The Rising Tide of the Malaysian Taliban

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001. During its rule, the Taliban gained international notoriety for their violation of human rights. The Taliban saw fit to govern every facet of a civilian’s life.

Women had it worse than anyone else.

Women were banned from working outside of their homes. Women were banned from being treated by male doctors. Women were denied education in schools, universities or any other educational institutions. Women were banned from wearing high heels. Women were banned from appearing on the balconies of their own homes. Women were abused and whipped for not being clothed according to Taliban rules. Women were stoned to death for having sex outside of marriage.

Men were not spared, though the Taliban’s control of their lives was not to the same degree as women.

Men were required to wear Islamic clothes and a cap. Men were not allowed to shave or trim their beards. All male students were required to wear turbans.

Apart from gender specific rules, everyone was banned from listening to music. Everyone was banned from watching films. Everyone was banned from playing “un-islamic” games. Anyone who possessed objectionable literature was executed. Anyone who committed apostasy was executed. No one was allowed to even use the internet.

In short, there was no freedom under Taliban rule.

In another part of the world, a similar picture of oppression is being painted.

Again, the Muslim women in this part of the world are the target.

Menstruating Muslim women are forbidden from being in a mosque. Muslim women are prohibited from shaving their heads bald, except for the purpose of medical treatment. Muslim tomboys or lesbians are forbidden because they are considered contradictory to nature and “sunnatullah” (God’s laws).

The greater public in this part of the world are also subject to various rules.

Muslims are prohibited from smoking because it is harmful. Muslims are prohibited from smoking or selling Shisha, because it is against the teachings of Islam. Muslim men are prohibited from wearing white gold. Muslims cannot listen to Black Metal music because it is deviatory and contradicts the true teachings of Islam. Muslims are prohibited from participating in candlelight vigils as it contains elements of similitude (“tasyabbuh”) with religions other than Islam that can affect the creed of the Muslims. Muslims must conform to guidelines when participating in the religious celebrations of Non-Muslims. Non-Muslims cannot use the word “Allah” because it is apparently a sacred word specific only to the religion and followers of Islam and cannot be used or made to be similar with religions other than Islam. One parent is allowed to unilaterally convert a child’s religion (only into Islam, obviously) without the consent of the other parent.

Most recently in this part of the world, four Muslim women were forced to withdraw from a beauty pageant because Muslim women are banned from participating in beauty pageants, and another Muslim woman was arrested because she posted a video about her dogs that the religious authorities deemed offensive and insulting.

This part of the world is Malaysia.

In Malaysia, the authorities are radical. The authorities deny reason. The authorities take scriptural text literally. The authorities are oblivious to human rights. The authorities have no respect of basic freedoms and international norms. The authorities have an irrepressible need to control a woman’s body. The authorities are racially and religiously chauvinistic. The authorities abhor dissent.

These are the authorities that have participated in and are responsible for this systematic oppression of human rights: The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM – Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia), the State Islamic Authorities, the Royal Malaysian Police, the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

In the midst of the continued massacre of the rights of Malaysians, we expect moderate and reasonable fellow Malaysians, our society’s leaders and independent institutions, to stand and speak up against these public authorities. But these people are so afraid of facing the repercussions from these zealots that they decide to turn the other cheek, as it does not really concern them.

To justify their actions, these authorities claim to represent the will of the “silent majority” though there is no evidence that this “silent majority” even exists. These authorities claim to be democratically elected, though most of them were appointed. These authorities claim to act within constitutional boundaries, though their acts are unconstitutional.

The authorities can make these claims, or call themselves whatever they want, but it is time for us to call these public authorities what they ought to be called – The Malaysian Taliban.

It should be obvious to all right-thinking Malaysians that the Malaysian Taliban have gone too far, and that we cannot rely on our authorities or government to stem this insidious tide (for they themselves are part of the Malaysian Taliban). The question is – how much longer are we going to stand by and watch silently as the tide advances? Hopefully we do not wait for it to flood and wash over all of us before we gather the courage to speak up.


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SYNew is a humourist who is currently practicing law. Unfortunately for him, not everyone appreciates humour, especially judges. He suffers from a bad case of cacoethes scribendi and he is here to relief his itch. Trying to tweet @S_Y_New

Posted on 6 August 2013. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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66 Responses to The Rising Tide of the Malaysian Taliban

  1. abouadam

    Liberty of what ? to follow his own desir ? what is the limit of this liberty ?
    Your liberty means anarchy and his gaol is to take this life as paradise. this is the wish of chitans.

    The goal of law is to reach the best gaol. and the best gaol is to lead the most people in jannah(hereafter paradise) .
    So the liberty of each individu must not go against the community interest. the contrary is CORRUPTION & Rebellion.
    And this means war against Allah and punishment.
    So the gaol of a real muslim is to wish jannah for him and the community.
    He is the real belover of the society not he ONE who want to push everybody in the fire. He is the ennemy of the community and the ally of Chitan.

    This is the difference between a muslim and a kafir .

    So do not listen to chitans wich want to eat the apple in the tree and promise you "good news".
    This a lie and leads to DECEPTION.

    See the west if you have any doubt ….

