Mujahid Yusof Rawa is a clown


 

Mujahid Yusof Rawa is a clown

https://www.malaysiakini.com/columns/467368

Image result for Circus Clown

By THAYAPARAN– Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. A retired barrister-at-law, he is one of the founding members of the National Patriots Association.

 

Enough of beating up on a marginalised community. Does it make you feel strong and powerful? Do you know you endanger their lives and safety every time you attack them?”

– Ambiga Sreenevasan

COMMENT I have one question for Mujahid Yusof Rawa. If the LGBT “practices” are illegal, why isn’t the government rounding up LGBT people and incarcerating them? Mujahid asked this question of his critics before and babbled on about how these people have not committed any crime – “I have explained that (it cannot be done) unless they have committed a crime,”

However, we know that in Malaysia, if you are from the LGBT community – and Muslim – you will be whipped if your “practices” are discovered – “Two women convicted for attempting sexual relations will be fined and caned, a prosecutor said today, in a rare case against same-sex couples in the country.”

In a piece I wrote about the road to a theocratic state, I asked Mujahid to keep his mouth shut when it came to these issues, instead of playing to the far right crowd – “And no Mujahid, I do not want you to arrest them. I want you to keep your mouth shut about them, and instead create a counter-narrative that Harapan’s Islam is about promoting a first class education for your brethren, weeding out corruption in the political and religious class, ensuring the healthcare system is one of the best in the region, and ensuring a plurality of Islamic voices, so young people do not join extremist groups that pose a danger to the citizens of this country.”

Obviously, he did not take my advice. Instead, Mujahid has done what the Umno regime did before, which is demonise human rights groups, like Sisters in Islam and the WAO for standing up for the rights of disenfranchised citizens of this country in the recent woman’s right march, which he found offensive because it included the rights of the LGBT community.

I have never believed that Mujahid was a reformer like he claimed he was. His allies, who included many prominent non-Malay supporters, held Mujahid as an example of the kind of Islamic moderation this country would have if ever Harapan came into power. We now know that for the lie it was.

Obviously, he did not take my advice. Instead, Mujahid has done what the UMNO regime did before, which is demonise human rights groups, like Sisters in Islam and the WAO for standing up for the rights of disenfranchised citizens of this country in the recent woman’s right march, which he found offensive because it included the rights of the LGBT community.

I have never believed that Mujahid was a reformer like he claimed he was. His allies, who included many prominent non-Malay supporters, held Mujahid as an example of the kind of Islamic moderation this country would have if ever Harapan came into power. We now know that for the lie it was.

Mujahid is a big proponent of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act, and Harapan seems enamoured of hate speech laws. But you can bet your last ringgit these laws would be used to safeguard the religion of the state and not crack down on hate speech that happens in social media. Marginalised communities like the LGBT community, who are routinely savaged by some Harapan supporters, will, of course, be exempt from these laws.

Want to know what real hate speech is? Read the comments on social media, describing the community in the most hateful language. Then compare those comments with the actions of the state and federal governments when it comes to this community. Bullies, especially those who weaponise religion and culture, always target the marginalised in communities before working up the courage to move on to bigger targets.

Consider what Mujahid said: “I am shocked by the actions of a handful of people today who abuse the democratic space to defend practices that are against the Islamic teachings.”

This is the kind of slimy double talk religious operatives engage in. Forget the fact that so-called moderate Muslims like Mujahid have always been accused by the Islamic far right of abusing the democratic space to go against the teachings of Islam (or their version of it). But since when do the teachings of Islam determine how our public spaces are used in this country? Is it in our Federal Constitution?

There are colonial-era laws against specific sexual practices involving same sex individuals, but where in our Constitution does it say we cannot use our democratic space to voice out issues that go against Islam? Harapan is attempting to blur the line between criticising Islam and insulting Islam, but this is exactly what the UMNO regime did, and religious operatives like Mujahid were telling non-Malays and Muslims to speak up instead of ignoring the corruption of the state and Islam.

