Burning Bibles is not okay (#NotInMyName)

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Ibrahim Ali - Photograph: pribumiperkasa.com

Islam is not under threat and Malaysians will not allow the bigots and their followers to discriminate or impinge on the rights of other Malaysians, asserts Syerleena Abdul Rashid.

Ibrahim Ali - Photograph: pribumiperkasa.com
Ibrahim Ali – Photograph: pribumiperkasa.com

Not long ago, the self-proclaimed champion of Malay Muslim causes, Ibrahim Ali, made some horrible suggestions to burn another religion’s holy book, in this case, the Bible.

Such a call reminds us of a certain sinister time in European history, which saw the lost of millions of innocent lives – and no, I’m not talking about the ‘Black Plague’.

This sort of mindset reminds us of the dark days when fascism and totalitarianism permitted such actions. For the sake of our country, I simply cannot allow such ideologies to seep into our society!

More recently, Nancy Shukri read out a shocking (albeit almost expected) ruling that defended the government’s move not to take action against Ibrahim Ali on the grounds that he was merely defending Islam. It does not take a thoughtful individual to see how hateful those remarks or suggestions were and Nancy Shukri, of all people, knows this.

In an interview with an online media portal a few years ago, Nancy Shukri was quoted as saying, “Even till today our constitution states that Malaysia is a secular state though it unofficially regards Islam as the official religion due to the majority being Muslims. I would want to see the present status maintained. Malaysia is one of the countries that officially allows freedom of religion in the constitution.”

What happened to this belief? Do you no longer have any desire to see this “present status maintained”?
To make things worse, Ibrahim Ali then came out to explain his side of the story. A local Malay language daily quoted him as saying, “I was only referring to the Bahasa Malaysia Bible which has the word Allah in it, which was distributed at the school. I was not referring to all Bibles.”

Is that supposed to purify such a bigoted cause? Are we supposed to simply forgive and forget? If anything, his excuse is lame and mind-numbingly obtuse.

As a peace-loving Malaysian Muslim, I urge Ibrahim Ali to stop all attempts to justify his ridiculous exploits – for the sake of preserving any ounce of self-respect that is left in such a delusional mind that lacks empathy and conscience. All the bigots in our country who hide behind the guise of piety must be made to understand that our faith is stronger. They need to be made to understand that Malaysians will not cower to such vile threats and scaremongering tactics.

There is a saying in Islam, when one does something bad, then you must follow it by doing something good; I believe other religions embrace this concept too. People like Ibrahim Ali and those with similar sentiments should also realise how increasingly irrelevant scaremongering has become. Based on Ibrahim Ali’s behaviour these past several years, it appears as if he is the one confused – not us.

I cannot stress enough the fact that Islam is a religion that upholds peace and equality and, believe it or not, promote values that are in line with secular humanist thought. Unfortunately, beliefs based on intolerance and extremism seem to have hijacked our religion. As a result, the world only sees the ugliness of fanaticism rather than the beautiful foundations upon which Islam was built.

Islam is not under threat – not by the so-called infidels, liberals, moderates, Communists, Socialists, LGBT communities and, by all means, there is no ‘Christian threat’ in Malaysia. Muslims will not be easily confused by mere words – please, give us some credit. If anything, Islam is threatened by those who indulge in religious hypocrisy; instead of preaching love, respect and tolerance, they preach hate, fear and promote a brand of religion that oppresses.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said ,“Son, if you are able, keep your heart..free from malice toward anyone.” (Al-Tirmidhi:59) and this should serve as a reminder to the ultra-right and the ultra-intolerant.

Our religion does not oppress, repress or tyrannise.

Our country protects the rights of each citizen and ensures everyone a certain amount of religious freedom – which is enshrined in our Constitution. Most of all, Malaysians will not allow the bigots and their followers to discriminate or impinge on the rights of other Malaysians.

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mary atkinson
mary atkinson
19 Oct 2014 10.04pm

Wahabi puritanism seems to have badly affected the eastern seaboard of Malaysia, promoted from Saudi Arabia. Islam also appears to be wielded as a political weapon in a political armoury to the detriment of the country. If we are to accept that God loves every individual He has created, then we must allow Him to do so! allow in our own minds the freedom that belongs to God. That leaves all of us with the responsibility to be fair. I think that each person most fears his or her own conscience, that voice of holiness in us which points out meaness or violence or an obstinate preference for evading the whole truth about our motives. Ibrahim Ali seems to be retreating a little from the aggression he was expressing. He may have a point about the name of God, feeling the same name is not shared, but if what lies behind that is an angry demand that Allah narrow his nature down to that of Ibrahim himself, and reject his own Creation on this earth, then I regret to state that it is impossible.

bayi
bayi
18 Oct 2014 2.37pm

This is a courageous and beautiful piece. Thank goodness for Muslims like Syerleena Abdul Rashid. It’s my hope that more moderate and peace-loving Muslims will speak up. The trouble with all these bigots is that threats they are making are appear to be condoned by the authorities. The PM needs to be seen to put a stop to this, not just by making claims in reality are not practiced here.

Ed G
Ed G
17 Oct 2014 8.57am

Just with a lame excuse of defending Islam, the AG deemed that it is OK to make statements that is in no uncertain terms meant to encourage or incite others to take physical actions that are destructive and violent in nature. It is as though statements of such nature have lower potential in creating public disorder than many of those that are articulated intelligently with much common sense for the sake of defending the constitution, justice, democracy, good governance and fair play. This totally preposterous justification by Nancy Shukri simply sums up the extent of the perversion of justice in this country.

charleskiwi
16 Oct 2014 9.00am

This former illiterate taxi driver, is not only getting funded by the ruling party to do, act or to say things that that the Umno dorky and schmucks themselves are trying not to do themselves. (Is he) given the assurance of (never) being indicted for the uncultured actions and seditious speeches that the dorky and schmucks themselves do not want to be seemed to represent(?) He is even supported by the ever repugnant … Mahathir as a patron. What sort of a (group) that has not a single state assembly man or a MP would have the former president of Umno and the PM as their patron ? On top of all that who was behind funding the event this Abraham Ali was (suggesting) … For now and for all that he (gets to go on a) trip to London and what else is there awaiting for him in future ? … You don’t even need to be a (fool) to know all that but the Umno dorky and schmucks think the people must be worse than (fools). Do you know how many years does it… Read more »