  2. abdul

    It is very funny that people said that writer should not criticize Islam because she does not understand enough about Islam…..even they suggested her to "learn more" about Islam if she isa moslem. What happen with you guys? There is something wrong with the way Islam heading here in Malaysia and it is so crystal clear, the fundamentalist gaining ground and try to control every aspects of private life in this country….wake up guys, their theocratic and absurd obsession will bring all of us down….just look at Pakistan today, when fundamentalist try to control the nation.Bombs everyday.We need more people to stand up and spaek up their mind against the tide of fundamentalism!

  3. tak loyar burok

    Ni kalau bukan Syiah, mesti tak ada agama.

  4. Rahman

    Kepada penulis tajuk yg berkenaan, saya katakan awak memang tak faham banyak aspek dalam ajaran Islam.. Posting awak memang merosakkan pemikiran pembaca dan memberi gambaran yg salah kepada orang yg memang tak faham Islam.. I assume you dont even know the undisputed glorious history of Islam.. The era when the Muslim were at the frontiers of knowlegde.. leading practically in all disciplines u name it..

    I strongly suggest, if you are a Muslim, learn more and do some 'soul searching' … If you are a non- muslim, stop commenting on Islamic affairs. Learn about the teaching of Islam..

    Rahman

  5. Doomed

    I live next to a German. We've talked about what happened in Nazi Germany. He said the primary reason Hitler came to power was because the the sane, moderate people refused to stand up to him and risk their status quo. Even the Jews. By the time they realised the real situation, it was too late to run.

  6. Saiful

    Maybe, i failed to understand the whole context, as my English is not up to the standard required to understand the content as a whole. But Islam is unlike other religion, where you (read: anyone here) can put it the same as any other religion.

    Islamic scholar is someone who has the better understanding of the the religion itself, not someone who was driven by politically motivate or so called human right as they do not have the best understanding of the religion. Simple – an engineer can do "research" about law, but he will not achieve to the same extent as the lawyer who is practicing it for years. Am i making any sense here?

  7. Muhammad Mikhail

    Dear SY New,

    First off, congratulations on having read up on Islam! – something many people haven't done out of their own initiative (Muslims included). :)

    You have touched on several aspects of Islamic law and rulings in your article.

    Allow me to comment, though, that those laws and rulings are NOT the central tenets of Islam.
    Yes, laws and rulings are an important part (as they should be, since Islam is not a religion; it is a Deen – way of life).
    But THE central idea of Islam is a personal relationship with God.

    After all, the first thing the Messenger of God did after the first revelation was not
    to instate hudud
    to ban alcohol/pork, or
    to form an Islamic political party.
    'Nope. he called people to God – starting with the people closest to him.

    I thus invite you to read up further on Islam – but focus on this central message instead of the furu' (branches) of Islam.
    You'll find surprising flexibility in this Deen – the axioms in the Quran and Hadis may me undisputable, but outside of that, even the opinions of great scholars (ulama) are game for debate (it is very common for different scholars have different opinions on the same issue).
    It's logical: after all, the Quran itself encourages believers repeatedly to QUESTION.

    At this juncture, though, allow me to give a few constructive criticisms on your article :)

    The word "Taliban" is one of those which have a deep negative connotation. The use of the word in the title automatically puts readers in a mindset which views Islam as oppressive, inflexible, etc.
    I find this contradictory with the writer's criticisms against fear-mongering "zealots" in the article, since the use of the word "Taliban" is a sort of fear-mongering in its own right. Just my opinion, anyways.

    Whatever it is, I look forward to more from you SY New…keep up your search for the truth, and your quest in spreading it. I bid you with peace, the greeting of Islam :)

    P.S. promo blog sikit…. :p http://takdemuscle.blogspot.com/2013/08/an-open-l

  8. stancheelee

    The tone of much of the comments, while agreeing that some of the fatwas do not make sense, seems to suggest that people with no knowledge of Islam should not comment about Islam. However, my contention is that for many, possibly including the writer SY New, their only contact with Islam is when ridiculous decrees are issued and enforced with the full weight of the law – in full glare of the mass media, inevitably triggering a firestorm of protests. Islam is put in a bad light because of many of these nonsensical fatwas. Many of these are easily available online. But when we share these, we are slammed because we "know nothing about Islam". Why don't they slam those who issue stupid fatwas? Of course we "know nothing about Islam". Educate us. Show us the good side of Muslims. Show us Muslims care. Show us love. Show us Muslims doing Charity. Show us Muslim kindness. Show us Muslim Generosity. Show us Muslim magnanimity. What you are showing us is Muslims Lording over the nons, intolerant, chauvinistic and above all – beyond criticism.

  9. Tan

    There is no future in Malaysia for non-Malay non-Muslims. The Malay Muslims and the (mostly non-Muslim) Chinese/Indians do not want the same things. The Chinese/Indians want to live in a secular modern developed country where they are not systematically discriminated against. The Malay Muslims increasingly want to live in an Islamic country, and they increasingly care more about their faith than about economic growth or development. If the Malay Muslims are prepared to foresake parts of their own culture like the wayang kulit because it does not conform to Islamic orthodoxy, do you think they really care about what the non-Muslims think? Those non-Muslims who can do so should emigrate, if not for their own sake then for their children's and grandchildren's sake.

    • I disagree, I'm a Malay Muslim and I'd be damned before the country stops being secular. I love my culture, my religion AND I love my country. Let it not go to the dogs.

