Bishop Paul’s nuanced stance on Hudud


September 23, 2011

Note: I received the following article from Terence Netto via e-mail. The heavily edited version appears in Malaysiakini today.

In the interest of clarity and fairness, I have agreed to host his original version on this blog so that the philosophical underpinnings and the subtlety of his message are not lost. Furthermore I always respect the integrity of the writer, although I sometimes may not  agree with Netto’s views on contemporary issues. But I strongly believe that he is entitled to his opinions.

I, therefore, have pleasure in sharing this Netto piece with you all, my readers and commenters. In return, I expect an intelligent and rational exchange of views on Hudud. Please suspend all preconceived ideas and prejudices about Hukum Hudud.

The Kelantan state government, in my view, should consult the Federal Government and the Council of Malay Rulers before going ahead with the introduction of Hukum Hudud.

Tok Guru Nik Aziz and his cohorts should know that Kelantan is not an island onto itself. It exists as part of Malaysia, and what they do in the state touches Malaysia as whole and influences the perception of the rest of world about who we are as a country and as 1People.  It affects our political and economic climate, especially the inflow of foreign direct investment into our country.

I am pleased that Bishop Paul has taken a nuanced stance on Hudud. In my humble opinion, we  should welcome if the Federal Government should to do the same for all Muslims in Malaysia.

 After all, our constitution protects all Malaysians and different religions in this country. There is freedom of worship. Let us not politicise this matter.–Din Merican

Bishop Paul’s nuanced stance on Hudud

Catholic prelate, who subscribes to the long-wave theory of history, says it is unwise to forestall Muslims from Syariah if that is what they manifestly desire.

By Terence Netto

The reignited debate over the implementation of hudud law in Kelantan has drawn a nuanced response from what at first glance would be considered an unexpected quarter.

Catholic Bishop Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing (left), in his remarks made to Malaysiakini today, held forth on the subject and has come up with a stance he thinks is calibrated to meet the challenges the question of Islam poses to Malaysian society.

“One would think I should lack the presumption to weigh-in on the discussion, being non-Muslim and belonging to a religion that subscribes to the separation of the secular from the religious spheres,” being the titular head of Catholics in the Melaka-Johor diocese.

“But Islam is, above all, a political question and support for syariah, of which hudud is a part, is an obligation for the Muslim. Therefore a non-Muslim citizen such as me and a religious leader at that ought to have a say on this matter,” asserted the Jesuit-trained prelate.

“I say it’s time to allow Muslims in Kelantan, if they so desire, to implement syariah only for them and with that the hudud enactments provided non-Muslims are exempt from its implementation,” said the Bishop who is concurrently President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia.

“Between the contention that the Federal Constitution is a colonial imposition and the obligation of Muslims to support syariah, I say the wiser non-Muslim stance would be to hold that if syariah is what Kelantan Muslims want and if we are given a cast-iron guarantee that it will not be implemented on us, we would not object to Muslims wanting it,” he argued.

“Bear in mind, this is not a question that is going to go away but it is not a question that will continue to be framed in the same terms as it is today in Malaysia,” continued the Bishop. “What do I mean by this?” asked the cleric who obtained his doctorate from Ecole ’Etude Science Social’ whose degree is from Sorbonne, the ‘Harvard of Europe’ in medieval times.

“You take the Arab Spring that has roiled nations in that arc from Tunisia to Syria. Do you see it as an Islamic uprising or a democratic insurgence? I hesitate to claim that it’s a democratic rising of peoples. You cannot tell for sure, but it is not specifically Islamic in character. I take the long view and see it all as part and parcel of the enduring debate between the Mutazilities and the Asharites in Islam.

“The former holds that you need reason to explain the world; the latter that God does not need reason and that He is all power and will. I pray the Mutazilites win the debate. I don’t know if that extraordinary man, the Menteri Besar of Kelantan, is a Mutazilite or an Asharite. Sometimes he sounds like a Mutazilite, sometimes like an Asharite.

“But that ambiguity is a good thing. It shows he is not dogmatic. I say let him and all who hold with him have their way so long as non-Muslims have iron-clad guarantees of their exemption.”

Bishop Paul Tan concluded his soliloquy this way:  “I take the long view of history which is that the key question, in our times and in all times, is as the philosopher Nietzsche, incidentally an anti-Christian thinker, framed it: What is the fundamental constitution of reality?

