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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

FatwaMan on Lina Joy (and other tall tales)

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Important disclaimer: The post title is not to be read in the literal sense, and Walski is not implying any physical contact between the aforementioned individuals. Literalist interpretation of Islam, as portrayed in this post, on the other hand, is totally beyond Walski's control. Oh, and no Mufti's were physically injured in the making of this post.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 will be an important day in Malaysian history. Whichever way the decision pertaining to the Lina Joy appeal falls, things will never be quite the same as they used to be.

Original Thumbs Up image from Wikimedia Commons, hosting by PhotobucketWalski won't go into the what if's right now. Much has been said by many people, on both sides of the argument. Walski's input will be but a rehash of what you've already probably heard. He will, however, comment on the decision, whatever that might be, once it's released.

This post, though related to the Lina Joy case, is not about the what if's. It is about the what is. Namely, the position of the Cleric Class, or at least their most outspoken member, Datuk Seri Harussani Zakaria, Mufti of Perak. The very same dude Walski fondly calls FatwaMan.

While surfing around, Walski came across a blog, run by a gentleman named Sani Ahmad, who had transcribed selected extracts from a speech by Harussani, supposedly from a VCD entitled "15,000 Umat Islam Murtad" (15,000 Muslims Apostasized). Walski has never seen the contents of this VCD, but takes it at face value that the transcription is accurate (if you visit Sani Ahmad's blog, you'll realize why Walski thinks so).

The following is Walski's translation of the extract. There origninal is in Bahasa Malaysia, and any emphasis is by myAsylum. Walski will not include any in-line comments, although some thoughts are presented after the translation.
(translation of FatwaMan's VCD extract, in the full post)

15,000 Muslims Apostasized
by Perak State Royal Mufti Dato’ Harussani Bin Zakaria

"Meaning of God's Messenger's (pbuh) Hadith: Those who do not think about my community's problems ARE NOT of my community"

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

On Monday, I went to Kuala Lumpur, and I met with six lawyers a several NGO leaders to hear a briefing pertaining to the state of Islam and Muslims in this country.

The briefing lasted for four and a half hours. On Tuesday morning, I was summoned by the Sultan of Perak to convey to him the briefing. Later I conveyed a similar briefing to the Council of Rulers. I gave a briefing on the dangers faced by Muslims right now.

Muslim Catastrophe
Currently, there is the Lina Joy (Azlina binti Jelani) case that is awaiting a decision. Lina Joy embraced Christinity and married a Christian Indian. She applied to the Court for her name to be changed to Lina Joy and her religion to be removed from her MyKad, but the National Registration Department could not remove her religious status because there was no order from the Syariah Court. Because of that, she brought a challenge to the Federal Court based on Article 11(1) of the Federal Constitution that states "Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion".

This case is being heard by three judges in the Supreme Court, namely the Chief Justice, a non-Malay judge, and a Christian judge. If Lina Joy wins this case, Islam will be destroyed. It carries the following implications:
i) The authority of the Rulers pertaining to Islam will disappear
ii) The authority of the Syariah Court will be rendered null and void
iii) Muslims cannot force their children to pray, will no longer have a right to collect tithes, and everyone can interpret Islam according to their own wishes.

That will be the consequence.

Unfortunately, Muslims are apparently unconcerned, to the point that not many turned up to act and voice their support. The Islamic Religious Council, too, was seen to not have sent Muslims. No Muslim observers were present. The case with non-Muslims is different, up to the point that lawyers/obervers from the Canadian, Australian and American embassies were willing to attend. Furthermore, the observer lawyers were allowed to speak. This is very dangerous. This has never happened before. Therefore, the Council of Rulers were somewhat taken aback once I had reported this.

The Attorney General was summoned by the Council of Rulers, and he stated that there was nothing that could be done, but to wait for the decision. This is the situation, which is precarious.

Christian and Hinduism Movements
Malays attracted to Christianity are usually well-trained in Singapore. Their identities are changed. Currently, there are two Malay churches in Kuala Lumpur. In Brickfields, there is an effort to provide free lunches on Fridays to loitering Malay youth so that they are lax and do not go to the mosque. There are hundreds of Malay youth who go to this Brickfields church.

I have also mentioned that almost 250,000 Muslims have apostasized, but I was challenged by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department. Even Muslims that have embraced Hinduism have almost reached 100,000 people (source: estimate by the Indian Muslim Association). In fact, according to Police reports, Muslim youth that are associated with black metal, who curse God, number from 13,000 to 14,000. Those that follow Ayah Pin, and who believe "Ayah Pin is God" are 14,000 persons in number. This is what has made me speak out.

The council of Rulers did ask:
1) What is the role of the mosque.
2) What is the role of the imams, and mosque administration.
3) Why not curb, when there are laws.

The Attorney General said, the difference between priests and our imams is that the priests await the arrival of the flock, as if welcoming guests, at the church doors. They deliver sermons that are well=thought out and professional, to the point that people are convinced by what they say. After the sermon, they wait at the church door and wish the church-goers well. They like to ask about the welfare of the congregation, and frequently offer assistance. The difference is that our sermons are not interesting. Delivered unprofessionally.

