addition, there should also be an arrest quota (in Malaysia, anything is possible).

Of course, this scene below, would be acceptable. Probably even encouraged by these holier-than-thou nitwits.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Kissing and hugging leads to sex, as many of these morons, so against public display of mixed-gender affection, will claim. They will also as quickly dismiss the notion that same-sex hugging, hand-holding and kissing will lead to homosexuality. Why? Because homosexuality is abhorred in Islam. Right?

Well, guess what? (see full post below)

A post at Akram's Razor talks about a 2002 LA Times article entitled "Kandahar's Lightly Veiled Homosexual Habits", detailing the prevalence of male homosexuality during the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Yup, that very same repressive regime the world has come to know as an extreme face of Islam.

An anomaly, you say? How about this book then?

Image hosting by PhotobucketYes, homosexuality is alive and well in the Middle-East - it's just that this is one of those things everyone simply chooses not to talk about.

And what's not talked about, doesn't exist. Isn't that how it works, usually?

Well, it does exist, and it exists probably because the Taliban (or even current) Afghanistan and most of the Middle-East (even the very Islamic parts of it) are pretty repressed societies. In fact, make that extremely repressed.

But then, these local Taliban-wannabes that inhabit the Islamic departments never really look at problems and isssues objectively or critically. Instead, their favorite bogeyman, the West, is always invoked to become the fall-guy whenever blame needs to be assigned.

Imorality spreading through our society - blame the West. Crime on the rise - blame the West. Incest on the rise (particularly within the Malay/Muslim community) - blame the West. The remedy? More religion.

As myAsylum has stated before, the only thing worse than a police state is a religious police state. And way at the top of this post is the portrait of a man who probably wishes he were its Inspector-General...