Friday, February 1, 2008

Greening of Malaysia: islamists stamping out other faiths

Greening of Malaysia

The Pioneer Edit Desk

Islamists stamping out other faiths

Gan Eng Gor, an ethnic Chinese Malaysian, died a Buddhist, but that country's increasingly mullah-dominated authorities decreed that he must be buried according to Islamic rites and rituals. So, Gan Eng Gor's mortal remains were interred in an Islamic grave as his grief-stricken family watched in horror. The family took the issue to court, challenging the decision to deny the dead man a Buddhist funeral in keeping with his life-long faith. A patient hearing was given by the High Court in Malaysia's southern Seremban State to the complaint, and then the decision of the shari'ah court, which had decreed Gan Eng Gor must be buried as a Muslim, was upheld. The reason: His eldest son, who has embraced Islam, had claimed his father too had given up Buddhism. There is no evidence to sustain the claim, but such is the pernicious influence of shari'ah courts in Malaysia today, nobody dares question their patently flawed decisions which are aimed at imposing crude majoritarianism while denying both religious freedom and minority rights. In Muslim-majority Malaysia, Islam is being promoted over all other faiths with a mailed fist; the Government fully supports this diabolic venture. There is a pattern to the shari'ah court's obnoxious decree that Gan Eng Gor should be given an Islamic burial. In the past, M Moorthy, an ethnic Indian Malaysian, a Hindu and something of a national hero after he climbed Mount Everest in 1997, was denied a Hindu funeral. The shari'ah court claimed his former colleagues in the Army had said Moorthy had embraced Islam. Moorthy's widow was disallowed to get the decision over-turned. In more recent times, a Hindu woman, R Subashini, has had to helplessly watch her wayward husband walk out of his marriage along with their son after embracing Islam and thus securing the shari'ah court's support. No amount of pleading has fetched her justice, including her request for a divorce in a civil court to which she is entitled under Malaysia's Constitution which recognises the country's multi-religious and multi-ethnic character and, therefore, provides for a dual judicial system comprising civil and shari'ah courts.

The increasing clout of the shari'ah courts is not without reason. Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Bin Ahmad Badawi is aggressively pursuing an Islamist agenda that excludes ethnic Indian Hindus and Chinese Buddhists. Worse, it endorses the warped Islamist worldview that all must subjugate themselves, or be forced to do so, to Islam. The officially-sanctioned discrimination against ethnic Indians in Malaysia is part of Mr Badawi's agenda, as is the demolition of Hindu shrines and symbols of Hindu culture. Christians, too, find themselves persecuted in today's Malaysia. This is a shame and a pity, not least because Malaysia has a history of religious tolerance and multi-culturalism. Although 60 per cent of Malaysians are Muslim, the Islam they practiced was not intolerant of other faiths, but sought co-existence. It is this emphasis on mutli-ethnicity and multi-culturalism that gave birth to Malaysia's unique slogan aimed at international tourists: 'Malaysia, truly Asia'. That slogan now rings hollow even as the Badawi regime buries Malaysia's cultural and civilisational past, insisting that this burial, too, must be truly Islamic.

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