“I claim that if your theological assumptions of reality are incorrect, you are headed for trouble in this world and that if they are correct, you will have the peace that surpasses all understanding. I am in favor of Kelantan Muslims having hudud implemented for them only.”

25 thoughts on “Bishop Paul’s nuanced stance on Hudud

  1. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/History_of_Islam/The_Mutazilites-Asharites_debate

    The Mutazilites and the Asharites in Islam.

    1. Basic tenets of the Mutazilite teaching and its early endorsement by Abbasid Caliphs

    According to the well know sources on Mutazilism, there are five basic tenets or principles of Mutazilism. The first is the Divine unity, al-tawhid in Arabic. The second is the Divine justice, al-`adl. The third is the Divine promise and threat, al-wa`d wa-al-wa`id. The fourth is the place between the two places, al-manzilah bayn al-manzilatayn. The fifth is commanding the good and prohibiting the evil, al-amr bi al-ma`ruf wa-al-nahy `an al-munkar.

    The first Mutazilite tenet, the Mutaziltes understand that God is One and His oneness makes Him differ from all existent beings created by Him. The Mutazilites deny any similarity between God and His created creatures. Due to their understanding of God’s oneness, the Mutazilites interpret metaphorically all the Koranic verses indicating any similarity or likeness between God and His creatures such as the Koranic verses stating about God’s hands, eyes, sitting on the throne and face. For the Mutazilites, the Koranic anthropomorphic verses should be interpreted metaphorically because if those verses of the Koran are understood literally, they attribute some similarities between God and His creatures. The literal understanding of the Koranic anthropomorphic verses is very much against the tenet of God’s oneness in the eyes of the Mutazilites.

    God’s transcendentalism is indeed emphasized emphatically by the Mutazilites. They are very strict and serious against the anthropomorphists, the mushabbihah or the mujassimah, among Muslims. Because of their strict adherence to God’s transcendentalism, their opponents called them al-mu`atillah (those who denied God’s attributes). The Mutazilites replied to their opponents that they themselves do not deny God’s attributes but what they indeed deny from God is His attributes are different from His essence. For the Mutazilites, God’s essence does not differ from God’s attributes. In other words, God’s attributes are identical and inseparable from His essence. For this type of understanding regarding the relationship between God’s essence and His attributes, the Mutazilites say and uphold that God is powerful by His essence, and in Arabic said, Allah qadir bi-dhatih. Meanwhile, the opponents of the Mutazilites like the Asharites understand and state that God is powerful with His power, Allah qadir bi-qudratih.

    In line with their understanding of God’s transcendentalism, the Mutazilites deny that God can be seen even by the peoples of Paradise in the hereafter. The Mutazilites argue that if the peoples of Paradise can see God, God must be in any material form since human eyes can only see the material things or forms. Since God is a non-material being, human eyes are impossible to see Him even in the Paradise. The Mutazilites do not differentiate between the natures of human beings in this world and their natures in the hereafter. For the Mutazilites, human eyes in this world are impossible to see God as evident from the Prophet Moses wanted to see God with his own eyes and he could not see God. What is impossible for human eyes to see in this world is also impossible for human eyes to see in the hereafter. For the Mutazilites, human eyes need light, proper distance and location to see the seen object. Since God is unseen being, He cannot be seen by human eyes. It is impossible for human eyes to see God because God is an immaterial being, unseen being.

    The Mutazilites deny the Christian concept of Divine trinity. The Trinity in Christianity states the three persons of the Godhead namely the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For the Mutazilites, the principle of Trinity is contrary to God’s transcendentalism that stresses nothing similar or identical with God either in His essence or His attributes.

    The Mutazilites deny that the Koran is eternal and the speech of God. For them, the Koran was created by God like other created creatures. The Mutazilites deny the uncreatedness of the Koran because for them only God is eternal. Other beings are temporal, transient and finite. God is eternal and infinite. They want to defend the Divine unity when they deny the uncreatedness of the Koran. The Koran is limited and finite because it consists of letters and sentences understood by human minds. The Koran was revealed for human beings. Human beings are limited and finite. Whatever is created by God is limited and finite. Hence the Koran is limited and finite because it was created by God to be the book of guidance to all human beings.