In Uzbekistan and China, although opressed for 70 years, they are still strong. In an environment of severe oppression, they put importance on spreading Islam and strengthening bonds, while reading Quranic verses emblazoned on the mosque walls. The Imam can still speak Arabic. And that was during the Communist rule. This is the secret behind how they could prevail.

Attack on Islamic faith in Malaysia
Today in Malaysia, we are being attacked in a terrible way - intellectual attacks.

1) Intellectuals. Christians whom attack.
Although they succeed in attacking, but they cannot capture the hearts of Muslims. Because of this, they study Islam, in order to attack Islam. They also created Islamic faculties in their universities.

2) They also create turbulence in faith, therefore brought forth Islam Liberal thought. They position all relegions as being equal. They [the religions] all come from the same source, that is the same God. Only, when revelations were brought down, Islam was interpreted in the Godly messages according to differing languages, to suit the nation and ancestry of the given prophet. According to them, scriptural books are interpretations. Therefore they can be changed and reinterpreted. In the 16th century, this was put forth by the Jews and accepted by the Christian clergy.

This is what made Christianity break into numerous sects. Previously there was only the Roman Catholic sect. Each accused the other sect as being heretical. This was then brought into the Islamic world. This sort of Liberal Islam has now gone into Indonesia. They control the universities and media, protected and strongly supported by the United States with billions of USD. This made the Islamic faculties bereft of students. Today there is an edict in Indonesia that marriage between males is valid. Faraid (laws of inheritance) and Hudud (ordained limits) are no longer relevant, and should be discarded. This, too, was almost made into edicts lately by the Indonesian Religious Council. This is spreading because such writings are being promoted by the intellectuals.

Now this has spread to Malaysia. Such liberal writings are published by reporters in English language newspapers. Previously only Astora Jabat wrote in the Malay press. Now, Astora uses the Al Islam magazine as a platform, changing his name to Hussin Ab. Rahman. Now Kassim Ahmad, too, has been given a place again to write in Al Islam.

The Turban Adornment case was reported in all newspapers. How 3 Muslim students wearing turbans in school were expelled, and losing their case in court. Whereas followers of other religions are free to wear turbans and follow their religion? This is a terrible insult upon our Prophet and Islam in general.

Allah made five daily congregational prayers. This is intended to foster brotherhood. The wisdom behind this s great. An orientalist researching why there are rakaat (cycles) in prayer. The orientalist, who in the end embraced Islam, said that (congregational) prayer is like a form of recharging. Shoulder meeting shoulder, feet to feet, will recharge spiritual power. For that, we must strengthen ourselves. The Hindus are strengthening themselves. They are active in building Hindu temples. In Perak, for example, there are 2,000 Hindu temples, whereas only 560 mosques. And the Hindu religion continues to show its aggressiveness. Many Malays too have been made Hindus. Currently, Bollywood films, too, are used to propagandize Hinduism to the entire world.

On whom to place hope?
We can no longer depend on the Jakim, Religious Department or government authorities to protect us. Allah did not entrust Islam, Al-Quran and Sunnah to the government, but Allah entrusted them to every Muslim individual. Allah stated:
"We bequethed Al-Quran to Our chosen servants, that is those who place their faith in Allah (and not the government)."

Reminders from Allah S.W.T.
Tsunamis, earthquakes, many Muslims that perished. These are reminders. Why in Acheh and Bangladesh?

This does not mean that the Achehnese are immoral, but maybe the immorality happened elsewhere. Although, on that fateful night, there was a dance party and an alcoholic party on a beach nearby.

[from the 15,000 Have Apostasized VCD, transcribed by Sani Ahmad]

For someone in such a position to make, at times, the most ludicrous and factually incorrect statements is simply beyond Walski. And to paint Islam in such a poor light, as a religion that is oh, so fragile and helpless.

What's even more amazing is that many Malay/Muslims will buy what he has to say lock, stock and 22-caliber smoking barrel. And despite the call for calm from the very same Muslim NGOs (to their credit), FatwaMan's assertion that the relevant religious establishments cannot be relied upon anymore, carries with it some serious implications. What does he mean by this - that Muslims have to take matters into their own hands? Walski certainly hopes not.

Walski does pray that nobody is stupid enough to start something nasty tomorrow, at the Putrajaya Court complex. Emotions, however, are something that can easily get out of control, especially if one truly believes that their acted out emotions have God's blessings.

And what's with this big chip on FatwaMan's shoulders when it comes to intellectuals and Bollywood films?

Again, Walski has simply translated somebody elses transcription, and Walski does believe that the transcription was done honestly. So these are not Walski's words, per se. You read 'em, and you be the judge.

What is crystal clear in Walski's mind, though, is this: if the flock is expected to follow such a shepherd, then everyone's destined to become lamb chops.

Meanwhile, the entire nation waits for the decision on the Lina Joy appeal, and its implication on whether or not Religious Freedom means what it is supposed to.

Actually, Aisehman has suggested something spot-on: why not do away with the Religion declaration on our MyKad altogether. God doesn't give a shit about what religion is stated on your MyKad - it's other, more important things that count.

And you definitely won't get carded once you're on your way to the other place.