Going Gaga with Islam in Malaysia

How ridiculous can people get? What is it about people who ride to political power on the coattails of religion that they think they can budget others with their zealotry?

So what if the buildings in Kelantan have idols in them? What do you think will happen to the Muslims there? Will they all be converted? Take to idol worshipping? Lose faith in Allah?

Malaysia’s Kelantan: Certain buildings can be without Islamic features

Rahimy Rahim, Asia News Network (The Star), Kota Baru, Malaysia | Sat, 05/26/2012 9:25 PM

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The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) appears to make a small consensus following the controversy on designs of new buildings but insist there be no images of idols.

The Kelantan state government will allow buildings to be constructed without any Islamic features so long they do not have elements that are against the religion, said Kelantan Chief Minister Abdul Aziz.

“Islam is a universal religion and is suitable for all races. The Buddhist association can build it [its new building] as long as it does not have elements that go against Islam,” he told reporters on Saturday.

“For instance, they can have any Chinese designs, architecture or colors but they are discouraged from putting images of idols on the buildings.”

He was asked to comment on a controversy involving the Kelantan Buddhist Association, which was required to abide by municipal by-laws requiring new buildings within its jurisdiction to have Islamic features.

It had been reported that the Kelantan Buddhist Association had submitted an appeal to the state government for its building to be constructed with Chinese features at Jl. Sultan Zainal Abidin here.

Abdul Aziz, who is also PAS spiritual leader, said the state government had no problems with the Chinese community and highlighted that they had built the Golden Jubilee Mosque, better known as the Chinese Mosque, which was inspired from his visit to Beijing.

“The mosque was created 100 percent based on Chinese design and architecture. Previously, many Chinese groups had also approached me to seek approval to build Chinese-style buildings and I had approved them,” he added.

via Malaysia’s Kelantan: Certain buildings can be without Islamic features | The Jakarta Post.

What the Fatwa?

We all can understand Islam forbidding rioting, causing disturbance and damaging public property.

But what about corruption, Gerrymeandering, arrogance and utter disrespect for the intelligence and integrity of citizens?

How do these clerics sleep at night and face their children? Do the children have a hard time in school because they have to live up with the fact that their daddies were government flunkies and hyppocrites because they claim to be men of God but are serving banal masters instead?

Malaysia fatwa council advises Muslims against demonstrations

Kuala Lumpur:  Malaysia’s top clerics on Monday issued a fatwa, deeming it ‘haram’ for Muslims to participate in the demonstrations that cause disturbance in the country, days after thousands defied government orders to stage a rally.

Malaysia’s National Fatwa Committee, which a few years ago had ruled that the Muslims should not do yoga, has now advised them against participating in any gathering that is unproductive, against the law or causes disturbance.

National Fatwa Committee Chairman Proffesor Emeritus Abdul Shukor Husin said that the committee viewed seriously the issue as some Muslims had resorted to rioting during the opposition backed electoral reforms demonstrations here on April 28.

“Rioting, causing disturbance and damaging public property are all forbidden by Islam. This also applies to any intention to topple a duly-elected government by organising such demonstrations” he said.

“No one is exempted, and cannot support any efforts that can cause harm, anxiety or unrest among the  Muslims to the point of the community becoming split, what more if there is bloodshed,” he added after chairing a meeting of the committee here.

via Malaysia fatwa council advises Muslims against demonstrations.

Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunts and Habib Rizieq’s FPI

Here are two different but fascinating stories. It takes place in different countries and different times, but they both tell the story about how you can fool (and intimidate) all the people some of the time but  not all the people all the time.

The first is set in the US in the 1950s, when the country was gripped by Cold War Tensions. Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy exploited the fears and uncertainties and claimed that he had a list of Communists and Soviet sympathizers in the US Government and society.

Thereafter, using Senate Hearings as his bully pulpit he proceeded to launch a witch hunt against the putative Communists. Many innocent lives were affected. Careers were destroyed and some of his victims took their own lives.

