Sunday, May 17, 2015

ON THE EVIL INFLICTED UPON THE ROHINGYAS: WHAT WOULD SIDDHARTHA GAUTAMA SAY?

Full Text Of The Banned Time Story – “The Face Of Buddhist Terror”

Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,Most Popular,News,Popular Stories,STORIES |
Sri Lanka on Tuesday banned the sale of the latest issue of Time magazine because of the newsweekly’s feature article on terrorism, describing recent clashes between Buddhists and Muslims.

We publish below the Full text of the cover story “The Face of Buddhist Terror” in July 01, 2013 TIME magazine;

The Face of Buddhist Terror

It’s a faith famous for its pacifism and tolerance. But in several of Asia’s Buddhist-majority nations, monks are inciting bigotry and violence — mostly against Muslims

By Hannah Beech / Meikhtila, Burma, And Pattani, Thailand 

His face as still and serene as a statue’s, the Buddhist monk who has taken the title “the Burmese bin Laden” begins his sermon. Hundreds of worshippers sit before him, palms pressed together, sweat trickling down their sticky backs. On cue, the crowd chants with the man in burgundy robes, the mantras drifting through the sultry air of a temple in Mandalay, Burma’s second biggest city after Rangoon. It seems a peaceful scene, but Wirathu’s message crackles with hate. “Now is not the time for calm,” the monk intones, as he spends 90 minutes describing the many ways in which he detests the minority Muslims in this Buddhist-majority land. “Now is the time to rise up, to make your blood boil.”


Buddhist blood is boiling in Burma, also known as Myanmar–and plenty of Muslim blood is being spilled. Over the past year, Buddhist mobs have targeted members of the minority faith, and incendiary rhetoric from Wirathu–he goes by one name–and other hard-line monks is fanning the flames of religious chauvinism. Scores of Muslims have been killed, according to government statistics, although international human-rights workers put the number in the hundreds. Much of the violence is directed at the Rohingya, a largely stateless Muslim group in Burma’s far west that the U.N. calls one of the world’s most persecuted people. The communal bloodshed has spread to central Burma, where Wirathu, 46, lives and preaches his virulent sermons. The radical monk sees Muslims, who make up at least 5% of Burma’s estimated 60 million people, as a threat to the country and its culture. “[Muslims] are breeding so fast, and they are stealing our women, raping them,” he tells me. “They would like to occupy our country, but I won’t let them. We must keep Myanmar Buddhist.”
Such hate speech threatens the delicate political ecosystem in a country peopled by at least 135 ethnic groups that has only recently been unshackled from nearly half a century of military rule. Already some government officials are calling for implementation of a ban, rarely enforced during the military era, on Rohingya women’s bearing more than two children. And many Christians in the country’s north say recent fighting between the Burmese military and Kachin insurgents, who are mostly Christian, was exacerbated by the widening religious divide.

Radical Buddhism is thriving in other parts of Asia too. This year in Sri Lanka, Buddhist nationalist groups with links to high-ranking officialdom have gained prominence, with monks helping orchestrate the destruction of Muslim and Christian property. And in Thailand’s deep south, where a Muslim insurgency has claimed some 5,000 lives since 2004, the Thai army trains civilian militias and often accompanies Buddhist monks when they leave their temples. The commingling of soldiers and monks–some of whom have armed themselves–only heightens the alienation felt by Thailand’s minority Muslims.

