Thursday, August 10, 2017

Muslims converts do not suffer; the law will not permit this

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“If you are a Muslim and you know that it’s un-Islamic and you are not voicing it out, you have done a great injustice and that is haram.”
- Jihad for Justice chairperson Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim

COMMENT | PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan uttered the most odious defence of his religion here in Malaysia when he claimed “for the last 10 to 20 years, the 'muallaf' (Muslim converts) also suffered. It is the same thing" (as M Indira Gandhi). Really? Of course, he does not explain how their suffering is the same.

Let us take these examples, which are demonstrative of the worst excesses of the state and the state-sanctioned religion which has caused distress in countless non-Muslim lives.

Have Muslim converts had their children unilaterally converted to a religion which the child cannot renounce when he or she comes of age? Has the Muslim convert been denied justice in the civil courts? Has the Muslim convert had their child kidnapped and then had the state claim that they would not interfere because the ruling of the civil court conflicted with the syariah court?

Has the Muslim convert watched in horrified anger and grief over the years as the child is indoctrinated to a state religion which the child could never leave and if the child attempted to do so would be sent to a rehabilitation camp where more alleged abuse awaits the now adult child?

This is how S Deepa suffered, and also M Indira Gandhi. Has a Muslim convert ever suffered the same way? Let us unpack the statements made by Takiyuddin a little bit more. He said, "The amendment appears as if the Muslim convert will be forced to settle his marriage dissolution in the civil courts. It's a contradiction (with syariah jurisdiction).”

What does this really mean? The civil courts ostensibly apply to all Malaysians equally. This idea of conflict with the syariah courts is merely code for the reality that the syariah courts favour the Muslim. So, it is not justice that the Muslim is seeking but preferential treatment conferred by religion.

When in the S Deepa case, her allegedly criminal husband says that he embraced Islam so he could get special privileges, what this says is that he believed that he would get special treatment because he was a Muslim. This is exactly the underlying theme of the PAS secretary-general's objection to the proposed amendments.

What is sickening about Takiyuddin’s comment is that it implies that Muslims and non-Muslims are operating on a level-playing field. That if there were injustices, then the Muslim and the non-Muslim suffers the same. This is clearly not the case.

Indira Gandhi’s child, as was S Deepa’s, was unilaterally converted, now their grief is hijacked by this Islamic party, the Umno state and by Muslims who support this weltanschauung. These Islamists do this as a means of dismissing the grief, loss, and powerlessness of these two women to camouflage the injustice of how their religion, their “ketuanan” and their hegemony is inflicted upon Malaysians who are not Muslims.

Islam trumps secular laws

There are two important points I have made over the course of writing about the state-sanctioned ‘crime’ of unilateral conversion. These two points are the real issues. All the rest is just a diversion to hide the fact that the superiority of Islam trumps secular laws and that non-Muslims would always be at the mercy of an oppressive system that does not care about their rights which we are constantly reminded are enshrined in our constitution.

1. “What unilateral conversion does, and we should be clear that this involves Islam as the Islamic (sic) minister is wont to remind everyone, is rob the child of the right of his or her religious freedom. This has far-reaching consequences in Malaysia because race and religion have legal obligations along with the so-called special privileges that place a Muslim in the harsh glare of federal and state Islamic authorities.

2. “If an adult wishes to place himself or herself under such obligations, then it is their right to do so, but a parent unilaterally deciding to convert a child without the consent of their partner is not only morally reprehensible but should also come with legal consequences, preferably jail time with a couple of strokes of the rotan.”

So you see, the problem is really not unilateral conversion. If a parent, for whatever reason, chooses to convert the child to a specific religion, the remedy is that when the child becomes an adult, he or she is free to leave the religion that was imposed upon him or her. The problem here in Malaysia is that Muslims – even though they were unilaterally converted – cannot leave Islam. This means that they remain Muslims with all the obligations that come with professing the faith here in Malaysia.

Let me remind everyone that if the executive wanted to change the laws, it could do it easily. In fact, when it involves elections, especially where non-Muslims play an important role, the executive has stepped in and personally interfered in the administration of justice in this country. The Rooney Rebbit case is a prime example.

The words of Sabah Council of Churches president Reverend Jerry Dusing states the case plainly – “This turn of events clearly project two things - firstly, the NRD (National Registration Department) which is an administrative arm of the federal government has no regard and respect for our religious freedom guaranteed under the federal constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963. Secondly, that our exercise of religious freedom is subject to political interference.”

Therefore, when the government claims that it needs a two-thirds majority to remedy this issue, this is total horse manure. It is a big lie that these so-called defenders of race and religion propagate to deceive non-Muslims into voting for a corrupt regime which would impose their religion on the non-Muslim demographic and then claim that they are suffering as those (non-Muslims) who feel the boot of the state on their necks.

To answer DAP parliamentarian M Kula Segaran’s question, these extremists do not care if Tevi Darsiny is a Muslim or a Hindu. All they care about is in the eyes of the law, she is a Muslim. Her children will be Muslim. This is religious kidnapping. This is the ongoing agenda of cultural hegemony. This is a crime, and there is nothing you can do about it.

This is faith by fiat.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.

~ Malaysiakini

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