    The second tenet of the Mutazililtes is the Divine justice. They understand that God is indeed just and fair to all created creatures. To prove their understanding of God’s justice, the Mutazilites advocate the concept or principle of human free will. The concept stresses that man is free to choose and act on what he has chosen. Nothing forces man either to do or not to do if he decides either to do or not to do. Man is free to carry on his intended plan or intention. The Mutazilites totally disagree with the Jabarites who advocate human predestination. The Mutazilite concept of human free will is very identical and similar with the Qadarite concept of human free will. The Qadarites are the opponents of the Jabarites in their understanding of the human power and will and God’s power and will. For the Jabarites, man has no will and power to act on his own choice or preference. Man has to rely or depend on God’s will and power before he is able to will and act. For the Qadarites, man has his own will and power created by God for himself to will and act or not to will and not to act. Moreover, man is free to will and to act on whatever he wills. If man decides on certain actions, he can act on them. With the power created by God in man’s nature, man is capable of willing and acting or doing according to his own wishes. Since man is free from any compulsion, he consequently deserves the rewards or punishments based on his choices and actions. If man does the bad and evil actions, he deserves the punishments from God, and if man does the good and useful actions, he deserves the rewards from God. The Mutazilites deny any injustice attributed to God. God is just and He does not want or He does not will injustice. Injustice takes place because of human beings, not because of God. Indeed, God does not do injustice to any human being.

    To defend the Divine justice, the Mutazilites deny the concept or the principle of Divine intercession in the hereafter. For the Mutazilites, the Divine intercession contradicts the Divine justice. The Divine intercession in the hereafter is said to be for the Muslims who committed the grave sins and tney became the grave sinners before they died. For the Mutazilites, God will not intercede or help the grave sinners and God will put them in the Hell because they chose to commit the grave sins prohibted by God. God will not help them. God will judge them according to their own deeds, bad or good deeds. In other words, because of the Divine justice, God will punish the grave sinners in the Hell. The opponents of the Mutazilites like the Asharites uphold the view that God will intercede the grave sinners and take them out from the Hell after they have completed their punishemnts in the Hell.

    In line with the Divine justice, God does the better and best things for human beings. For examples, God created human beings in the best form of human bodily structure in comparison with animals. God granted human beings with minds that are not available among animals. God sent His prophets to guide human beings and sent down His books of revelations to human beings from time to time until the last and final revelation revealed to the last and final prophet named Muhammad in the seventh century in Arabia. He was sent by God to all human beings.

    The Mutazilite concept of God’s doing the better and the best things for human beings is known in Arabic as fi`l al-salah wa-al-aslah lil-nas. God showed human beings the two different ways or broadways namely the good and the evil ways. The good way is leading to the good life in this world and then in the hereafter. Meanwhile, the evil way is leading to the evil and miserable life in this world and then in the hereafter. In other words, God showed and proved to human beings the two opposite ways, God’s way and Satan’s way. Human beings who follow God’s way are going to the Paradise in the hereafter and human beings who follow Satan’s way are going to the Hell in the hereafter. Human beings have no any reason or word to blame God for their own bad and miserable fates or destinations in this world and then in the hereafter since God did the better and the best things for human beings. God’s just and fair actions are evident and apparent to all human beings.

    The third Mutazilite tenet is the Divine promise and threat. This one is very much to complement the second Mutazilite tenet. According to the Mutazilites God promises human beings with the rewards if they obey God’s commands and God threats human beings with the punishments if they disobey God’s commands. God keeps and fulfills all His promises to all human beings. God also will punish all human beings who have disregarded and disobeyed God’s commands. There is no possibility of thinking and assuming that God does not keep His promises. The Mutazilites understand that God makes the promises and He will fulfill them. God makes the threats and He will accomplish His threats. For this third tenet of the Mutazilites, the opponents of the Mutazilites like the Asharites claimed that the Mutazilites have imposed on God the duty or obligation to fulfill His promises and to carry out His threats. The Mutazilites reply to their opponents that God Himself imposes on Himself to keep all His promises and to carry out all His threats. Hence human beings cannot claim that God does not keep His promises. Not keeping the promise is bad among human beings and in God’s divine law, and God does not do bad action. Fulfilling the promise is good and commanded by God’s divine law and God fulfills His promises because it is a good thing to do. God does not do the bad, evil and ugly things. Human beings do all the bad, evil and ugly things if they choose to disobey God’s commands.

