Contrary to what both may assume, I am fully aware of the Malaysian reality which is why I have expressed in my letter that my Christian wife-to-be and I would have to live in a different country when we marry, and not in fanatical Malaysia.
As pointed out by Mrafee, "a non-Muslim Malaysian who marry a Malaysian Muslim always convert to the Islamic religion. This has been the standard practice. This is also to maintain the harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims". However, he or she must remember, it is standard practice in Malaysia, but not for others. Others have the option to keep their religion. I don't see ethnic or religious wars/strife happening because of this. Instead, quite the contrary.
Mrafee further stated "Why disturb the hornet's nest? Just follow the majority. If one of the partners who is non-Muslim and refuses to convert then he/she should sacrifice his/her love to save the country from unnecessary problems".
Mrafee forgets, there are other options for people, and those who can afford the means would seek for greener pastures. This I believe, is also, one of the reasons for the brain drain currently besetting Malaysia. If there were more respect for individual choices, in many countries, not just Malaysia, many would not be fleeing their homelands for a better future. And why should I sacrifice my love when there are other alternatives for me to pursue and harness this love?
As for "destroy beautiful Malaysia just because of one person's actions", I believe it is always extremism and intolerance in any form that would destroy a nation, not the other way around.
Meanwhile, as much as Aleesha is "amused" when she read my letter, saying "He is a Pakistani yet he is commenting on Muslim Malaysians", I am amused as to why a Pakistani cannot comment on Muslim Malaysians. Besides, this issue is something that concerns me, as my future wife is a Malaysian.
But Aleesha contradicted herself/himself by saying just as quickly, "Does he think we do not know what atrocities the men in his country do to women, all in the name of Islam? Come on now, Khalid. The laws in your country are well-known all over the world. We, Malaysians are known to be extremely mild compared to your country".
If he or she thinks that a Pakistani should not comment on Muslim Malaysians, then please do not comment on Muslim Pakistanis. As for being known to be extremely mild, I beg to differ. I cannot begin to tell you what the world thinks of how Malaysians deal with foreign workers and non-Muslims. For atrocities are not merely physical violence, but extremist, racists and divisive policies that undermines the abilities and future of a whole generation.
But honestly, I welcome Aleesha's comment. I admit the atrocities that my countrymen have committed against women, as you say, all in the name of Islam. And therefore, I support any laws which punish them. Such atrocities will not escape Allah's judgement.
The flaw in both Mrafee and Aleesha's letters is that they both lack rational arguments. Instead, I am merely forced to accept "the majority". Worst still, instead of proving me with better alternatives, or factual arguments, both are condescending, preferring to label me as "unfamiliar with the realities of Malaysia" and "a Pakistani commenting on Muslim Malaysia". With this attitude, forgive me but some Malaysians do have a long way to go. This is not to say that Pakistanis are forward thinking, liberal and tolerant. Quite the contrary.
Yet, in order to achieve a higher level of understanding, I believe we should all be open-minded, fair and tolerant, also willing to see another's point of view, especially when we have a platform like malaysiakini to express our different views. Such openness, discussions and inclusions are the basis for unity between different ethnic groups, religions, etc, which I see Malaysians keep harping about everyday.
While I do not profess to be an expert on such things, like any living human being, just as many Malaysians, I hope for a better world. I hope to guide my children, who will be half-Malaysians, to value and respect human relationships, and those who are different from us, for that is promoted by all religions. Honestly, I do not see any other way. Do you?