Although each nation’s history dictates the course radical Buddhism has taken within its borders, growing access to the Internet means that prejudice and rumors are instantly inflamed with each Facebook post or tweet. Violence can easily spill across borders. In Malaysia, where hundreds of thousands of Burmese migrants work, several Buddhist Burmese were killed in June–likely in retribution, Malaysian authorities say, for the deaths of Muslims back in Burma.
In the reckoning of religious extremism–Hindu nationalists, Muslim militants, fundamentalist Christians, ultra-Orthodox Jews–Buddhism has largely escaped trial. To much of the world, it is synonymous with nonviolence and loving kindness, concepts propagated by Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, 2,500 years ago. But like adherents of any other religion, Buddhists and their holy men are not immune to politics and, on occasion, the lure of sectarian chauvinism. When Asia rose up against empire and oppression, Buddhist monks, with their moral command and plentiful numbers, led anticolonial movements. Some starved themselves for their cause, their sunken flesh and protruding ribs underlining their sacrifice for the laity. Perhaps most iconic is the image of Thich Quang Duc, a Vietnamese monk sitting in the lotus position, wrapped in flames, as he burned to death in Saigon while protesting the repressive South Vietnamese regime 50 years ago. In 2007, Buddhist monks led a foiled democratic uprising in Burma: images of columns of clerics bearing upturned alms bowls, marching peacefully in protest against the junta, earned sympathy around the world, if not from the soldiers who slaughtered them. But where does political activism end and political militancy begin? Every religion can be twisted into a destructive force poisoned by ideas that are antithetical to its foundations. Now it’s Buddhism’s turn.

Mantra of Hate

Sitting cross-legged on a raised platform at the New Masoeyein monastery in Mandalay, next to a wall covered by life-size portraits of himself, the Burmese bin Laden expounds on his worldview. U.S. President Barack Obama has “been tainted by black Muslim blood.” Arabs have hijacked the U.N., he believes, although he sees no irony in linking his name to that of an Arab terrorist. About 90% of Muslims in Burma are “radical, bad people,” says Wirathu, who was jailed for seven years for his role in inciting anti-Muslim pogroms in 2003. He now leads a movement called 969–the figure represents various attributes of the Buddha–which calls on Buddhists to fraternize only among themselves and shun people of other faiths. “Taking care of our own religion and race is more important than democracy,” says Wirathu.

It would be easy to dismiss Wirathu as an outlier with little doctrinal basis for his bigotry. But he is charismatic and powerful, and his message resonates. Among the country’s majority Bamar ethnic group, as well as across Buddhist parts of Asia, there’s a vague sense that their religion is under siege–that Islam, having centuries ago conquered the Buddhist lands of Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, now seeks new territory. Even without proof, Buddhist nationalists stoke fears that local Muslim populations are increasing faster than their own, and they worry about Middle Eastern money pouring in to build new mosques.

In Burma, the democratization process that began in 2011 with the junta’s giving way to a quasi-civilian government has also allowed extremist voices to proliferate. The trouble began last year in the far west, where machete-wielding Buddhist hordes attacked Rohingya villages; 70 Muslims were slaughtered in a daylong massacre in one hamlet, according to Human Rights Watch. The government has done little to check the violence, which has since migrated to other parts of the country. In late March, the central town of Meikhtila burned for days, with entire Muslim quarters razed by Buddhist mobs after a monk was killed by Muslims. (The official death toll: two Buddhists and at least 40 Muslims.) Thousands of Muslims are still crammed into refugee camps that journalists are forbidden to enter. In the shadow of a burned-down mosque, I was able to meet the family of Abdul Razak Shahban, one of at least 20 students at a local Islamic school who were killed. “My son was killed because he was Muslim, nothing else,” Razak’s mother Rahamabi told me.

Temple and State

In the deep south of Burma’s neighbor Thailand, it is the Buddhists who complain of being targeted for their faith. This part of the country used to be part of a Malay sultanate before staunchly Buddhist Thailand annexed it early last century, and Muslims make up at least 80% of the population. Since a separatist insurgency intensified in 2004, many Buddhists have been targeted because their positions–such as teachers, soldiers and government workers–are linked with the Thai state. Dozens of monks have been attacked too. Now the Buddhists have overwhelming superiority in arms: the Thai military and other security forces have moved into the wat, as Thai Buddhist temples are known.
If Buddhists feel more protected by the presence of soldiers in their temples, it sends quite another signal to the Muslim population. “[The] state is wedding religion to the military,” says Michael Jerryson, an assistant professor of religious studies at Youngstown State University in Ohio and author of a book about Buddhism’s role in the southern-Thailand conflict. Muslims too are scared: more of them have perished in the violence than Buddhists. (By proportion of population, more Buddhists have died, however.) Yet Buddhists are the ones who receive the greater state protection, and I listen to monk after monk heighten tensions by telling me that Muslims are using mosques to store weapons or that every imam carries a gun. “Islam is a religion of violence,” says Phratong Jiratamo, a former marine turned monk in the town of Pattani. “Everyone knows this.”

