YOURSAY | ‘Don’t talk about another religion when it may hurt one’s feelings. Respect should be mutual.’
Apanakdikato: If any of my religious leaders speaks in the same manner as Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh, I will not hesitate to leave that religion.
I do not respect any religious discourse that thrives on proving its "superiority" over other religious beliefs, especially by belittling other religions’ holy text and practices.
If a person practices a religion, it should be because it brings positive personal transformation, strengthens his or her character and areas of weaknesses and needs, and perhaps more importantly, healing in many areas of life.
It does not matter if it is Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, or Islam. A person who has received blessings and graces from his or her religious belief would not ever have the urge to belittle other people's religion as this is not God's way.
On the other hand, if a person adopts a religion because of external factors such as what extremist groups like PAS and Islamic State are trying to portray - that other religions than Islam are said to have "deviated" - then it ceases to be a religion but a dogma of self-righteousness, envy and hate.
There is absolutely no spirituality in this, and it is just a life of constant comparison and fault-finding with others. This is what people like Zawawi are doing, and they call themselves "comparative religion experts" when in actuality, they are doing the devil's work.
My advice to my non-Muslim sisters and brothers is to just ignore such empty and evil discourses and focus on your own religious beliefs and continue receiving your blessings and graces.
Those who are strong in their faith will never be shaken by nonsense like this, and there is no need to resort to public protests or demonstrations like what people like Zawawi would do to "protect their religion". God is greater than, and above, all these enmities.
We can tell whether a tree is good or bad from its fruits. PAS is a political party that abuses religion for its own immoral political objectives. It is a party that is bent on creating division among the rakyat, and it is not capable of bringing unity to a multiracial country.
Let's pray that God Almighty will bless our country and prevent divisive and extremist politics from destroying our future.
FairMalaysian: A piece of advice to Zawawi. Although Islam is the religion of the Federation, the Constitution guarantees freedom of worship to all the other religions.
The multicultural and multi-religious character of this nation has somewhat tagged along reasonably fine despite the occasional hiccups and it is an unwritten law that you don't touch mine and I don't touch yours. It is when this boundary is breached that things get a bit hot.
If we start a tit-for-tat spite, then the harmony that our leaders have so religiously safeguarded would become questionable. If you want to share your own experience as a Muslim, that is fine, but why would you want to drive your carriage into a "foreign" land? That is trespassing.
You may profess and talk about your knowledge of other religions as part of your comparative studies on religion but this is Malaysia and you don't get to talk about a religion other than yours, particularly when it is perceived as being adversarial to their beliefs/faith.
Moreover, most of the time when such a comparison is made, it has been done so negatively as if to testify that your religion is better than others. That is like stirring a hornet's nest where we have not reached a point of "agreeing to disagree" unlike in more open societies.
Zawawi, despite his protestations, as if to show himself as an open-minded person, he is hardly one. He will get angry and upset if there is something talked about his religion not to his liking although the person who did it may have meant well.
There is a difference between being a Muslim and a Muslim politician. This is something that some fail to grasp. As a politician, it is not just about you, it is also about your party. Even beyond that, what you say could affect your coalition partners. People like former politician Zulkifli Noordin found this out the hard way.
The intelligent/smart person would be someone who maintains a safe distance to avoid any such controversies as you wouldn't know how it would come back to haunt you and those around you.
And it is not the right thing to talk about another religion when it may hurt one’s feelings. Respect should be mutual. Just say sorry and move on with your life.
BusinessFirst: That the PAS leadership is filled with extremists is nothing new. I think most reasonable people know this. Through their network of schools, they have since indoctrinated a whole generation of youth who know no better.
What I find troubling is the silence of GPS, STAR, and PBS (or Party Bersatu Sabah).
There are many people, Buddhists, Hindus, and Christians, who have their own views of Islam, the book Muslims hold scared and including their Prophet, his life and teaching, but they rightly hold their peace.
There is no need to criticise or even say anything about another's religion even if you feel you are correct, which in this case Zawawi is completely in error. This is not a surprise since his knowledge is sorely lacking.
Perhaps some time spent in the Divinity studies of Cambridge or Oxford can assist him, but then I doubt he can qualify. Remember French magazine Charlie Hebdo and how Muslims felt. Well, the people there felt they were right too.
The point is, does one's belief that he's right justify acts that are provocative to others? This is not an issue of conscience. This is not an issue so critical that you need to take a stand on.
Like Charlie Hebdo, you have a point to make as they did. Yours about alcohol but that is not a licence to say that Christians (there are almost three billion of them) are in error following the Bible sacred to them has been "twisted".
Imagine if DAP leader Lim Guan Eng said the same about the book Muslims hold sacred? Actually, I shudder to think of it.
So I come back to my concern GPS, PBS, STAR, etc, why are you silent - frightened?
The excuse this does not apply to Sabah or Sarawak does not wash. After all, you are in Malaysia and recently the High Court has highlighted the 'Allah' case where a Bidayuh Christian's religious materials were seized shows that pretending that cooperating with PAS is no issue is untrue on this and other issues like alcohol and dakwah, etc.
The people of Sabah have their chance in a month to show what they think. I hope the Sabahans, especially the natives, open their eyes and wake up from their sleep. It is their loss if they allow this nonsense to continue. It will only get worse unless they do something about it.
You have something precious there - Muslims and Christians all getting along. Like when I was young; so many friends, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, all grown up to be better friends for life.
People of Sarawak, too, will have their chance soon. May the Ibans and other natives also finally lose their patience, waiting for 60 years for the type of Malaysia they hoped for becoming more and more distant, made worse by their leaders who have not defended Sarawak and its way of life with anything more than words.
Fredtan: If the Sarawak GPS government does not defend the Christian voters in the state against its ally, PAS in the Perikatan Nasional government, they deserve to be voted out.
In the coming state election, if the Christians (largest religious group in the state with 39 percent) including many Chinese and Dayaks, do not show their displeasure in their votes, the "people will get the government they deserve".
Show the religious bigots that playing such divisive sentiments has consequences. Use your power in exercising your votes.
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