Categorised | Found in Quotation

Fear of the cross

Right now, it’s football jerseys…

“Semua mengetahui hukum ini dengan jelas, ia adalah haram dan jangan beri alasan untuk menghalalkan perkara tersebut. Dalam hal ini, Islam tidak ada kompromi sama ada ia dibuat atas nama hiburan, fesyen mahupun sukan.”

Barcelona football crest

Barcelona football crest

Soon after the recent World Cup, Johor Islamic Council adviser Datuk Nooh Gadot cautioned Muslims against wearing the jerseys of teams or countries where the symbol of the cross was part of the team or country’s logo or crest. He said to do so would be to glorify the symbols of other religions. Such jerseys would include those of Brazil, Portugal, Sweden, Norway and Barcelona. Nooh also included Manchester United jerseys on the list, as the club’s logo had the image of a red devil.

Perak mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria agreed with Nooh, whose comments have made world headlines. Syariah lawyer Mohd Hamidullah Che Hassan said Nooh’s advice, if not followed, was not sinful, but Muslims were still discouraged from wearing such jerseys. Later, Harussani said a fatwa against wearing the jerseys was not necessary. (Source: Haram pakai jersi lambang salib, Kosmo!, 18 July 2010)

Before, it was crosses and religious statues at mission schools…

“I feel disappointed that in an Islamic country, Malaysia, if I go to a convent school, the statue of St Mary is displayed in the front of the school.”

“Not only statues, but fellow Yang Berhormat, go and see for yourselves, Christian crosses are displayed in front of schools. I do not understand the Ministry of Education, did the officers not see that, or is it our policy to allow such a thing? Nevertheless, I, as a responsible person to my religion, race, and country, I state my views that these statues need to be demolished, these crosses need to be destroyed and church influences in these schools need to be stopped.”

Parit Sulong Member of Parliament (MP) Syed Hood Syed Edros, speaking in the Dewan Rakyat on 29 Oct 2007 about the complaints of parents against mission schools. His comments in Bahasa Malaysia are recorded in the Parliament Hansard on page 143. Later, Syed Hood said he personally did not have an issue with crosses displayed in mission schools; he was merely raising a public complaint.

Then Deputy Education Minister Datuk Noh Omar gave an assurance that such symbols in mission schools would not be removed to respect the schools’ tradition. No action was taken against Syed Hood or Sri Gading MP Datuk Seri Mohamad Aziz, who had agreed with him. (Source: Demolish Statues, Destroy Crosses in Missionary Schools, says Umno MP Parit Sulong, The Star Citizen’s Blog, 2 Dec 2007)

… and ice-cream biscuits.

“Dalam keadaan sekarang ini dimana isu murtad dan agama menjadi perbualan hangat , isu seperti ini dilihat berupaya mengeruhkan keadaan semasa dan mengganggu ketenteraman awam …

“Perkara yang sama iaitu penggunaan lambang salib telah dikesan digunakan pada batang kayu aiskrim Paddle Pop keluaran Walls pada kira-kira [dua] tahun yang lepas. Sekiranya mereka ingin mempromosikan dan menjual produk tersebut, lambang berupa salib itu harus dibuang daripada produk tersebut.”

(Source: muslimconsumer.org.my)

(Source: muslimconsumer.org.my)

A press statement by the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) about a police report it lodged on 10 Nov 2006 over the symbol of a cross on the Wall’s Moo Ice Cream biscuit. PPIM said the ice-cream maker, Unilever (M) Holding Sdn Bhd, had to explain why it used the cross symbol, and warned the company to respect the rights of Muslim consumers.

PPIM also wanted the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and those responsible for halal certification to ensure that other products were not similarly tainted. (Source: Laporan Polis Berhubung Aiskrim Wall’s Moo, Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia, November 2006)

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277 Responses to “Fear of the cross”

  1. all man are equal, only fools think otherwise says:

    You’re kidding right? As a Christian I feel that my religion has now been put in the same category as satanic cults! Surely just because we don’t share the same beliefs doesn’t mean that other religions deserves to be “degraded”.

    • Danny Leebob says:

      This is actually good news. The Muslims are actually paying more attention to the cross than some Christians do. I can bet with you those European fans would probably have never noticed or bother about the cross on the club logos. To them it is probably part of their flags. Some Christians may not even understand what the cross symbolize. I know some friends used to wear a cross on the neck, just because it is fashionable and many pop stars wore them.

      Now our Muslim friends are leading the way. They probably understand more about the redemption of the blood shed by Jesus Christ on the cross.

  2. rowlin says:

    I am not a Muslim, but one of my closest friends is, and I am proud that she follows the teachings of Islam as best as she possibly can. She is smart, forward thinking and open to discussions on the teachings of Islam with me. Oh, and she was schooled in a convent school in Perak.

    It is because of her, that I believe Muslims are not stupid and narrow minded as portrayed by the personalities in this article. I mean, an ice-cream biscuit?!

    Again I reemphasize, Muslims are NOT stupid.

  3. kl_sadguy says:

    Speechless……

  4. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    I don’t think the issue is about Muslims losing their faith. Rather its about accepting and perhaps, glorifying, the symbols of other religions. You can’t do that in Islam. Mainstream Islam does NOT accept a plurality of religious truths. Mainstream Islam maintains that only Islam is the truth. Therefore Muslims are NOT encouraged to accept or popularise the symbols of other religions.

    Popular culture reflects the dominance of the Christian West. Therefore Muslims must be aware of this influence. We as Muslims – simply cannot say yes to everything in pop culture. We cannot go down the slippery slope of the so-called plurality of religious truths. Never.

    • Adi says:

      Well said Dr.

      • abdj says:

        Dr Syed Alwi,
        Point taken on the unacceptability of the pluralism of religious truth.

        However, the concept of “Christian West” is no longer relevant as the “West” is now secular.

        • Dr Syed Alwi says:

          Dear abdj,

          There is much hypocrisy in the West regarding their so-called secularism. If they are so secular – then why is Europe banning the niqab, purdah or burqa ? Shouldn’t religion be a matter of personal choice – according to their secular doctrine ?

          In any case – the West will never vote in a Muslim to be their leader despite all their talk of secularism.

          They are secular only up to the point where secularism serves their interest. Beyond that – they are just like everybody else.

          • Indignant says:

            Dr Syed Alwi, your judgment about ‘much hypocrisy in the West’ on why Europe is banning the niqab etc. also reveals your own (hypocrisy). I’m referring to the fact that Malaysia also banned it back in the 80s and 90s. So why aren’t you speaking up about that? What the Europeans are actually protesting is what they perceive as the back door Islamization of their countries. Geddit? If as you say Malaysia is an Islamic country and therefore justified in the way it treats other religions, how about applying the same principle to these European countries that you are judging from your pompous throne?

          • abdj says:

            Dr. Syed,

            If you ask the reason they are banning the purdah/burqa/niqab, you also have to ask the reason why are they banning crosses from European classrooms. Clearly, secularism is at work there – not the “Christian West” as you claim.

            What I cannot agree with you is connecting the present “West” with “Christianity”. That is an outdated idea.

          • Dr Syed Alwi says:

            Dear abdj,

            They also want Muslim symbols like the minarets of mosques – to be banned. The West is still very much Christian in their culture and world-view. Try reading Habermas and Hans Kung to understand the West better. In any case – America is still staunchly Christian.

          • abdj says:

            The reason behind the banning of the minarets is to do with Islamophobia, not because of Christianity. Many people in the west connect Islam with terrorism, oppression and injustice (something which Muslims have to correct if they feel it is a wrong connection).

            America is staunchly Christian? I beg to differ. Some Americans are staunchly Christian – not the government, nor their policies.

          • thehumanist says:

            Dr. Syed Alwi,

            I do not presume to have the absolute truth regarding the political, religious and philosophical leanings of the Western world; however, your statements shows that you’ve neither studied European history nor have you taken the effort to be acquainted with Western philosophies. I shall take this time to dissect your argument and provide logical and historical facts to disprove you. I will first quote you, then disprove you.

            1. You said, ‘Popular culture reflects the dominance of the Christian West.’ This statement holds two incorrect usage of terms. Popular culture is a vague term used to summarize the widely adopted, hegemonic culture of mass media, commercialization and advertisement, and capitalistic values of the West. Christian West is also an incorrect term because you’ve generalized Christianity as a ‘Western’ religion. Go back to Ancient Rome and you’d realize that Christianity is an Asian Religion from Israel. Christianity originated in Asia, the East, and spread to Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Hence, you have proven in that statement that you’ve vaguely used the term pop culture and do not know the origins of Christianity.

            2.’hypocrisy in the West regarding their so-called secularism’, this statement of yours is especially damaging to your argument of the ‘Christian West’. It clearly shows that you’ve not read on something called the French Revolution or have been exposed to various Renaissance ideas and Enlightenment ideas, for example works by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. If you had any SLIGHT IDEA of the french revolution, you would have read about the increasing de-chrisitianization of catholic france, the seizing for church property, the breaking of the french church from the papacy and most importantly THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CULT OF REASON. now I take that you are a man of intellect and judgement. Go research on the aforementioned things and you will realize that you have just killed your own argument of a Christian West.

            3. ‘the West will never vote in a Muslim to be their leader’, let me ask you a question, will Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, or the UAE ever elect a Christian president? I guess not.

            4. ‘They are secular only up to the point where secularism serves their interest’ is the nail in your coffin. In 1798, French forces of the Republic under Napoleon (this is after the French revolution and the de-Christianization of europe) invaded, let me reiterate, INVADED the Vatican City (which is the center of the Catholic Church if you didn’t know that), EXPELLED THE POPE, and DECLARED A SECULAR REPUBLIC ON THE HALLOWED GROUNDS OF THE CENTER OF CATHOLICISM. Tell me, how is THAT half-hearted secularism.

            5.’Muslim symbols like the minarets of mosques – to be banned’, mhmm. Get your perspective right. Churches in the middle east get burnt and Christians get martyred every day many Muslim countries.

            6.’The West is still very much Christian in their culture and world-view’. clearly, revert to the French revolution. Oh yeah, if you’re saying that that doesn’t apply to today’s world. Let me remind you that Christianity is a source of continuous jokes in the West and Jesus is mocked daily.

            So, how do you reconcile your opinions of a ‘Christian West’?

            [...]

    • Hang Jebat says:

      Dr Syed: Earlier symbols of Christianity include the fish and the sheep. Are you advocating to ban those too?

      Are you aware that Malaysia is a multi-religious society? Or are your writing from some mono-religious country like Saudi or Yemen?

      Your sentiments are fine if they are held as a personal statement of faith, but NOT if they are expected to apply to how multi-religious Malaysia runs its inter-religious affairs.

      I’m pretty sure that some Christians, Buddhists and Hindus would also like to claim they have a stranglehold or monopoly on the truth. It’s like each religion wants to set up its own version of “Perkasa”. But where does that get us in moving Malaysia forward?

      Finally, Christianity did not come from the West but from the Middle East. Yeshua/Isa/Jesus was Palestinian Jew and so were his immediate followers. They were not a Caucasians from the West.

      There are strands of Christianity which were never “Westernized” including those of the orthodox Middle Eastern churches, Goa (India) and Ethiopia. So stop stereotying Christianity as a “Western” religion. This seems to be a favourite past time of some Muslims who feel antagonistically towards their Abrahamic cousins.

      It’s sloppy thinking and doesn’t do justice to knowledge and learnedness that Islam enjoins its followers to aspire to.

      • Sean says:

        I’m not so sure about the sheep being a big symbol for Christians (beyond a bit of Agnus Dei art), but the fish is “Ichthus”, Iesous Christos, Thiou Heious, Soter .. or something:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icthus

        I’ve heard a lot of people suggest that it’s something to do with the miracle of the fish sandwich, but the ‘secret society’ story was the one I got with my religious indoctrination at school.

      • Dr Syed Alwi says:

        Dear Hang jebat,

        Sorry but Malaysia is a Muslim country. In any case – mainstream Islam anywhere on Earth – rejects this so-called plurality of religious truth. That has nothing to do with Asean’s multi-religious society. We practice tolerance and respect for others. What we do NOT practice is – precisely – this so-called plurality of religious truths.

        We can practice tolerance without compromising the tenets of Islam.

        Finally – the origins of Christianity is NOT the issue here. Is there any doubt that the West is currently the scion and bastion of Christianity? None whatsoever. The West currently carries the Christian flag with the Cross as its symbol.

        Whatever its origin – we Muslims cannot accept nor glorify such symbolism as it could lead to the plurality of religious truth paradigm which mainstream Islam vehemently rejects.

        • Birdy says:

          ‘We practice tolerance and respect for others. What we do NOT practice is – precisely – this so-called plurality of religious truths.’

          Isn’t this sentence a bit of an oxymoron? But why the fuss now over all the crosses and ice-cream biscuits? Malaysia is like a laughing stock of the world now. These bloody YBs should just channel their strengths on more potent issues..not to keep raising petty ones. Vision2020 my arse!

        • Bad Rabbit says:

          Dr Syed Alwi,

          I normally am delighted to see your comments on this site and will honestly say I come to this site for them. However, I’m sorry to say that your responses on this issue have been intellectually dishonest at worst, or sloppy generalisations at best.

          Examples:

          “The West currently carries the Christian flag with the Cross as its symbol.”

          Please tell me what you are talking about? “The West” has no flag, countries do. Even most the largest “western” countries do not have crosses in them:
          - USA
          - Canada
          - Germany
          - France
          - Spain
          - Italy

          Even the EU uses five pointed stars, as do several Muslim countries.

          And as for the so called Christian flag, what are you talking about? When did Christianity become a country, except in the dubious claims of Vatican City?

          “If they are so secular – then why is Europe banning the niqab, purdah or burqa?”

