Saturday, August 26, 2006

Exchanges With some Visitors on MENJ's Blog

I reproduce here an exchange, a surprisingly friendly one between me, another assumedly non Muslim, a respectful Muslim(Nizam Bashir) and Saffiyah (I'm guessing a recreation of Rachel who engaged all of us who posted in MENJ's blog a few weeks back.)

I am beggining to see this lady as the 'herald of MENJ' of sorts but she has some points she raised, and I reproduce here my responses to her and Nizam in MENj's blog.For context see here

 

I reproduce only my parts of the exchange out of respect for Nizam and MENJ's blog

Saffiyah,

  • To me this is a joke.If you wanna keep the purity of Islam, you need pure Muslims.Why keep the apostates and the liberals within your hold.see the absurdity of this to me is- you keep hitting at them for being liberals, apostates, etc, but when they leave, your cling to them and hit them some more at the same time.I cannot make sense of this head or tail.If you want them, treat them well.If not, let them leave.Simplistic, no?

  • No one is looking down on you intellectually, Saffiyah,though notedly, you seem to be doing a great job of looking down on people yourself.How can such a simple argument be baffling?
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  • When a paddy field is infested with a weed overgrowth what do you do?The weed is ALREADY there, since no one bothered to check its growth in the first place.Now that is here. you have two options to deal with it.One- weed it out and start a new.Two- try and change the weed into paddy.Option two is nullified, because weed is weed, it will never turn into paddy.While it was growing up, it has been identified as weed,and so weed it remains.

  • Funny you should use this line -

    �If someone is spreading LIES about our religion, so are we just supposed to LEAVE THEM BE? Of course NOT. We must stand up, and explain, to the ignorant - kindly, to the stubborn - slap on their face, to the offenders (i.e. detrimental to society) PUNISHMENT.�

    When you may very well know people are going around writing crap about Christianity, calling the Hindus idol worshippers(I was about to use a harsher word, but) and Buddhists similar names, but we(the non-Muslims) cannot respond due to the �religious sensitivity� in this country.

    I fail to see how Lina Joy�s case is deprimental to society.I do however see how your kind of thinking is.How does one draw the line between an ignorant and an offender?Does being born a Muslim constitute a deep knowledge of religion.By your (and MENJ�s) definition, every Malay in this country should be well-versed in the Quran if they are to be prosecuted fairly.

    Saffiyah, I invite you to shoot me an email.I am interested in continuing this discussion, but this blog does not seem to be the right forum to do so.

  • Dear Saffiyah,

  • Since you are so cold about it, fine.Apparently I belong to the kufaar and probably as such am unworthy of your email address, or to be your friend, so let�s continue to talk here, in the fairground where all comments �insulting� to Islam is deleted and in a country where insults to Christianity is welcome, questions about Islam declared as acts of �religious insensitivity�,where people like you can go on telling people like me that it does not matter to me because its not my religion yet with that same sticky hands decide to tear down churches and temples, because it is your business to do so.I will be as tactful as possible.

    For after all, this country is governed by the same people who welcome communist leaders into this country with open arms yet deny the entrance of the Pope.I can name many more instances of injustice and persecution, even of people of other faiths going on IN this country, yet people like you turn a blind eye to it, and keep telling us to mind our own.How do we mind our own when others keep minding our own for us?There is no religious dialogue here, it is religious instructions.Existense of freedom of speech, but non after you have spoken.

    The line between confidence and arrogance is a very thin one, so is the line of fundamentalism and bigotry laced and presented as a �tolerant� view.How am I going to engage you constructively in a controlled environment?That is the purpose I requested email correspondence, not to perform some Quran bashing or to villify the Prophet.I believe I am right, as so do you.Let�s agree to disagree.I know you will never budge from your stand that you are right and I know that I also in all likelihood am probably your best target for da�wah, so our interests are purely mental exercise, or, academic.

    To your question about worshipping idols, I would like to remind you about the Hindu culture, who of course as you regard as idol worshippers.Now, in a respectful way, I ask you- how did statues of Hindu gods drink milk off hands of devotees a few years back?An incident reported not only by some Hindu website but even by AFP and AP.Have you been to a Hindu Thaipusam procession?To see their acts of faith in action when they carry their kavadis?If I ask you to explain this, you would probably dismiss both this incidents as either mind over matter or something similar.

    That is your view on the matter while to the Hindus, this is a manifestation of faith.Who are we to deny them that?I invite you, Saffiyah to read a blog post on my childhood,coincidentally which I posted yesterday to understand where I coming from and my concern of the current trends in this country.

    I would also like to clarify something here.Lina Joy did an offence according, to your definition of religion, not according to our constitutional law.Many states� syaria actually HAS provisions for conversion.Kindly differentiate between the Islamic law, which is not in full effect, fortunately or unfortunately in this country.The issue now is no longer the her conversion, it is the deletion of her religion from her IC.Please read her case carefully.Another point to note, for you and MENJ alike is this- IF you succeed and stop all this, What is to stop Muslims from apostasizing in another country?Thailand, Singapore?Are you going to try and legislate them as well?