    The fourth Mutazilite tenet is the place between the two places. It means that the Muslims who have committed the grave sins cannot be placed among the Muslims nor among the disbelievers. The grave sinners have to be placed between the Muslims and the disbelievers. The grave sinners cannot be equated with the disbelievers because they still have faith in their hearts while the disbelievers do not have any faith in their hearts. The grave sinners cannot be equated with the Muslims because they have committed the grave sins prohibited by God. Hence, the Mutaziltes introduce the third place for the Muslims who have committed the grave sins. Their place is between the disbelievers and the Muslims who do not commit the grave sins.

    The fifth Mutazilite tenet is commanding the good and prohibiting the evil. This one is for human beings to attain the rewards from God since God promises human beings with the rewards if they do the good actions in this world. Commanding human beings to do the good actions is a good action. Prohibiting human beings from doing the evil actions is a good action. If all Muslims command themselves and others to do the good actions, they are all good Muslims who deserve to attain what God has promised for them. If all Muslims prohibit themselves and others from doing the bad and evil actions, they are all good Muslims who deserve to attain what God has promised for them. The fifth Mutazilite tenet is related to commanding the good and prohibiting the evil among human beings for human peaceful life and prosperity in this world. If all Muslims implement the Mutazilite fifth tenet, there would be no crimes and criminals in all Muslim societies.

    The Abbasid caliphs known in Muslim history who have endorsed the five basic tenets of Mutazilism are al-Ma’mun, al-Wathiq and al-Mu`tasim.

    ‘2. Reaction of the scholars and the development and basic tenets of the Asharites’ The Mutazilite-Asharite debate took place between the student and teacher of Mutazilism. The teacher was Abu Ali al-Jubbaii who was the leader of the Mutazilite school of Basra. His student was Abu Hasan al-Ashari. Al-Ashari was not convinced by his teacher regarding the Mutazilite concept of free will and the Mutazilite concept of God’s doing the better and the best things for human beings.

    According to the Mutazilite concept of free will, man is free to decide and strive for his future and final destination. If man does the good deeds in his life and dies, he is surely going to attain the good life in the hereafter i.e. he will be in the Paradise. It is obligatory upon God to reward the good man with the good or better life in the Paradise. If man does the evil deeds in his life and dies, he is surely going to be punished in the Hell. It is obligatory upon God to punish the evil man with severe and painful punishment in the Hell. In other words, man is free to choose and act on his choice of good or evil deeds and he will be rewarded or punished accordingly depending on his good or evil choices and deeds. God does not make man a believer or a disbeliever. Man himself decides to be a believer or a disbeliever of God’s existence and oneness and then to follow God’s commands to do the good deeds and to avoid the evil deeds.

    To dispute and refute the two Mutazilite concepts above, al-Ashari posed to his teacher the cases of three brothers whose fates or final destinations were totally different. The first brother lived and died as a believer. The second brother lived and died as a non-believer or an infidel. The third brother died when he was still small or minor.

    The first brother was going to the Paradise because he chose to become the faithful or the believer and he did the good deeds. So the case of first brother was in line with the Mutazilite concept of free will and the Mutazilite concept of God’s doing the better and the best things for human beings. God surely rewards the believer with the good and better life in the Paradise. In this case, the first brother is in the Paradise because of his good faith and good deeds.

    The second brother is going to be in the Hell because he chose to disbelieve and did the evil deeds. He is in Hell because of his choice and free will. He chose and did the evil faith and deeds and the unavoidable consequence of his choice is the Hell in the hereafter. For the second brother, al-Asharite asked his teacher, what was the better or best thing that God did to him? God permitted the second brother to live and die as an infidel and then to be in the Hell. His teacher replied that God punishes the second brother because he chooses the evil faith and deeds in his life in this world. God is just and His justice makes Him punish the wrong doer and reward the good doer.

    The third brother is neither in the Paradise nor in the Hell because he did not have enough time to become a believer like his first brother or to become an infidel like his second brother. Again, al-Ashari asked his teacher, what was the better and best thing that God did to the third brother? His teacher replied that God knows the best for him to die when he was still small or minor because if the third brother were to grow up, he would become an infidel or a non-believer like his second brother. Hence, it is better for the third brother to die when he was still small or minor.

