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To unilaterally demand that a perfectly sensible, responsible and objective public forum be stopped on account of the perceived injury to one community – real or imagined – smacks of bias and prejudice, and the failure to even understand the anxiety of other communities, observes Farish A Noor. One is compelled to ask if these ‘defenders of Islam’ have even thought of the pain and anguish caused to those families who have seen and lived through broken marriages, divorces and grave-robbings? Or do the feelings of other communities not count, and do other communities have no sensitivities?

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Apparently during the commotion caused when some of the so-called ‘defenders of the faith’ had entered the room where the Bar Council forum on conversions to Islam was being held, there were calls for a certain ‘babi’ to ‘balik Cina‘. Aliran member Farish A Noor has checked and double-checked all the photos that are available on the internet and has seen no image that corresponds to the ‘babi‘ in question. For the sake of academic consistency and objectivity, he is compelled to ask the Bar Council this: Was there a pig in the auditorium where the forum was held?

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All eyes are on the Article 11 forum in JB on Saturday, which is already shrouded in controversy and uncertainty. In the aftermath of the disrupted forum in Penang, Aliran wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to take a principled stand on the issue. 

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Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is deeply concerned that the forum Federal Constitution: Protection for All which was jointly organized by Aliran and Article 11 Coalition on 14 May 2006 in Penang, was forced to end its programme abruptly after disruption by a group of unruly demonstrators.

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AM coverIn our cover story, we publish our open letter to the Prime Minister asking him to take a clear stand on the disrupted forum in Penang.

In the aftermath of the disruption, some media reports published contradictory and confused accounts of what transpired. To set the record straight, we carry an eyewitness account of the sequence of events that morning.

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The NST on 17 May came up with a refreshing editorial in support of democratic rights in the light of the disruption of the Aliran/Article 11 forum on 14 May. This editorial was all the more commendable bearing in mind that Charter 2000-Aliran has been critical in the past of some of the daily's earlier reporting. (We have now enabled the comment feature for media-related entries here; so you may add your comments at the end of this post. All comments will be moderated; so they will not appear immediately.) 

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