  10. I urge the so called 'silent majority', since I was the one who blatantly called out the 'religious zealots" comment, that we have a forum as to what is to become of Islam in Malaysia, whether it is rightful for the government to impose such inherent legalities on a public so diverse based on fatwas and more-so, in the background, by the economists and moneymen who cannot capitalise on certain things (i.e.: shisha smoking but not cigarettes). The subtext of the article from the eyes of someone who is not a Muslim, has many Muslim friends and is party to such ludicrous rules that does effect him even if it isn't supposed to, is that Malaysia, supposedly a secular nation, is following many religious laws put into effect us, the Rakyat, and it's severely undermining our rights and freedoms to dictate our own course.

    With all these imposed 'securities' by the specific bodies, are they implying that as Muslims in Malaysia, we are so unstable in our faith that any push will make us question our faith (which is personal) and leap into the cajoling arms of another? I think not.

    And as for the silent majority, I think you have to realise that this majority is, unfortunately, not privy to many references, opinions and articles that would make one ask questions.

    I am calling for interpretation of the holy book, of Syariah Laws on women and of the general understanding of what Islam and is purely because my understanding of it needs to have scholars backing up these ideologies instead of blind faith on unfounded hadiths and so on.

    Many of us are afraid of the arabisation of Islam, we have a distinct and extremely diverse culture that can be built upon in regards to religion and it need not emulate another. Many of the people I know are also agreeing that these forms of moral policing is archaic and should go because we're educated enough to know the rights from wrongs.

    I know Islam as a religion that is humble and non-violent, that calls for rationalisation in the seat of discourse and confusion so again, have a forum, write your own article and publish it. Don't attack someone who is raising an opinion just because their fears aren't accepted in your eyes.

    Finally, I add, how do you know that our religion isn't already so politicised we confuse politics and economics with religious ideals. There's always someone yelling out for the seperation of church and state and I think for obvious reasons.

  11. Eric M

    First They Came …. poem by Martin Niemöller
    "In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."

    — by Martin Niemöller, prominent German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor, best known as the author of the poem First they came….

  12. wg321

    Can anyone explained to me what types of games are considered "un-islamic games"? Is it swimming, diving, Synchronized swimming, gymnastics, or male bodybuilding contest? I read in cyberspace that Jakim and all the mullahs in Malaysia are going to have a conference next September to discuss issuing a Fatwa banning all types of female swimming and gymnastic sports; and maybe male bodybuilding contest too.

  13. Rationale

    SY New should refrain from touching on the rights of Muslims in Malaysia basically he is not one of them himself. In Taliban countries , the population are homogenous hence the opposition is allright since the arguments are from the same community . He only has rights to comment if the oppression per his claims infringe on his religion.

    • Melody

      That’s a rather selfish mindset. Not to mention factually wrong (referring to your last sentence). There is nothing that says that people don’t have the rights to comment/have views on topics that do not directly concern them.

  14. SY New

    Dear all,

    Thank you for the comments. I am no expert in Islam, but I do know a thing or two about the Constitution.

    For the benefit and convenience for some here, I will be very blunt in my replies:

    1. This article does not criticise Islam, it criticises the authorities.

    2. Islam and the authorities are different. They are not one and the same.

    3. Laws are made by the legislature, not the various state religious authorities. Fatwas, once gazetted, have the force of law. It is a criminal offence if a Muslim fails to obey it. This is against the separation of powers and unconstitutional.

    4. The Fatwas are there, if you agree with it like some Muslims do, good for you. But there are Muslims out there who do not agree with it, neither do they follow it. That is life, live with it. Bottom line is, those who do not agree with it or do not follow it, should not be penalised for it.

    4. How you profess and practice your religion is entirely up to you, but do not penalise others for failing to practice the way you want. You have your freedom of religion under Article 11, others have their freedom of religion under Article 11. If they do it differently, even if it is the same religion, then so be it.

    5. I am condemning the authorities because their actions violate someone else's freedom of religion and personal liberty. Their actions are a discrimination based on ideology and belief.

    Keep up the good debate!

  15. proudmuslim

    What S.Y New said about the Taliban in Afghanistan, what S.Y New didn't know is that, it is not the Islam's doing itself, it's the muslim who had it wrong, doings. Islam never approve any forms of violation against any party regardless their gender,religion or anything. you have to look Islam by the religion itself, not by the people who practiced them, because muslim are human, human makes mistakes. To put the blame on Islam, without getting to know Islam's first, is just unfair. Islam has its own ways of doing things. and you have to learn Islam to know exactly what Islam had taught and why. And before yo do so,i hope you show some respect to our religion.

  16. Farouq Omaro

    Dear Peter,
    Please don't compare today's Islam with Christianity . Islam is going through a phase that the Christian church has experienced in the past. Please be fair when making comparisons. And also not all Muslims are alike. Do read about Alevis, Alawites, Bektashis, the Druze, Ismailis and also the teachings of Sufi saints like Ibn Arabi, Ibn Sabin, Ibn Nusayr, Bayazid Bastami, Mansur al Hallaj, Kunta Haji, Nizamuddin Awliya, Jalaluddin Rumi, Haji Bektash Vali as well as ideas by Syed Ameer Ali, Ali Abdul Raziq and Ibn Rushd and you will see a totally different side of Islam which is peaceful, pluralistic, inclusive, i harmony with all religions, liberal, full of love and completely undogmatic! The Quran is can be interpreted very beautifully indeed. Muslims will speak out, but at the right time.