          Europe is NOT banning any of these. France has, however, as has Syria (a Muslim country I believe – where is your outrage now?), but neither France nor Syria counts as “Europe”.

          Furthermore, your statement calls Europeans hypocrites over this issue when there is much debate there, even in France among its citizens. Many “westerners”, secular or religious, are defending Muslims’ rights to wear whatever they choose to where.

          I can only hope that you’re overworked or busy doing something else and commented without really reading what you’d submitted. Intellectually sterile comments are not something that we have come to expect from you, it’s disappointing.

        • Hang Jebat says:

          Dear Dr Syed Alwi

          Not sure what you mean by “Malaysia is a Muslim country”. If you mean the largest segment of its population subscribe to the Muslim faith, you are indeed correct.

          Beyond that, I would be extremely circumspect especially if you are referring to constitutional construct of Malaysia as a nation state which is clearly secular in nature as confirmed by our founding father, the Tunku and the Reid Commission. A certain “recalcitrant” former PM has been taken to task for attempting to rewrite Malaysia’s constitution by unilaterally declaring his country to be an “Islamic State” without seeking the consent of parliament to alter the constitution.

          Moreover, I’m not sure if non-Muslims in Malaysia want to be “tolerated” as you put it. Tolerance is NOT the basis for a multi-religious society like Malaysia. It suggests that you are only willing to “put up” with people of other faiths because you have no choice. There is always a choice and that choice is acceptance which is a more inclusive and all-embracing concept for nation-building. Of course, there is also the choice to move to countries which are mono-religious which you may be more comfortable with.

          If you cannot accept the presence of crosses, how do you expect others, not of your faith, to accept the presence of crescent moon symbol? That is a symbol too.

          Taken to a ridiculous extreme, does that also mean that you reject the use of the cross as a symbol for the addition function in mathematics and the use of “cross”-road junctions?

          • Dr Syed Alwi says:

            Dear Hang Jebat,

            Tolerance is all that we have. As Muslims we cannot accept a plurality of religious truths. If you want to accept as truth – the tenets of other religions – than thats your business. BUT – if you go around telling the Muslim community to accept the religous truth-claims of other religions – then I think that the Syariah Police will have to act on you.

            You must learn to understand the status and role of Islam in a Muslim community

          • Birdy says:

            Well said, Hang Jebat – faith is far more than just symbols. And whoever said anything about glorifying those symbols? It is only when this issue was brought into light that this unnecessary fuss was sparked in the first place.

          • Ted says:

            I think it’s interesting Dr Syed ignores many of the good points bought up by Hang Jebat, Bad Rabbit (especially) and Birdy besides many others.

          • Yeo Kien Kiong says:

            It is healthy to have discourse to understand the various symbols related to different religions around the world such as the cross or the box. Imposing bans or censorship without logic and rationale would highly erode one’s acceptance of those who are supposed to govern the country.

      • willie khoo says:

        Well said….. Hang Jebat.

    • Sean says:

      I think Dr Syed’s point of view is reasonable, as long as the ‘We’ to which he habitually refers are recognised as a collection of individuals who willfully subscribe to the same viewpoint. Such a qualification should be equally acceptable to the rational person and to the faithful Muslim who believes that “there is no compulsion in Islam”.

      I’m sure I’ve related this story before, but I can still vividly recall from when I was 9 or 10 years old the May Pole we decorated on the playing field at school with a new teacher, and the Priest (it was a Convent School) digging it up and dragging it away while we watched through the classroom windows, later to explain that it was a pagan symbol. I support the Priest’s action in so far as it was right from his point of view. My personal feeling of indignation, outrage and loss is almost as strong now as it was then – I do not share his point of view and did not then.

      I think such actions – as part of a group of free individuals who freely and individually consent to the rules of the group as part of qualifying as members – should be understood as what distinguishes one group from another. If a group of people wishes to ban their members from displaying or perceiving pairs of orthogonal lines intersecting near one or both midpoints, what ultimate harm is there?

      I think there’s only potentially a difficulty here because there’s some confusion over the size of the group and whether it is of sufficient size to warrant what otherwise appears to be an offensive level of state intrusion in all our lives. Dr Syed and PPIM may imagine the group he calls “We” is ten million strong locally, and others may suspect that the number of people who entirely, freely and consensually agree with Dr Syed and PPIM is not quite so great. Yet again we are unable to know the true size of the group due to Constitutional obfuscation of the issue.

      It’s an entertaining, shameful or thought-provoking topic, depending on your point of view. I suspect discussion of it is futile for as long as the Malaysian establishment continues to deny freedom of choice in matters of affiliation to its people.

    • valentine yapp says:

      …enough already! take a deep breath…chill out!! say your prayers and ask for peace on earth…be happy…all of you!!

      • loveearth says:

        Thank you, valentine yapp! Best idea so far: Help spread the peace that all religions preach.

    • Koala says:

      Muslims can choose not to eat biscuits with a cross and refrain from anything with a cross. It is their right anyway. But don’t you think its unfair to others?

      Very soon anything with a cross will be deemed offensive and disallowed in public. What about the letter “t” then? Or marking an “x”? These resemble crosses too, you know.

  5. Patrick says:

    So I guess every time I bite into a Moo Sandwich, I’m going to start thinking about wearing a rosary and singing happy-clappy Pentecostal songs.

  6. JL says:

    Oh good more jerseys for the rest of us :)

  7. m.k. says:

    Even though I am a Hindu by birth, I studied at a Catholic school run by the La Salle Brothers. We still visit the school and feel proud to see the traditional crosses and a very well maintained Chapel existing after more than 40 years.

    For us, this is a non-issue at least for the time being..

  8. Shahril H says:

    Dr Syed,

    Symbols are exactly that, symbols. And it would seem very evident to most that whilst the origin of the cross is undisputed, the significance it takes on a football jersey is very different from say, when it is in a church. Surely you understand, the symbol on the football jersey ceases to denote anything pertaining to Christianity or Christ, just as you must surely understand the same for the Paddle Pop ice cream. To say by wearing England or Man Utd I am glorifying symbols of other religions is to suggest that the meanings/significance/interpretation/contextualisation of symbols are fixed and predetermined. Now, that’s untrue and especially absurd so for symbols that, as it is, is extremely common (for more than the reason that traditions rooted in Christianity pervades everyday life) like the cross, the “t”.

    Also, I have to take issue with your idea that popular culture reflects the dominance of the Christian West. You cannot be serious. As a Dr., you should know you cannot get away with a statement like that in the academic world. It is the absence of nuanced analysis that one finds at the start of the slippery slope, Dr. Syed, not wearing jerseys with crosses.

    • Sean says:

      “the origin of the cross is undisputed”
      Waidaminnit!

      http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E5%8D%81

      The Chinese character for ‘ten’ can be found in Seal Script from several thousand years before it was associated with Christianity, and I suspect the Romans did not invent crucifixion just for Jesus!

      It’s just two straight things laid across each other – I think it must have naturally occurred long before it was possible to blog about it, or even to write gospels about it.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear Shahril H,

      Symbols are not just symbols. Popular culture does affect one’s views and beliefs. How do you draw the line between popular culture on one hand – and the paradigm of a plurality of religious truths on the other? As Muslims – you have to draw the line between pop culture and a plurality of truths. Its a very subtle process. First you accept symbolisms as “its nothing” to you. Then you accept the plurality of truths as “its all cultural relativism and multi-religious understanding”. Then it becomes “more hip to be one of them”. And the slippery slope goes on and on.

      It’s a gradual erosion of faith and belief.

      Finally – there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that the West dominates popular culture. Through their movies, entertainment industry, Hollywood, fast-food, TV etc etc – the West is indeed a cultural hyper-power. More than just superpower – but in fact a hyper-power. So much so that we ape them in their ways…..

      • SunnyOoi says:

        Dr Syed,

        Your lack of confidence in fellow Muslims is telling. Are you suggesting that the Islamic faith is so fragile?

        • Dr Syed Alwi says:

          Dear Sunny Ooi,

          Why you worry ? Stay out of Muslim affairs ! The Mufti has a right to advice Muslims.

          • SunnyOoi says:

            Yes I worry. When even Doctors start to fail in constructive debate then it shows a deepening rot in our society. As a tax payer who shares this country with you, I worry.

      • Silencers says:

        May I suggest that we turn towards Korea and Japan’s pop culture, then? J/K Dramas and even anime/manga has proven to be far more fascinating than western media anyway.

        Oh wait, there’s a lot of manga out there with Christian themes!

        Damn.

  9. Lainie says:

    So to be consistent, we should do away with the “+” symbol in all calculations?

    • m.k. says:

      Yes, and replace it with a “c” to mean campur! That would be fun!

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear Lainie,

      I am getting used to your frequent mockery of Islam. Perhaps you would like to focus on the Cross instead of the “+” sign ?

      • Birdy says:

        Lainie has a point. Heck, why not remove all Phillip screws for that matter? What’s all the fuss about an ice-cream biscuit or jersey logos anyway? Does this mean eating ice cream biscuits and wearing football jersey would confuse a person? Can a person be so weak that wearing a bloody jersey and eating an ice cream biscuit cause him to question his [or her] own faith? Now that’s dumb.

      • Lainie says:

        Dear Syed Alwi,

        That is so very strange, I don’t recall ever mocking Islam at all. Am very sure you have mistaken me for another.

        That being said, how will I know when a “+” or cross is being imprinted on my biscuits?

        Ever vigilant,
        Lainie.

        • dee says:

          I have to agree on you not mocking Islam. I think it’s more about mocking the level of certain intelligence.

          That is, if such can be classified as another level of intelligence.

      • JJ says:

        And perhaps Dr Alwi may want to learn the difference between the cross that looks like “+” and the cross of the Christian faith. Switzerland’s flag was included as one of those with a cross and the Swiss consulate has explained that the cross was an identification to differentiate the warring parties. It could well have been drawn like the cross in Scotland’s flag. All four corners are equidistant from the centre, unlike the Christian’s cross, which has a longer leg. And the red cross is a reverse of the Swiss flag.

        Try not to be so paranoid. Not all crosses represent Christianity.

    • gOPI says:

      LIKES THIS.

      From the time the fatwa for yoga was brought in, and the “Allah” issue, I have always followed one principle: that as a Hindu, it doesn’t concern me. So let the Muslims that don’t like this rule argue. It doesn’t concern the rest of us. I know it’s selfish, but truly I believe religion should not be a rule. Religion is meant to instill good moral values, and with good moral attitude one gains merit to be brought into the afterlife. What’s the point of a person wearing a burqa and not helping the poor? Is a [MU-jersey]-wearing person who helps a blind person cross the road a bad person?

    • ben says:

      I am going to “like” this comment a hundred times =D

      It’s reading these senseless arguments that makes me doubt my national pride… or what’s left of it.

  10. farha says:

    I seriously wonder if the ulamas realise that the crescent moon widely used as a symbol of Islam, actually predates Islam!

    Read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crescent (and please read all the citations along with it)

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear farha,

      The origins matter not a jot. The issue before us here is the current usage of such symbols.

      • Sean says:

        You said it – they’re football colours and a convenient way to divide a biscuit into 4! That’s why Muslims want to wear them and eat them – not because they’re about to dress up in tin foil, drop to their knees for “Brains, Balls, Wallet and Watch” before mounting their horses and spearing some Arabs!

        • Dr Syed Alwi says:

          Dear Sean,

          Muslims take religion very seriously. I think the muftis just want to ensure that Muslims do not fall down the slippery slope of a plurality of religious truths – via pop culture.

          A line has to be drawn somewhere for Muslims…..and the mufti was just doing his job.

          • Sean says:

            “A line has to be drawn somewhere for Muslims…..and the mufti was just doing his job.”
            I have a lot of sympathy for this point of view, just in case you thought this was all one-way traffic.

            On the other hand I recently watched a reconstruction on YouTube of an appalling crash involving large jets in The Netherlands (I think) in very bad weather. The conclusion drawn by the Inquiry was the the fundamental fault was a flight-deck culture where the subordinate crew would not question a Captain’s decision, even if the knew it was wrong.

            It’s difficult to know where to draw the line between interference and assistance. We are neighbours, for better or worse, and I would hope that if you were my next-door neighbour you would point out to me that I was attempting to leave my house with a slipper on one foot and a shoe on the other. I hope I would be gracious enough to see your sartorial advice as helpful, rather than an attempt to establish some kind of dominance over me – even if you happened to be holding your sides with the pain of restrained laughter while you pointed at my feet.

          • Hang Jebat says:

            Dear Dr Syed Alwi

            It is quite clear that this mufti and you don’t think very highly of the intelligence of Muslims in Malaysia i.e. that they need to be “guided” or, in some cases, “coerced” in every action or thought they may have.

            In your opinion, they don’t seem to be able to draw the line for themselves and therefore this mufti, with your support, should draw it for them lest they become “sesat”.

            Malaysian Muslims should shut down their God-given intelligence so that the “religious” police, unaccountable to anyone in this life but themselves and their political masters, will show them the “true” way at every turn and corner.

          • Silencers says:

            Clearly, the Muslims in Malaysia are naught but docile and intellectually incompetent herds of sheep [...]

  11. (To TNG: the ‘Reply’ in the threads is not working as it should)

    Anyway, I think TNG is being a bit one-sided with this coverage. While most Muslims I know are suspicious of covert evangelism, most of them aren’t that silly to get upset over any sign of the cross. There is a thread on Poco-poco on the I Luv Islam forum, and the consensus is that paranoia of the cross shape was completely unfounded.

    • In what way are we one sided when we are merely reporting what are quotes which have been published in the media? I’m sure Muslims in general think this fear-mongering is nonsensical but the purpose of this particular Found in Quotation is to demonstrate how state and non-state actors who have the capacity to influence public policy are whipping up fear in the name of Islam.

