Non-Muslims against discrimination, not Islam
It's funny now when I recollect my experience as a new convert to Islam. I was told by the ustaz whom performed the ceremony:‘Do not follow the Malays but follow the Quran'. I did not understand then what it meant and I brushed aside his advice at that time in ignorance.
After looking at the events that are unfolding in Malaysia, I am beginning to understand what the ustaz meant. In Malaysia, it is a fallacy that Malays equal Islam as what is being practiced by the Malays is not what is propagated by the Prophet (pbuh) or according to the Quran. I am not saying that there aren't any following the teachings, as I know many who do.
The more I read the Quran, the more I understand how it is being practiced here. Raja Petra Kamaruddin wrote: 'My god is different from your god' in ‘Malaysia Today' on how he viewed Islam as being practiced by some in Malaysia.
I am in the position to understand better how the non-Muslims are feeling about the Malays and Islam at large as far as Malaysia is concerned. They are not against Islam but they are against discrimination and falsehood being practiced as Islamic in Malaysia.
A Malay-Muslim in Malaysia can say anything and everything about the non-Muslim and it is totally acceptable but not so for non-Muslims as they can't even hold a forum to discuss about conversion to Islam as it is presumed a crime against Islam.
They feel that the non-Muslims are challenging Islam or even more so the Malays. If this isn't double standards than what is? If you are a Malay-Muslim, you have every right to voice your opinions but you won't allow non-Muslims to even hold a forum to discuss about their issues or problems.
Islam is a peaceful religion but are we are showing the non-Muslims and the whole world how ‘peaceful' we are in our conduct?
I bet many Malay-Muslims will never understand the predicament of the non-Muslims in this country because they have never been on the other side neither are they willing to sit down at the same table to discuss matters.
I grew up in a Malay kampung when I was young and I was treated with more respect by the Malay folk even when I was practicing a different faith then. They would come over to my house during the festive seasons to enjoy the feast and they were very much Muslims.
But that has changed now as it is considered to be un-Islamic to visit the house of a non-believer! How sad that some religious bigots have influenced the minds of the Malays over the years.
Non-Muslims will always be skeptical about Islam and Muslims in this country as long as the Malays behave opposite to what is taught by the Quran. It hurts me more to see how the Holy Book has been distorted by some and misunderstood by many.
May I quote Surah Al-Nahl, Ayat 125: ‘Invite (all) to the Way of the Lord with wisdom and beautiful discourse; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for the Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.'
To be respected, respect others first and try to understand before being understood. I truly wish the Muslims in Malaysia would take stock of our deeds as we are answerable during Judgment Day. Whatever we do, Allah knows it all.