Monday, October 2, 2017

Mustafa Akyol checks out and leaves Hotel California

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COMMENT | Why should we be surprised that world-renowned Turkish author and journalist, Mustafa Akyol, was detained by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi)?

This incident was expected. His experiences are shared by Malaysians daily, in one form or another.

Are we outraged because Mustafa is a respected academician and a foreigner? Is expressing shock and horror the extent of our effort to demand a return to the true Islamic path?

Others who were detained in the name of religion, have ended up being rehabilitated, or their lives and those of their families, turned upside down. Ask Kartika Dewi Sukarno.

Ask the authorities why Ruth Hilmy, an Indonesian, is still missing. Ask the families of Pastor Raymond Koh (left in photo), Joshua Hilmy and Amri Cik Mat. Their disappearances are suspected to be linked to religious extremism.


The French lawyer, William Bourdon, and Imran Khan, the British lawyer, were deported after entering Malaysia for talks on Scorpene and the Hindraf suit, respectively.

Indonesian human rights activist Mugiyanto Sipin was deported in January last year. In 2014, Indonesian Muslim scholar, Ulil Abshar Abdalla, was denied entry into Malaysia.

Anyone who can liberate the Malay Muslim mind is a dangerous threat. That is why the authorities had to censure Mustafa Akyol. They detained him, interrogated him and made his immediate future uncertain.

Who knows what thoughts entered his mind when he was detained. He had probably heard what happened to various people who had been interrogated on the 14th floors of office complexes.

The authorities wanted to frighten Mustafa, but more importantly, to warn others, that religious topics are not for public discussion.

They were keen to prevent Mustafa from spreading his message. He had already done much harm by putting the seed of critical analysis, into Malay Muslim minds, with his first talk, about "the suppression of rational theology by dogmatists in early Islam". The thrust of his talk was that Muslims were still haunted by “intellectual suicide”.


If his first talk was bad, the authorities found his second talk unacceptable. In that talk, he told Muslims to uphold freedom of conscience and that there was "No compulsion in religion".

Mustafa disagreed with the death penalty for apostates in Saudi Arabia, just as he opposed the Malaysian method of "rehabilitating" those who had left Islam. He also criticised the policing of religion and morality.

Control of the Malay mind
Control of the Malay mind is the only way that Umno-Baru, PAS and the religious authorities can cling onto power. Power manifests itself in many ways. Position. Authority. Wealth. Manipulation of the identity.

In identity manipulation, the drip-drip indoctrination of religion on the Malays has resulted in many Malays forsaking their culture and adopting the Arab culture instead, in their mistaken belief that becoming more like an Arab will make them more Islamic.


Manipulating our identity has made us ethnically inclusive, with many Malays considering themselves Muslims first, Malays second and Malaysians last.

If Jawi had not interfered, Malaysians would have benefited from a discussion of Mustafa's latest book, “The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims.”

Instead, we have been allowed to see what irks the Jawi officials. The person who questioned Mustafa said, "We heard that you will speak about commonalities between Islam, Judaism and Christianity.”

So, why should these Abrahamic faiths make Jawi anxious? They share the same origins and have many similarities. Is this what worries Jawi?

When one talks about Christians, one is reminded of love, forgiveness and compassion. Conversely, Islam, as it is practised in Malaysia, is more a numbers and manipulation game, an emphasis on rituals and more importantly, is defined by fear.


Religious zealots wreck families and split-up communities. Religious authorities seize dead bodies from funeral parlours. Women have had their wedding ceremony stopped. Children have been snatched from their mothers because their fathers converted. Children at residential boarding schools have been converted, without their parents’ permission.

Despite the constitution and civil laws which should protect our rights, syariah law appears always to triumph.

Religious fanaticism, if left unchecked, will ensure that the zealots have absolute power. It will destroy Malaysia's peaceful co-existence and has the potential to destabilise the nation.

To mistreat and further punish Mustafa, will result in an international outcry, aggressive intervention and increased, unwanted spotlight on Malaysia. Releasing him was part of the authorities' plan. Other people will now, not dare to enter Malaysia to talk about Islam, except Zakir Naik.

On the day he was detained, Mustafa Akyol said that the recording of a Quranic recital sounded like the voice of an oppressor.

Mustafa has "escaped", but the rest of us are still under the yoke of oppression. The Islamic fanatics will not yield until they have destroyed the nation, and sadly, the Malays, many of whom realise what is happening, are too afraid to seize back their right to be true Muslims.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO). Blog, Twitter.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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