    His approach is at least on the right track:-education.There again a thin line as well between education and brainwashing.As you are fond of lines, humour me this

    ��The Prophet (SAWS), went to Ta�if, a nearby city, to spread his message and seek help. But the people of Ta�if refused to listen to the Prophet (SAWS). They jeered at him and drove him out of town, setting the street urchins to pelting him with stones. The Prophet�s body was covered with wounds, and he was bleeding from head to toe.

    Suddenly, the Archangel Gabriel appeared along with the Angel of mountains. The latter asked if he should crush the people of Ta�if between two mountains. �No,� said the noble Prophet (SAWS), and he raised his hands instead to pray for the people of Ta�if: �Lord, guide them, I am hopeful for their descendants, who will one day serve Your cause.� Then he returned to Makkah. ��

    Is this not a display of love and compassion of the Prophet, even if the face of undeserved rejection?That is what I fail to reconcile, the stance of my learned Muslim friends, which seem in harmony with what i know of Islam and this harsh and unyielding version, scary even, as preached by you.Oh well.

  • Saffiyah,

  • Me beating around the bush, you did not even answer the question!OK you said I misintepreted the Hadis- give me the correspondance in the Quran?My �liberal false West butt kissing� friends hold degrees in Syarie� and in Islamic History , from IUUM and from UUM.I call them learned because I judge the tree from its fruits.Their fruit is compassion,love for fellow beings, respect, non judgmental character and a brotherly bond that I share with them, which I do not hope for you to possibly understand.To you bonds is quite limited to religion.A far cry from what I get from you, here.So they may be lousy Muslims in your book, but in mine, they are good people.Blasphemy?Maybe to you.Beautiful?Yes to me.The links to the Hadis was given by one of them to me, as a matter of fact.They don�t favour the West much to,much less Israel, for your information, but we agree to disagree.For your information also, both are PAS members, one is a son of a prominent PAS leader.No offence to Saffiyah, but I do not hold you much of an authority of Islam either.I actually have much more respect for MENJ in that sense, as at least he backs up his statements with verses and proof, even if I disagree with the sources.But this is not about personality.

    I keep going in circles, funny it seems you were.You keep saying all you do is �responding� to Lina Joy�s case.You keep alluding the question what is it you want from all of this?If its merely rage and protest you�re venting, what do you expect to come from this rage?A verdict in your favour, would equate wanting her not to leave the religion, and would negate all the stuff you just wrote about not caring about whether she eats pork and goes to church.

    As to my beliefs and what not-let my God be my judge.I am not ashamed to call myself a Christian but you seem to ashamed enough for the both of us.I asked a question,and I do not see an answer.You merely said it was not divine, but did not offer an explanation.I could have used some Christian miracle as an example but that would have made this a Christian vs Islam issue and it is not my intention.I merely would like your perspective on miracles or otherwise in other religions.For the record, I have my own opinion on the issue, and if you must know I do not think it was divine in nature, as agreed by a few Hindu friends of mine.

    As for my knowledge of Islam, I grew up in a Malay kampung environment and probably know more than you give me credit for.I am not claiming to know a lot.And yes, I disagree with the statement that Malaysia is a Muslim country, but even PAS disagrees with that.Hudud and Qisas is not implemented here.Just because a statesman says so and that government money is being used to build mosques doesn�t make this a Muslim country.The Constitution says Islam is the official religion, not that Malaysia is a Muslim country.Three of our Prime Ministers, the first three kept asserting this fact.

    You keep saying I refuse to accept true Islam, etc etc.Well this is not true.You will be surprised to note this- I agree with many concepts of Hudud and Qisas and with many of PAS� struggles, which I am well aware of.What I disagree is this,criminalizing Lina Joy.One- this is not a Muslim country, at least not yet.Two-She has had ample time to �repent� and go back to Islam and Three-yes this concerns me because my church has been dragged into this.Its not about your religion and your ways alone anymore.You think all of us are actually bothered by the propagation of faith?Rubbish, you are free to do anything you want on your faith, it is your own.But when you go and disturb a very delicate fabric woven by years of mutual respect and understanding and one easily snapped, you MAKE it my business, because I too am Malaysian, a stakeholder in its outcome.

    As Cynical pointed out before, we are citizens of the world, togather and are bound by its norms.Thats why there are UN Charters.Thats why resolutions are passed in assemblies.Thats why we are evn having this conversation.
    No one is forcing any Western ideology down your throat.It is the blatant and open discussion about a sensitive topic that is worrying everyone!