It’s a sentiment the Burmese bin Laden would endorse. I ask Wirathu how he reconciles the peaceful sutras of his faith with the anti-Muslim violence spreading across his Bamar-majority homeland. “In Buddhism, we are not allowed to go on the offensive,” he tells me, as if he is lecturing a child. “But we have every right to protect and defend our community.” Later, as he preaches to an evening crowd, I listen to him compel smiling housewives, students, teachers, grandmothers and others to repeat after him, “I will sacrifice myself for the Bamar race.” It’s hard to imagine that the Buddha would have approved.

– Time-
Related stories;

The Face Of Buddhist Terror: Sri Lanka To Ban Time Magazine

Friday, May 08, 2015

No genius but a mind so hideous!

by Azly Rahman

in OPINIONS (Malaysiakini)




This is what the conclusion should be for the Malaysian student in London caught with 30,000 porn computer images and materials and a boy mannequin in his room. A genius is one with conscience and ethics and everybody is a genius in his/her right and the designation not solely used to such a degree of mystification. We all are everyday geniuses.

We must be totally clear of what is right and what is wrong and what is totally unacceptable, let alone intolerable especially when it involves crimes against children.

Seems that Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin was studying radical child pornography at the PhD level rather than study first year Maths. Collecting 30,000 of such hideous images in such a short period of his stay is to me, mind-boggling! It seems that every minute of his waking life is about mental filth he fed himself with.

That case of the Malaysian abroad is one of a sick mind at work, a hideous mind that’s got to go through radical counseling, after the jail sentence and his name put on the national sex offender registry. In addition, he is not to be allowed to take up a job requiring contact with children or be near any child for that matter.

This is a very serious offence in any society sane enough that protects children - those helpless beings that trust people but whose life can forever be destroyed. There are thousands of cases of Catholic priests with this state of mind as well as Muslim men marrying children young enough to be their grandchildren we can all learn from.


Protect children. They are our assets and we should not quickly be apologising and apologetic to some child-porn sicko mistaken as a genius and a national ‘asset’. May he, nonetheless, get the right treatment and be ‘cured’.

Once a child’s sexually-abused image is produced and transmitted globally through cyberspace, the child’s life is totally destroyed. There is no turning back to correct things in cyberspace. That will be a psychological death spell for the child. This is how serious child pornography is. This is how hideous and perverted a crime against humanity is for the innocent and the vulnerable.

In my experience here in the United States, I have known people convicted of crimes as such involving children; people who are otherwise respected members of the community but unfortunately have secret lives.

A teacher well-loved by his Middle School students. A principal well-known for his stellar performance ensuring that his school is in the state’s list of ‘Blue Ribbon’ schools. An assistant superintendent of high calibre hired to transform a school district. Stellar individuals workings with children and entrusted by the community to nurture then into good workers and citizens but betrayed then instead.

They are now in jail for many years - 15 to 20 years and one in fact had to force the school district to pay the children he ‘touched inappropriately’ a total of US$2 million. Because the parents filed suits against the school for failing to protect the children. The names of those convicted are now in New Jersey’s registry of sex offenders.

Getting your moral compass right

Malaysians - get your moral compass right. It is such a serious offence if one is convicted as a child molester or being in possession of child pornography.

In the United States, the law on this matter states that “... Any violation of federal child pornography law is a serious crime, and convicted offenders face severe statutory penalties. For example, a first time offender convicted of producing child pornography under 18 USC § 2251, face fines and a statutory minimum of 15 years to 30 years maximum in prison.

