The Persecution of Public Intellectual Kassim Ahmad continues

January 21, 2016

The Persecution of Public Intellectual Kassim Ahmad continues

by V. Anbalagan, Assistant News Editor


Kedah’s well known Public Intellectual Dr Kassim Ahmad talks to the Press.– The Malaysian Insider/Najjua Zulkefli

Putrajaya has filed an appeal to overturn Court of Appeal ruling that declared the arrest and detention of activist Dr Kassim Ahmad by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (JAWI)in 2013 were illegal.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers from the civil division this afternoon filed the leave application in the Federal Court registry. The Malaysian Insider understood that Putrajaya had framed two legal questions for the apex court to grant leave in order for the merit of the appeal to be heard.

Meanwhile, Kassim’s lawyer Rosli Dahlan confirmed a copy of the application had been faxed to his office. On December 21, a three-man bench led by Judge Vernon Ong Lam Kiat said Jawi had no jurisdiction over Kassim, a Kedah resident.

“We order that the arrest, detention and prosecution are null and void,” Ong said, allowing Kassim’s appeal against a High Court ruling.Soon after the verdict, the 83-year-old Kassim hoped that JAWI would drop charges against him.

On Monday, Putrajaya Shariah High Court said it would decide on February 22 whether Kassim should be freed of his charges of insulting Islam and disobeying religious authorities. Rosli submitted that his client should be freed or alternatively given a discharge not amounting to acquittal as there was no stay applied on the Court of Appeal ruling.

Kassim had challenged JAWI over his arrest in a state outside the authority’s jurisdiction, claiming that it had acted illegally, unconstitutionally and beyond its powers.

Besides JAWI, he also named Dat0′ Seri  Jamil Khir Baharom, the Minister in charge of Islamic affairs, and then-Federal Territory chief Shariah prosecutor, Ibrahim Deris and the Government.

As a speaker, he was said to have insulted Islam at a seminar that was officiated by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.Kassim has held critical views of some hadiths and also accused some ulama (religious scholars) in Malaysia of enforcing a “priesthood caste”.

Kassim was arrested on March 26, 2013 by JAWI enforcement officers who also searched his home in Kulim, Kedah.He was flown in an AirAsia commercial flight from Penang to Sepang, Selangor before charged in a lower Shariah Court in Putrajaya.

In filing a judicial review against JAWI, Dr. Kassim sought an order to strike out the chief prosecutor’s decision on March 27, 2013 to prosecute him for allegedly insulting Islam and going against religious authorities.

16 thoughts on “The Persecution of Public Intellectual Kassim Ahmad continues

  1. بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

    يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ ﴿٢٧﴾ ارْجِعِي إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً ﴿٢٨﴾ فَادْخُلِي فِي عِبَادِي ﴿٢٩﴾ وَادْخُلِي جَنَّتِي ﴿٣٠﴾

    Ya peaceful soul, return to Allah with satisfaction and pleasure, eternity together in such a congregation at Jannah.

    (Surat al-Fajr [89]

    Pergi jahannam to those ulamak yg membawa tuhan didalam doa mereka!!! The truth is that ‘I SWEAR THERES NO TUHAN EXCEPT ALLAH, MUHAMMAD IS THE MESSANGER OF ALLAH’

  2. Amen, Tanya. We are experiencing secularization of religion.
    Sharing this theologian Miroslav Volf on his experience from former Yugoslavia, and shared how we (at least Christians) have stopped fearing God, where we have made him a tool for our effort to dominate politically.

  3. Religion is a form of business to some people .Thus its very upsetting for these people when scholar like Kassim Ahmad try to simplify religion which make their contributions toward the functioning of the religion less meningful and thus deprive them of their business.

  4. Well said Abdul Jalil.

    When people are told that their Religion is complex and there is need for interpretation by others, it makes control and profit that much easier.

    Islam’s Path to Modernity
    Just thought of sharing the above.

    “””” on Dr Kassim Ahmed’s defense.
    Montazeri referred to a Quranic verse stating that God taught humans how to express themselves. “How can God, on the one hand, teach humans the ability of expression and, on the other hand, limit it?”, he asked. The obvious conclusion, he declared, was that “no one should be condemned for heresy, libel, or insult just for expressing his or her opinion.”