      Muslims who can’t stand this fear-mongering, and I’m sure there are many, are not the ones trying to set and direct public policy using state offices or through their links with state agencies.

      • I don’t think PPIM is a ‘state actor’ anymore than the I Luv Islam forum is. Is a press release all it takes for a group to be considered a ‘state actor’?

        Despite continued association with certain political parties, PPIM’s range of influence seems to begin and end with its following of hardcore right-wing types. Maybe I’m not remembering right, but I don’t remember PPIM actually coming up with statements that actually influence government policy at any level.

    • Truthseeker says:

      About this fear of the Cross? What I know is that the devil is afraid of it.

  12. Radix says:

    Everyone is entitled to avoid sending their children to schools from other religious traditions and avoid food / clothing that are perceived to carry symbols of other religions. That is our right to exercise freedom of choice in these matters.

    However, to openly declare that we find symbols of other religions disagreeable, even to the point of asking them to be destroyed, is deeply divisive – certainly not in line with 1Malaysia! In fact, it is effectively incitement to violence and should be regarded as a hate crime.

    • CC says:

      Well said. Every day, I happily work with, eat with, joke with, and generally spend loads of time with many friends of different religious backgrounds, cultures and creeds. To people who try to divide me and my friends, instil hate and suspicion, or ridicule any of us just because we have different beliefs and faiths – please stop. Accepting that we are different and can remain different does not mean that you are glorifying anything [...]

  13. Anon says:

    One day the Prophet Muhammad and his comrades were on a journey and they saw a prostitute cup her hands and offered a thirsty dog a drink of water. The Prophet then commented that this woman is destined for heaven.

    The Prophet’s comrades were of course perplexed. The woman is a prostitute and she is allowing a ‘filthy’ dog to drink out of her hands. That is two wrongs. How can she be a candidate for heaven?

    The point the Prophet (and Islam) was trying to make is that in spite of the woman being a prostitute (and is therefore a sinful or immoral person) and in spite of her allowing a ‘filthy’ dog to lick her hands, she had shown compassion to a thirsty animal. And a compassionate person is a heavenly person.

  14. Sean says:

    The Manchester United shield doesn’t have a devil on it, it has a Lion Rampant. As far as I can see, the club was nicknamed “The Red Devils” in the 1960s before the current shield was developed (later in the 1970s?), when the only icon on it was Manchester City’s ship. I presume they were called “Red Devils” because they played in Red, and ‘devil’ is a term of endearment in English – as in “poor devil”, or “lucky devil”.

    Given that the shield doesn’t actually have a devil on it, which is the more potent issue – the clothing or the team itself? How does Telekom Malaysia stand in this, given its sponsorship of the Red Devils?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/malaysia/7900366/Muslims-ban-Manchester-United-shirts-over-red-devil-image.html

  15. nipaa1412 says:

    Dear Dr Syed Alwi,

    I am sorry that I have to disagree with your statement that Malaysia is a Muslim country. I have always believed that Malaysia is a secular country. The constitution can approve my thoughts and beliefs. I respect your point of view and I hope that I am respected in the same way as well.

    Back to the topic, I think these are very, very trivial matters. I think they should concentrate on how to promote Islam instead of preventing people from converting away from Islam. There is a saying, “More laws will create more criminals.”

    Last but not least, this may sound silly but I honestly did not realise there were crosses on those shirts and biscuits until now. Cheers.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear nipaa 1412,

      What does it matter to you ? This is an issue affecting Muslims. Why are Non-Muslims trying to tell us Muslims what to do ?

      • Shaboinq says:

        In the article, you have Muslims telling non-Muslims what to do as well (with regard to convent schools)! Will this circle never end???!?!

        Secularism will win out in the end and I hope I live to see the day when religion takes a back seat.

      • myfish says:

        The gist of the problem that is of concern to many here is this thing that Muslims, the likes of Dr Syed Alwi, are trying to tell everybody else what they can and cannot do.

  16. Thinesh says:

    Dr. Syed Alwi’s arguments have rarely ever made sense in whatever article he chooses to comment on. He seems to be a pillar of support for intolerance, hardcore Islamisation without limits and generalisations about culture and religion. Shanon Shah has already rubbished many of his arguments before I believe, but let me reiterate:

    1) Since we are speaking of the meaning of current symbols, then any belief that the crosses of the jerseys and on the biscuits has any link to Christianity has no basis! The cross is a symbol of tradition and history for many Europeans, just as the wheel and the orange colour on the flag of India symbolise not Buddhism and Hinduism, but the strong values and philosophies behind the wheel, many of which are Buddhist and Hindu in basis.

    2) Malaysia is not a secular country. It is also not an ISLAMIC country where Islamic law reigns supreme. There is no reason why certain ‘Muslim’ interests, especially where they tread on the right of others including Muslims, must be prioritised over other interests, like in this case. It is a violation of people’s rights to have their sporting tastes determined for them.

    3) The bastions of Christianity today are clearly Africa, South America and the USA. Europe, Australia, New Zealand or most of the ‘West’ have abandoned their Christian roots, but emphasised the humanistic values gained from the old faith. Any mention of Australia being a Christian country, despite its Christian traditions today, would be frowned upon.

    No reason why Malaysia can’t do the same, without becoming godless and atheistic.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear Thinesh,

      When – a few years ago – I wrote many articles in Malaysiakini lending the non-Muslim views a support, the non-Muslims of Malaysia hailed and praised me. One of my articles was even carried by Lim Kit Siang’s blog.

      But it seems that the non-Muslims of Malaysia are only a one-way traffic. When they go beyond what is acceptable to Muslims and get criticised – the non-Muslims of Malaysia are quick to whack me.

      The way I see it – you people deserve your fate in Malaysia. You don’t like Umno. Good – because I sure hope that you like PAS. Malaysia is a Muslim majority country. DAP can NEVER come into power….

      Finally – why are you trying to interfere in Muslim affairs? Whether European jerseys are banned for Muslims or not – who are you to get involved? It does NOT concern you non-Muslims. Stay out of Muslim affairs. Mind your own business.

  17. matdene says:

    We’re all the same. We’re all scared of other people’s religions. The West fears the crescent, and here the East fears the cross.

  18. Confused says:

    Take a look at the Selangor flag. The flag is divided into four equal-sized sections. Now from my viewpoint, doesnt the partition look like a cross??? Should I fly the Selangor flag now?? Please enlighten..

  19. ORANG SARAWAK says:

    Only one solution for this. For those murtad-fearing Muslims, please don’t go to any convent or missionary schools because, as you know, these schools come from Christianity background. You know its history, so why bother go to such schools? Nama pun dah sekolah mission, berlatar-belakangkan agama Kristian, pergilah sekolah agama.

    [...] My ex-mission school in Sarawak consisted hundreds of Muslims, Christians [and people of other faiths]. None of the Muslim parents complained about this matter. Because we never looked at creed, but merely the reputation of the school! I do really think [certain people] need to solve their racial/religious problems as soon as possible, and stop being fascists.

  20. gerry says:

    I wonder why Malay Muslims are so wary about the cross. After all, Nabi Isa is also one of their prophets mentioned in the Quran. You despise your own prophet. Hypocrites indeed. If you seek migration, why choose the West? And then you expect the West to accommodate your insensible demands like wearing your niqab, purdah or burqa or any [...] attire? Go to countries that accept these [...] traditions and stop grumbling about no religious freedom.

  21. bkk says:

    Just let them be lah. If you think wearing MU shirts or eating ice-cream biscuits can erode your beliefs, then don’t wear it or eat it [...] We respect your beliefs, and I only hope you respect other religions’ beliefs and symbols. Fair?

  22. Russell Lei says:

    Apparently the Chevrolet brand of cars is also a no-go product. Chevy’s logo is a cross, see.

    As someone said, the days of cross junctions are numbered.

    Taking the matter to its logical conclusion, mathematics syllabus and calculators will also be submitted for religious vetting. Heck, keyboards too.

    Those infidel “+” and “x” keys are gonna meet their makers.

    May i just propose to replace the above symbols with a crescent and a half-moon?

    I deeply admire and respect the intellectual discourses emanating from these great minds. Honest to God.

  23. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Look people, the West is just as frightened of the crescent Moon – as the Muslim world is frightened of the Cross. The best example is the current situation in Europe where Islamophobia is growing out of control. Now they want to ban the burqa etc in flat contradiction to their secular pledge.

    • Adam says:

      The banning of the burqa has nothing to do with religion. It is for ease of identification of people in public areas. What if the men also decide to cover up, what sort of secret society are we advocating?

      And secular does not mean you can do anything. On the other extreme, as one cannot walk around naked, going around completely covered up and incognito should also not be allowed.

      • Dr Syed Alwi says:

        Dear Adam,

        What about the current Islamophobia in Europe ? They do NOT want mosques to have minarets anymore in Western Europe.

        So much for your liberalism. Go and see whats happening today in Western Europe where Islamophobia has gone out of control.

        • Birdy says:

          But its not that mosques are being burnt down. If one has strong faith and is secure in the Almighty, I don’t think structures would truly compromise his [or her] beliefs or faith. It just doesn’t make sense. These are just WORLDLY OBJECTS. They matter nothing to God. All God wants is for mortals to have faith … and glorify Him through actions and not architecture of sorts.

        • Bernard Chang says:

          What about the current Christianophobia in Malaysia? They do NOT want missionary schools founded by Christians or jerseys or biscuits to have crosses anymore.

          So much for your consistency. Go and see what’s happening today in Malaysia where Christianophobia is going out of control.

        • Adam says:

          Dr.,

          If I am not wrong, it is not the minarets that have been banned but for the loud-speakers that would be installed. If the mosque authorities were to ensure that loud-speakers would not be set up, I personally think that minarets would be allowed subject to the prevailing building laws.

  24. kckembara says:

    Aiyah, from all the 40 over resposes, all are arguing about symbol and symbol. Whether you wear a cross, devil, crescent or whatever; you are still the same as long as you have the faith. I wear songkok and love baju Melayu with kain samping but I am still an Apek Cina and a Catholic.

    Since century ago, religion has been a tool for someone who hungers for power. As we fear God, these smart people would use religion matters to control others. So, why we all argue when someone who is smart spreadng all these topics to divide the unity in us? A tiger is still a tiger even it is lying among the kittens!

  25. Bad Rabbit says:

    Dr Syed Alwi,

    This whole subject is catching you below your usual standards of intellectual rigour. I’m being serious, I love your comments normally but what is wrong with you at the moment?

    “Its the current usage that matters and not their origins. The Cross is currently a Christian symbol. And the Crescent moon is currently the Muslim symbol.
    They may have different origins but that is not the issue here. Its what the Cross currently symbolises etc. Ditto for the Crescent Moon.”

    Which cross do you refer to and in which culture?

    The Red Cross which appears in the Barcelona colours originally came from the Crusaders – The Reconquista – but this apparently doesn’t matter because the origin of a symbol doesn’t matter. What matters, in your words, is current usage, current symbology.

    The Red Cross in the FCB badge therefore means nothing religious, it is a piece of commercial property. It is something designed to sell t-shirts and memorabilia, so the only god close to being worshipped here is Mammon.

    And as FCB last year gave away a lot of that money to UNICEF, please note, not the Roman Catholic Church, UNICEF, a non-denominational organisation, it weakens your argument even further.

    Much of that money went to Muslim countries.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear Bad Rabbit,

      You got it all wrong ! Why are you Non-Muslims interfering in Muslim affairs ? Whether wearing European jerseys is banned for Muslims or not – why must you get involved ? Muslim rules are for Muslims only – its none of your business to get involved.

      Stay out of Muslim affairs.

      • Silencers says:

        The thing is, Malaysians see themselves beyond the line of faith. We see each other first as Malaysians … we’re not very happy at seeing foolish acts committed by our fellow [citizens].

        Sorang buat silap, satu keluarga yang malu. What you’re seeing here, Dr, is a harmonious Malaysia in action.

        • Dr Syed Alwi says:

          Dear Silencers,

          What I see here are non-Muslim Malaysians trying to interfere in Muslim affairs. Frankly the Malaysian Muslims do NOT even like this website.

          • noct says:

            How do you know we Malaysian Muslims don’t like this site?

            Has there been a statistical survey on the ethnicities and faiths of TNG’s readership?

          • apple says:

            Dear ‘Dr’

            “What I see here are non-Muslim Malaysians trying to interfere in Muslim affairs.”

            You are just talking about the jersey. Look carefully at the whole article. What I see here is Muslims trying to interfere in non-Muslim affairs. Ice creams biscuits? Convent schools? Come on. Who’s interfering [with] who?

        • Ida Bakar says:

          Well said, Silencer!

          Perhaps we can tell Syed Alwi to stay out of this because he is Singaporean.

      • Wayne Rooney says:

        When u mentioned cross, it became our business.

        • Dr Syed Alwi says:

          Dear Wayne Rooney,

          When Europe is steep into Islamophobia – it too became our business…..

          • Wayne Rooney says:

            Obviously the Europeans won’t care about what you think. Stuff like this happens because people like you see and think too much about everything. Even on cookies, jerseys and football clubs’ badges. It’s amazing how people can come out with something like that. Hatred fills your comments here. If there were more people like you in Malaysia, then we would be doomed. Islamophobia in Europe? Here you go. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2705919/Preacher-demands-Buckingham-Palace-be-turned-into-a-mosque.html

          • Dr Syed Alwi says:

            Dear Wayne Rooney,

            The Mufti has the right to advice the Muslim community and this issue affects the Muslim community alone. So why are you trying to get involved in the affairs of the Muslim community ?