    • Peter

      Dear Faorugh Omaro,
      I am an atheist, so I don't read any books of religion though I was educated in many Christian schools in Malaysia back in the sixties However, I do believe that all religious teaching are meant to be for the benefit of humans if properly interpreted and exercised. It is good to know at least that Islam is currently introspecting and I hope that change will come quick so that sufferings of peoples will not continue.

    • Eric M

      Perkasa's WET DREAM:

      ASSIUT, Egypt (AP) — It was nighttime and 10,000 Islamists were marching down the most heavily Christian street in this ancient Egyptian city, chanting "Islamic, Islamic, despite the Christians." A half-dozen kids were spray-painting "Boycott the Christians" on walls, supervised by an adult.

      While Islamists are on the defensive in Cairo following the military coup that ousted President Mohammed Morsi, in Assiut and elsewhere in Egypt's deep south they are waging a stepped-up hate campaign, claiming the country's Christian minority somehow engineered Morsi's downfall.

      "Tawadros is a dog," says a spray-painted insult, referring to Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of the Copts, as Egypt's Christians are called. Christian homes, stores and places of worship have been marked with large painted crosses.

      The hostility led a coalition of 16 Egyptian rights groups to warn on Wednesday of a wave of violence to come, and to demand that the post-coup authorities protect the Christians who are 10 percent of the population, and suffer chronic discrimination.

      Nile-side Assiut, a city of one million people 400 kilometers (250 miles) south of Cairo, dates back to the pharaohs. The New Testament says Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus passed through as they fled the infanticidal King Herod. Today, its Christian fears are compounded by the failure of authorities to curb the graffiti-spraying and the Islamists' demonstrations, which have gone on almost nightly since the July 3 coup that ousted Morsi.

  17. sputjam

    I can understand why muslims do not want anyone to interfere with their faith. But muslims themselves are interfering with individual rights to personal freedom and also how others practice their faiths to the point of even ignoring court verdicts and law of the and.
    Certain contestant of the beauty pageant were denied their rights as citizen to participate in a harmless competition. For many, this is a trivial issue. But to these contestants, it is the difference between leading an obscure life or the life of independence, fame and fortune. Maybe it is because of all these obstacles we find women of certain creed forced to marry prominent people to live a life of luxury. The contestants saw an opportunity and seized it, that is how fortunes are made.
    The right to personal liberty should be upheld. Only then can those of all faiths can live side by side in peace.

  18. Melody

    Regarding the "silent majority remaining silent because you don't receive polite replies". That may be true some extent. However, is it also not possible that it's because none of their rights are being, for lack of a better word, infringed? You remain silent because no wrong is done to you. (And again, differing views are not a wrong done unto you. Grow up. Stop taking offence in every little matter)

    • a sister in Islam

      I considered putting a smiley face at the end of my reply to you to show that my comment was in good faith, since things put in writing tend to get misinterpreted without a tone of voice, but I thought that wasn't necessary. I guess your "grow up" comment is your idea of civil disagreement.

      Maybe you should try reading my comment again. "I don't find this article insulting, but heavily inaccurate…" If you could kindly point me to where I said I was offended, then I'll stand corrected.

      As for accusing the silent majority of being silent because we are not oppressed, that's a simplistic sweeping statement.

      If you would look at Markazi's idea of what oppression is, with what she has a serious problem with, these are issues that a sizeable number of us have raised and opposed, time and again. I call those issues a sign of oppression, even though I've never been on the receiving end. Many of the silent majority speak out; it's just that our voices get drowned out the crazies among us, the ones who are actual zealots.

      Look out for us. We exist. We're not a loud bunch, but if we see something wrong, we do more than just write or run our mouths about it.

      • Melody

        This particular post was an extension of my first one, and it wasn’t a reply to yours. So the “grow up” and being insulted comment wasn’t directed to you. Admittedly, “grow up” is perhaps not the best choice of words I could have used, but having read comments claiming they were insulted and offended with no further explanation, I wrote it at the heat of the moment. Apologies for the misunderstanding.

        It’s not a sweeping statement when I have acknowledged that it may not be the only reason why the silent majority remains silent. I did not claim that each and everyone of the majority feels this way. You may all agree on the same issue, but not all for the same reasons right?

        May I know how you feel about the beauty pageant incident?

  19. Melody

    I understand that religion is always a sensitive topic to most. But c'mon, differing views are not "attacks" and "insults". I admit I do not know much about Islamic teaching, so I don't know if there are any inaccuracy in this article as some of you have pointed out. However, from an impartial view, no statements made in the article are actually attacks. Maybe they were misinformed (again, I don't know), but definitely not attacks. The problem is, most people in general take offence in differing views. What happened to having civil debates? I saw an above comment saying the silent majority remain silent because you've yet to come across someone who can give a polite reply. Subsequently, another reply threatened to report this article to the authorities. Oh the irony. And I have to agree with Joe. Just because YOU don't feel oppressed, that means oppression does not exist?

    • a sister in Islam

      I doubt the comment threatening to report this article to the authorities was a genuine comment. Someone who is either trying to be funny or isn't very smart.