“A first time offender convicted of transporting child pornography in interstate or foreign commerce under 18 USC § 2252, faces fines and a statutory minimum of five years to 20 years maximum in prison.

“Convicted offenders may face harsher penalties if the offender has prior convictions or if the child pornography offense occurred in aggravated situations defined as (i) the images are violent, sadistic, or masochistic in nature, (ii) the minor was sexually abused, or (iii) the offender has prior convictions for child sexual exploitation. In these circumstances, a convicted offender may face up to life imprisonment.

“It is important to note that an offender can be prosecuted under state child pornography laws in addition to, or instead of, federal law...”

Let us learn more about the seriousness and hideousness of this crime against the vulnerable and helpless child and be vigilant of adults suspected of having these tendencies. The more people are educated about the gravity of issues and how laws pertaining to them are to be made clear and to be enforced without fear or favour, we will be a better society. As it is now, Malaysia is one that is fast degenerating in upholding the rule of law.

Let us come back to our senses, before we have mobsters, punks, perverts, and gangsters become politicians and leaders amongst us running our lives and ruining us.  In the case of the convicted Malaysian man in London, there is a clear line between a genius and one with a mind so hideous.

Only jail time and radical counseling may heal, before the state demands medical castration as the final solution to those who are too ill mentally to be in society - should the fantasies on sex with children be acted out and offences get repeated thereafter.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Baltimore Riots: On paying respect to 'respect'

by Azly Rahman
published in OPINIONS
Malaysiakini

'Respect' - a word that keeps on begging me to write about itself as I was driving down the highway coming home from my weekly lecture to young, enthusiastic, and bright American teachers learning about teaching in urban schools.

Yes, we talked passionately about poverty and the Baltimore riots and of deeper struggles of those dehumanised by the system and also about those who abuse the system that offer them the stairway to the American dream.

A complex subject that has plagued Americans, especially.

At the core of what is happening in Ferguson, Missouri, and in Baltimore, Maryland, is the issue of 'respect'.

One doesn't need to have 'Asian roots' to have a deep sense of respect, dignity, and perseverance through hard work - I have often told my students.

Poverty is not a licence to lose one's dignity and to raise children without dignity too, I have always insisted.

Look at the filthy rich, as you'll see what money can also do to human dignity or the total absence of it.

Money, as it cannot buy love, also cannot buy respect.

Hope and hard work may be the best antidote to fight against those using the Deficit Theory in Education to structure educational systems pillared upon arrogant knowledge that dehumanises, divides, and deconstructs the self into a confused and mangled being in a material world.

'Respect' - we are lacking these days in all spheres of life because we can no longer see and feel what it looks like.

Here, I am always reminded by the old school wisdom of respect, from any culture still not destroyed by the waning effect of postmodernism and hyper-modernity and the dominance of meaninglessness.

Erosion of culture begins with the erosion of identity, blurring of one’s personal and family history, and the diminishing of the ethics of authenticity.

The issue of parenting

In the Baltimore riots that set the city in flames as a consequence of police brutality and a sense of the rise of enmity between the forces of the law and those they are supposed to protect, there is a breakdown of respect as well.

Both - the people and the police - are living in a state of paranoia, in a city plagued with poverty and a people whose young ones are also plagued with the pride of the philosophy of gangland.

That may be the case of the ongoing complexity of the issue of race in America.

But the issue lies also in parenting. Not just poor parenting, but virtually no parenting at all, in many cases. I have seen them all, I should safely say.

"... What is your child doing at 12 midnight or 1am? ...
"... Where were you? "

These are some of the early prognostic questions on the issue of parenting.

'Did you know that your son - a 15-year-old, is now a gang member?' is another favourite question a New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, or Baltimore police officer might ask a mother.

Again, 'respect' comes into being - of oneself, of parents, of teachers, of the school, of other people’s property, and the list goes on and on, and this includes my personal all-time favourite kind of respect my mother taught me - respect for books.