    There is no freedom when you have decided the answer for her beforehand, and prejudged her before her decision.By the way,you said quite a lot about her converting to marry this guy, that I am curious of your views should the opposite occur.If HE would�ve converted to marry HER, you know what would�ve happened?They would probably be featured in Nona in a special edition showcasing how Indian culture is being incorporated into a Malay wedding.

  • Nizam,

  • First allow me to thank you for being very polite in your address, and I personally believe your approach to be much friendlier.If I may reply to your questions, may I state also I am by far no authority on Christian teaching but I am merely a learning Catholic(as you wondered on my religion) who tries to find the good in all things.

    OK to your question on my take on Deut. 13 (about the stoning of those worshipping foreign god(s) ).This question was asked before to me by my two �liberal west-ass-kissing friends� as Saffiyah so �eloquently� named them, and my answer was twofold.The types of god(s) worshipped in Deut 12, and the context in which it was written(Deuteronomy was written when the Isrealites just moved into Canaan, after God delivered them from their enslavement.)

    Another point I�d like to share is that I believe these laws to be of �national� house rules for Israelites.This I base on Deut. 12 :1-2.

    And as Catholic, I also believe in what the Church teaches, which is in the Cathecism of the Catholic Church, which states

    �Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, as they know it through the dictates of their conscience-those too may achieve eternal salvation.� (CCC #847)

    Lumen Gentium (a letter from the Pope,probably comparable to an edict,states)

    Jews are The �first receivers of God�s covenant,� Muslims as �followers of Abraham,� Hindus and Buddhists as �advanced civilisations . . .with a deep religious sense� (LG, 16; NA 2).

    So Nizam, to answer your question simply would be 1)The rules may have only applied to a)The Jews b)The Israelites
    c)People of that time. d)People who worshipped pagan gods

    or a culmination of a,b,c and d.

    In Mt 4:4,7 and 10, Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy, but notedly, He was speaking to Satan, not to the masses.

    To your second point, why I fail to see Lina Joys case as deprimental to society,is as she could have easily settled down in another country.As we know, this already happens amongst converts/apostates.I am not aware of the Nadra case, would appreciate it if you could shoot me a link to that case.

    To your third point, yes I maybe emotional about it, whats not to be your religion is at stake :)
    Ask any Christian friend of yours if they believe they are granted religious freedom.No I do not believe I am over-reacting :) Just open up any Malay daily and you will read some negative news of Christianity that has been blown out of proportion, doctored or even entirely made up (like the �Paderi Besar Sabah� who converted, or I read an article where we are supposed to sprinkle holy water on pople who come into church to �ritually� convert them.I read these all i, and countless more untruths on my religion in Malay dailies.Take a walk in any bookstore and you would read many critical books written in Malay about Christianity.Now look at the English Religion section in MPH,Kinokuniya,Times,Popular and try and find any Ibn Warraq book, or any critical analysis of Islam.

    To your fourth statement, brother, I leave you this link.

    http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=castro%27s+visit+to+malaysia&fr=FP-tab-web-t500&toggle=1&cop=&ei=UTF-8

    I have no link to the denial of entry of the Pope, only some memories as a kid of booklets and material being confisticated at the Singapore border before re-entering Malaysia when I was little (and the Pope) visited Singapore and some news from reliable sources on both sides(government and church) that the previous Pope (John Paul) made some requests to visit this country but wasn�t allowed.Also, usually, when a Head of State visits another, an invitation is given to the country visited to return the visit.No invitation was given during Dr M�s visit to Vatican.

    Wow this is long and I need to get to my office lol- to 5, my answer is a negative, but a great degree of freedom, though not absolute.To6, that is why I wanted to engage her via email/IM.And I extend that invitation to you as well, you appear to be very knowledgable, really polite and humble.I hope to learn more from you like lkt.

    And to point 7, That was my point , as it works both ways.Agreeing to disagree to me is a matter of perspective and opening oneself to new ones.However there will be points in which both sides will not concede, hence my usage of the term.

    To point 8, I have had little time to read your analysis to make a informed response.I will once I have the time, but at this point,I would like to point out issues of conversion vary from state to state, as it comes under the purview of the Syariah courts,(which is the bone of contention of the JPN and JAKIM at this point) and that somes states have provisions for conversion.

    Thank you for taking time to respond to my simple and humble views.As this post is too long and already in MENJ�s second page, may I interest you in sharing your thoughts, perhaps MENJ as well in some other forum/avenue?

  • Dear Saffiyah

  • OK then will I too not engage you in a religious debate out of respect of you not wanting to do so.To you I am not worthy to comment on the Quran and to me you are not,s o whats the point of talking about this?Let�s move to other things.I am happy for you that religion has guided you in a very positive way.In my 22 years of life I too have benefitted similarly from my own religion, and I too count myself blessedly successful for my age,having seen and done many things people twice my age may not have.I count many good people as my friends and for this too I am thankful.

  • May you be as blessed always.

  • Regards.

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