Saturday, June 16, 2007

Today the 16th of January I got my book sign by Karen Armstrong. I went to her talks that was open to the public but it was a disappointment. The topic was about Islam and the west but she skip the topic altogether. She talk about pluralism and the inherent concept that exist in all religion. I guess, she was advice not to proceed with that topic which is a surprise because I really admire her for her work and basically I want to know what she thinks about my religion. I regarded her very knowledgeable, as a non muslim, thus I want her opinion from the knowledge she has glean from her studies.

But I was disappointed although her talk was enlightening but lack the punch that I like. Perhaps with the prevalent atmosphere in Malaysia, it might not be advisable for her. It is sad that the Malaysian public were denied, to me , a most fruitful and entertaining polemic on Islam delivered by Karen Armstrong. This is sad the malady that effect the Malay mind here. We have over protective zealots who see fits to control the knowledge made available to the Malaysian public. Luckily there is the web for me, if not where can I seek to find knowledge. During my growing up years all kind of journals were made available. From Sexology books to Sci Fi and the search for philosophical truth were made available. Now I heard even Eric Von Daniken books are banned. Reading all the materials didn't make me an apostate or a sex fiend but now books even by karen Armstrong are banned!!!

The need to control people's mind is endemic here in Malaysia. Books of Darwin are ban here now, it was not so a few years back but the tide has change, more and more books are ban because of 'high security risk'. I know Darwinism has been shown flawed but why ban the book. It seems the Theologians have a hold on the authorities mind. The truth is, it is though we are heading back to the dark ages where in Europe the church has a say in what is right and wrong. Galileo was punish for saying the Sun is the centre of the Universe and not the moon and he was later ask to repudiate it or be put to death.

I hope Malaysia won't fall into the trap, for I believe all books must be made available as a point of reference and if they are needs to control then let it be made available in the Universities Library and Public Libraries . It doesn't make sense because we have a Bill of Guarantee signed and agreed whereby there is no censorship on the Internet thus I can find any information I want and download it to my computer. And now the Traditionalist are asking the government to have a sort of control on the net and do away with the Bill of Guarantee. If this happen I will be very sad indeed.

I hate to make comment about the case of Lina Joy or Azlina Jalaini but because of her I think, Karen Armstrong talk has been muted. As far as I am concern I have always agree with Tantawi assessment that a person has the right to renounce his or her faith for in the Koran it said there is no compulsion in religion thus faith must be regarded to be a personal issue unless he or she turn around and mock and degrade the faith that he or she once belongs to. But then I am alone and many others who are like me are regarded as liberal and my thoughts are blasphemous to Islam.

I found that the Muslim intellectuals minds are warped trap in time. They forgot the Ulamak who came out with the religious edict live at a time when there was a Daulah Islamiah State. Whereby the Constitution of the Country is the Koran. But, presently the Islamic States have evolve from a totally Islamic State into an Islamic Nation, Koran has been replace in the constitution and a written one has been put in place, and instead of Kafir Harbi and Dhimmi as it once was, we regard them as part of the citizen of the state, having equal rights and equal status. So Shariah Law must reflect this changes to make it relevant to the times without losing its inspired law from the Koran.

So Dr Wan from IKIM and Qardhawi are both not wrong in proscribing death penalty for apostate or some kind of punishment for it. For in a true Daulah Islamiah setting apostate is a capital crime for it is an act of treason, and treason by any law whether secular or religion, the act will be punish harshly. It is a capital crime. But we are not living in a Daulah Islamiah State, we live in an Islamic Nation, the idea of a siege mentality must desist. We must uphold the spirit of the Koran that there is no compulsion in religion and we must be prepared to make law which, how hurtful it is, to let them be. In the Hudabiyah treaty, Umar was ready to take his sword out because he thinks that Muhammad pbuh has given too much to the Quraish by allowing Muslim who wants to return to the Quraish to do so, while he has to return any Quraish who seek his refuge. But then to Muhammad pbuh this is allowed simply that if you have faith you will never renounce your faith and if you don't so be it. It is better not to have hypocrites with you for the strength of the ummah is not in numbers but in faith.

The trouble with the Malays here they are afraid to embrace pluralism, they fear that by embracing different thoughts they might question their beliefs, which is said for they equate belief with faith which is wrong. Faith is an innate thing that you have, beliefs are a set of ideas which you think is true but might not be true. Malays must be able to question beliefs all the time, they must be able to challenge their mind to excel and then they can stand tall with the rest of mankind. I have to end now this is getting too much time, I am exhausted.


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