          • pendatang says:

            Dear Syed Alwi,

            When you made Malaysia sound like an Islamic country with intolerable views towards other faiths and religions, it too became our business.

  26. frags says:

    Sigh….Alright, I’ll gather my jerseys, calculators and all my DVD collection of movies with the word devil. Lets all burn them in a giant campfire and sing kumbaya around it….Oh wait, let not sing Kumbaya since thats a Christian West thing.

  27. valentine yapp says:

    I’m glad i believe in the Bobohizan. Yup. When it’s time to plant the padi, we pay homage to the spirits. When it’s time to harvest the padi we again pay homage to the spirits. We do pray, if one would like to call it praying, to Kinoingan, to god, but in a nutshell Mother Earth is the real deal. It is here and now! This goodness is from North Borneo, not from some faraway place where we have to adopt someone else’s culture or whathaveyou – always finger-pointing, always trying to be right!!

    Anyway some people in white robes and some sporting headgear came to tell us that it’s wrong to “worship” the spirits. I wish my ancestors never listened to them!!

    Peace, everyone!

  28. Benny says:

    Did you guys see the boycott on Facebook for Crocs because of the ‘Allah’ word under the footwear? :P

  29. Subliminal says:

    Interestingly, Muslims are finding Europe a haven. Look at the inflow.

  30. Subliminal says:

    LIBERALS RULE!! I think if Malaysia has been directed thus far by so called religious conservatives then men wouldn’t we need a change..something more open ended?

  31. Alvin says:

    If any two lines that go across each other is a Christian symbol, does that mean we have to stop using the letter “t” and the letter “x” as well? Along the with addition sign and the multiply sign? No wonder all the negativity and division of opinions.

    I understand the fear of the influence of Christianity but to categorize all “+” signs as Christianity? That for me is just too much.

    Ban Muslims from putting on necklace and bracelets that have the cross sign, that I can still justify, but banning the jerseys and biscuits? Why not ban Chevrolet, Bayer, Swiss Airlines and most hospitals as well as ambulances? Oh, and there are still the multiple country flags as well as baby and first aid products for Johnson and Johnson. And there is always the board games such as Chess where there are bishops as well as the cross on top of the head of the kings, as well as Phillip screws.

    And oh yeah, change the PDRM logo as well, as they use two swords to go across each other. Along with the national logo, as the keris looks like a “+” as well.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear Alvin,

      Stay out of Muslim fatwas, practices and rulings. It has nothing to do with you. Go mind your own business.

      • Purbah Rambulan says:

        That’s strange as I don’t see any Muslim fatwas, practices and rulings in Alvin’s comment.

        Religion-bred idiocy and I saw that in your comment, Syed Alwi.

      • dee says:

        What you forgot to take into consideration is that whatever you do to your own people, the side effects will affect us non-Muslims. And I would say that that justifies Alvin’s comment.

        Whatever affect the biscuit industry will make an expensive changes. Worse cost would be incurred if the whole Mathematics thing were to be overhauled.

        Of course I would think lots of certain kind of people would benefit if cross sections were to be change for fear of the cross sign.

        Cost is one thing but maybe it would do good since more job opportunity would arise from this issue.

        The stifling man made rule will cause more “silent” defiance and protest… Again, more work for the law enforcement…

        not sure if there is much economic boost in all this fuss though.

      • noct says:

        “It has nothing to do with you. Go mind your own business.”

        You tend to run in circles Dr, and give desperate retorts such as the one above when you seem to run out of ideas for civil responses to other people’s opinions and comments….

        We are finding it to be increasingly pathetic especially from someone with the title of Dr. before their name.

  32. mike says:

    Hello Dr Syed Alwi,

    You do not come across as a young man. And as someone once said: “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk”.

    So, I wonder if this vehement pursuit against symbolism is simply tit-for-tat for the 1,000 years since the Crusades. If it is, let’s not forget the Middle East is like that today because of this tit-for-tat thinking that’s inbred into their culture. I say let the Americans (and some Middle Easterners) fight it out for the next hundred years if they want to avenge and keep avenging for 9/11 and anything else they want to blame each other for.

    On the other hand, if you’re not reacting to the emerging trend in the western world banning Muslim attire, I suggest that football jerseys and biscuits are simply commercial goods that may or may not impose (western) pop culture locally. We can advise against the pop culture habits and monitor the ‘slippery slope’.

    To simply ban western/Christian symbols is self-defeating because many products are designed there due to their status as ‘hyper-power’ as you call it. This country needs friends. Everyone does.

    More importantly, to simply ban symbols because you dislike or disagree with it shows that the strength of your argument against adopting such symbols is clearly weaker that your power in abolishing it. Are we a society of reason and tolerance, or one of brute strength in the name of leadership?

    I’d rather give the young ones the choice and convince them not to wear such jerseys if I have to, than simply enacting laws that is almost impossible to enforce. I say this because I think we can, and have done, better than the west in creating a pluralistic society.

    I believe we have real leaders who can lead by convincing, instead of simply overpowering.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear mike,

      Islam has its own rules. Whether you approve of those rules or not – is immaterial. This is an affair that affects Muslims only. Why are Non-Muslims trying to interfere in Muslim affairs ? Non-Muslims cannot dictate to Muslims what to practice ! My advice for you is – stay out of Muslim affairs as it does not concern you.

  33. SK cheah says:

    To all religious fanatics, Muslim, Christian and what-not alike, keep your faith by all means and keep it to yourself and don’t impose it on others. Keep it to yourself and the world will be a better place to live. Let your religion be the best in the world, find your solace and inspiration there. Period. There will be those that believe not what you believe, so be it. Why fight over religion? Each citizen is allowed to practise whatever faith they believe in.

    I got this from somewhere and how apt, especially to Malaysian folks:

    “Religion is indeed a principal thing, but too much is worse than none at all. The world abounds with knaves and villains, but of all knaves, the religious knave is the worst; the villainies acted under the cloak of religion are most despicable” — Ben Franklin

  34. XM says:

    Oh well, let’s protect ourselves from all first steps if we are going to buy into Alwi’s slippery-slope angst regarding popular culture. I would start with thinking about why so many modestly covered-up Muslims parade around in Malaysia with Levi’s labels on their posteriors. Isn’t that just a fantastic non-halal name?

  35. JayCKat says:

    [...]

    And Muslims wonder why non-Muslims are concerned over Islam. Please don’t go hiding behind the curtain of “but it is not in the Quran and thus not really Islam.” If the majority of a religion’s followers does X and demand that all followers do X and non followers respect X. Should it then by logic mean that X is part of the religion? To deny it would sound like double speak and insincerity.

  36. JayCKat says:

    Hmm… I believe that Dr Syed Alwi should share his views with the rest of Europe. I believe it would help the local nation government make up their mind on how to handle Islam.

    It is often said that the worse enemy of Islam is a Muslim. I could rephrase this as a joke, a piece of satire. But Dr Syed Alwi has already stated that Muslims don’t understand satire or jokes. Too serious and all that.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear JayCKat,

      Why does Muslim practices bother you ? If Muslims do not wear European club jerseys – then what is it to you ? We Muslims do NOT stop you from your religious practices. Why are you trying to interfere in our Muslim practices ?

      • JayCKat says:

        “We Muslims do NOT stop you from your religious practices. ”

        If that is a joke, I don’t even find it funny. Are you Malaysian?

        If you are Malaysian and sincerely have not noticed how you are treating your fellow country[folk] , I think you need pay attention.

        How about the call to Azan prayers at early in the morning over rather powerful sound speakers, which get a technology upgrade every year or two? What it means to me is loss of a good night’s sleep, and an unhappy baby.

        The strength of your faith is not boosted by the increasing wattage of the loud speakers that your money can buy.

        • Dr Syed Alwi says:

          Dear JayCKat,

          If you cannot stomach Muslim practices – then do NOT live in a Muslim country !

          • JayCKat says:

            By the way, Malaysia wasn’t a Muslim state when I was born. It certainly isn’t one according to the Federal Constitution. It wasn’t even a Muslim majority nation when my parents where children.

            And you really must speak to Europe’s leaders and tell them your views of non-Muslims. They aren’t sure how to react to demands of their growing Muslim population. And your views could clarify matters very quickly.

            Treat others as you want then to treat you…. and what goes around come around.

          • pendatang says:

            Malaysia is not an Islamic country by legislation or constitution, only by name and impression! Stop being so ignorant and stop copy-pasting your responses for every constructive comment that you cannot stomach! [...]

  37. BungyJumper says:

    Dear All,

    We must look at the big picture here. We are not talking about football jerseys, cowhead protestors, symbols, or burqas. If we can step out into deep space and look back onto the planet Earth, what do we see?

  38. Iammaraypeepore says:

    It is clear those subscribing to Dr Syed Alwi’s school of thought – and the demographic he often describes, have a fairly serious persecution and inferiority complex. 

    The lack of ability and/or empowerment (for whatever reason, historical or other) are compensated by an extreme exclusive piety. 

    Many times I have heard the following in my line of work in Malaysia and Indonesia: “we here in (some government co/GLC) may not be as good or capable as our counterparts in (some western multinational) BUT we are faithful and pious and will receive our merit awards in the afterlife, whilst our counterparts only perform well and get rewarded in the here and now.”

    Instead of technical or professional lunch and learn sessions, they have lunchtime religious sermons.  

    They make references, whenever possible, to their lost “Golden Age” time and time again as proof of “accomplishment” and to compensate for the fact that in modern times they haven’t been able to produce a Feynman, Gell-Mann or Einstein.

    All that baggage and they also have to rely on the non-believers for economic reasons – In the middle east, they have oil, but need Great Satan American technology to get it out, and buy it. 

    It doesn’t matter, because in the long run, they worship the CORRECT GOD in the CORRECT MANNER. In the afterlife they will be rewarded. 

    [...]. Seemingly insignificant and superficial issues – crosses on cookies, consensual intimacy between adults- are pounced upon; “you unbelievers may think these issues are trivial but only the FAITHFUL realise the gravity of these transgressions”. 

    Unbelievers may not question these actions: This is the last bastion of their pride and superiority.

    There are many who have evolved out of this narrow and restrictive thought framework and are demonized as liberals or secularists.

    • Sean says:

      I think it’s important to treat Dr Syed Alwi as an individual. He isn’t the only person who comments on TNG who attempts to lend his views greater weight by referring to himself as “we” or “us”. We (the other reader I imagine exists and me) are not overwhelmed by comments confirming his views, and there have been dissenting voices who appear to have similar affiliations.

      Do you know how many people are “subscribing to Dr… school of thought”? Do you know where the school gates are? No. We (all of us) should verify the issues and any claimed authority with which the author writes before taking up positions for and against them, particularly when a person claims they are a spokesperson for some group. Are they really a spokesperson? Who nominated them? What mechanism selected them? Is it a simple case of cheap self-aggrandisement? Schizophrenia? The man from Gadara? A very inaccurate headcount (which should have stopped at ’1′)?

      In Dr Syed Alwi’s case, it is particularly important not to confuse ‘we Malay Muslims’ with a group of people numbering over ten million in Malaysia alone – for one because an apparent member (but see point two) of the same group has once disagreed with him and for two because Constitutional obfuscation of consenting membership of that group means we cannot even hazard a guess at how many people might be tempted to agree with him on the basis of such an affiliation alone.

      Perhaps TNG could update their comment policy to encourage authors to write in the first person singular unless they list the names of those they speak for, or the organisations on whose behalf the poster claims to write so that we can check they are authorised to do so. I suspect very few of us (all of us who write and read here) can claim any authority to enter into a reasoned debate beyond the individual right to hold our own opinion and the less uniformly guaranteed right to express it.

  39. T.M..Lee says:

    What do you have to say Dr.
    TM just signed a sponsorship with Man United?

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear T.M. Lee,

      So what ? Muslim issues are for Muslims to resolve ! Why do you want to interfere in Muslim affairs ? Whether TM sponsors Man U or not – the Mufti still has the right to advice Muslims. Why are yo so kaypoh about Muslim issues ? You go and mind your own business.

  40. Daniel Shinzu says:

    Syed Alwi,

    [...] try to imagine this: living in a secular country where the majority happens to be Christians and Muslims the minority, imagine a priest or a Christian religious leader issues an official statement saying “Christians must not bear the symbol of the crescent because it is un-Christian, wrong and goes against the belief of Christianity”.

    Would you not be offended then, that someone else from another religion makes a public statement saying the symbol that represents your religion is wrong therefore Christians must not wear anything that symbolizes your religion. You believe your faith is right, Christians believe theirs to be right.

    So, in this complex melting pot of various creeds and races, who’s right? Of course no one is, because like I stated earlier, “perspective is relative in a collective”.

    The issue here is not the “Others” meddling in Muslim affairs. It is simply the issue of sensitivity, respect and tolerance. One should never be careless is making public statements concerning religion, since it is a very sensitive issue for everyone. One that could easily offend others.

    And there is nothing wrong for the “Others” to question such a questionable “fatwa” such as the cross on jersey issue. Commenting and giving an opinion regarding such matters is not meddling.

    Remember the Golden Age of Islam? Freedom of expression and tolerance in intellectual debate were the seeds that allowed Islam to grow and flourish into unparalleled brilliance during the Islamic Golden Age. Critical thinking, rational discourse (even in questioning religious matters) and inter-faith discussions were allowed and encouraged.

    Such values are timeless, irregardless of whether this is the era of the Abbasids or today’s modern day.

    It is sad to see a “Dr” putting out questionable accusations and weak arguments laced with emotions, arrogance and self-righteousness. No one is attacking Islam, in case you haven’t noticed.

  41. Bad Rabbit says:

    Dr. Alwi,

    You tell non-muslims to stay out of muslim affairs although you must know from your life experience that this is not alays possible, despite you insisting so in increasingly insulting language.