    Al-Ashari said that why did God prolong the life of the second brother even though God knows that he grew up and old and died as an infidel? Being an infidel is not good for the second brother. If the Mutazilite concept of God’s doing the better and the best things for human beings was true, as the Mutaziltes claimed, there would be no single infidel living in this world since an infidel is not good to live in this world. In the hereafter, an infidel is going to be in the Hell. God must make all human beings believers because the final rewards for the believers are surely the Paradise in the hereafter, if the Mutazilite concept of God’s doing the better and the best things for human beings is an acceptable and reliable concept. In reality, infidels or non-believers are more than believers living in this world. Hence, the Mutazilite concept of God’s doing the better and the best things for human beings does not agree with human history in this world.

    Although al-Ashari had been the student of al-Jubaii for almost forty years according the very popular story or narrated tradition about their student-teacher relationship, finally al-Ashari debated and disputed the two Mutazilite concepts namely human free will and God’s doing the better and the best for human beings. Al-Ashari was doubtful about the two Mutazilte concepts and he soon left his teacher al-Jubaii. Al-Ashari later on known as the founder of the Muslim theological school named Asharism that opposed many Mutazilte concepts and principles of faith or belief.

    The Asharite view holds that:

    –Complete comprehension of the Unique Nature and Attributes of God is beyond the capacity of human reasoning and sense experience.

    –Although humans possess free will (or more accurately, freedom of intention), they have no power to create anything in the material world as this is entirely the province of God. This doctrine is now known in Western philosophy as occasionalism.

    –Knowledge of moral truths must be taught by means of Revelation, and is not known a priori or by deduction from a priori propositions or by sheer observation of the world. It is permissible for a Muslim to believe and accept that a proposition is a moral truth based solely on the authority of a consensus of authorised scholars (ulama). This is known as taqlid (“imitation” in religion).

    The school holds that human reason in and by itself was not capable of establishing with absolute certainty any truth-claim with respect to morality, the physical world, or metaphysical ideas.

    Contrary to popular opinion, the Asharites were not completely traditionalist and anti-rationalist, nor were their historical foes, the Mutazilites, completely rationalist and anti-traditionalist, as the Asharites did depend on rationality and the Mutazilites did depend on tradition.

    Their goals were the same, to affirm the transcendence and unity of God, but their doctrines were different, with the Asharites supporting an Islamic occasionalist doctrine and the Mutazilites supporting an Islamic metaphysics influenced by Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism.

    For Asharites, taqlid only applied to the Islamic tradition and not to any other, whereas for Mutazilites, taqlid applied equally to both the Islamic and Aristotelian-Neoplatonic traditions. In his introduction to Al-Ghazālī’s The Decisive Criterion of Distinction Between Unbelief and Masked Infidelity, Sherman Jackson writes:

    “Meanwhile, rationalist writings reflect a clear and sustained recognition of the authority of the Aristotelian-Neoplatonic tradition, including the propriety of following it by way of taqlīd. Traditionalists, on the other hand, use reason – even aspects of Aristotelian reason – but they do not recognize the tradition of Aristotelian reason as an ultimate authority.”

  2. Good for Bishop Paul. He probably understands Hudud law or Syariah law more than most Muslims themselves. Already people are freaking out when hearing Kelantan is planning to implement Hudud law. Most think that Hudud is all about cutting hands or heads. I know some Muslims who help with the misconception on an already misunderstood law. I’d think if one doesn’t do wrong, why be afraid of punishment? But I can understand why UMNO politicians would be afraid of Hudud.
    ___________
    Didi, yes, if you are law abiding, it does not matter if it is hudud or other laws (Roman or Napoleonic). Hudud rightly should apply to Muslims.–Din Merican

  3. Achmed_the deadterrorist,

    Where do your position yourself? I think you are neither a Mutazilite nor an Asharite. You are just a dead terrorist, a perpetrator of evil who made George Walker Bush very angry and mad to spend trillions of US dollars to kill you.–Din Merican

  4. As a Malaysian, I think we should allowed Nik Aziz swim with his labu-labu.

    But as a politician, he is stupid to raise this issue just before G. E.
    He will piss off Chinese/ no Muslims supporters and UMNO is laughing at his stupidity.

    Go ahead NIK AZIZ, start cutting hands and if that is not enough cut whatever between two legs as well.

  5. It was Octo who goaded Nik Aziz. See here:
    http://www.mysinchew.com/node/64175

    This issue has been used as a weapon for a long time, and will not go away as long as we, as Malaysians are unable to come to closure wrt to the double track justice system that bedevils us.

    Hudud or syariah, what does it matter? As long as it applies only to professors of Islam in an ‘iron-clad’ way as the good bishop has pointed out. The only problem is that iron rusts; and i personally would rather like to see it clad in Kevlar covered titanium steel impregnated with thorium.