For a moment he seemed unassailable. If you spoke out against then that meant you were a Communist or a sympathizer. There were some dissenting voices but by and large most people were afraid to provoke the ire of McCarthy because of his thuggish and intimidating tactics.

Then one fine day, the mirror cracked. McCarthy was trying to implicate a young man who belonged to the law firm of US Army legal counsel Joseph Welch in senate hearing that was broadcast live on TV. Welch stood up to McCarthy in his now famous “You Have no Decency” response (see YouTube video below) and it was over. From there McCarthy was exposed for the charlatan he was and stripped bare. People realized that the King had no clothes and McCarty went on a downward spiral. The Senate censured him and he died 10 years later, supposedly of a heart attack but widely suspected of dying from alcoholism.

The second story is set in present day Indonesia, which is in the grip of indecision and political intrigue between the various political parties and government institutions . Habib Riziq exploited this situation to build his base of support  in Jakarta through the FPI and is now trying to extend his influence in the rest of this country.

His tactics, like, Mccarthy’s are similar. Thuggism that intimidates dissenting voices. The FPI has been threatening people and even the police with impunity. Even though there are dissenting voices, people are generally afraid of confronting him or the FPI. They not only destroy lives but also property.

Now comes  the fine day yesterday in which hundreds of people from the Dayak community in Kalimantan stood up to Habib and the FPI by banning him from landing in Palankaraya airport and rejecting the FPI’s presence in their backyard. Is this Indonesia’s “You have no decency” moment?

Langkah Suku Dayak Tolak FPI Bisa Jadi Contoh – Nasional – Beritasatu.com

“Ini momentum bagi masyarakat lain, bisa jadi contoh untuk jangan diam saja kalau melihat ada benih-benih intoleransi,” kata Bonar.

Keberanian masyarakat adat suku Dayak untuk menolak keberadaan Front Pembela Islam FPI di Provinsi Kalimantan Tengah harus dihargai dan menjadi contoh bagi masyarakat lain untuk berani menentang benih-benih intoleransi antar umat beragama.

“Keberanian masyarakat Dayak untuk menolak FPI secara terbuka itu harus kita hargai, dan seharusnya menjadi inspirasi bagi yang lain untuk berani bicara dan bertindak melawan intoleransi,” kata Wakil Ketua Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy, Bonar Tigor Naipospos, hari ini.

Ratusan masyarakat adat Dayak di Palangkaraya menolak kedatangan anggota FPI ke kota tersebut dalam rangka tablig akbar, karena khawatir keberadaan mereka akan mengganggu keharmonisan antar umat beragama di Provinsi Kalteng.Menurut Bonar, penolakan tersebut sangat wajar dan bisa dimengerti mengingat catatan aksi FPI.”FPI kan sudah ada di Kalimantan Timur, mereka sudah melakukan sweeping beberapa kali dan bahkan menganggu komunitas Ahmadiyah di Samarinda. Wajar kalau para pemuda Dayak khawatir kalau kejadian yang sama akan terulang di provinsi mereka,” kata Bonar.

Menurutnya, ada lebih banyak lagi pengikut Ahmadiyah di provinsi Kalimantan Tengah, bahkan jumlahnya adalah yang terbesar di provinsi Kalimantan.Lebih jauh Bonar menambahkan bahwa penolakan masyarakat adat Dayak terhadap keberadaan FPI tetap membutuhkan alasan yang sangat kuat agar tidak menentang hak umum untuk berserikat dan mendirikan organisasi.

Bonar juga mengatakan sebaiknya dijalin dialog antara kedua pihak dan FPI harus berjanji bahwa mereka tidak akan melakukan tindakan kekerasan dan melanggar hukum.”Jika mereka tidak mau menurut syarat tersebut, barulah bisa ditolak keberadaannya,” kata Bonar.Bonar menambahkan radikalisme adalah hal yang tidak mungkin bisa dihindarkan, namun selagi para penganut kepercayaan radikal tersebut tidak melakukan tindak kekerasan atau menyebarkan pesan kebencian maka keberadaannya masih bisa ditoleransi.