I get that we cannot “insult Islam” and could get up to 10 years imprisonment for this, but is the Harapan regime’s policy that we cannot use our democratic space to go against the teachings of Islam, even if such teachings go against our constitutional rights? Is this official Harapan policy? Where are all the non-Malay political operatives who were speaking out against this kind of discrimination before May 9?

Mujahid also said that it was up to the Home Ministry to take action against the organisers of the rally for holding a rally without a permit. How many times, when the Harapan regime was the opposition, did they hold rallies without permits, and political operatives like Mujahid encouraged people to attend those rallies because it was our democratic and constitutional right?

I guess when people accuse PAS and UMNO of being hypocrites, we may as well add Mujahid to the list.

Hew Wai Weng, in an article last year for the New Mandala, discussed the ‘Himpunan Kebangkitan Ummah’ (Ummah Awakening Gathering), noting: “The new Religious Affairs Minister Mujahid Rawa was criticised for ‘not defending Zakir Naik’ and ‘compromised on LGBT issues’. PAS leaders tried, through these criticisms, to portray a more ‘Islamic’ image compared with Pakatan’s Muslim leaders.”

Which is why, like an insecure person in a position of political and social power, Mujahid always has to display his religious and racial bona fides, because he is in a coalition which loudly proclaimed they were the progressive coalition of Malaysia.

Furthermore, he belongs to a moderate “Islamic” party – Amanah – which gets a lot of love from easily fooled non-Muslims, but which has, so far, merely conformed to the religious narratives of the Malay far right.

For most so-called progressives and the Malay right which supports Harapan, specifically the Bersatu faction, this is a non-issue. These people hate the LGBT community and understand their speech will always be protected by the state. Nobody cares that this is a government which claims to want to protect the constitutional rights of all citizens, but has no problem using religion to suppress the voice and rights of those it considers politically expendable.

How toxic is Harapan’s Islamic agenda? Well, you have someone who has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for insulting Islam and nobody in the Harapan political establishment has spoken out about it, excluding the always forthright Latheefa Koya.

Now, you have a minster in the Harapan regime attempting to hoodwink Malaysians into believing our democratic spaces can only be used for those issues which do not go against the teachings of Islam. Mujahid Rawa’s Islamic state of play is only going to get more toxic, and so far there is nobody in Harapan willing to confront it.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. A retired barrister-at-law, he is one of the founding members of the National Patriots Association.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

14 thoughts on “Mujahid Yusof Rawa is a clown

  1. Let us learn from the results of the opportunistic bigotry which had caused so much sorrow and learn to live as brothers and sisters in a multi racial, religious and cultural society. Why trade heaven for hell.

  2. Religo discourse is in very dire straits if the likes of Mujahid Rawa is confused about what he really stands for and yet is one of the top leaders of the so-called “progressive Islam” in this country. I can understand why Mujahid Rawa has to appear not to condone what LGBT does and stand for BUT if he feels pressured to wave the flags against groups that progressive are at least suppose to tolerate even if they do not accept, then is there really any chance for “progressive Islam” in this country?

    And then what is the deal with even meeting Zakir Naik? Why is it even important to meet him, incredulous to praise him in public, when bulk of his coalition even his own party support comes from those who finds him objectional?

    It feels the far right Islam of this country has their hook back in on the PH govt..I can understand the political realities of right-wing Islam.. BUT why the incredible quick capitulation to them after less than a year in office? Mujahid Rawa action sents a very blaring message that “progressive” Islam is hopeless in this country..

  3. I refer to the following two remarks made by the writer in his article:-

    (1) ‘…Consider what Mujahid said: “I am shocked by the actions of a handful of people today who abuse the democratic space to defend practices that are against the Islamic teachings.”, and

    (2) ‘….is the Harapan regime’s policy that we cannot use our democratic space to go against the teachings of Islam, even if such teachings go against our constitutional rights? Is this official Harapan policy? Where are all the non-Malay political operatives who were speaking out against this kind of discrimination before May 9?’

