In need to find something?
Custom Search
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Professional Thuggery

Technorati tags: , , , , , ,

Andrew Beckett: What do you call a thousand lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean?
Joe Miller: I don't know.
Andrew Beckett: A good start.

Dialog from the film Philedephia (1993)

The world over, lawyers don't have the best of reputations. Walski doesn't belittle their important role in a civil and lawful society, however. And while this is a commentary on the Masjid Wilayah resolution, some of the people who had a hand in drafting it were probably lawyers. Likely members of PPI (Peguam Pembela Islam) - a grouping of Muslim lawyers (whom, among other things, have a definite beef with the Bar Council, for taking a stand for civil liberties and human rights - see resolution item #11).

To digress slightly, there has been a claim made that liberals, such as Walski, have painted those opposed against the Article 11 coalition roadshow as "uncivilized". Walski can't speak for the other liberals whom have voiced their opinions, but myAsylum prefers to let the facts speak for themselves. Check out the following articles:
Disrupted Forum: What really happened and Disrupted Forum: What others say (from Aliran)
► "Use ISA on Article 11 Coalition" (from BolehTalk©)
PAS beri amaran, NGO jangan sokong IFC (from Harakah)

BADAI assembled there for one reason, and one reason only - to stop the forum. Peaceful assembly and protest would have been fine, as that's an exercise of their democratic rights. But that's not what they were there for.

And yet, some refuse to accept the fact that the mob gathered in Penang (and to a lesser extent in JB) were acting with a less than civil intent. The reason/excuse (a lame one, Walski might add)? Those opposed to Article 11 comprise of professionals, using this list as evidence.

Image hosting by PhotobucketPeople's behavior and what they do for a living
are two mutually exclusive attributes.

In other words, if an excuse has to be given, at least pick a plausible and logical one. But then again, logic doesn't seem to be a valued trait to some conservatives.

But back to the resolution. Lawyers had to have been invovled, because some of it is pretty sneaky. Take resolution item 6 for example (emphasis by myAsylum).

6. We insist that the mainstream media make a strong stand and not take sides in issues relating to Islam, and do not promote the view that Malaysia is a secular country, and that the practice of Islam is a personal right. We insist the media gives room to Muslims to view their opinions, and that they no longer marginalize the voice of mainstream Islam. The mainstream media must be professional and ethical in their reporting and analysis of Islam.

Since when has the mainstream media muzzled Muslims (conservative or otherwise) from airing their views? And to ask the media to not take sides, then in the very same sentence to not air views contrary to your own is... well, sneaky. Sloppy, but sneaky.
(more of this critique in the full post)

Another sneaky bit was giving the allusion that the position of Malay rulers was at stake. This was articulated in article 4. Lawyers are sneaky bastards, I tell you. Smart, but sneaky.

And as predicted, no conservative Muslim statement or rhetoric would be complete without some West-bashing, as evidenced in item 9 of the resolution (as well as in the preamble). This very culture of blame is one of the negative characteristics Walski sees in many Malaysians, not just conservative Muslims.

If some alien being were to land in Malaysia and use this declaration as the only means of finding out about Muslims in Malaysia, the impression would be that the Muslim ummah in Malaysia are a downtrodden lot, unable to fend for themselves, and as one reader put it an "endangered species".

But apart from the Malay characteristic of fatalism that seems to linger on after all these years, Muslims in this country are doing pretty okay, definitely a whole world apart from their brethren in more Islamic theocracies like Iran or Sudan.

And if they, the conservatives, accuse us of hidden agendas (of various natures), the conservative Muslims agenda is clear - turn Malaysia into a theocracy. That, in the their view, is the true ultimate aim for Islam in Malaysia.

To do that, though, they would have to do away with the Federal Constitution. As things stand today, the Federal Constitution remains as the supreme law of the land, whether they like it or not, superceding State Laws. The question of juridictional boundaries between Civil and Syariah, however, is a very complex one, and is really beyond the scope of myAsylum to address - Walski won't even try.

But it is this exactly the boundaries between Civil and Syariah jurisdictions that are part of the Article 11 discussions, not IFC. And the boundaries need to be defined so that all Malaysians may be protected by the constitution, regardless of religious belief, color, race or creed. Should God will the emergence of a aqua-marine colored race in Malaysia one day, they should receive equal protection as well.

And what is really disturbing is that the resolution, in a way, hints at the notion that all Malaysians are not equal and should not have equal rights. That human rights and Islam are at odds. Despite the fact that the Quran clearly states that there shall be no compulsion in religion, conservative Muslims have ever-ready other Islamic sources of jurisprudence to say, yes, there is compulsion. The Syariah transcends humanistic freedoms and equalities, they say.

So much for the assertion that the Quran is the infallible and unquestionable word of God - even the conservative Muslims don't treat it as such.

Now how exactly equal and humanistic rights for all Malaysians threatens a practicing Muslim's right to practice is really beyond Walski. Unless of course, it is the view of conservative Muslims that their human rights include imposing their beliefs and norms on others. Walski is sure them lawyers will find some sneaky way to justify this inequality as righteous.

And perhaps, because these bunch of professionals from PPI are involved, maybe 1,000 lawyers chained to the bottom of the ocean would be a good start. For a better, more progressive, more human Malaysia.