“Ini momentum bagi masyarakat lain, bisa jadi contoh untuk jangan diam saja kalau melihat ada benih-benih intoleransi,” kata Bonar.

Ramadhan blooper II: Indonesian TV’s turn

In Unspun’s last posting we featured the silliness of TV8 in Malaysia and its Ramadhan message. While the flak is still flying in Malaysia, Indonesia’s TVOne (what is it with TV stations and numerals?) seems to have come up with silliness of their own.

TV stations traditionally air a videoclip to accompany the adz an prayers. Typical messages are, of course, exhorting people to be religious, to be tolerant, to have compassion. This year, however, TVOne has a different message:

It starts with a tailor being treated badly. This inspires him to get even by doing well for himself. So he goes to the bank to get a loan, start a business. As he prospers he buys a car.

Here’s where product placement gets ridiculous. The camera has the requisite handshake-to-denote-closed-deal shot and as it pans out, very prominently we see the Daihatsu marqe and the make of the model of the car – Sirjohn (what sort of an idiot will name a car Sirjohn anyway?)

As the car leaves the showroom, breaking all the rules of the Highway Code because it does not have a legit number plate but the ridiculous SIRJOHN, the camera carefully pans across a – you guessed it – DAIHATSU showroom and the fact that it is part of ASTRA International.

What were the marketing people at Astra Daihatsu and their advertising company thinking? Unspun supposes the question is moot because if they were thinking at all they would have realized that something like that smacks of a brand exploiting religion to sell its products, would backfire.

Already, Twitter is all abuzz with this insensitivity on the part of Astra and Daihatsu. Let’s see how they will drive their way out of all this.

The real reason why Banten and Temanggung occur again and again

It is easy to blame the violence in Banten and Temenggung on the usual suspects – poor laws, poor law enforcement, a decline in religious tolerance or dark political forces at play.

They would all be correct but fails to hit the mark as to why this violence is played out again and again in Indonesia.

The real reason for this never-ending cycle of violence, Unspun humbly posits, is a simple lack of accountability. This is the reason why even though several people have been killed in the recent round of violence, so little is being done to bring the culprits to book.

Nobody, from the President down, seems to have any direct accountability for the incompetence of the police and the fact that you have thugs roaming around every draped with a cloak of impunity merely because the name o Islam is invoked.

Hence we see the President and the police head as well as dozens of apparatchiks under them opining on the causes and usual suspects lined up whenever violence is discussed.

The media play along and nobody asks the vital questions: who shall be held accountable for the failure of the state security apparatus? Shouldn’t the chief of police and other top brass resign because this violence happened on their watch?

And what about the Justice minister? Shouldn’t he be held accountable for this failure too?

Sadly, none of them are held accountable so the message that gets through is that like madrigal times once you ascend to the ranks of the nobility you are immune from enemy attacks.

Unseen jinks that if SBY were to have the guts he should just sack the police chief and the justice minister. If he can do that then the message of accountability will percolTe down the ranks.

But politicking rules the day in indonesia – the best lack all conviction while the worst is full of righteous piety. So let’s all slouch into our living room sofas and continue to watch the inane talk shows where people who should be losing their jobs opine on poor laws. Poor law enforcement, declining religious tolerance….

Tarnishing the intelligence of Muslims

There was once a time when Malaysians would make a virtue of how tolerant they were of each other’s religion and culture. The Open House, where you would invite your neighbors and friends from other races and religions to your house on the festive days you celebrate. The Government would also make a virtue of it, with Ministers holding Open House.

It didn’t matter whether the festive days were religious. The point was to celebrate together with fellow Malaysians your festive days and to celebrate with them their festive days. All sounds very 1Malaysia but while the APCO-inspired key messages of integration and tolerance are being pumped out by the Najib administration by the terrabyte-ful, the Government is also shooting itself in the foot.