Most often, though an 'American' (of the ageing hippie and transcendental-type perhaps) I consider myself now, my thoughts, as I deliver my lectures to fellow Americans would always go back to my beloved country, Malaysia.

As if at that moment I was zooming in on a village in good old Majidee, Johor Baru, via Google 3-D technology, and thinking about the word again: Respect.

My fear is for it - this thing called 'respect' - to be lost indefinitely. And a Burning Baltimore may be a Madly Mangled Majidee in JB!

Take good care of your children. Instill respect in them at a very young age.

Poverty is no excuse to cultivate dignity lightly.

It is just a test of one’s economic and entrepreneurial creativity in the face of social and political adversity.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mere Mortals or, Mantra of a minimalist

by azly rahman

mere mortals we might be
magnificent though within
making sense of our maddening world
of machiavellian moods of Man’s antics
meanderers we have become
mystified by the mediated selves we have been turned into
and when the moments of truth arrive
mirrors will invite us
to multiple worlds
we have made
out of memories we have made
but who knows...
who wants to know?
mere mortals we might be
a speck of dust
but a proud evolution
only if we know - ar

Sunday, April 26, 2015

THESE ARE AT THE KL INTERNATIONAL BOOK EXPO NOW - at The GERAKBUDAYA BOOTH @PWTC

Yes, my books "Controlled Chaos" and "Kalimah Allah Milik Siapa?" and I suppose "Dark Spring," and "The Allah Controversy," are now on sale at the 2015 Exposition @ PWTC. THANK YOU GERAKBUDAYA !

available here too: @ Gerakbudaya Online 
and as e-books here as well:  on Amazon Kindle


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Shakespearean trices, Malaysian ailments

by Azly Rahman




 

As a lifelong student of Humanities and Philosophy, I reflected upon the great bard of the English Renaissance period, William Shakespeare, whose birthday was on April 23 (1564), a day after what is now Earth Day. Remembering the many famous quotes by the most influential writer of the English Language, I cannot help but inwardly lamenting upon the word we live in today - one which is increasingly violent and dehumanising.

On power and in ‘Julius Caesar’, Shakespeare wrote about loving Rome more than Caesar, and the ides of March, on wealth and honesty his entire message immortalised in the play ‘The Merchant of Venice’, and in the plays such as ‘King Lear’, ‘Macbeth’, and in comedies such as ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, the sage-playwright-poet wrote about the complexities of human nature as an interplay between power and love.

My early twenties was about reading his major works as part my study of English Literature.

As one who is always thinking about our beloved country and whose writings have been geared towards making suggestions for improvement, each of the Shakespearean quotes I recall went into thinking about what Malaysia has become today. Below are my notes I posted this week on my Facebook page:

1. Malaysia turning into Uganda?

at the rate of how much political fights we are seeing,
how many Idi Amins in songkoks we have produced,
how fast capital flights we are witnessing,
how serious crime rate has risen,
how policed the state has become,
how many of those speaking truth to power have been persecuted,
how fast the judiciary has rotted,
how deep the educational standards have plunged,
and how much wealth those in power has amassed...
we are seeing Kuala Lumpur turning into Kampala...
we hope not
at least we must first become Kenya.

2. Wealth can be an enemy of wisdom

one cannot serve god and money at the same time, as Jesus said
this is what is happening in Malaysia today
fighting over power, wealth and money
the loss of basic sensibility... the absence of wisdom
leaders taking pride in arrogance and ignorance
it takes three generations to destroy a nation, Kungfu Tze would say...
for Malaysia...  it takes only two.

3. Malaysia today

obsessed with the past and politics of the day
we have not paid much attention to the future... to Education
to building a new world of endless possibilities through education
we owe the children this new world
of charting new ways of doings things, of living,
of relating, and making peace
with oneself and with others of creating a new philosophy, paradigm, processes, new products of value
these -
not to have them inherit our ills

and to have them born into debt and despair
criminals are made, not born
i wished the politicians from both sides
have paid more attention to new ideas in education
what a waste of two generations.

