Archive for November, 2008

Non-Muslims Have a Right to Comment on Fatwas

November 26, 2008

Non-Muslims Have a Right to Comment on Fatwas

The former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir has warned non-Muslims not to turn the recent fatwa on yoga into a religious issue. He says in a Bernama Report 25 Nov 2008 Link

“If they (National Fatwa Council) believe it is wrong, then it is wrong. It is unfortunate that other people think that it is a slur on their religion. It is like saying Muslims should not eat pork, and it is not an insult to the Chinese. It is the same when Muslims cannot do yoga. It is not because they are insulting the Hindus.

“It is just that they should not do it. Whether the Malays follow it or not, that is really their business. Other people should not make it a religious issue. Like all other things forbidden among Muslims, it is not an insult to others.

Dr. Mahathir’s warning doesn’t make sense. How can a fatwa coming from an authoritative body that defines Islamic belief not be religious? (more…)

Fatwa Council Bans Yoga: Non-Muslims Told Not to Comment

November 22, 2008

Comment: There have been strong reactions from some people who feel that  the Fatwa council should address more serious public matters like corruption and abuse of power by the ruling politicians rather than focus so much of their energy on personal practices like yoga.

I am more interested in the warning given by the chairman of the Fatwa Council that non-Muslims should not get involve with this matter. “The fatwa (edict) is meant solely for the Muslims to follow. The non-Muslims need not question or debate about this because they are free to do whatever they wish. It is the Muslims who have to adhere to this,” he added.

I disagree with this attempt to preclude comments and criticisms on four counts. (more…)

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November 21, 2008


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Religious Freedom Does Not Apply To Muslims Here, Says Retired Judge

November 20, 2008

Comment: Such a statement coming from a retired high court judge confirms our nasty suspicion that many Muslim judges allow their Islamic beliefs to skew their judgments in the Civil court. Regardless, we have an unambiguous statement that declares that freedom of religion does not apply to Malaysian Muslims (at least to the learned judge).

What a strange legal opinion that suggests that we allow Article 3 (Religion of the Federation) to trump Article 11 (Freedom of Religion) even though Article 3 (4) says “Nothing in this Article derogates from any other provision of this Constitution.” It is the same bizarre rationalization that led one of the Muslim judges to rule that freedom of religion means one is free to practise one’s religion but not free to choose/leave one’s religion.

To my educated Malay friends – Are you going to carry on keeping silence and let such pronouncements go by unchallenged. You have only yourself to blame if in keeping silence you allow such judges to take away your Constitutional right of religious freedom. (more…)

Ex-CJ foresees merger of common and syariah courts

November 14, 2008

Comment:“Civil courts will be absorbed into syariah courts” should be the more accurate title. There can only be one kind of ‘merger’ if  the government policy says that “no new law that contradicts syariah should be passed.”

This is the problem: For some reasons, enough Malaysian Muslim judges seem to find difficulties setting aside their personal/religious interests so that they may give a fair judgment based on an objective interpretation civil laws when they preside over the civil courts. Why they did not ask to be reclused from such cases if they could not overcome their personal/religious interests remains a mystery to me. Indeed, it seems to be the case that their judgments become more biased and skewed towards Islamic interests as they grow older. Perhaps this is due to an increasing awareness of their mortality and the need therefore to chalk up more merits (pahala) before they see Allah. It’s just too bad non-Muslims suffer injustice in the process. (more…)