Below is apparently the latest directive from the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development titled Guidelines for Muslims Celebrating Religious Festivals of Non-Muslims.


Unspun thought it was a joke until he checked out the content’s veracity at the Department’s official website. Imagine the line of reasoning is that if you are a Muslim and attend someone’s Christmas party and their house has a cross, blinking lights, candles or a Christmas tree you would have tarnished the Islamic faith? Or you go to a Hindu friend’s house for Deepavali and he has some ask smeared on his forehead as is the customary thing, and that tarnishes Islam? How can the mind work in such fallacious ways?

The only thing that gets tarnished if anyone follows these guidelines or take them seriously is their own intelligence.

Does this earn the Department a shit-for-brains tag or a shit-for-brains tag?


But is this true?

Provocative? Inflammatory? Or a gem of unconventional and inconvenient truths? You decide from this article in Malaysia Today that raises questions about who is a Malay, whether the Chinese brought Islam to Indonesia and whether the Javanese hate the Chinese.

All Chinese pantheon of Islamic saints?
A pantheon of Chinese Muslim saints?

Melayu are Stupid

Who says that it is arbitrarily wrong to state the above? How many people even know who is a Melayu, and who is not? Do Malaysians even know the difference? Well, take a walk with me, and see how you fare on this educational journey.

The next time you meet someone who claims to be a “Melayu”, ask him, or her if he/she is a “Melayu Deli” or “Melayu Riau”. That’s the first question the individual needs to answer. A Javanese is definitely NOT a Melayu. He is a Javanese. The same applies to a Batak, Achehnese, Bugis, Sundanese, Sumba, Florence, Balinese, and so on. BTW, the Bataks are further subdivided into Karonese, Toba, PakPak, and so on. And NONE see eye to eye, and have much heated debates on which group is more “Pure”. I guess that they forgot that the concept of Thoroughbreds is directly propagating the concept of in-breeding. Somewhere, somehow, people just forgot this.

You see, in Indonesia, there are more than 164 suku’s, and Melayu is but one of them. Why is it so hard for goons like Abraham Ali to convince these Austronesian Migrants to call themselves a Melayu? The answer is so really simple. It’s because, in Indonesia, the Melayu are called “Lazy”, and “Stupid”, and “Totally Useless”. Go ahead, ask your Indonesian Maid what she knows about “Melayu”. And then call her a Melayu, and watch her putrid reaction. The original location for the Melayu is contested between the Medan regions, but more and more are agreeing that it was really in Jambi. Regardless, of which “camp” is correct, Medan is today, nearly void of any Melayu Deli. Most who have been to Medan, will quickly tell you that the Melayu are really really lazy people. Thus, no one wants to hire them, or to do business with them in Indonesia. It is so rare to find any Melayu who is hardworking here.

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Too much time, nothing to do

The Cantonese phrase Tak Han Mo Yeh Cho comes to mind when Unspun read the story below.

Roughly translated the phrase (literally, too much time, nothing to do) refers someone who engages in frivolous things because they have nothing better to do. It is totally apt for Malaysian officials and Ministers over the ridiculous issue of caning.It is apt because Malaysia has in recent years been failing its citizens in the issue of law and order.

Robberies, burglaries and mugging is all too common in Malaysia these days, even in the better neighborhoods. The situation there is so bad that some of Unspun‘s friends have emigrated to Singapore, which they think is a boring place but at least it is safe enough for their children to go out and have fun, and catch public transport to school without them being worried sick.

The situation is so bad that when Unspun went back to KL for the Chinese new year, he was treated to a litany of stories about robberies and muggings of neighbors, friends and friends of friends.