    Malaysia, whether you accept it or not is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious country. The communities who live here are co-dependent and what impacts one community can very often impact another.

    Demographically Malaysia is roughly 60% Malay by far the majority of the country. So should a decision be made to ban a product by the Muslim/Malay authorities the impact will be felt by the non-Muslims.

    At best, it will result in price increases in the product as the distributor/agent seeks to avoid the losses in profits. At worst they decide it is not worth importing any more and cease bringing in that product.

  42. Bad Rabbit says:

    Dear Dr. Alwi,

    A wise man once wrote:
    There is nothing wrong with religion or affirmative action. But, like everything else in life,they must be taken in moderation and with a pinch of salt. A little doubt is good. Unfortunately in Malaysia ,emotions over Islam have overcome reason.

    He’s a smart guy and you really should listen to him….

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear Bad Rabbit,

      I know what I wrote and what I meant when I wrote it. Now – where is the quid pro quo from the Non-Muslims of Malaysia? I still believe in what I wrote – but what are the Non-Muslims of Malaysia going to do to return the favour? By asking the Malays to forget Islam? Is that pragmatic? Or should the Malaysian Non-Muslims get wiser about the Malay psyche regarding Islam? Quid pro quo my dear friend!

  43. Thinesh says:

    Dr Syed Alwi, it is you who should stop interfering in the business of fellow Malaysians by denying them basic rights! It is not your job to decide for other Muslims what their views should be, and to that extent even the ulama’s role is very suspect. Read the comments in this section and you will see that the very values promoted by the early Muslim scholars, reason and inquiry, are present in many of the others’ opinions, but none in yours! Next time you ask a young Muslim boy in Malaysis not to wear MU t-shirts, remember that.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear Thinesh,

      Considering the fact that TNG manipulates debates and censors my postings – I have absolutely no respect and sympathy for Malaysian non-Muslims. You deserve PAS.

      • noct says:

        Considering how incendiary your postings can be Dr, TNG should not be blamed for having to censor you. It is their right as moderators.

  44. dominik says:

    Dear Dr.,

    I am a Catholic. I am very upset that you insist that mission schools should destroy the status and crosses because it is against Islam. How can status and crosses insult Islam? You don’t have to look at it, just like if I don’t like you, I will not look at you, that all!

    You seems to forget that Malaysia is a multicultural, multireligious country. If you as a Muslim cannot respect the beliefs of other citizens in this country, how can you help us to respect Islam? The Islam that I know from my Muslim friends is not like that. They respect other religions and their practices.

    If you insist that status and crosses be demolished, then you should insist that the status of Buddha, Kuan Yin and other symbols be destroyed too as they go against the Islam that you propogate.

    Finally, let me remind you that Christianity was born of the Middle East. Jesus Christ was from the Middle East, not from the West or Europe. Just like Prophet Mohammed is from the Middle East.

    Salam.

  45. Colin Wong says:

    Who is Syed Alwi? I am so disturbed by the truth that he has revealed to us. Now I know why Shah Alam has so many roundabouts – we are in the process of converting all crossroads to roundabouts. From the GPS and street directory, Christians have marked all of Malaysia. Damn the Brits! Crossroads are actually symbolic marking of Christian territory. It is like Celcom’s billboards that scream “Ini Wilayah Celcom”. Double damn, even the national car Proton has a cross right in the middle!!!

    Alwi, I suggest that you focus on real issues rather than picking on petty things. No wonder this country is going to the dogs (oops). You are talking as though Islam is REALLY the only truth. Like one person said, other religions have their views about Islam as well, so spare us a thought.

  46. reader says:

    Why should non-Muslims be concerned about Muslim affairs? Perhaps they are also worried about a slippery slope… here’s a poem about not caring what happens to others in your community:

    “They came first for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me,
    and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

  47. shoobaba says:

    Interesting. Ice cream biscuits eh? I’ve been feeling distant from the church lately, I should eat more Moo to make up for it.

  48. Iammaraypeopre says:

    After seeing the effect of Lanie’s cartoons has on people, one in particular, I’d like to make a donation of RM 500.00 so she can make more.

    How many strips would that buy me, Lanie? Let me know how I can transfer the money.

  49. Daniel Shinzu says:

    You’re correct there, that Malaysia is a Muslim-majority nation. But when you speak of “Islam plus Malay Privileges” you are only speaking on behalf of the near 60% of the country, while the 40% are of other races and creeds, and not the nation as a whole.

    An Islamic state (Muslim country) is defined by the political and economic systems that embodies and implements Islamic models and ideals as per stated in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) based on the Quran and the Sunnah. Beginning with the Caliph, the Majlis as-Shura, Sharia law, so on and so forth. And if you have noticed, such laws are only applicable within the state level as stated in the Federal constitution.

    Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution states:

    “Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation”

    The Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission, 1956-57 Report, states that this Article “shall not imply that the State is not a secular State”. In 1988, the Supreme Court decision in Che Omar Che Soh reaffirmed that “the law in this country is still what it is today, secular law”.

    The Federal Constitution does not support the notion of Malaysia being an Islamic state. It supports instead that Malaysia is a liberal secular state with some abridgment against liberalism and secularism in recognizing Islam and also the identity of Malay being tied with religious Islam.

    The original covenant solemnly agreed upon that birthed our nation not be imperiled by ideological bias or extremism, be it racial or religious.

    By no means to disrespect Islam as the official religion of the Federation, but I am merely stating, not claiming, the notion that it is a concrete fact that Malaysia is not an Islamic country, but instead, is a secular country.

    I believe it is you that is claiming Malaysia to be what it is not, by mere oral declaration, assumptions and hasty generalizations.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear Daniel Shinzu,

      First of all, a Muslim country is NOT necessarily an Islamic State. A Muslim country is one with a Muslim majority that controls or dominates the political scene.

      Secondly, the majority of Malaysian Malay-Muslims view Malaysia as being NON-SECULAR despite the Reid Commission and what not. They will not vote for secularism. Neither PAS nor UMNO supports secularism.

      Finally in reality – the Malay-Muslim control of Malaysia means – in practical terms – that Malaysia is NOT secular.

      You can talk all day about the Constitution – but you do not have the political power to change the Muslim nature of Malaysia. Yours is a purely academic and impotent discourse….

  50. pkunkish says:

    What a ridiculous argument. God doesn’t exist. People die and become fertilizer for the soil. End of discussion.

  51. mnz says:

    Dr Syed Alwi,

    I am a Muslim. But what I wish for is: religious freedom not just for non-Muslims, but for Muslims as well. Muslim-born individual should have a right to choose the degree of their religiosity, and how much they would like to believe the muftis. That right should be stressed on, and the mufti or religious personnals should be open to critism. Either you give Muslims that degree-of-religiosity right, or you let them opt out of the religion.

    It is for this reason – my fear of what would happen when the Islamist *really* take over – that I have doubts about voting for PR (the PAS factor).

    • Sean says:

      “… fear … about voting for PR”
      While we’re on the subject of fear and religion (crowbar, crowbar) – would your concern about political manipulation of religion make you consider voting for a 3rd political option? PSM (not entirely 3rd – they promise to side with PR) once promised to end ‘religious politics’. Would that kind of political promise attract your vote or not?

      • mnz says:

        Yes, maybe.

        PR would appear to be a more principled opposition, if they booted out PAS. All this while, PR have been justifying the presence of PAS by saying something like “See, nothing bad happen in Kelantan mah, Perak was ok under Nizar, right…” etc, etc. But we know that the Islamists are not that stupid to show their true colors at the state level.

        PAS hanged on to PR, because they would do anything to get a bite of the federal government. Once PR takes over, it would be PAS vs DAP/PKR. PAS feels that it will have a better chance to completely take over the government when this happen, in this sort of scenario. Anyone on the ground, who’s familiar with PAS-type personalities and have seen a PAS religious sermon (attended only by Malays) would find it difficult to disagree with this..

        The alternative media have been talking about truth and principles all this while. So I think its time to stick to principles, and boot out the Islamists.

      • mnz says:

        Yes, maybe.

        What I am trying to say is: if one is really against Islamism, then one should not be sleeping with those who epouses Islamism. That would be a more principled politics. If you are against religious politics, then you should be non-religious politically. What we are seeing today, as in the article, is just the monster rearing its ugly head.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear mnz,

      Trouble is – you cannot modify Islamic teachings and practices to suit your whim and fancy. No one can. I myself believe that Islam needs a re-interpretation. But I know that this will not happen anytime soon. Maybe in 100 years when the Middle East has industrialised and the Arabs become familiar with the problems that arise when implementing Islam in a modern, industrial society. Until then – one has to be patient.

      The majority of Malaysia’s Muslims ARE conservative. You either learn to live with that reality – or it will be tough on you.

      • mnz says:

        Syed Alwi,

        I did not say anything about re-interpretation. I think that will be difficult, even in a hundred years. Several have tried – in books and articles – to re-interpret the religion, but the conservatives are quick to shoot all down.

        All I’m asking for is that: a Muslim should respect the right of other Muslims to be or not to be religious.

        • Dr Syed Alwi says:

          Dear mnz,

          You do not have that right in Islam! That’s why during Ramadan, Muslims who eat openly are arrested. That’s why we have the syariah police etc. In Islam, the Muslim individual has a responsibility towards the Muslim community.

          • mnz says:

            “You do not have that right in Islam!”

            Now, this certainly needs a re-interpretation.

            “In Islam, the Muslim individual has a responsibility towards the Muslim community.”

            What sort of responsibility? That every non-religious Muslim must pretend to be a good Muslim to keep the religious Muslims happy?
            Please elaborate academically (or theologically).

          • Dr Syed Alwi says:

            Dear mnz,

            You cannot go around publicly violating Islamic rules. If you must violate Islamic rules – then do so at home and keep it to yourself.

            The individual Muslim has a responsibility to keep up the good image of Islam.

            So while maybe you are free to be non-religious, you are however not allowed to display this publicly.

  52. Shaboinq says:

    Lol, it’s hilarious how according to the good doctor, Muslims are afraid of the Cross. I thought the only thing (person or item) a Muslim should be afraid of is Allah and not a cross. Why so takut lah? It’s amazing how paranoid some Muslims are. Onoz, the Christians want to convert you! Macam lah the Christians got nothing better to do with their lives.

    Anyway, to keep on topic, both my parents went to convent schools and they’re both strict observers of Islam. My father praised his school because it was one of the best schools in the country during his time and my grandfather insisted he go there instead of one of the schools Dr Syed Alwi had the pleasure of attending.

  53. PH Chin says:

    Dr Syed Alwi,

    May I suggest you to look into the Federal Constitution.

    No where does it says Malaysia is a Muslim country. It only says the official religion in Malaysia is Islam.

    There’s a different between a Muslim country and a country where Islam is the official religion. In the former, the Sharia is the only law of a Muslim country whereas in Malaysia, the supreme law of the land is the Federal Constitution, a secular law.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear PH Chin,

      Let me now introduce you to REALITY – Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country – so why don’t you ask the Muslim majority whether Malaysia is a Muslim country or not ?

      Do you honestly think that the Muslim majority is going to sit back and let you turn Malaysia into a secular nation ?

      Welcome to REALITY !!

      • Wayne Rooney says:

        “Let me now introduce you to REALITY – Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country – so why don’t you ask the Muslim majority whether Malaysia is a Muslim country or not ?”

        Why wanna ask the Muslim majority people, they are not the law or the constitution. REALITY is, look at the constitution, doc!

        You’re living in your own reality, which is narrow and shallow and everything poor. The blindness of your brain will soon bring you down. Doc, nobody is trying to deny Islam in this country. Stop over-reacting [...]

        • Dr Syed Alwi says:

          Dear Wayne Rooney,

          The Constitution is interpreted by the Muslim majority as saying that Malaysia is a Muslim country. Its you who is living in a dream……

          • Yee says:

            Dr. Syed Alwi,

            “The Constitution is interpreted by the Muslim majority as saying that Malaysia is a Muslim country. Its you who is living in a dream”

            Oh doc, I wonder where you got your Ph. D from. [...] Back to the topic, were you actually one of the creators of the constitution? No. You and a whole of rubbish politicians and their rubbish supporters are just simply interpreting the constitution according to your Malay, Islamo-centric liking. Father of independence, Tunku Abdul Rahman himself has already stated that Malaysia is a secular nation. Yes, Islam is the official religion, but no laws, even Syariah laws, are above our constitution, which is universal for all. Malaysia is not a Muslim country! Oh doc, just like millions of others, even including your own Muslim brethren, I’d say it’s you who needs to get a life and wake up to reality. If you still like to flame the majority vs minority sentiments, I’d say: don’t ever complain when you got oppressed in Singapore because the majority of Singaporeans will it.

          • Wayne Rooney says:

            You said “interpreted”. Is the interpretation official? Has it been endorsed, and turned Malaysia into an official Muslim country? Majority, yes, officially Muslim nation, nope.

          • Dr Syed Alwi says:

            Dear Wayne Rooney,

            Official or not – its a political reality that you have to live with. The Muslim majority will NOT allow Malaysia to be secularised. You can either learn to live with that reality and make the best of it – or you will be unhappy. Either way – the political fact and reality is that the Muslim majority insists on Malaysia remaining a Muslim country. You have no choice in this matter.

      • PH Chin says:

        Dear Dr Syed Alwi,

        Please have a look at the Federal Constitution, it’s as secular as the United Kingdom !

        The Federal Constitution is the ONLY SUPREME LAW recognised by ALL Malaysiana, whereas the syariah law is only applicable in certain states.

        • Dr Syed Alwi says:

          Dear PH Chin,

          And will the Malaysian Muslims vote for a political party that will secularise Malaysia ? Will PAS secularise Malaysia ?