      I don't find this article insulting, but heavily inaccurate, save for a few statements.

      And I wholeheartedly agree – we should have civil debates, and they should be based on knowledge and not just emotions. Emotional outbursts don't just come from "religious zealots". Civility should come from both sides.

  20. Joe

    “I am a Muslim woman too, but I have never felt oppressed.”

    Isn’t this like saying, “I have never been a victim of crime, so there is no crime in Malaysia”?!

    Open your eyes, sisters. The Talibans are here!

    • mohaniniza

      Also, Muslim women who say they've never felt oppressed in Malaysia have internalised so much misogyny and therefore do not see their jail.

      • Pardon Me

        This is akin to a person believing in his own lies after repeating it numerous times. Also similar to indoctrination.

  21. Peter

    The days of the 11th century has long past where both the fundalmentalistic Christians and Muslims clashed in the crusades in the name of god, because they cannot separate religion from state. The Christian countries have evolved but has the Islamic countries done so? One can only look at the unnecessary sufferings of the Islamic states of the world.

    • Pardon Me

      Yes, I agree with you absolutely. So much of Christian – Muslim conflict occurred in the 7th to 14th centuries as a result largely because of politics rather than religion but then modern day apologist for Islam all over the world would have you believe that Christianity was a violent religion hellbent on colonizing and subjugating the rest of the world when it was pure human greed for wealth and power in the first place.

  22. Insensitive

    How dare you. we shall lodge a police report against you for equating our Islamic institution as Taliban and write to JAKIM to sue your ass.

  23. Comment 2 of 2
    Commenting on para 11 – is a parentheses worthy of a fallacy-ridden article.
    Para 12 is full of idiosyncrasies. I tell you what. Pick up Asbabul Nuzul and read up on maqasid shariah in depth then we go through this mess together.
    Para 13 – Muslim women are PROTECTED. We are not objects to be paraded before the world. Our beauty is invaluable enough to be kept within confines of our kin. Islam doesnt allow mankind to objectify women because Islam aims to protect women, the mothers of our civilization. If you feel the need to nullify the protection, then I just feel sorry for your womenfolks. You know, centuries ago women were allowed to be paraded before an open market. That is in the century before Islam and women were made as slaves and considered as cattle to be sold off as a common property. If you feel it is more 'modern' to revert back to this position, then perhaps, we should only speak after you have khatam (ask as-Sheik al-Gugleiyun) on Eric Fromm's Psychoanalysis and Religion. As for allusion of Maznah's affair, it is NOT the dog. Dudette! Get your fallacies checked! Geez! Some people. There are 4 issues, reducing it to only one shows your own mental capacity.
    Para 15 – Please dont write when you are menstruating. The para reads so badly and leaves a very sour aftertaste. All in bad bad taste.
    I repeat the question i posted on Twitter; do you feel that the sultans as HEAD of religious matters are not consulted in the passing of religious rulings? or you prefer saying these sultans as HEAD of religious matters slept on their rights to keep the Religious State Counsils in toe? or do you think that just like your silent majority the sultan are also religious Taliban who are radical, taking scriptural text literally, oblivious to human rights, have no respect for basic freedoms and international norms, have irrepressible need to control women's subjects, racially and religiously chauvinistic and abhor dissent?
    Para 16 – so these bodies gang up with our sultans to rob you of your womanly rights? We should cry 'wolf' to the OIC, UN then!
    Para 17 – the rights of who? moderate and reasonable? really? Dudette! Come on! When was the last time you see reason being used in Malaysia? it is shelved and it should be there. Why cry wolf only on things that you find offensive?
    Para 18 – So you dont even have proof whether or not the silent majority exists? this is what we call exploiting night. You are throwing these hard accusations and you dont even feel the need to conduct your own census first? what other parts of your article is written without research first? Silent majority can silent loud minority anytime. The pros and cons of a democracy.
    Para 19 – It has a nice ring to it but very uncreative. either way, meh.
    Para 20 – What next madam? What next? Calling for removal of our Sultans from their seats as head of religious matter? Allow topless beaches? Amend the Constitution? Change the official religion of the land? Where do you want to draw your freedom line?
    I ask you to publicly apologize to the silent majority; whether or not we exist. This article is tacky and is in the baddest of bad taste. Coming from an educated lawyer, this is beyond pathetic. Your facts aren’t substantiated and your accusations are heedless of the authorities. If you are writing for the sake of writing, please stop. Religion is close to heart for all believers. People take offence. Insolence is unbecoming in this era when we are struggling to maintain harmony and peace in this country. Enough is enough. Why choose to be an inciter?
    2 of 2

    • Question

      Oh the ad hominem. I'll try to reply to one of these.

      Para 17 – the rights of who? moderate and reasonable? really? Dudette! Come on! When was the last time you see reason being used in Malaysia? it is shelved and it should be there. Why cry wolf only on things that you find offensive?

      >What do you suggest we use then, instead of reason?

    • Pardon Me

      "……..Para 17 ….. When was the last time you see reason being used in Malaysia? it is shelved and it should be there. ……."

      These particular sentences rendered so much of what you wrote as " RUBBISH ". Are you a robot !!??

