Weighing the bone of contention over Alvivi
I refer to the Alvivi Facebook posting and the fallout resulting from it with dismay.
It is important that we do not lose sight of the notion that a person is innocent until proven guilty. This is a cardinal principle in all civilised societies. The couple has apologised for any hurt caused by their posting, but yet we have summarily judged them, denied them bail and put them behind bars.
They have since been granted bail but with unconscionably strict conditions. Is this a civilised thing to do? If the powers that be want to protect the sanctity of Islam then they must project an image of justice and compassion and not one of injustice and brutality.
Sadly, Islam at times is viewed as an intolerant religion in the eyes of the world and it would appear that the behaviour of Muslim authorities over the Alvivi controversy contributes to this perception.
Muslims in Malaysia who took umbrage at the Alvivi Facebook posting must ask whether they are justified in doing so. Bak kut teh literally means ' meat bone tea ' and though traditionally containing pork, this is not necessarily the case.
As a matter of fact, Tourism Malaysia has promoted 'halal bak kut teh' in order that this popular Chinese dish can be enjoyed by the Muslim community as well. Executive chef Zaffar Abdul Samad of J W Marriott Hotel in collaboration with the Malaysian Tourism Ministry promoted a 'halal bak kut teh' recipe containing chicken, seafood and vegetables as the ingredients, together with 10 types of herbs, including angelica, cloves and orange peel.
This begs the question as to why have the Alvivi duo been deemed to be insulting Islam and causing hurt to Muslims?
It is perverse and illogical for the Malaysian government to be encouraging Malaysians to enjoy 'halal bak kut teh', and then to persecute Alvivi for doing just that. For the sake of consistency and impartiality, the authorities should charge the Tourism Ministry with sedition for promoting 'halal bak kut teh'.
It is regrettable that Malaysians on both sides of the political divide have seen it fit to capitalise on this controversy with scant regard for the truth and fundamental rights of Alvivi.