4. Anti-terrorism laws are necessary

only if used wisely and justifiably
for national safety and security
only in a society that knows what clear separation means
of the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary
such as the government of the United States
and not yet of Malaysia - where those with power and money
and in deep inexplicable desperation

5. On the passing of Malaysia’s renewed Internal Security Act

or Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota)... all is done as BN wanted it to be
where were all the Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament - those missing on voting day on this issue of grave magnitude? Not interested any more in fighting for those who fought for you to be in office? - are beginning to terrorise the people and the state.

6. What actually matters in Malaysia politics

for the rich and powerful, the children and family members to rule the country
for the poor and powerless, how to feed the family and how the leaders and the rulers are ruining the country...
and therefore that too is what the media is interested in reporting...
this is a new brand of class and consciousness in a hypermodern economy, in a world of modern slavery.

7. A mirror

there is so much hatred in this world today
love seems to have flown away
until in each of our heart we tear down the walls
of fear
of anger
of bigotry
of jealously
of prejudice
of selfishness
of misconstructions
and let love and only love
engulf us
and overwhelm us to tears
embracing each other and open
our eyes
window to our soul
to the sufferings of many
because we are a mirror of one another - ar

8. Malaysians... return to sanity... here’s how...

“ ... political will, radical political change, an overhaul of the system, a fresh new and different mandate, a prison complex big enough to incarcerate the long-time corrupt ones, a plan to redistribute wealth, to dismantle educational apartheid..., a rewriting of Malay and Malaysian history, a re-threading of the moral fibre of the armed personnels, a massive arrest of political tyrants of past doings, a restructuring of the casino capitalist economy, a stronger local government established, a clampdown of racist and hate-groups, a return to the rule of law, a return to agricultural society, an experimentation with a radically new form of communal-styled living, a dismantling of systems that allow global corporate giants to continue to prey upon the natives, a return to the cooperative system, strengthening of labour, a re-education of political official on management, ethics, and political philosophy, the separation of religion and state, the dismantling of useless cultural and religious rituals, a restructuring of society based on the principles of radical multiculturalism and the celebration of transcultural philosophies, the reduction of TV time and TV channels, the introduction of the reading of the great works of arts, humanities, and literature from the cradle to the grave , the curbing of rhetoric on Islamic or any religious state, the compulsory teaching of philosophy from the cradle to the grave, .... all these and more to overturn the system and its ugly head... would all of you agree?...”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A MIRROR

by azly rahman

there is so much hatred in this world today
love seems to have flown away
until in each of our heart we tear down the walls
of fear
of anger
of bigotry
of jealously
of prejudice
of selfishness
of misconstructions
and let love and only love
engulf us
and overwhelm us to tears
embracing each other and open
our eyes
window to our soul
to the sufferings of many
because we are a mirror of one another -- ar




Saturday, April 04, 2015

Detoxing myself, with disgust

by azly rahman




I have not had the urge to write for the last three days... at least on my Facebook page. I have decided to digitally detox myself. Here is the reason and my lamentation.

I have been feeling disgusted with the arrests of good Malaysians speaking up for a better world for their children, the blatant abuse of power, the continuing dynastic wars over power and money between the same old same old people, the inability for the leaders of the country to help the people move beyond the intellectual, moral, cultural and spiritual dead ends created by those who have the means to change for the better, and most importantly how fast we are moving towards a police state.

I wrote this as a Facebook status, before detoxing myself for three days:

MADNESS OF BEING GIVEN TOO MUCH POWER

that’s what is happening to my beloved country
and who gave them the power?
the people themselves
from feudal times
and therefore the addiction
Is this our moment of NO EXIT at this point in history...?


We are going down the drain of history with these - bankruptcy, threat of an Isis attack, mass arrests, the rich getting richer and wanting more by choking the poor, denial that our education system needs resuscitation, rise of religious and racial bigotry, and a range of maladies that has a history and that will determine how our future as a nation will be destroyed.