So you’d think that the priority in Malaysia, if they had their heads screwed on the right way, was to restore law and order and then, once they have this under control and if they had a lot of free time to spare, get around to curbing the libido of Muslims

But no, what the Malaysian government does instead is not only to perform the first caning of Muslim women who’ve had extramarital sex but to  choose to make a to public statement about it. Why?

And the forced rcanting of the women through the mass media, where they said that th caning did them good, wasn’t that out of a chapter of Arthur Miller’s Crucible? Bolehland turns police state?

And now the Malaysian government goes to the trouble of conducting surveys to gauge the support of the public oncaning naughty Muslim women, as well as thinking of organizing a conference on caning? Don’t these people have anything worthwhile to do?

And why the injustice of it all of not caning the men too? It is as if, in their view, all the sins of Muslims are caused by women. It is these lewd women who enticed the innocent men to have sex, to go astray. The men by themselves are originally pristine. That’s so much bullshit.

The only way to interpret this is that the Malaysian government is so morally and politically bankrupt that tak han moh yeh cho has even become a viable strategy, to them at least, to shore up their polularity or votes. So sad. (earns a shit-for-brains tag)

Nothing like a bit of S&M to stop extramarital sex

Most Support Caning of Women, Says Malaysian Official

Most Malaysians accept the caning of women under the country’s Shariah courts, Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director general Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz said on Wednesday.

“Jakim held a seminar to discuss caning long before it became an issue among Malaysians. The outcome was encouraging because the participants understood the whys and hows of it,” he said as quoted by newspaper Web site thestar.com.

“We are aware that some parties are still unable to accept the punishment but given time and more explanation, I believe they will come around.”

He added that Jakim was “willing to explain the issue all over again, to whoever needs an explanation.”

Malaysia’s Women’s Minister, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, said on Tuesday that she hoped to organize a conference with representatives of other Muslim-majority countries to discuss the punishment.

She told the Malaysia Insider website she respected the caning sentence recently doled out to three women, but she believed physical punishment was not the only option.

“Wrong is wrong, but there are many ways to handle the issue, including rehabilitation and counselling,” Shahrizat said.

The women were caned for having sex outside marriage. They have since publicly defended the punishment, saying it gave them a chance to repent.

Authorities used a light rattan stick to hit the women on their backs while they were fully clothed. The caning of men in Malaysia, by contrast, is done on bare skin and can cause bleeding and scarring.

via Most Support Caning of Women, Says Malaysian Official – The Jakarta Globe.

When its OK not to register your marriage and marry more than one wife, or three

Unspun was trying to unspin what the Minister for Religion had to say about unregistered marriages, polygamy and the law and ended up in a knot instead.

A minister that considers something illegal legal from the religious standpoint, legal registration of marriages not being encouraged…what is going on with this guy?

Can someone please help to explain what the man is trying to say?

Religion Minister Defends Unregistered Marriage and Polygamy

There is nothing wrong with unregistered marriage and polygamy, Minister of Religious Affairs Suryadharma Ali said on Friday.

He said that in his personal opinion unregistered marriage and polygamy were legal from a religious standpoint.

“I personally think that unregistered marriage is legal before the religion and if anyone wishes to do polygamy then go ahead,” Suryadharma said, as quoted by Metro TV.

He said that unregistered marriage was like buying a car. The manufacturer made it in order to solve a transportation problem as well as for the passenger’s comfort. If the car is later used for drug smuggling or other bad uses, it was not the carmaker’s responsibility, he said, and they should not take the blame.

“Unregistered marriage is legal before the law because all the requirements are fulfilled,” he added.

However, public stigma meant that unregistered marriage often equaled secret marriage, he said. Suryadharma condemned such stigma as being “very wrong” because even though the union was not registered, the couple was wed by a member of the clergy and the event was witnessed by their families.

“So, it’s not a secret marriage. If it is abused, it’s the individual mistake,” he said. “And what about polygamy? Go ahead, it’s a choice.”

via Religion Minister Defends Unregistered Marriage and Polygamy – The Jakarta Globe.