    This is another type of political brinkmanship, that Octo is so fond of. Instead of screaming and shouting, all non-Muslims should calmly ask their Muslim brethren what hudud really means besides the corporal punishment meted out. Of course, i would rather not be forced to witness stoning, amputation or crucifixion in a stadium like what was witnessed in Kabul Stadium during the Taliban rule. Corporal punishment to me, no matter under whatever guise, is the sign of Law of the Unregenerate.

    I think the theological differences/currents between the Mutazalites and Asharites are moot at this point, Dato but thanks for the effort. Even the Christians themselves are theologically disparate wrt the question of predestination and free-will, thus the unending quarrel between the Hyper-Calvinists and the Moravian/Methodists. Me? I’m in between Heaven and Hell, i.e. planet Earth.

  6. I agree with the Bishop. Islam is for Muslims. The Quran and th Hadith are quite clear on what Prophet Muhammad said that the rights of non Muslims must be respected by muslims ( only idiotic muslims in UMNO and Jais don’t do that).

    (Surat Al-Baqarah 2:256)
    There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.”

    (Al-Kafirun, 109: 6)
    To you be your religion, to me be mine

    Hadith: Abu Dawud

    “Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-
    Muslim minority, curtails their rights, burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad) will complain against the person on the Day of Judgment.”

    Hadith: Saheed Muslim

    “Whoever kills a person who has a truce with the Muslims will never smell the fragrance of Paradise.”

    Muslims can decide how they want THEIR RELIGION to support/criminalise/moralise their behaviour and attitudes.

    Islam has no business regulating the lives of non Muslims. As far as Malaysia is concerned, Non Muslims are governed by the Federal Constitutions and the enactments of Parliament.

    Religion should not be let out of the gates of homes, for one reason: Religions of all persuasions are divisive and a threat to social harmony and a potential source of human discord. History has proven THIS fact.

    Some of you say, it is the people, not religion is at fault. But that is missing the point. Religion WITHOUT people is a DEAD RELIGION.

  7. “The former holds that you need reason to explain the world; the latter that God does not need reason and that He is all power and will. I pray the Mutazilites win the debate…..”

    That’s a bit rich. Can one safely assume so, that the prelate’s line of reasoning also extend to the Christian’s or rather the RC’s stance on, vis-á-vis abortion, contraception and the use of condoms against AIDS ?

    Why only in Kelantan that it is alright to have Hudud Laws in place exclusively for the Muslims? If it is going to be different strokes for different folks why not have a referendum to decide what the Kelantanese wants.

    It is wrong to assume that all Muslims want Hudud laws imposed on them.
    Heck, my Kelantanese Muslim friends here in Ireland will never want to return to Malaysia.

  8. It is wrong to assume that all Muslims want Hudud laws imposed on them.
    Heck, my Kelantanese Muslim friends here in Ireland will never want to return to Malaysia.- ocho onda

    You want to know why this hudud issue is up again.

    UMNO and PAS are deciding who is MORE MUSLIM.

    Islam is being used as a POLITICAL football.

    The question non Muslims ask: Why do Malay Muslims allow this to happen… allowing Islam to be used as a political football?

    Malays are reticent of their opinions, because, as AB Sulaiman rightly said that the collective mindset of Malays is one of group mentality, forced to accept conformity, irrespective whether the issues affecting them are morally right or wrong.

    At best, the Malays’ criticism of their own communiity is indirect, sarcastic and backhanded. The reason is they don’t want to be seen as a PARIAH of their own community, being outcast. Such is the mindset of the majority of the Malays

  9. And…

    The Malay mindset is one of choosing not to rock the boat WITHIN their own community (it is OK to rock others) and to prefer to sweep and keep the dirt UNDER the carpet because they think they wouldn’t be the one stepping on the dirt or that they won’t be the one cleaning what’s underneath the carpet.

    The sad part is the pariah UMNO Malay leadership knows that and exploited this mindset of the Malays to their political advantage. Simply said, the pariah UMNO Malays are making a fool out of the non-confrontational goodness of the Malay culture, while at the sametime the pariah UMNO Malays exhibit the ugly side of human nature read the cow-head protest, the demolishing of hindu temples, the vulgarity of their street demonstrations and their un-Islamic hatred of non Malays and non Muslims.