From a political-cultural, political-economic point of view, and the study of soft and raw power the fight between the camp of Mahathir Mohamad and Najib Abdul Razak will be ugly and will be a prolonged war, and will not do any good to the mental and economic health of our beloved country. In other words, I see a darker Spring coming. Yes, bring it on, bring the country down, if that is your plan... I hope not.

But here is the question: Do we have a better choice for a new government?

The current regime has become mad and oppressive, killing what is left of democracy and economic decency; a hunting season and a period of slash and burn we are seeing

But what is the alternative, seriously - with all the strange happenings in the opposition coalition lately? You folks tell me.


The only consolation for each citizen is to be at peace with themselves, to do a ‘personal hartal’ on the goods and services tax (GST) by assessing what one needs and what one wants in life, to reduce, refuse, reuse, to focus on the well-being of the children and family by educating them how to do more with less, to be grateful of what one still have, to look for opportunities in the midst of chaos, to fight the good fight in life, to not neglect the education of the children in hope that they will become good, moral, and productive citizens in a word wherein the filthy rich in power do not care and in fact continue to display arrogance and hideous consumption to show the poor who is in power.

Wealth and power are merely illusions

Most importantly the best consolation is to believe that wealth and power are merely illusions and those fighting for these will perish in ways they have chosen to,  and most importantly to live like a minimalist and an ageing hippie with dignity and to watch less and less TV and to read more and more books and to take care of the well-being of each member of the family... in this crazy world of 1Malaysia run by mad men, mad mullahs, and Mad Max-es in Thunderdomes wearing tanjak and songkok screaming “... Sedition... sedition... sedition... I’m itching all over ... “even for talking bad about Justin Bieber and drawing funny cartoons of Snoop Dogg (now Snoop Lion the Rastafarian) - what a country!!!

But folks... it’s Friday as I am writing this column... a good Friday as well... a Passover Friday... a good Muslim Friday back home, too...  be a vegetarian and that’s a good first step of your war against the GST... stop shopping for things you don’t need... especially those diamond rings, RM1,200 beehive hairdo, new gold plated-toilets in your private jet to ease yourself after torturing the poor, and new gold teeth and a gold bling bling to match your political image...

Come back to our senses. As President John F Kennedy once said, the rich cannot save themselves from the poor if these kinds of arrogance continue. The American Revolution was made out of the slogan ‘taxation without representation’ if one reads the history of the nation. We must learn form other people’s history as well - especially when the poor is not represented in the government of the rich yet taxed heavily to feed the high and mighty.

And for those about to rock, we salute you, as the Australian rock band AC/DC once said.

I wish all of us well, on this good Friday.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hudud questions we need answers to

by Azly Rahman



Over the last few days, I have been writing the following notes on my Facebook page, concerning the Sharia law component of the hudud. These are made in between my lecture sessions on philosophy, politics, and education and I hope that they will interest readers in sharing with me their answers to these important questions of the day.

WHAT KIND OF GOD?

stoning one to death
cutting off one's hands
beheading
100 and more lashes
and the range of punishments
in broad daylight
aren’t all these images of barbarism?
does this not show the brutality of Islam?
I thought the God of the Muslims is merciful and gentle
is this really God’s law?
if so, what kind of god?
*and yes I have these questions as they have now come to me
in which I hope for gentle answers *
- ar

ON THE HUDUD
remember this ...

The Quran is not a juridistic or judicial text... it is a compendium of short notes and narratives on morality, on stories pointing to earlier texts contained in the Bible and the Torah... it does not contain suggestions for punishment or strict legal framework of laws... is it therefore a source of God’s law?

The sharia is a human construction, derived from centuries of controversies amongst scholars and schools of thought with the ultimate aim of providing identity to this new group of believers called ‘The Muslims’.

In the hudud, stoning to death is from the Jewish text and practice. So is the suggestion of a death penalty for apostates borrowed from early Christianity. Other forms of punishment, such as beheading, crucifixion, burning to death, all have their origin in early Babylonian times. To say that the hudud is derived from God’s law and cannot be questioned is not correct, signifying one’s unwillingness to read about the origin of Islamic law, let alone the origin of punishment.