  24. Comment 1 of 2
    Let's nit-pick, because as a Muslim, I (the silent majority zealot) am never tired of fighting for the Religion.
    For benefit of the reply below, I assume you are so passionate about the topic because you are a Muslim woman ‘oppressed’ by the rulings.
    I strongly object to the tone of para 1 – how many times did you go to Afghanistan during the period to conduct your research and observe the violations?
    Replying to para 2 – is a fallacy, which is unbecoming of a lawyer but very fitting of a loyarburuk.
    Para 3 is what we call massive prolix jangled mass of messy accusations; foremost please understand that women in Islam are mothers to our civilization. A lot of the bans are put to protect the dignity and respect of Muslim women. In Islam, a husband is a failure if he doesn’t know how to educate his wife on matters concerning her ibadah (i trust you can google this bombastic word too) during menstruation. Such man is makruh to marry. Lady of leisure in truest sense because Muslim women dont succumb to society to seek knowledge, knowledge is brought to her doorstep.
    Para 4 is non-sensical.
    Para 5 is illogical; are we speaking of Muslim men or Jewish Orthodox here? Oh wait! No different except you arent attacking Orthodox Jews here and sweeping remarks are acceptable to your standard.
    Para 6 is also just mass of lumped up accusations because reasoning is too expensive. Music has a very limited sphere in Islam because the Religion aims to protect Life, Property, Religion, Lineage and Intellect. Im sorry you take offence that the minds of these zealots worth alot more than craps of Nicki Minaj can offer. In Islam, any activity considered as lagho (google?) is very disliked because these zealots believed our time on earth is to serve in remembrance of Allah. Thus the name of the Religion, Islam. If you find Islam so offensive, why not stop protecting life? Cherry picking are we?
    Referring to para 7, it needs clarification. What is your notion of freedom? This time please quote somebody from this century. JSM is so last year. James Fitzjames Stephen has commented at length and we shall respect that.
    Para 10 is wow! Foremost, these bans arent fatwas. These come from hadith. I personally take offence that you are condemning rules based on authenticated hadiths and in such is questioning the relevancy of hadith of the Beloved Prophets in law-making. I seek your public apology on this because Malaysia follows Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamaah; denying sunnah is a major no-no. Belittling and calling draconian on the Prophet’s sunnah is a big fat no-no. Failure of so within 24-hour of this posting, I will lodge a complaint with MCMC. If you want to be offensive, I am more than open to take offence.
    I am sorry you feel oppressed being denied the need to enter a mosque when you are menstruating. Considering we zealots believe Allah is only a call away, I myself had never felt oppressed being kept away from the mosque because solace of my room is enough to invoke presence of Godliness. Perhaps a little history is needed here. During the jahiliyyah (thank god for google! bringing arabization closer to home) period, menstruating women were shun; they couldnt eat together with the family. This was corrected by the Quran when it says not to isolate these women but to interact with them save for sexually. You need to learn to write within context. Sweeping remarks to paint some oppression against women in Islam is too tacky and insensitive.
    I seek your clarification – name me one religion that allows cross-dressing or lesbianism. Again, we zealots believe the Religion protects Lineage. How do you protect Lineage when you allow bisexualism? If you can find a way to do so, let us zealots know. I'd love to know.

    1 of 2

    • Question

      I strongly object to the tone of para 1 – how many times did you go to Afghanistan during the period to conduct your research and observe the violations?

      > How many times have you then? Can you produce evidence indicating the opposite?

      Para 3 is what we call massive prolix jangled mass of messy accusations; foremost please understand that women in Islam are mothers to our civilization. A lot of the bans are put to protect the dignity and respect of Muslim women. In Islam, a husband is a failure if he doesn’t know how to educate his wife on matters concerning her ibadah (i trust you can google this bombastic word too) during menstruation. Such man is makruh to marry. Lady of leisure in truest sense because Muslim women dont succumb to society to seek knowledge, knowledge is brought to her doorstep.

      > Ok, then do you agree that death is a suitable punishment for said infringements?

      Para 6 is also just mass of lumped up accusations because reasoning is too expensive. Music has a very limited sphere in Islam because the Religion aims to protect Life, Property, Religion, Lineage and Intellect. Im sorry you take offence that the minds of these zealots worth alot more than craps of Nicki Minaj can offer. In Islam, any activity considered as lagho (google?) is very disliked because these zealots believed our time on earth is to serve in remembrance of Allah. Thus the name of the Religion, Islam. If you find Islam so offensive, why not stop protecting life? Cherry picking are we?

      > If intellect is what religion seeks to protect, then surely it must be important to preserve the right to question and the right to listen. Also, the author finds Taliban-like thinking offensive, not Islam.

      Referring to para 7, it needs clarification. What is your notion of freedom? This time please quote somebody from this century. JSM is so last year. James Fitzjames Stephen has commented at length and we shall respect that.

      > Well, not speaking for author, but I'm going to say freedom in this context means freedom to debate and to question. Why the need to find quotations?

      Para 10 is wow! Foremost, these bans arent fatwas. These come from hadith. I personally take offence that you are condemning rules based on authenticated hadiths and in such is questioning the relevancy of hadith of the Beloved Prophets in law-making. I seek your public apology on this because Malaysia follows Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamaah; denying sunnah is a major no-no. Belittling and calling draconian on the Prophet’s sunnah is a big fat no-no. Failure of so within 24-hour of this posting, I will lodge a complaint with MCMC. If you want to be offensive, I am more than open to take offence.