    And Najib is THEIR PRESIDENT!!!!!

  10. Ocho, i think the bishop had qualified his statement with in the last paragraph, using Nietzsche’s quote.
    Yes, there is much trepidation amongst both the Nons and the Muslims. Modern Rationality and Humanism needs to be taken into account.The problems with ‘fundamentalism’ of all persuasions/religions are very ‘real. Divine Laws made by mere Man are manifestedly difficult to eradicate, unless there is a proper mechanism and extra effort made to Reform.

    The Protestant Christians did away with the irascible Dogmas in a violent way, leading to a 100 year war of attrition during their Reformation. Yet even today we have the same tribalism in Northern Ireland. Secular Laws? So what? Tribalism and ‘the Other’ still rules..

  11. Frank
    Hudud/Shariah laws are not just being debated in Malaysia. Even in the US and UK Shariah/Hudud laws are being debated everyday with each party saying that the Shariah/Hudud laws are God’s law and will or will not work work in any society. In the UK some Shariah laws have been accepted but confined to Muslims in matters relating to marriage, divorce and distribution of a deceased assets.

    There are several websites that are either pro or opposed to Sharian/Hudud laws and in reading these sites may I caution you that some are not factually true and have resulted in Islam bashing or even stretching the truth to suit their position. Sadly there are Muslims hell bent on imposing their opinion and laws on others even though it is clearly stated that “there shall be no compulsion in Islam” They are blinded by their faith shall I say. In the final analysis these are the same Muslims that are not in complete compliance with Shariah laws yet would like to impose on others.

  12. CLF,

    The business is booming with the Protestant Church over here, notably Pentecostalism, whereas the RCC’s following is dwindling. Its flock has gone astray because its sheperds who were supposed to be minding the flock are lost and had themselves gone astray!
    They have lost the moral right to pontificate to their own delight like they used to. The victims of clerical sex abuse may wishfully think that there were similar “Hudud” laws imposed within the RCC. Imagine what will and should be done to all the errant priests ? Ex-communication will be too kind. Castration will be more adequate.

  13. “Between the contention that the Federal Constitution is a colonial imposition and the obligation of Muslims to support syariah, I say the wiser non-Muslim stance would be to hold that if syariah is what Kelantan Muslims want .. (then let them decide)”

    Much like the debate on same sex marriage, abortion and other contentious issues here in the U.S. Let the states decide.

    In Malaysia the sultan as head of the Muslim religion can decide whether to go hudud or not. He and the council he presides over and the state government will have to slug it out.

    A student of constitutional law in the ‘60s and 70s if asked would not have it any other way but to agree that civil law as based on the English common law is the cornerstone of our justice system, and that sharia law takes on a secondary role i.e. it is only to govern issues relating marriage and divorce and property inheritance among Muslims. But it has to be UMNO fighting to outdo PAS in the process of Islamization in the ‘80s that bulldozed an amendment to the Federal Constitution of 1957, without debate through Parliament and introduced a double-tracked parallel system of justice i.e. one based on the civil law and the other sharia. It was Mahathir, though himself a moderate Muslim never known to have radical views on religion, after winning Anwar Ibrahim over from PAS in the early ‘80s, who used religion to unite the Malays. He could not stand the thought that there were still Malays who would not give him their complete trust and loyalty. These were those who support PAS.

    Now you see Muhyidin doing the same exact thing with his ”UMNO too supports hudud but the country is not ready for it yet” statement.

    In the end the question that needs answering is what is the difference between hudud and sharia law. Muslim women in Malaysia are already second class citizens. They already have less rights than their male counterparts. Do we want to be like Pakistan where rape victims are punished and not their perpetrators? Do we need four eye witnesses to a rape before the perpetrator could be found guilty? Do we have to whip offenders in public for fornication outside marriage?

    The tension does not end there. What are the rights of the non-Muslim parties caught in a situation of close proximity with Muslims? What are the rights of a Muslim convert who wishes to return to the religion of his or her birth? What of the Malay who wants to choose his or her religion? This is not just an issue over freedom of religion but of fundamental human rights.

  14. PAS and UMNO want Malaysians, especially Muslims to have a moral lifestyle of 7th century, 8th century mentality and a luxury living in a 21st century h-tech world.

    Thus, Cutting hands using electronically sharpened knives and stoning using modern technology to collect those stones and computerised printed pages of the Holy Book.