  54. Farouq Omaro says:

    Yes, and recently they even blacked out a cross on a Filipino TV serial running on local television. Do you think they should ban crosses, churches, and maybe they should ban Christians too? Sorry, I am just being sarcastic, can’t help it.

    Syria being Christian for banning the burqa? Is Turkey Christian for insisting on its secular ideology while promoting alcoholic drinks, legalising prostitution and allowing newspaper advertisements for Christian evangelical programmes?

    It’s so easy to dismiss everything on popular culture as featuring the “Christian West”! I find certain places in Sabah and Sarawak are much much more Christian than the West, and some people like the Indonesian Timorese, Torajas and Visayans who abound in Sabah are more christian than many Westerners I have met.

    In fact, most of the West seem to have lost touch with their Christian roots. So I am not sure the term Christian West is appropriate. In fact, some Western nations are more Islamic than Muslim countries like Albania, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, in that they accommodate Muslims more than they have accommodated even Christians in these modern times. Remember how Santa Claus was banned from some schools because they offend Islam, and crucifixes removed from overwhelmingly Christian schools because they offend Muslim students? And also the number of shops selling halal meat in the UK easily surpasses shops selling halal meat in Uzbekistan!

    All attacks on Christianity such as banning of the word “Allah”, calling for the demolition of Christian statues etc are just a reflection of the lack of conviction of the powers that be in their own faith. This, however, can and will change.

    By the way, I wonder if Dr Syed Alwi is really serious or just being sarcastic?

  55. Fuzzy Logic says:

    Dear All,

    Thank you what has been a most entertaining and fruitless argument. I can’t help myself but just to have my little say.

    Firstly I believe Malaysia is not a Muslim country. Yes 60.4% are Muslims, but what about the other 39.6%? Just because Muslims are the majority does not mean the others are of any less significance. Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhism, it doesn’t matter, Malaysia is Malaysia, no need to label it. If Malaysia wants to move forward, be part of the modern world and a fully democratic nation, then it is best do away with all these pedantic issues and look at the bigger picture! Deal with our economic problems, corruption, immigration, education, you know? The important ones! Cross on an ice cream!? Please, Malaysia, don’t embarrass us any further!

    Are people so paranoid about their own faith that accepting anything to do with other their own would mean eternal damnation, and raging fireballs from the heavens shall smite me on the very ground I stand!? NO! Of course not! I am Malaysian Malay (take note of the order of that) and a Muslim. I went to a Christian school and went to church every single day. I enjoyed it. I loved singing my heart out to the hymns, I loved Christmastime! And I also throughly enjoyed our reverend’s teachings every morning and have learnt a lot.

    Am I now a Christian? Nope. I’ve been to Mecca. Twice. Still am and will always be a Muslim. Because that is my faith, and no matter how many times I sing Amazing Grace or Libere Me or listen to readings, my faith is unwavering. Would we all not laugh if we read a tabloid about a man from a “Western” country being insulted for seeing a crescent moon in the night sky? YES! But it is all these things that is hold us back. We are the tabloid nation.

    All I want to say is, grow up, Malaysia. You’re nearly 53 years old. You left suckling at the bosom of the British commonwealth to prove yourself, and rightfully you did, now it’s about time you show the world and us what you can really do! Go Malaysia! I believe (slightly) in you!!

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear Fuzzy Logic,

      Maybe you are among the few Muslims who do not admit that Malaysia is a Muslim country. But the Muslim majority strongly believes that Malaysia is a Muslim country. End of story.

  56. CSK says:

    I am tired with this “my religion is better than yours” issue. Please keep it to yourself. I know you want to praise God and die a martyr and so on, please go ahead. Maybe fighting for your religion will guarantee you a place in heaven, please go ahead but let’s respect other people’s belief. Don’t force it down their throat. Trying to change other people’s faith by force or trickery is shameful and I thought this shameful act is only found in the history books and shame of all shame it is happening in Malaysia. I suggest we start to think more about the growth of our nation. Economically we are lagging behind our immediate neighbour and after 50 yrs of mis-management and focusing on the wrong things it has left us wanting in many areas. Only 23% or our workforce are skilled/educated whereas in other nation it is 40%. Big, big problem and your are wasting your time talking religion which is a personal thing and for Pete’s sake don’t tell me otherwise. Keep your religion to yourself. Period.

  57. Ida Bakar says:

    Dear Dr Syed Alwi,

    While you are in the mood for rememberance, remember the time when missionary schools with their crucifixes and religious statues educated Malayans and the inhabitants of Sarawak and North Borneo. Remember when on the death of Tun Razak representatives of the Christian, Hindu and Buddhist faiths said their own prayers at the catafalque for his departed soul. Remember when Tunku Abdul Rahman was being headhunted to lead the embryonic OIC by Abdul Aziz ibn Saud when the Tunku made no secret of his gambling and drinking. It was a time when Islam was ELEVATED to the personal sphere instead of being RELEGATED to being tools to further ones’ spurious ambition.

    You claimed that in Islam there is no such thing as religious plurality. True, in Islam there is no God but the one God and Muhammad is his Messanger. But in anything else Muslims are not homogenus and Islam is not monolithic. Furthermore, Malaysia is a pluralist country. So who are you, a Singaporean to dictate to us what we should be when your own country’s religious authority has no problem with Man U jerseys?

  58. mnz says:

    OK, ok Dr Syed Alwi,

    You have spoken loud enough – Malaysia is a Muslim-majority (but supposedly non-Islamic) country.

    But even in a Muslim country, Muslims should accept the right of other Muslims to be or not to be religious, the muftis should not act like as if they know better about those jerseys and all others are little ignorant children who should follow their say, the imams, scholars and the Islamists should not be thinking that everyone should think alike. The conservative majority should respect the right of the minority non-religious (I won’t use the word ‘liberal’) – those Muslims who do not feel comfortable in following rigidly and literally the words and forms of the religion.

  59. Farouq Omaro says:

    Dear Syed Alwi,

    Also remember East Timor? Sabah and Sarawak could be another East Timor if there are people who continue to push the Islamic agenda as this would greatly sideline the Christian bumiputera.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear Farouq Omaro,

      Perhaps I should remind you that Malaysia KICKED OUT Singapore in 1965 precisely because of this Malaysian Malaysia nonsense.

      You do NOT want bloodshed. So may I suggest that you first learn what it means to be a citizen of a Muslim country ?

      • alamak says:

        Empty threats, here’s a keris while you’re at it.

      • Adam says:

        Dr.,

        It was Singapore who wanted out if Malaysia would not accept equality for all. Sabah and Sarawak also wanted out but Malaysia refused to let them go because of oil, timber and other natural resources. They thought Singapore would die without any resources but the little red dot has shown what clean and people-oriented governance could do and they never looked back.

        Whereas Sabah and Sarawak have been raped and pillaged till kingdom come.

        Malaysia for all Malaysians is not nonsense, so is Singapore for all Singaporeans. Only when a nation takes care of all her citizens including and especially her minorities, would a nation progress to greater heights.

        And yes, nobody wants bloodshed but if blood has to be shed for peace and equality to be achieved, so be it, even if it is my own.

        • mnz says:

          >> Malaysia for all Malaysians is not nonsense, so is
          >> Singapore for all Singaporeans.

          Adam,

          It is a nice thought, and I wish it would be simple. We have been fighting for a Malaysian Malaysia for so long, but the main argument against a Malaysian Malaysia has been that the bulk of the Malays would be lost out in the competition. They would lose out in academics, they would lose out in the profession.

          And the nationalist would point to the Malays in Singapore to stress the fact that Singapore is not actually equal for all Singaporeans, although the opportuniy is equal for all, the capabilities are not. In fact, they don’t have to look at Singapore as an example of why a Malaysian Malaysia would not work — they can just point out UTAR as an example. Its not something, a feeling, held by just the political elites, but if you talk to any random Malay in town or in campus, you’ll find more or less the same feeling. Maybe, some form of scientific study would be useful and get us somewhere.

          I think we have to sit down and analyze the real problem, the actual roots and causes, and work on that, instead of hallucinating about the same oversimplified problem again and again and again….

  60. Nadya says:

    You really need to stop speaking on our behalf. The more you talk for us Muslims, the worse we all sound. How about you just speak for yourself.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear Nadya,

      Perhaps you’d like PAS to speak for you ?

      • Neo Zypher says:

        Syed,

        I would rather have an open minded PAS than narrow minded Dr. like you to speak on behalf of the Muslims. Your antics on TNG is well documented and well read by the TNG community.

        Put simply, you subscribe to a specific school of thought that liberal muslims are trying to shed. Besides, don’t you have better things to do other than rebutting anything that is deemed unIslamic by your good self?

      • noct says:

        Why should PAS speak for her, or us? They do not represent the entire Muslim community in this country.

        [....]

  61. Char says:

    On the topic of crosses in schools :
    Its a Convent School. These schools were in place for years and years with Catholic nuns running them no less. No one was influenced in any way shape or form to abandon their religions. By the time I went to school, the nuns were long gone (thankfully because I hear they were VERY strict).

    I’m a Protestant, when I was in Convent School, there were no attempts to convert me to Roman Catholicism. The Catholic students had Catechism classes and the Muslim girls had their Agama classes. The rest of us had a bit of free time for homework, studying, reading and of course, the staple in all girls schools, yakking. We mixed well together with no issue. My Muslim schoolmates could recite the Quran beautifully. They also had zero knowledge about Roman Catholicism. The cross never bothered anyone or ever came up in as topic of any conversation.

    Right now, there are major social issues / problems begging to be addressed and I can safely say, Muslims being influenced by symbols and trying to convert to other religions, falls very very very low on the list. It is an insult to Muslims all over. Leaders of any kind need to be more in touch with the people they lead.

    On other topics:
    By the way, ” we Muslims cannot accept nor glorify such symbolism ” Neither can Christians. And say what you like about the West, but the a mosque is being built at Ground Zero. If the situation were in reverse, I think the mere suggestion would have cost lives.

    “Islamophobia” I would not advocate any “religiouspohobia”.
    No one should ever say anything ill of any other religion. But I don’t agree with the notion that someone can kill or threaten because “my religion says so.”

    Respect given is respect earned. I have heard the Imam at the local Mosque yelling at the top of his voice, further aided by the microphone that other religions are the makings of the devil. Instead of wasting time exerting control like the school bully, how about some sort of education [for] clerics.

    Islam is beautiful. Why isn’t that being preached instead of inciting hatred as a means for control. From where I’m standing, everything seems to be “not-tolerated.” How about promoting peace and understanding instead of hardcore non-tolerance.

    “what have you done to improve Muslim-non-Muslim relations in Malaysia.”

    What have you done to improve Muslim-non-Muslim relations in Malaysia?
    This country is a beautiful place to live. I have close friends from all religions and backgrounds. That our politicians stoop to using religion to grapple for power…is disgusting. That religious leaders allow it…Despicable. I mean this for any religion.

    One day, when the county implodes, then we’ll all ask ourselves, what have we done? I hope I’m not still alive when that day comes.

  62. Bad Rabbit says:

    Dear Kate Green,

    It does not matter what the symbol’s origin was, only how it is used today, by that meaning the Crescent is a symbol of Islam!

    Do not try to destabilise South East Asia!

    Do not argue with Islam, or I’ll threaten you with violent acts from the 1960′s.

    Stay out of Muslim affairs, forget about your Reid Commission.

    Malaysia is a Muslim Country because I say so, on behalf of all Muslims, regardless of school of Jurisprudence.

    (Hopefully that saves you some effort in responding, I’ve covered most of your points Dr. Alwi…)

  63. pkunkish says:

    They really should ban the Cheezels ads too, especially the one that runs in the cinemas – the way it’s pronounced sounds too much like “Jesus”. Surely that’s offensive for the Muslim consumer!

  64. mnz says:

    Let me try to put this thread into perspective.

    The article focuses on the ‘cross’, a symbol. It highlights yet another example of Islamism.

    Beyond a matter simply to do with the cross, the article implies the sort of thinking that Islamists typically have, their brand of logic. The Islamists within the government from time to time do make their presence felt. As yet, their words are but “advice”. We have not yet reached the stage where the religious advice readily translates to laws, but there has always been a chance of it becoming a reality here in Malaysia. It has happened in some other Muslim-majority countries.

    One may choose to lock horns and argue on the validity of the advice (as many have done here in this forum – what the symbols really mean). Or one may choose to argue that the validity is immaterial (as what I did); it should be up to the individual to determine what (or how much) he or she wants to believe. Muslim individuals have the right to individual liberty. Even in a Muslim-majority society, Muslim individuals should have the right to this liberty.

    Looking from the other side, it is about protecting the religion (or rather the group), projecting the image that all Muslims are true followers, whatever an individual Muslim may feel or think. It is about putting the pride, the ego of the group over the liberty of the individual. Regardless of what the individual believes, he or she must not act in a way that is unlike that of the group. Religious liberty does not apply to the Muslim individuals. Its only for the non-Muslim.

    I hope that someday our politics matures; that the government no longer sees the need to keep competing with PAS, and that the opposition presents a truly secular alternative.

  65. Ida Bakar says:

    Dear Dr Syed Alwi,

    While you are in the mood for remembrance, remember the time when missionary schools with their crucifixes and religious statues educated Malayans and inhabitants of Sarawak and North Borneo.

    Remember when on the death of Tun Razak representatives of the Christian, Hindu and Buddhist faith said their own prayers at the catafalque for his departed soul.
    Remember when Tunku Abdul Rahman was headhunted to lead the embryonic OIC by Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, when the Tunku made no secret of his gambling and drinking.
    It was a time when Islam was ELEVATED to the personal sphere instead of being RELEGATED to being tools to further ones’ spurious ambition.

