No one is free from religion in Malaysia

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

“To you, I'm an atheist. To God, I'm the loyal opposition.”

- Woody Allen

COMMENT | The last time I wrote about Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, he was busy informing the Malaysian public that BN was committed to making Malaysia an Islamic state. As usual, I was irate that our glorious opposition was waffling as they normally do when it comes to anything “Islamic” that confronts them.

“Meanwhile, the opposition is doing nothing about this. Nobody in the opposition has ever made statements that reaffirm the primacy of the Constitution or the opposition’s agenda of ending the Islamisation process. We do not even know if this is one of the reforms that would ‘save Malaysia’ that the opposition intends to carry out.”

This time, it is even worse. Why on god’s good green earth would an Amanah parliamentarian bring up the non-issue of atheism in Malaysia? Check that. If some “moderate” Muslims make the claim that there is no compulsion in Islam, and Amanah is marketing itself as a moderate Muslim political entity, why would this issue be of importance to “saving Malaysia”?

Aren't these types of questions the province of religious thugs who would clamp down on anything remotely egalitarian in this country?

Remember when the Islamists expressed concern over the atheist plague and one provocateur claimed that the reason why some Muslims left their religion was because they wanted to experience pleasure, I had to remind him that this was not the case here in Malaysia.

“If anything, what the official narratives of Islam in this country have demonstrated are that Muslims have to be prevented from seeking ‘illicit’ sex, alcohol, smoking, music videos, movies, books, pornography, the company of the opposite sex and of course, excessive laughter. Now the reality is that many Muslims have sex, drink alcohol, smoke, watch music videos, movies and pornography (online), mingle with the opposite sex, and laugh a lot.

"Hence as Muslims, they already experience pleasure but what prevents them from openly experiencing pleasure are the religious police who are paid to ensure that they stop having pleasure. Of course, if you are a rich Muslim, then you are exempt from the overt policing that your average Muslim is subjected to.”

It seems to me that Amanah does not believe in free speech or expression. Amanah merely continues the Umno/PAS narratives that Muslims are at risk from ideas other than from their holy book. No evidence is tendered as to how youths are influenced by atheists, only ab initio this is a bad thing. Is this the kind of "moderate" Islam we can expect from the opposition?

When Asyraf claims that there is no freedom from religion in this country - which is religious fascism by the way – what does the opposition think about this?

Is this one of those situations where the opposition claims that it is an Umno trap to distract from the larger issues?

Well, it was an opposition member that brought it up. Is this another situation where the opposition ignores the issue hoping it would go away until the next time issues like these crop up?

Pundits who claim that Muslims are not free from religion in this country are missing the point...

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