Categorised | Letters to the Editor

Arresting Asri an act of injustice

Asri (Public domain; source: Wiki commons)

THE arrest of former Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin raises disturbing questions:

Isn’t it unjust to arrest a person and take him [or her] to court while investigations on him [or her] are still ongoing?

Doesn’t this smack of arbitrariness and high-handedness, and doesn’t it erode established judicial norms and the rule of law?

Wasn’t the deployment of an extraordinarily large number of JAIS (Selangor Religious Affairs Department) staff and police personnel a show of force tantamount to abuse of power?

Since Asri has been giving talks in Selangor and elsewhere for a while now, what was the reason for arresting him at this point?

Was the arrest a well-orchestrated move by certain religious authorities, backed by some Muslim non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to dissuade the federal government from going ahead with the appointment of Asri as the new head of a potentially influential Islamic dakwah foundation, Yadim?

If this was the motive, doesn’t it show that there are religious institutions and groups in the country that are intolerant of views on Islam which are different from theirs, however humane and rational some of these views may be, and however well grounded they are in the Qur’an?

Isn’t such intolerance a betrayal of the respect for differences of opinion, and for dissent, embodied in Quranic thought and in the practice of the Prophet?

It is important to ask these questions. Asri’s crude and coarse treatment echoes the authoritarianism of certain groups in other parts of the Muslim world, which has led to tension and conflict. This is why any attempt by any group to monopolise religion and marginalise alternative voices should be checked immediately.

It was one of the causes of the closing of the Muslim mind in past centuries, and was partly responsible for the decline of Islamic civilisation.

Dr Chandra Muzaffar
International Movement for a Just World (JUST)
Petaling Jaya

4 Nov 2009

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5 Responses to “Arresting Asri an act of injustice”

  1. Hafiez says:

    Salam, yeah, what happend to JAIS? What are they really doing? […] Please, you all better find a new job. You all are not qualified. Better learn the true Islam. Dr Asri was a Mufti la bro. You know what is the qualification to become Mufti.

    What is a ‘tauliah’ licence? I don’t really understand, this JAIS. What the heck. Use your brain.

  2. Khairi says:

    I can’t wait to know the truth behind all this.

  3. Siti Hajar says:

    I certainly agree with the conclusion. For the past 50 years, religious authorities in Malaysia couldn’t give significant impact to the work of enlightening people towards the purity/originality of Islam and most of the religious teachers are contented in their own group of followers without moving to convert others. Very sad fact that needs changes. Very thoughtful comment Dr Chandra. Thanks.

  4. wishediwaswrong says:

    Amongst those who want to monopolise religion and marginalise alternative voices are the mufti of Perak and Pahang. The former argued that the law should prevail regardless of circumstances while the latter hides behind the need to safeguard Malaysian Muslims from straying away from the teachings of Imam Shafie in spite of the Imam himself having admitted that he was not infallible and stood to be corrected.

  5. AHMAD says:

    Make this case as iktibar to all people and remember that the dakwah will always go through even [if the] leader [is caught, killed or jailed].

    To JAIS and all, please think before [acting].

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