    You claimed that in Islam there is no such thing as religious plurality. True, in Islam there is no God but the one God and Muhammad is his Messanger. But in anything else Muslims are not homogenous and Islam is not monolithic. Furthermore, Malaysia is a pluralist country. So who are you, a Singaporean to dictate to us what we should be when your own country’s religious authority has no problem with Man U jerseys?

  66. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear lol,

    Respect will come when insults to Islam ends. Stop insulting Islam and I am sure that you will be respected.

  67. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear lol,

    To be respected, one must first respect others. Surely if you keep insulting or mocking Islam – you will NOT get respected. So I suggest that you people first stop insulting Islam and Islamic teachings.

  68. mnz says:

    “He is not even a Malaysian!…” “I fully agree with you. The latest trick…”

    Hi moderator,
    Isn’t this a personal attack?
    How is it that some of my comments (that follows the policy) been snipped out, but this, you let it in?
    Censorship? Bias? You have been attacking the government media all this long, and here you are practicing the very principles you’ve been attacking!

  69. Abd Halim says:

    I don’t agreed with that extremist Syed Alwi who seems to be deliberately agitating a lot of readers but I must say that a lot of citizens’ money have been spent on me and other Muslims via MARA scholarship to “study” in the “Christian” countries of USA and the UK.

    I wish JPN and MARA would stop sending us Muslims to “Christian” nations for further studies – countries like Indonesia would have been better. All you Malaysians who pay taxes should really stop corrupting us this way – spending hundred of millions of Ringgit over the years to send us to infidel nations!!!

  70. dominik says:

    Since Dr Syed Alwi is a Singaporean, and Singapore is not a Muslim country, please give up your Singapore citizenship and apply to be a citizen of Malaysia. I am sure the Malaysian Govt will receive you with open arms. Why want to ‘cari makan’ in Singapore?

    Are you making a mockery of your own statement “unless of course” you are not the real Dr Syed Alwi (but someone else with the same name).

    I feel it’s about time we stop insulting each other’s religion because God or Allah is the “same God” and it’s only men who make GOD different.

  71. Koala says:

    For goodness’ sake, it’s just a cross.

    Are muslims so insecure [that] a cross would offend them? Or cause a conversion? Even so if [a person] converts, religion is a personal thing, you cant just enforce that, that will affect non-muslims as well.

    I remember the old 5 rinngit note with a flag pole on the reversed side, they had that removed as well. If conversion is a fear, i wonder how many people has already converted to islam by just looking at the crescent.

    It’s not right to impose islamic standards into public places such as schools as well. If historically it was started as a mission school, let them have their crosses and chapels i say. If parents have a problem with that then they should relocate their kids to a less “offending” school, its not like the school is trying to force them to worship crosses or anything. So shallow of the authorities.

    Once a public thing becomes an islamic thing, and Islam can override all other basic common rights, that would override just too many things… :(

  72. max says:

    Jeeez, then Malaysian Muslims better demonstrate against schools and finance institutions for using the plus sign “+”, which is a cross as well.

  73. Malaysia sejati says:

    Orang Malaysia jangan lah bangga dengan agama yang dianuti. Kerana semua agama yang ada di Malaysia ini adalah agama datang dari luar. Kita sebenarnya telah dan sedang dijajah oleh orang luar. Nenek moyang kita dahulu lemah dan tidak dapat mempertahankan agama asal kita sendiri. Agama asal kita dahulu telah lenyap ditelan zaman atau oleh agama yang datang dari luar.

    Hanya yang tinggal pada rakyat Malaysia sekarang ialah kebudayaan kita. Hanya kebudayaan kita yang dapat menyatupadukan kita sekarang ini. Itu pun hampir saparuh telah pupus.

    Pada Tahun 60-an hingga 70-an kebudayaan atau cara hidup rakyat Malaysia sangat menyeronokan. Orang Melayu berkawan baik dengan kaum-kaum lain. Mereka tidak kira agama. Tetapi sekarang sudah jauh berbeza. Dalam masa 50 tahun akan datang saya percaya kebudayaan asal warga Malaysia akan lenyap sama sekali. Ini adalah kerana masing-masing mengikut ajaran agama masing-masing, kerana agama banyak larangan tidak boleh itu dan ini, tidak boleh bekawan dengan agama lain dan sebagainya, akhirnya peperangan antara kaum atau agama akan berlaku.

    Untuk membendung perkara di atas terus berlaku semua kaum dan suku sakat di Malaysia haruslah ingat dan waspada [...] Agama tetap agama, adab resam orang Melayu, Cina, India, Kedazaan,Bajau, Iban, Melanau etc yang bersopan santun dan tinggi budi perkerti haruslah kita pertahankan demi menjaga kehormanian dan keamanan di Malaysia ini.

  74. TheOthers says:

    More..

    The ketupat’s form is but several dozen crosses.

    The crossroad we use daily to get out of the Taman, is a cross.

    The mission school’s cross has already been replaced with a star about 30 years ago. And in Malacca, someone made some minarets and placed them on the top of an old mission school.

    I still get annoyed with the 5am inconsiderate loudspeakers. Even in non-Muslim populated area, a request is made to set up a surau unit. Hardly anyone is there to pray, but the blaring sound still affects the neighbourhood. Clash of civilisation, alas.

  75. Your argument does not make sense. The popular architecture for a mosque, with a dome on top, was taken from Byzantine architecture. The Byzantines were Christians. In fact, the dome has significant symbolism in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. On the underside of the dome would be a painted icon of Jesus Christ, symbolizing His role as God overlooking the congregation.

    The Christians appropriated the architecture from previous religions. The Muslims, in turn, appropriated the dome architectural style from the Christians. Now people associate the dome with Islam. But in Eastern European countries, there are still churches that use the dome architectural feature.

    If you want to claim that Muslims should not glorify the symbols of other religions, then you have one, located right on top of your house of worship. Please be consistent.

  76. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Kate Green,

    Its the current usage that matters and not their origins. The Cross is currently a Christian symbol. And the Crescent moon is currently the Muslim symbol.

    They may have different origins but that is not the issue here. Its what the Cross currently symbolises etc. Ditto for the Crescent Moon.

  77. Lainie says:

    Eh ya ke? I always thought we had more features of Mughal architecture around KL than Byzantine. I know Mughal architecture is a combination of influences, but was not aware Byzantine was one of them.

  78. Yes, the dome-like structure is Byzantine (they preceeded the Mughal by at least half a millennium), or at least something of a feature around the area.

    When Byzantine became Christian, the architecture was adopted for Christian purposes from its pagan roots. I don’t know what they were before that, just plain Romans, I guess. The features took on symbolic meanings; the dome in particular is specially chosen as the place where a giant ceiling painting of Jesus as Judge would be featured. Then when the Islamic empires overtook the Byzantine Empire, the dome was adopted into Islamic architecture, with the paintings removed and Islamic art in place of the paintings. I can’t trace the history beyond that, but it wouldn’t surprise me that it later influenced Mughal architecture.

    Anyway, the point is, it’s silly to claim that ‘glorifying a symbol’ means anything apart from what is immediately intended. Were the ancient Muslims ‘glorifying a symbol’ when they appropriated the dome? Apparently they didn’t think so, so why is Dr. Syed Alwi so touchy?

  79. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Lainie,

    The West – especially Europe – is just as afraid of the Crescent Moon as the Muslims fear the Cross. Look at the uncontrolled Islamophobia in Europe and America. Especially post-9/11.

    Are you telling me that the West does not fear the Crescent Moon ? Because I have enough counter-examples !

  80. Dr. Syed Alwi,

    The dome is still used by Eastern Orthodox Christians in their church architecture. The ‘current usage’ concept your are talking about still applies. I never mentioned anything about the crescent.

    I take heart that most Malaysian Muslims don’t think like you. It’s one thing to be conservative, it’s another to fail to see one’s own self-contradictions.

  81. ben says:

    There you have it. “Current” usage. You claim that the issue is because of the symbolisation of the cross in the religious context.

    But a flag symbolises first and foremost, a nation; an emblem, its team. In its own context, the crosses on them – as well as on the biscuit – probably has less to do with Christianity in the context, the current usage of the flag or emblem. If I wear the flag of Malaysia, perhaps at an international event, I’d think I am glorifying Malaysia, not Islam – and I would think the same of the people who look at the flag I wear, in that context. Or do you, Dr., think otherwise?

    I mean, as a respected Dr., if you do wield such an awesome influence, would you rather not be concerned about strengthening Islamic beliefs and values of your people, than protecting them from the sight of uh, the cross? Especially since you have acknowledged that destroying ALL cross sightings are impossible given the might of the evil western cultural hyper-power?

  82. Liew says:

    Yeah, right.

    And for now Manchester United’s club logo represents, well, Manchester United.

  83. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Kate Green,

    Why don’t you talk of whats happening in France and elsewhere in Western Europe – where they do not even want mosques to have minarets ?

    I do NOT apologise for my views. The current Islamophobia in Europe is justification enough for me.

    Perhaps you would like to address this issue of Europe’s Islamophobia ?

  84. Lainie Yeoh says:

    Dear Syed Alwi,

    I didn’t say anything about the Crescent Moon? I was actually quite sincerely talking about KL architecture because it is a minor interest, and the literature I have on the subject have all been quite consistent in describing certain key buildings (and their architects) as inspired by Mughal designs.

    So that is roughly what I was telling Kate (or, if you’d please, telling you).

    The West? I think there’s a noted difficulty in referring to half the hemisphere as a single entity. I think Islamophobia happens everywhere (as does fear of the unknown, anywhere), as do phobias towards other religions.

    Just because I don’t condone phobia of one, doesn’t mean I automatically promote the other. I think you may be treating everyone who doesn’t agree with you as a single entity with one, islamophobic, opinion :)

  85. Sean says:

    “uncontrolled Islamophobia”

    I think perhaps it’s time to sit back and ask everyone for a show of hands on who thinks they are represented by leaders who never make a mistake (let’s count deliberate wrongdoings as mistakes for a moment, for the sake of kindness). Finished counting? I think we are all part of a majority by that measure. The isolated incidents of the passage of clearly discriminatory and xenophobic legislation are deeply worrying and embarrassing for me philosophically as a European, but also practically for me as neighbour to Malaysians when they ask me why I hate Muslims.

    There are separate issues involved – identity concealment, heritage conservation and religious symbolism. I have no issue with laws against identity concealment or in favour of (as long as it’s conservation and not prescription) heritage conservation, but laws against sartorial or architectural choice, whether motivated by religion or not are an egregious wrong which I hope to see put right in a secular European court at the very first test. Secularism does not mean that all a country’s citizens will be paragons of reason, it just provides tools to deal with their inevitable regressions to animal behaviour while denying them the opportunity to blame their gods or use religion as an excuse.

    Europe is not completely secular. Tony Blair – for example – said he bombed Iraq for God, and people are still struggling to bring him to account for what any truly secular society must regard as an act of hypocritical, self-enriching violence.

    A few days after 9/11 I was sitting in a sold-out major venue in the UK listening to a famous folk singer telling us his son couldn’t appear as billed because he had broken his arm falling off a wall on which he had been dancing while celebrating 9/11. 3 or 4 people protested and left. The folk singer invited anybody else who felt the same way to leave. Nobody did. He started playing, stopped again and asked anybody who wasn’t sure whether they agreed with him or not to leave. One couple got up quietly and left.

    Whatever the motivation is for your insistence that ‘your’ people stand in GMT+ and ‘their’ enemies stand in GMT-, I wish you would keep that kind of nonsense to yourself. While almost any sane person would view the separate incident of 9/11 as an appalling atrocity, not all sane people believe that the innocents who died in 9/11 were not put at some risk by their compatriots’ foreign policies prior to the attack.

    If you ever visit the West, be sure to visit town centres at the weekends a few times, read the newspapers or watch satirical or documentary programmes on the TV. You are certain to see ‘Westerners’ disagreeing with their leaders’ decisions. When you collectively blame those people with blind discrimination, you betray their attempts to support the people for whom you claim to speak, and by extension you betray ‘your’ own people, exacerbating the risks we all already face.

  86. Sean says:

    “afraid of the Crescent”

    When I lived in the West, I frequently ate crescents for breakfast. They’re delicious warm, with a little butter and jam.

    I’m disappointed not to be able to demonstrate a linguistic root between ‘crescent’ and ‘cross’ (the lighted part of the moon appearing to ‘cross’ its face – if you get my motivation). From a very brief search it appears that ‘crescent’ has the same root as ‘increasing’. As an adjective, it didn’t originally refer to the visible shape of the moon’s sunlit hemisphere, but the phase when this part is increasing – the ‘crescent’ moon is the ‘increasing’ moon.

  87. loveearth says:

    Fear because of 9/11 is justified considering the death toll. Muslims do not fear the cross. They do not like what it is supposed to symbolize. There is a difference

  88. How are the issues about minarets and burqas related to what we are talking about? I also oppose the motivations behind the banning of them.

    “The current Islamophobia in Europe is justification enough for me.”

    So injustice in one part of the world justifies injustice done on others in another part of the world?

  89. TheOthers says:

    Dear Dr,

    Islamphobia is valid because simply of the rules it wants to and is imposing to on the laity, the secular and others. The examples are countless:

  90. In Malaysia, one-way forced conversion only – the spouse must convert to Islam.
  91. Body-snatching of the deceased to dispute religious conversion. Look at that poor wife whose husband’s body was taken just like that.
  92. Propaganda in state television/radio.
  93. Affirmative action that doesn’t help the poor bumi/Muslim, e.g. housing discounts. Only the rich Datuk Muslim can pay and exploit that 10-20% discount.
  94. Approved permits.
  95. Biased funding for religious places of worship.
  96. Disapproval and dismantling of places of worship of other religions.
  97. It’s not about 9/11. It’s now in Malaysia, it’s about us citizens. Malaysians. Even this definition is a misnomer.

