Archive for the ‘Dialog’ Category

Call for Rational Debate of Hudud and Implementation of Syariah Compliant Govenment Policies on Non-Muslims

April 14, 2015

It is encouraging to find Malaysians across the race-and-religion divide coming together to call for rational debate on hudud and the related Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code (1993) and affirming that:

– As all Malaysians, Muslims or non-Muslims, Kelantanese or non-Kelantanese, are rightful stakeholders in the enforcement of KSCC, no one should be penalised, threatened or ridiculed for having or expressing any opinion on the matter.

– The success of Islamic banking in winning over the hearts and minds of non-Muslims through rigour and proven benefits, rather than a deceiving assurance of non-Muslim exclusion or a sloppy “trial-and-error” attitude, should be an inspiring example.

– The implementation of KSCC must not be decided on a winner-takes-all manner, such as a simple majority in the Dewan Rakyat, for this will risk tearing the country apart.

– The inclusive spirit of the Federal Constitution and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, which lay down the secular basis of the Federation of Malaysia, must be upheld.

First, the provisions of the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code is so evidently ultra vires the Federal Constitution that there is a prima facie case to reject it out of hand. It is agreed that the call for rational dialogue should not be restricted to debating whether one should support or oppose hudud. It is a call to all Malaysians to respect the provision related to the status of Islam and other religions in the Federal Constitution which is premised on a secular framework. Put concretely, the starting point for dialogue should be the original intent of the Federal Constitution as a secular-state where there is no establishment of religion, or  provision for a dominating position for Islam. In this regard hudud or any Islamic law should not be part of our legal system, except in matters of personal law specifically enumerated in the Constitution. See related post: Malaysia Social Contract (Part 1): Religion and Equal Citizenship and Historic Documents on the drafting of the Constitution.

Second, the rational debate should publicly call into question not only the overt hudud agenda of the Kelantan government, but also the arguably, clandestine introduction of syariah compliant provisions in various State enactments in UMNO dominated State Legislative Assemblies (Dewan Undangan Negeri), and imposition of syariah compliant policies in the government departments affecting non-Muslims. Hudud naturally elicits strong and vocal opposition from all reasonable Malaysians as its implementation is an obvious and undeniable act of injustice against non-Muslims. In contrast, the introduction of syariah compliant laws and department policies are subtly and incrementally implemented so that non-Muslims remain unaware of the gradual erosion of their fundamental liberties.

In either case, the inclusive spirit and universal justice enshrined in the Federal Constitution would be shattered by the fatal blow of hudud, or gradually extinguished by the covertly introduced syariah compliant laws of the State Legislative Assemblies and government department policies.

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Champion Open Debate and Discourse on Islamic law — 25 Prominent Malays

December 8, 2014

I salute moderate Muslims who voice their deep dismay over Islamic religious bodies asserting their authority beyond the jurisdiction laid down by the Federal Constitution.

The call for rational discourse and open debate goes beyond the Muslim community as the statement recognizes “a real need for a consultative process that will bring together experts in various fields, including Islamic and Constitutional laws, and those affected by the application of Islamic laws in adverse ways [emphasis added].” Indeed, non-Muslims are grievously affected when Shariah authorities impose policies that violate their fundamental liberties in the name of supremacy of Islam.

All concerned Malaysians should voice their support for this call for moderation and dialogue. Let’s remember, “all tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent,” and “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” [Edmund Burke]

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Champion open debate and discourse on Islamic law — 25 prominent Malays The Malay Mail Online  8 Dec 2014

 

DECEMBER 8 — We, a group of concerned citizens of Malaysia, would like to express how disturbed and deeply dismayed we are over the continuing unresolved disputes on the position and application of Islamic laws in this country. The on-going debate over these matters display a lack of clarity and understanding on the place of Islam within our constitutional democracy. Moreover, they reflect a serious breakdown of federal-state division of powers, both in the areas of civil and criminal jurisdictions. (more…)

Resolving the Allah Controversy Going Beyond Polemics and Call for Constructive Dialogue

January 17, 2013

It is imperative for religious leaders from both the Christian and Muslim community (regardless of whether they represent UMNO or PAS) to engage in constructive dialogue to resolve the Allah controversy in a spirit that is consistent with the ethical and spiritual aspiration of their respective religious traditions. Leaders from the Malaysian church would readily welcome dialogue with Muslim leaders. Hopefully such dialogue would restore good will and harmony to our beloved nation.

Proposition 1: We respect the right of PAS to spell out clearly its theological position on Allah.

Proposition 2: We respect the right of people of different faiths to interpret their holy books and profess their faith in their mother tongues.

Proposition 3: We must go beyond polemics in addressing the Allah controversy.

Proposition 4: We invite Muslim leaders to engage in constructive dialogue with Christian leaders to resolve the Allah controversy.

You may read the full article at Krisis & Praxis blog LINK

Response to Irrelevant Rhetoric on Use of ‘Allah’

February 28, 2009

Might as well post a letter which I wrote to Malaysiakini:

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Writer’s debate on ‘Allah’ term lost in irrelevancy LINK
Dr Ng Kam Weng | Feb 27, 09 4:35pm

I refer to the letter Other Christian denominations not using ‘Allah’.LINK

This letter displays so much ignorance that under normal circumstances, it would not merit a reply. However, a concise and decisive response is given here only because readers of Malaysiakini surely deserve a more enlightened discourse on the issue.

I find the writer misguided on three counts:

First, he is plainly misguided about what the Eastern Orthodox Church believes in. Perhaps the writer is mistaken because historically, the Orthodox Church did not accept the Western Latin Church’s formulation of the Trinity that says the Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son (the filioque clause discussed in any standard text on doctrinal history).

But contrary to the writer’s view, the Orthodox Church’s rejection of the filioque clause is not because it does not believe in the Trinity but because it believes it has a clearer formulation of the doctrine of Trinity. (more…)