Of sin, Siti and small-minded men without sagacity

The different faiths in this country are often faced with many similar challenges which could be more easily overcome if we were to synergise our earnest efforts rather than creating slurs and suspicions on the supposed salacious conspiracies of other religions to turn young Muslims into sex fiends, writes Martin Jalleh.

Siti Nor Bahyah Mahamood is a well-known Islamic motivator on local television and a popular TV personality, with Semanis Kurma on TV9 and Astro being her biggest hit.

As a famous personality, one would expect her to have all the facts on her fingertips in her efforts to educate, motivate and even propagate her faith! Surely her experience as a professional motivator would teach her that you can’t motivate people by humiliating others!

Recently, she decided to discourage Muslim youth from celebrating Valentine’s Day. It is actually quite a noble effort. I too do not believe in V-Day (Catholic though I be) and I think it is tragic to have to say “I love you” only once a year and with a blooming rose that costs a bomb!

But I have no problem with the rest of the world who are caught up by the commercialisation of love and romance (though now it’s extended to more than just a celebration of lovebirds) and are ready to pay a crazy and costly sum, probably to make up for their neglect of 364 days in the year!

V-Day has become a day when, love is blind, the florists flourish, and hotels and restaurants reap roaring profits by holding the ridiculous! It has no religious significance whatsoever! As for those who wish to unleash their lust on V-Day, VD (a different kind of rose) might await them!

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Sadly, Siti’s ignorance showed when she, in an RTM programme last week, linked V’s Day to Christianity and immoral activities. She said “immoral activities, partying and unmarried couples associating in private are traditions of the Christian community”!

Surprisingly, as a motivator, Siti is glaringly show of understanding. V-Day is not a Christian tradition and all Christian traditions and tenets do not condone, in fact abhor “immoral activities”, and “unmarried couples associating in private”.

If only Siti would sit quietly and ponder she will realise that vice and virtue lie in the adherents of every faith and there is really no need of making a scapegoat of other religions and insulting them for the sins of the people of her own faithful!

A Christian conspiracy to corrupt Muslims?

The Malaysian Insider reported on 11 February 2011 that both the KL Islamic Department (Jawi) and Selangor Islamic Department (Jais) have banned Muslims from celebrating V-Day, calling it “a Christian tradition” in a Friday sermon delivered in mosques on that day.

Alas, if Jawi, Jais or Jakim want to reduce themselves into one big Joke, it is really none of our business, but claiming that V-Day is a Christian tradition and inferring that it is part of a Christian conspiracy to “corrupt” Muslims, is to say but the least, a jaundiced view… very unislamic indeed!

The sermon continued with its slanderous spree: “Remember that the Jews and Christians would continue to deceive Muslims. They will do everything to undermine the Muslims’ belief and personality”!

Prepared by the Selangor’s Islamic authority, the sermon also said that V-Day “is celebrated in many ways, starting with greeting cards, flowers and dance parties. In fact some celebrate it with a date which would eventually lead to illicit sex”!

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What about the illicit sex that takes place on non-Valentine Days? Who is to be blamed? What about the sex scandals committed by Members of Parliament, Ministers and a host of people in high places….were they all committed on V-Day? Were they the result of a conspiracy by the Jews and Christians?

Jais caused quite a jolt when it pointed out that there were 257,411 births out of wedlock between 2000 and 2008 and blamed V-Day celebrations as one of the causes. You mean to say nine V-Days could produce 257,411 births? Is this what Najib’s model of moderate Islam is all about?

Not only are they insulting the Christians but they are so condescending in how they view the Muslims in Bolehland – who have in recent times been portrayed as people who are so very easily confused, convinced, converted and corrupted! But then again, we are told that is none of our business.

It appears that Siti, Jawi, Jais and Jakim need to do a lot of soul searching. Surely the strength of Islam does not lie in creating a “siege mentality” and in their ignorance, insulting other religions.

The different faiths in this country are often faced with many similar challenges which could be more easily overcome if we were to synergise our earnest efforts rather than creating slurs and suspicions on the supposed salacious conspiracies of other religions to turn young Muslims into sex fiends!

May I wish Jawi, Jais and Jakim Happy Anti-Valentine’s Day! And to those who celebrate it in a big way, Happy Valentine’s Day – whatever it means!

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To Pas Youth, instead of conducting “immorality checks” on V-Day in opposition-ruled states, why not take a break from politics and be romantic enough to spend precious time with your beloved under the moon, always conscious that God is watching you from a distance!

To the Muslims who really want to celebrate V-Day but cannot as a result of the recent ban, please do not be angry but in keeping with the spirit of the day, send a rose to Siti, Jawi, Jais and Jakim – unless the rose is deemed by them as a Christian flower used to seduce Muslims into immorality!

Martin Jalleh is well known political commentator and regular contributor to Aliran.

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