    If I be allowed to exercise my democratic right under the democratic space, I would like to say that the latter remark made by the writer is, to say the least, ‘objectionable and disagreeable’, to me as a Muslim. But that is not important I guess – never mind then.

    I will venture to ask two questions in response to those two remarks which the writer made, those questions are as follows:-

    # (1) If we would but take the time to look at the word ‘abuse’ which the Minister used – and which the writer takes issue with – and view it in the context that, where the Muslim community at large in this country is concerned, public demonstration aimed at promoting and defending practices that go against the grain and teachings of Islam is, to them, an immoderate, indecent and offensive act. Therefore, taken in this context, would not the said public demonstration amount to an abuse of democratic space?” In other words, the point I am trying to drive home is this: the writer is looking at the Minister’s comment only from his context when making his criticisms of it, and if he would but take a look at it instead from this point of view which I’ve just presented, then perhaps he would be able see the context within which the comment was made by the Minister and as a result, be able to, for what its worth, appreciate it.

    In any case anyway, does anybody really know how to use the democratic space and freedom with moderation, decency, and courtesy, such that he/she can never be said to be abusive of it? And now moving to my second question.

    # (2) Since the writer is effectively saying that Constitutional Provision should be the final arbiter whenever the subject concerning the manner in which our democratic space is used arises – on this, I am referring to his remark i.e. ‘….is the Harapan regime’s policy that we cannot use our democratic space to go against the teachings of Islam, even if such teachings go against our constitutional rights?’ – I would like to venture by posing this question, “But what about Rukun Negara, the last of which reads ‘Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan’ (translated into English to mean, ‘Courtesy & Decency’) – where is the courtesy, where is the decency, and where is the moderation, in the use of our democratic space & freedom if we but neglect ‘Kesopanan & Kesusilaan’ (i.e. ‘Courtesy & Decency’) in the use of that space such that a public demonstration that questions a matter which is considered to be of great religious sensitivity to a community in our country can be said to be a courteous and decent act, an act performed with moderation in mind, that because it is such, does not at all amount to an abuse of the democratic space and freedom?”

    I am sure that after more than 60 years of experimenting democracy and going through its good and bad days, we don’t need to be reminded that we should act, in the exercise of our democratic rights and freedom, with a sense of courtesy and decency, and to use that freedom with moderation in mind – or do we have to?

    Just a thought.

  4. “Therefore, taken in this context, would not the said public demonstration amount to an abuse of democratic space?”

    No it would not.

    • Dear Conrad, I respect your view. But I have to ask – if nothing more than to hear your rationale, “In your opinion, in what way is the said public demonstration aimed at promoting and defending a practice that goes against the grain and teachings of Islam – a matter which is of great religious sensitivity to the larger Muslim community – a moderate and decent use of democratic space and freedom?

  5. MFMuhammed , Islam does not define democratic spaces. In other words democratic spaces is not defined by majoritarian views or minority views., for that matter.

    To delve further , we would have to explore a whole range of issues, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of assembly, minority rights etc.

    I think the most important question to consider here is this, supposing Islam hurt the sensitivities of the majority and Muslims were not allowed to participate in democratic spaces.

    Would this be acceptable to you ?

    • Dear Conrad, although I actually don’t accurately understand your question, I’m guessing nevertheless.

      I guess that you probably meant to ask, “Supposing an Islamic practice hurt the sensitivities of the majority of the population, and Muslims are not allowed to participate in democratic spaces to express their right to practice it, would it be acceptable to you?”

      My answer to you is, if the practice is grossly demeaning, and also clearly very harmful and injurious, either to me as a person or to the larger community at large (of which I am a part of), why would I want to engage myself in a public demonstration to express my right to practice it, let alone to defend and/or promote my right to practice it in that said public demonstration? It doesn’t make sense for me to even allow myself to think of doing so, more so participating in such a demonstration.

