Will our handling of Islamic affairs really be reformed?

Opinion  |  Zan Azlee
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Jakim, the Islamic Development Department, has always had a bad reputation for decades. They have been accused of being archaic, barbaric, backwards, intolerant, exclusive and close-minded. Basically, it was the government agency to hate.

There were many instances when Jakim came under fire from progressive Malaysians over decisions they had made. Decisions that were usually against individual human rights, oppressive and which disregarded many different segments of society.

One example, which I had covered extensively in 2011, was the time when then director-general of Jakim made a statement saying that everyone in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) community needed to be treated harshly. His statement was on the verge of inciting violence against that community.

In my own coverage, I had interviewed several other people who were considered experts in the field of religion and they were of a different opinion. Nizam Bashir, prominent human rights and syariah lawyer, said that it didn’t matter if identifying as LGBT was a sin or not.

What was more important was the fact that human beings must not judge and that there are verses in the Quran that clearly show that there is to be no compulsion in Islam. Nizam also added that it goes against Islam to call for the harsh treatment of others...

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