      > Being a non-muslim, I am inclined to not try to reply to this one, but well… if you say that religion enshrines intellect and to be truly intellectual, one would be required to question and debate constantly… so why can't people ask questions?

      I seek your clarification – name me one religion that allows cross-dressing or lesbianism. Again, we zealots believe the Religion protects Lineage. How do you protect Lineage when you allow bisexualism? If you can find a way to do so, let us zealots know. I'd love to know.

      > At what point has the author compared Islam to any other religion? Christian zealots are every bit as bad as Muslim zealots, if that's what you wanted to hear.

  25. a sister in Islam

    How very sad (and telling) that sha_roose and mohaniniza have had to make their points by accusing those who disagree with SY New as having been "indoctrinated" or are "haters". Way to make a valid point. This is exactly why the silent majority remain silent. They haven't found people polite enough to have disagreements with.

  26. Peter

    The biggest set back of the Islam religion is that, it cannot separate itself from politics. Politics involves all that matters with running of the country, and religion involves all that matters to the individual. Until this is addressed, an individual's life is not his/her own.

  27. mohaniniza

    I agree with the author that Malaysia is increasingly Talbanized. I have been reading a lot of Zainah Anwar's columns (she's the founder of Sisters in Islam) and she says it gets dirty when a religious elite use Islam to hold on to power. Separation of Islam from public policy is best. It horrifies me, by the way, of some people above being okay with the increasing Talibinazation of Malaysia. Like SY New says, with this comes degradation of women's rghts. And like @sha roose above, I too feel discriminated against on the account of my gender. People who don't own a uterus feel free to dicate how I should lead my life. So keep up the good work, SY New. Haters are going to be haters.

  28. I'm a muslim woman and I agree with SIn Yew's sentiment that this so called Islamic Moral Policing is really getting out of hand. I do feel oppressed as a woman in my own country when it comes to religious dogma based on rituals instead of faith. I wont even argue with some of the comments posted above mainly because you can't argue with zealots indoctrinated with centuries worth of patriarchal ideologies. Closed minds come with narrow arguments unworthy of nitpicking.

  29. Just a short note about menstruating Muslim women. Such restriction also practiced in Hindu temples but it is self imposed due to hygienic practice. Those were the days without sanitary pads and I leave the rest to your imagination. It was for individuals to voluntarily abstain themselves from temple or other rituals. The point I am trying to make here is such so called discrimination is not unique to Taliban rule.

  30. dahlia

    How is it unconstitutional to prohibit muslims from joining beauty pageant contest. If by zaid ibrahims words, they might be able to become models or actresses through this beauty pageant. I still could not see that being unconstitutional.

    I agree with Markazi,
    I am a Muslim woman too, but I have never felt oppressed.

    To human rights advocates,
    Please write sth on whether or not the socalled basic human rights have any limit at all.

  31. ms.aisha

    I too am part of the 'silent majority'. Being a Muslim woman in Malaysia, I see nor feel nothing oppressive about Islam and urge the writer/publisher to check their facts before posting.

    Islamic law has existed for a long time. It lays down the basic principles and allows flexibility to suit the time and society. Fatwas are only issued by those armed with deep knowledge and understanding of Islamic law and it's objectives. Whatever fatwa that is issued is not without merits. Don't just simply attack just because it doesn't agree with your 'modern world'.

    • snoopy

      Don't follow fatwas blindly. Recent fatwas given by those 'so-called knowledgeable' authorities in Malaysia – are they with merits? eg like the woman with her dogs. I feel all of us should read the recent articles by RPK to enlighten us.

  32. Fatimah rosli

    SY New, Ilearn to respect others and others will reapect you.

    the arguments you brought up are simply not arguments at all.

    Let me put it this way.. I should be driving o the right lane because it's my right, and i should spee up to 200kmph because it's my right, i should be able to sell pot, weed freely because it's my right. I should not treat patients if I'm a doctor whenever I want to because ot's my right. And for all of the above useless rights, I should not be penalized.. Just simply because they are my rights..

    Read more about the real islam, not the current sources you are reading from right now, they are just polluting your mind. You'll find that islam is a beautiful religion, revealed by our Creator who knows what is best for us as He had created every single thing on this earth, from the air that you breath, to the water that you drink, to the everyday clothes that you use, to the words which came out of your mouth.. Lesbianism, alcohol, shisha, smoking are all bad for you..

    Oh yes.. I think not allowing your people to chew chewing gum, and banning it from being sold is also a violation in human rights.. But it does happen in Singapore.. And everyone's accepting it well as a measure to keep the country clean.. You care so much about keeping a country clean, why not the souls of those living in the country?

    Another thing is about women.. Hey, I don't want to live in a Talibanistan, but i would definitely appreciate if the human rights and women's lib organizations fight for things which are more crucial than being able to 'tayang' your body parts.. Eg, getting same pay but extra holidays for working ladies who are pregnant.. Thy are doing extra work, contributing to national productivity in terms of providing the nation with more men power, and being the men power themselves.. Giving allowances to housewives for the work they do at home.. And many others..

    Get your priorities straightened.. I can see you are mainly an advocate of desire and temptations and not for the betterment of mankind..