This is what is ailing our society that do not read much on the geneaology of morals and the historicity of punishments. And when perspectives pointing to alternate truths are presented, a jihad against these ‘perspective givers’ are called upon.

Who says one cannot question hudud, Man-made laws misunderstood as law passed down directly from God? Because it is Man-made law, we therefore have those who see the hudud as barbaric, and those who see it as a framework of a good social control, however archaic. What is said as “god’s revelations” most often become a big mess of confusion when it comes to human beings, especially the priest class, try to put them down as law...

Thou shall not kill... but why stone one to death ?
Where did Man go wrong?
What is he not reading?
And worse, why must his priests insist there must be separate religious laws for the kings and the slaves? - ar

ALL MUST DISCUSS


No one is a real expert - even the clerics, the ‘erdogans’, the hard-core liberal-seculars and the little ayatollahs are disagreeing violently amongst themselves.

It is each citizen’s right to question any concern they have before things become law. One cannot be intimidated, silenced, threatened, jailed for asking questions dear to their democratic lives... that is what democracy and citizenship is all about - participation and dialogue.

It is the right of every citizen to gather freely and safely in a democracy to petition for the removal of governments and leaders that are lousy and only there to slowly kill society and humanity through taxation without representation, daylight robbery, and all kinds of thievery to support a lifestyle far-removed form the reality of poverty of the many.

On the hudud issue - To put a stop to dialogue is not democracy, it is demono-cracy... and we have seen many of these kinds of systems in countries calling themselves Islamic, especially. Would you folks, agree? - ar

LET KELANTAN HAVE ITS OWN LAW

as how Sharia is said to be
successful in Nigeria
it might work
it might not
but let it be only for the Kelantanese, shall it be?
the will of the people - who voted for a theocracy
For there is no compulsion in religion,
let alone in Islam, the Kelantanese version
For - why must religious interpretation be universalising
as if there is no spiritual difference
between you and me -
- ar

IN THE LONG RUN...

The implementation of hudud
the romanticising of an Islamic state
might be the best invitation
for Isis-like enthusiasts to fight easier than tooth and nail
for an easier jihad
for a perfect synergy
to set up a Taliban-like state...
right here in Malaysia
and what then next... ? - ar
*or - am I making strange connections here? *

to swallow hypocrisy with a gulp of little pride remaining
why don’t the promoters of hudud
and the propagandist of ultra-nationalism
work in synergy and in perfect harmony
with tears of repentance flowing in parliament buildings...
why not create a good enough sharia index
to measure how much the politicians and plunderers and robber-barons alike
have stolen from the people, how those political murders are to be gauged, how hideous and anti-Islamic those in power are spending adorning themselves, and how much the country is being brought down by those spewing religious rhetoric as well...
why not? why not? - ar
*and long live the wolves of wall street*

ALL TEXTS...

be they religious, philosophical, cultural, scientific
be they transmitted orally
or crafted through writing as literacy
are the work of Man
from the mind of men
from the imagination of Man
all religious are the work of the priest class
each a genealogy of morals, of myths, of implausibilities, of miracles
building on early stories of Man’s attempt to make sense of the word
of the creation of many gods
the opticon, the panopticon, the synopticon of Man’s delusions
and the struggle to consolidate those gods into One, into Many, into None
has it been proven otherwise that these are not of human creation
- would you agree with this proposition? - ar

Lecture: Edward Said

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Lecture: Noam Chomsky

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Lecture: Jacques Derrida

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Lecture: Jean Paul Sartre

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Movie: 1984

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Movie: Animal Farm

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Movie: Chicken Run

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Poems: Rumi

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Dialogue on Religion: Karen Armstrong

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Dailogue on Religion: Huston Smith

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Islam

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Humanism

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Jainism

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Sikkhism

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Hinduism

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Bahai

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Confucianism

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Taoism

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The Bhagavad Gita

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Jesus of Nazareth

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Siddharta Gautama

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Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)

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