      Let us take a simple analogy: Suppose I live somewhere in India where the population is largely of Hindu faith, and whose belief is that cows are sacred animals. If I want to make a sacrifice, and the animal I intend to sacrifice happens to be a cow which I own, I will make my utmost best effort to make sure that the sacrifice is done in private and as far as possible, in secrecy, far away from the knowledge of the Hindu community members, in order that I may show my respect for their faith, as well as to avoid from offending their feelings. In addition, I would not think that it is both wise and proper for me to make a public demonstration to promote and defend the practice under the circumstance, let alone to conduct the demonstration in their very midst – even if the law could very well say that it is perfectly alright for me to do so. Why? The reason is none other than to protect the harmonious relation between me and them, and to preserve the spirit of brotherhood between me and them, as members of a multi-religious community.

      Isn’t religion itself is rested upon the foundation of faith in the brotherhood of humanity? Therefore, isn’t men duty-bound to be moderate in their use of the freedom accorded to them under democracy?

      Dear Conrad, I hope I have answered your question.

      Best wishes to you.

    • Dear Conrad, further to my answer, I would like to add, as a summary to it, a brief one paragraph explanation.

      The sum and substance, or the gist if you like, of the rather long winded answer which I gave is this: although the general rule states that every person have the right to assemble peacefully and organize themselves to publicly make pronouncements and/or declarations on matters of importance to them in accordance with the freedom accorded to them, there are, depending on the surrounding circumstances, conditions that make for exceptions to the rule. And in the answer I presented to you, I said that if the Islamic practice is so demeaning, or very clearly harmful and injurious to the various stakeholders concerned, then following that assessment, and on the basis of protecting human dignity, and perhaps even on the basis of preserving good, friendly and harmonious relations between men, exception to the general rule applies therein (i.e. depending on the facts of the case, there are exceptions to the rule). To me, the guiding principle should be moderation – i.e. freedom should be used with moderation (hence, my quoting Rukun Negara’s Kesopanan & Kesusilaan i.e. Courtesy & Decency in my original comment on the article).

      This is my opinion. People are free to say and think of me as a crackpot if they wish for the opinion that I hold. Again, best wishes to you.

  6. And Malaysians wonder why their country is seen as backward LOL *sigh* Might be an idea to concentrate on more pressing matters than what consenting adults get up to in private. Though it seems that it’s always religious ‘scholars’ that are obsessed with sex, specifically the sex other people are having without their permission (intolerable)!

  7. “I guess that you probably meant to ask,…..”

    You don’t have to guess, my question was specific.

    My question was simple –

    “…..supposing Islam hurt the sensitivities of the majority and Muslims were not allowed to participate in democratic spaces. Would this be acceptable to you ?”

    You claimed that the LGBTQ community some how hurt the sensitivities of the majority of Muslims. My question is , supposing Islam – rituals and philosophy – hurt the sensitivities of the majority and Muslims were not allowed in our democratic spaces, would this be acceptable to you since you advocate exclusion for whatever reasons for certain groups .

    Your analogy of sacrificing a cow in India is flawed. Religious practices that offend the practice or beliefs of other religions is something that any functional society deals with. It is the nature of religion to end up as some sort of tribalism and what keeps the equilibrium are secular laws which means that religious practices that offend other religions are not excluded merely based on majoritarian agendas.

    Whether a person is provocative when it comes to his or her religious beliefs is another question.

    “Isn’t religion itself is rested upon the foundation of faith in the brotherhood of humanity? Therefore, isn’t men duty-bound to be moderate in their use of the freedom accorded to them under democracy?”

    Religion does not make men duty bound to be moderate. Empathy and the rule of law, does. Recall the worst excesses of religious belief now and in the past, and what you discover is because man believes he has knowledge of some scared truth, those who do not share this knowledge are deemed infidels. This happens in all religions. I’m simplifying but you get my drift, right ?

    I do not think you are a crack pot nor do I find your answers long winded.

    But please answer my question.

    Cheers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.