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Friday, July 14, 2006

Early Friday Thoughts... while thinking is still allowed

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Is Malaysia so distateful to some conservative Muslims that they aim to turn it into an annex of Saudi Arabia, or any other ultraconservative Middle-East country?

Zainah Anwar wrote an opinion piece in the New Straits Times today, talking about what a friend from Saudi thought about Malaysia. It can be read online here, or downloaded as a PDF here.

The gist is that it is our diversity, tolerance (both cultural and religious), and open society that makes Malaysia an attractive destination for tourists from the Middle-East. And it's not gender-segregated restaurants, swimming pools, theaters, shopping malls, etc. That's exactly what some of these tourists are trying to get away from.

But with developments of late, it seems that there are some of us who would want to throw away what makes Malaysia almost unique in the Islamic world. Their vision for Malaysia? To become more conservative, more Islamic (from the conservative viewpoint). To turn Malaysia into a theocracy as an ideal scenario.

Well, to paraphrase a certain MP/Minister - if you don't like it here, why don't you find someplace else to live that's better suited to your sensitivities? If you simply can't stand to see your vision of Islam unfulfilled, take the short-cut and go to a place where it already is fulfilled.

Don't destroy the very aspects of Malaysia that make our nation unique, and loved - not just by Malaysians, but by anyone who's fortunate enough to have had the privilege of setting foot on our soil.