    Or quoting religious passages using an Ipad before chopping off the victims’ hands.

    What a bloody mess!!!

  15. . Just take religion out of the national narrative for a month in each year and you’ll know what I mean.- Mr Bean

    Then, PAS will be irrelevant and UMNO will have nothing to say to the Malay voters.

    PAS and UMNO need Islam as their political football. Without Islam, how to win Malay votes because a typical Malay will tell you, he/she loves Islam MORE than himself/herself. I wonder how do you translate that?

    I always thought religion teaches you to love yourself and your neighbour, and not to love RELIGION MORE than yourself. Kind of odd way of thinking of the Malays, who became Muslims because of Arab traders in the 12th century ( some 600-700 years after the birth of Islam) so much later, not that they were founders of Islam or that Islam came from Malay culture.

    Why should one sacrifice oneself for a religion? Why should one die for God? Weird thinking… that’s lunacy.

  16. I thought this article by Prof Clive Kessler, which was first published in 2009 and reprinted by Malaysian Insider is worth a read by the more sane and more intellectually-gifted Malaysians, especially Muslims.

    Malays who believe that Islam is MORE important than themselves, should NOT read this article, otherwise their neurons might get misfired and they may run AMOK:

    read here: Why hudud law is everybody’s business — Clive Kessler

    Compare this Australian Emeritus Professor’s intellectual input to our Malaysian Emeritus Professor Dr Kangkung Zainal Kling who cannot even sieve facts from myths Malaysia’s colonised history. Imagine what the Kangkung professor would have come out with if he is asked to comment on comparative theology.

  17. Even in the US and UK Shariah/Hudud laws are being debated everyday- semper fi

    Comparing Malaysia with US and UK is like comparing egss to oranges.

    or saying there is similarity between chaff and wheat.

    Malaysia is 3rd world mentality with 1st infrastructure, a wannabe-1st world nation held back by wanting to be 7th century mindset.

    It is embarrassing to equate Malaysia with UK and US when it comes to engaging in intellectual issues. It is like asking our Emeritus Professer Dr Kangkung Zainal Kling to give a public lecture on the history of Malaysia in an international forum, say, in London.

  18. It’s not comparing Malaysia to US or UK. It’s to enlighten you that it’s not just the Malay Muslims that are over zealous about Sharia laws, even Muslims in US and UK, give them some sense of authority and power and they behave just like the Malays. These Muslims in the US and UK are not from some backwater but are professionals with PhD, LLD and MD behind their names. Yet when they don on the Khatib’s robe they become Taliban like breathing fire and brimstones. Yet these are the same people who couldn’t care less about consuming halal/zabiha meats or join in community outreach programs involving other religions or befriending others from different religions.

  19. It is my opinion that the Bishop has missed a basic point. Until the citizens of the country have their inalienable rights and freedoms (freedom of expression, liberty, and right to pursuit of happiness), then the Bishop should not support those in power to impose their will on the citizens. There is still the illusion of democracy in Malaysia. There is no real democracy. Free and Fair Elections is what everyone should be focused on at this moment in time. Everything else is a distraction. Without free and fair elections, and election processes, Malaysia will never come out from under the veil. In the meantime, sandiwara continues. It will take only one more generation to destroy the heart of Malaysia.

  20. … and I mean this freedom is for the Malays themselves… not just for Malays and others to be able to have free and honest discourse… but also for the Malays themselves to be free to say what they feel and what they want, without other Malays suppressing them. This is the ban of all religions… (“Malay” is not a religion, nor is Islam a race)… some feel they have the right and duty to suppress others within their own religion or race. This is rooted in such a person’s fear to be honest in his/her own doubts. No one has an answer to this inherent human condition, so please stop pretending that one does have. And to everyone — please stop this culture of “cult personalities”. Elect someone to lead us certainly. And then everyday picture in your mind that that person has to sit on the toilet and shit like everyone else.

  21. Why is the Bishop only concerned about non-Muslim’s rights?
    What is the argument by those who is for Hudud always something like: Don’t worry, its only for Muslims, not for infidels.

    Its like someone about to bash up his wife saying to you: Don’t worry, I’m not bashing up you wife, it is my wife.

    What about us borned Muslims (we Malays have to be Muslims, right?) who disagree with the Hudud, who disagree with holier-than-thou figures who claim to be speaking on God’s behalf??

    Please, don’t forget about us the silent-half who would want nothing to do with Hudud.

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