    The school of Muslim thought promoted by these scholars, who come from both Sunni and Shia backgrounds, offers a way forward for Islam. Its adherents know that key Islamic concepts, beliefs, norms, and values can be harmonized with modern social structures and understandings of justice and human rights. By recommending ways to do so, they are reaffirming the durability of the core Islamic tradition.

  6. Yes, I am being persecuted for upholding the truth, the teachings of the Quran. As I told a friend and supporter in Washington, higher than the highest courts in Malaysia is my Lord. I shall hold on to my Lord, come what may. My persecutors cannot escape from God. God surrounds them. — Kassim Ahmad

  7. Dear Enck Kassim Ahmad 6:35 am

    All the best to you.

    Have you given up on Social Democracy? (No need to answer my question if you don’t wish to). I remember reading about you leading Partai Socialis Rakyat Malaysia in the old days.

  8. 1. Dear Phua Kai Lit: No, I have not given up on Social Democracy.
    2. Islam is termed ‘deen’ in the Quran, meaning a way of life, consisting of metaphysics, philosophy, law, politico-economic-social justice, etc.
    3. To translate these into policies becomes a problem. It should be done through consultation by all ideological groups, from left to right. That was what Prophet Muhammad did.
    4. We must do the same. That surely is not impossible. Why don’t we do it?
    — Kassim Ahmad

  9. Dear Encik Kassim Ahmad 7:23 pm

    So glad to hear this. I’m sure that you have inspired a lot of Malaysians (besides me) through the story of your life and your earlier work with Partai Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia.

    I hope that some form of Islamic Socialism or Islamic Social Democracy
    can arise from the efforts of you and other Malay and Muslim intellectuals.

    I remember Partai Rakyat fielding a candidate (for Kuantan constituency) in one of the General Elections held in the 1960s. My late mother, who comes from a working class Chinese family, was a supporter of Partai Rakyat. She was quite class conscious although she never completed primary school.

    P.S. I’m trying to get DAP to be more overtly Social Democratic (and less
    seemingly Sino-centric). There are some dynamic Social Democrats in the ranks of the DAP. This is reason for hope.

  10. Dear Encik Kassim Ahmad

    The strong showing of social democrat US Senator Bernie Sanders
    in opinion polls in the states of New Hampshire and Iowa
    is interesting and exciting. The word “socialist” used to be a very negative word in US politics, and it is interesting that self-described socialist Sanders is doing well in the polls.

    Personal decency in politics, and his proposed pro-poor and pro-middle class programmes may even win him the Presidency of the USA!

  11. Phua,

    The only way DAP can get rid of its Sino-centric label is to campaign for English-medium schools, with Bahasa (compulsory), Mandarin & Tamil being freely available.

    I wonder how popular these schools will be among the various races?

  12. Dear aitze

    Language policy is a very emotive issue in Malaysia.
    It is perhaps more realistic to have everybody learn Malay and Mandarin in primary school, and increase the use of English as students go into the latter stages of their education. (Dutch kids learn many languages in school, so can Malaysian kids). Thus, at pre-university level, most of the subjects would be taught in English and this would make it easier for students to read material in English once they enter university. Indian students should also have the chance to study Tamil, and Iban and Kadazandusun students their respective languages.

    It would be interesting to hear from education experts about my proposal.

  13. Phua,

    DAP’s overriding political philosophy is Social Democracy, according to its constitution. And, as the education of mother-tongue languages is a given in the Malaysian constitution, DAP has no need to be seen to promote Mandarin. It would certainly make them less Sino-centric, which is your wish.

    Instead, DAP should campaign for the re-introduction of English medium schools and let these schools compete with the Malay, Chinese and Tamil schools.

    English schools will also have the added advantage of bringing all the races to learn and grow together, to not just be civil but also to trust one another. Basically Din, like most of us who comment in your blog.

  14. Coming from a poor family, socialism was an early phase in my life. We must see the whole picture of the world’s ideologies. A sound ideology must comprise of three dimentions: physical, moral and spiritual. See how Marxist socialism collapsed in Eastern Europe, Russia and China. In Europe and American liberal capitalism is collapsing. What will replace these collapsed and collapsing ideologies? That which has all three dimensions. — Kassim Ahmad

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