  33. ms hana

    I am also one of the silent majority :)

    And your article is certainly your one-side thoughts… extremely dissapointed and offended!

    Oppressing muslim from performing their duties as muslims are also violation of human rights…

    Please ask the right people before doing your writings. To know is different from to understand.

  34. Ms Aishah

    Well said..well said Sr Markazi.. !!

    The silent majority is exist > 1000000 x

  35. madame rafidah

    Oh Sr Markazi, well said, well said!!!

    SY New….. I am the silent majority. We do exist.

  36. Markazi

    As a so-called "oppressed" Malaysian Muslim girl, I'm offended at the level of ignorance this article displays. Does anything go on LB, or are there no fact-checkers available to do some actual research before hitting Publish? Or is this article just another opportunity to take yet another swing at Islamic rulings "in defence of human rights"? There is nothing about Islamic rulings that go against human rights, unless of course it's just your notion of human rights that Islam is offending. Time and again, I am surprised by how advocates of human rights see fit to tell me that the rulings of a faith I love oppress me and its believers. Hey, what about my human rights as a Muslim? How about my rights to not have a particular idea forced down my throat and being told I am backwards if I don't accept it, otherwise? I am a Malaysian Muslim girl and I am not oppressed.

    Maybe this article was written in frustration at how Islamic authorities choose to flex their muscles in this country. Fair enough. I have a serious problem myself with the utter hypocrisy of certain Islamic authorities who practice selective prosecution, who act wantonly against offenders without compassion, which ironically is an important element of Islam itself. I have a serious problem with Islamic figures who are so out of touch with the social realities that many people don't see religion as relevant anymore. I have a serious problem with Islamic authorities who do not encourage thinking and merely seek blind acceptance.

    I also have a serious problem with the social media mob who made death threats against Alvivi and Maznah. I have a serious problem with the ignorance that comes from within fellow Muslims who do not understand Islam themselves, who lash out not for their faith but for their ego.

    But that does not make it right for you to simply go to a fatwa website and start cherry-picking examples of so-called Muslim oppression without basic understanding of Islam or knowledge of context. There is a difference between Islamic rulings and Islamic law. Fatwas are opinions of scholars – to understand this fully, you need to delve deeper into Islamic jurisprudence.

    There are many fatwas issued in this country which to me are absurd. I do not follow all of them – to me, they are more persuasive rather than binding in nature. You need to study this before you start condemning Islamic rulings in themselves as an offence to human rights.

    I am tired of people, conservatives and liberals (or whatever label they choose) alike, hijacking my religion and telling me what is and what is not oppressive with very little study or understanding of the topic they write on. Please don't be one of them, and I say this sincerely.

    • snoopy

      The problem is people like you who have strong faith in Islam and "believe and follow its true teachings" are keeping quiet about those people in authorities who abuse Islam to suit their needs. When these 'abusive authorities" take action, sooner or later, non-Muslims gets drag into it and in the end, non-Muslims are being accused of 'insulting Islam'. This is happening and will continue to happen if people like you keep quiet. Salam…

  37. It may be an exxageration now ,but how else to get attention on the path we are heading to..the intolerance shown lately is quite biting especially to perceived or interpreted insults to Religion. And everyone jumps on the bandwagon just because the "authorities" say so without calming down and really used good judgement on the severity of the said offence and best recourse. .but punish punish , retaliate retaliate…especially the dog incident, where physical harm by a Imam was attempted on the defenceless perhaps misguided girl. What impression does that carry on the state of affairs in terms of religion..Harsh, unforgiving , extreme, violent and angry.?

  38. hamas

    think before you write mate, get to know Islam inside out before you talk about it in an "intellectual" manner.

    • snoopy

      do you think you know your Islam because you are a Muslim? Are there no truth as what has been written and is happening in Malaysia?

  39. ismail

    Some people write without full knowledge. They think they are smart. Actually they are stupid. Better do your homework before writing about other religion. Inspect your religion's teachings and make a fair comparison. Dont be your own judge.

  40. setopa

    Bullseye

  41. outflank

    and you…

    still can drink your martini at your favorite bar.
    sheeeshhh….

    so ungrateful… sheeshhh…

  42. boshinin

    The world should be free of outdated organizations like JAKIM and Islamic law. Also, Islamic law should be confined as a advisory board and should not possess any other power whatsoever. We live in the 21st century and ideas that can advance societies should be shared and no 7th century laws should dictate what the people choose to do.

    Malaysia is a secular country by name only, unfortunately, as there are so many Taliban like people here.

  43. Adam

    forbidding of smoking and shisha is modern adaptation to new scientific discoveries. there are conditions when muslim men too are forbidden from entering the mosque. transgender, cross-dressing and homosexuality is forbidden for both men and women.

    you are trying to put a narrative on jakim 1) not getting their priorities straight, 2) getting worked up over a non-issue and 3)showing disregard to non-muslims in their efforts to uphold islamic values in malaysian muslims. all three points are very legitimate and truly need addressing

    just stick to the three points and make some worthy research before rambling about female oppression.

  44. Msem

    Thank you for writing this SY New.

  45. BrighterTmrw

    You forget to mention that the religious police take absolutely no action against members of the ruling party and their families for violating the same religious laws.