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Lainie,

    Don’t flatter yourself because I couldn’t care less whether you agree with me. The problem with you has always been one of denying your own actions. In particular – you seem to give yourself the right to mock at Islam – but at the same time – you deny that you mock Islam.

    I am so glad that none of you liberals are in position of any power. May you liberals remain an inconsequential lot.

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Kate Green,

    In Islam – we simply cannot accept the symbols of other religions and nor do we Muslims accept a so-called plurality of religious truth.

    As for Europe – they are clearly anti-Muslim in their motivations. So Muslims here ought to sit down and think very hard before we even consider supporting European culture and pop-culture.

    The thing about the West is that they are a one-way street. While some people in the East ape them – the majority of Westerners do not find Eastern culture worth imitating.

  • Zuliebaby says:

    Clearly you haven’t been around Europe in a while. Eastern culture is all over the place. Clothes, cuisine, art..you name it. And sometimes, it’s a little embarassing when the Europeans know more about our culture than we do.

    If I recall well enough, France wants to ban whatever that is covering the face. Call me crazy, but that makes sense for security purposes.
    Let’s try a small scale example: woman in burqa shoplifts (Don’t get on my case, we all know that even the most holy are capable of little sins!). No one can identify her because of her face being covered. She gets off scot-free because of her religion? A little unfair, innit?
    I’m pretty sure if a group of atheists decided that it wanted to wear nylon stockings over their heads as part of their daily attire, it would be banned too.

    As for the minarets, will its absence makes a Muslim’s faith falter? Do you need to see one to “recharge” your beliefs? If the absence or presence of a physical, destructible entity is all it takes to move your faith, I truly feel sad for you.

  • Daniel Shinzu says:

    Syed Alwi,

    You’re mistaking your very term “religious plurality”. Within a collective, perspective is relative. To say “mainstream Islam does NOT accept a plurality of religious truths” is correct, but only within the context of Islam. The absolute truth for Muslims is that there is only one God and that is Allah. But within a community of various creeds, the collective absolute truth becomes effectively invalid. Because the absolute truth of Muslims differ from Christianity, so does Buddhists from Hindus, and so on and so forth.

    “You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion” (Al Kafirun)

    When you enforce a public statement that the other religion and its God is false, it directly translate into an insult, thus hurting the said people. This goes against the very tenet of (Islamic) fundamental morals, that is moderation and modesty.

    “He who believes in God and the Last Day should honour his guest, should not harm his neighbour, should speak good or keep quiet.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

    “Whoever hurts a Non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim state hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys God.” (Bukhari)

    “He who hurts a Non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim state, I am his adversary, and I shall be his adversary on the Day of a Judgement.” (Bukhari)

    “Beware on the Day of Judgement; I shall mysefl be complainant against him who wrongs a Non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim state or lays on him a responsibility greater than he can bear or deprives him of anything that belongs to him.” (Al-Mawardi)

    I’m also concerned with your definition of “glorifying the symbols of other religion”. It is linguistically and substantially incorrect within the context of this issue. Firstly, the primary issue is that of ‘crosses on jerseys’. The jerseys represent the football team that represents the country. Football, as common sense would echo, is a secular sports that celebrates diversity, camaraderie and excellence.

    The focus is on football and its national teams that compete. A select number of teams carry its national logo that happens to have or is made of the cross. But further inspecting the very reflection of such a symbol (cross on/in a country’s flag) any rational man would fairly and objectively separate the symbolism towards those nations of secular nature and religious. None of which are religious anyway. Take Sweden for example, it may quite rightfully be one of the most secular countries in the world. So, my question is, what does the cross on Sweden’s flag represent? A religion in a secular state, or Christianity as a whole? I believe you personally prefer the latter. If that’s the case, you are merely speaking as a singular conservative Muslim, not on behalf of all Muslims as your generalized claims that you stated.

    What many people, Muslims and non-Muslims, are concerned about (aside from the blatant insult) is why would an ulama bother to raise such a negligible issue? Aren’t there many more important, pressing issues? Why find the pusher if you can catch the dealer? For lack of a better example.

  • Nurulhuda says:

    Crescent Moon: Shiva bears on his head the crescent of the moon. The epithet Chandraśekhara (“Having the moon as his crest” – chandra = Moon, śekhara = crest, crown) refers to this feature. The placement of the moon on his head as a standard iconographic feature dates to the period when Rudra rose to prominence and became the major deity Rudra-Shiva. The origin of this linkage may be due to the identification of the moon with Soma, and there is a hymn in the Rig Veda where Soma and Rudra are jointly emplored, and in later literature Soma and Rudra came to be identified with one another, as were Soma and the Moon. [ Extracted from Hindu Religious Symbols ]

    For the Shaktas too, the crescent represent the Maha Devi, The Adi Parashakti.

    So Muslims should do away with the crescent moon! It’s a Hindu symbol which has been used for centuries until today. They plagarised it….

    [...]

  • loveearth says:

    I beg to differ. Quite a few ‘Western’ (women especially) people convert to Islam. Yoga, meditation and Zen are all popular in the ‘West’. Islam is quite popular among academics (whether they convert or not they listen to the teachings) as it is a beautiful, peaceful religion. Several people know very much about Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism among others. The ‘East’ is a very popular concept.

  • Adam says:

    Dr.,

    Are you the same Dr. Syed from Singapore who, a few years ago, wrote many rational and sensible comments especially relating to apostasy and Islamic practices?

    Whilst you still hold on to complete freedom of religion, you seem to be less tolerant of other people’s opposing views.

    Perhaps, you have become more religious as you grow older as I have and you may tend to be more protective of your religion. That is understandable, but it would give you peace if you could adjust your sensitivity meter down a wee bit and let there be more room for discourse instead of killing off any further discussion with statements like your above.

    We cannot control people’s thoughts and words. We could only try to correct people’s perception of the situation. For the issue under discussion, even many Muslims do not agree with the religious authorities. Are they also mocking their own religion? I do not think so.

    Since we are talking about the cross, a good example is of a guy by the name of Menj, always describing Jesus as a “half naked man hanging from a cross” Now, many Christians would take offense at that and would condemn Menj for mocking Christianity.

    But I would prefer to take a different view. Menj is actually correct to describe Jesus as such. Jesus was actually stripped naked, tortured and nailed to the cross to die. And it is precisely that, that Christians believe Jesus suffered and died for our sins. And Menj actually has given us a good opportunity to preach the good news.

    It is easier said than done but if one’s faith is strong, no amount of ridicule and mocking could shake it. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you…. John 14:27.

  • Lainie Yeoh says:

    Dear Syed Alwi,

    I’m afraid till now, after all your outright accusations, I have yet to see any sufficient evidence that I am insulting Islam.

    I feel I have to clarify, that if I were to ever agree with you, it would not be to flatter you or to caress your ego and make you care. I think you are, again, misreading my comments.

    “You liberals”? But I thought you proclaimed yourself a liberal as well? Or perhaps you are an influential liberal, in which case, I offer my congratulations.

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Zuliebaby,

    So why interfere in Muslim affairs ? Whether we Muslims wear European football jerseys or not – its none of your business !

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Adam,

    Yes I am that very same Dr Syed Alwi. I have discovered the hard way – that the Malaysian Non-Muslims want to dismantle all that is Malay-Muslim in Malaysia. They – the Non-Muslims of Malaysia – would heap praises on me if I lend support to their views. But when they clearly transgress beyond Muslim tolerance – and I criticise them for it – they will whack me instead. Pure rubbish coming from them.

    Let me say it loud and clear – Islamic rules in Malaysia are NOT for them to approve or interfere. Islam has its own logic and rules. Non-Muslims should stay out of Islam’s affairs. Who are they to interfere in Muslim affairs ? Some even mock Islam. Publicly.

    I have no doubts whatsoever that these people do not deserve any sympathy when PAS gets into power. If they do not like Umno – then I think that they deserve PAS.

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Lainie,

    Before you go about satirising Islam – learn first Islamic Adab and learn to be constructive. Ask yourself – what have you done to improve Muslim-non-Muslim relations in Malaysia? Beyond just so-called satirising Islam, which in Muslim eyes is nothing more than a complete mockery of Islam.

  • TLP says:

    Lainie:

    We are ultra right wing fundamentalist folk punk rockers, and we don’t mince words.

    This is our conclusion: You are an infidel, and I suspect, you listen to Suzanne Vega – and like it.

    Yes, this is an ad homonem attack. Deal with it.

    We notice your incessant taunting of a certain person and mocking of our beloved belief system and deen.

    We are getting tired of this.

    We assume you do this because you do not understand the challenges, frustration and anger of those downtrodden and marginalized in that city/state/snake pit of an island we used to call Temasik.

    How the heck would you feel or behave if you were a minority, surrounded by drunken Gwailo expats chasing sarong party girls? And all the sarong party girls, only going for drunken, rich Gwailo expats? Angry or not? Barsket.

    Yes, everything is clean, efficient, polite, you can EVEN get a restored vintage 1960s Danelectro Convertible guitar AND watch the Smashing Pumpkins – Live…BUT AT WHAT COST?

    All that wonderment to be an invisible and silent demographic?

    A people you hardly see in day to day life? You don’t see them the offices, or boardrooms.

    The only reason we know they’re there is because SOMEONE has to be watching the Suria channel.

    All my brothers and sisters have to cling to down there is the knowledge that THEY KNOW WHAT IS TRUE and THEY FOLLOW THE ONE TRUE WAY.

    They may have been beaten into submission but that is the EARTHLY TEST they have been put to, so they may be worthy of the KINGDOM in the afterlife.

    Every time you mock their belief system with your pathetic, childlike graphics, which I’m sure no one would ever pay for, not even an independent disarseterous record label, it’s like putting a dagger into their privates, and twisting it around, then taking it out, stabbing again a couple more times, until your wrist starts to ache from tunnel carpal syndrome.

    But they know they’re better than you, because they’ve received the message, follow the deen and are loved in the eyes of God.

    Don’t you forget that.

    I strongly suggest you please be polite to our brother from down south.

    Stop taunting him. Instead, please try to understand him, who and what he stands for.

    One day, the tables could be turned, and you could be the one that’s marginalized and downtrodden because of your race, religion or sexuality.

    P.S. I’ll bet you used to burn ants with a magnifying glass when you were a kid.

  • farha says:

    By the same token, whether individuals want to wear what they want with any symbols available on the jersey/biscuit is none of anyone’s business either.

  • Lainie Yeoh says:

    Hrm. I’ll go find some references for Byzantine influences on Mughal architecture, thanks for info.

  • Lainie Yeoh says:

    Dear Syed Alwi,

    Thank you for your suggestion — I am somewhat familiar with the concepts of Islamic Adab, having gone through this topic in my uni days.

    Again, I find you generalise the religion you claim to defend a bit too easily. Perhaps in this case, it’s really an issue that is according to the eye of the beholder :)

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear farha,

    Sorry but Malaysia is a Muslim country. In Islam – we believe that the Muslim individual has a responsibility to the Muslim community. Therefore the Mufti has a right to advice Muslims. The kind of individual freedom that you talk about – is not acceptable to Islam.

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Lainie,

    It is NOT just me who find your satirising of Islam a bit too much to accept. There are many – both here on TNG and elsewhere – who find your satirical cartoons to be nothing more than mockery.

  • Daniel Shinzu says:

    Syed Alwi,

    By who’s authority do you claim that Malaysia is a Muslim country? And by what definition? I’m curious, do tell.

  • farha says:

    “We believe that the Muslim individual has a responsibility to the Muslim community.”

    Yes, but how do we know if these ‘Muslim individuals’ are not demagogues, out to canvass support? In Malaysia, where [there are many Muslims], people can win popularity and political mileage by saying certain things.

  • loveearth says:

    I think you have to understand that Islam is a beautiful religion on its own. The idea that people ‘enforce’ it give it a bad name. People who believe in Islam have no need to be forced to do anything. Allowing people to embrace Islam on their own is not acceptable to you?

    Teaching the individual that they have a responsibility to the community is more productive than the community having a responsibility (i.e controlling them) toward individuals, as you are suggesting. This is often counterproductive.

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Daniel Shinzu,

    Malaysia is a Muslim-majority nation and Islam plus Malay Privileges are enshrined in the Constitution. If you want to claim that Malaysia is NOT a Muslim country – may I suggest that you first get the majority to support you in a referendum that questions Malaysia’s status as a Muslim country ? Failing which – then please respect Malaysia’s status as a Muslim country.

  • dominik says:

    Dear Dr.,

    I think you got your history wrong. When the Malaysian constitution was drawn up, it stated that Malaysia is a “SECULAR COUNTRTY” with Islam as its main religion. It never stated that Malaysia is a Muslim country.

    I stand correct on that.

  • nipaa1412 says:

    Dear Syed Alwi,

    “What does it matter to you ? This is an issue affecting Muslims. Why are Non-Muslims trying to tell us Muslims what to do ?”

    No reason whatsoever. Just find that the ruling would b,e in my opinion, stupid. Moreover, didn’t you Muslim decided to meddle with East Malaysia’s Christians of using the word “Allah”? Curious…

    “Malaysia is a Muslim-majority nation and Islam plus Malay Privileges are enshrined in the Constitution. If you want to claim that Malaysia is NOT a Muslim country – may I suggest that you first get the majority to support you in a referendum that questions Malaysia’s status as a Muslim country ? Failing which – then please respect Malaysia’s status as a Muslim country.”

    I wish I can go on and on with you about this one, but to me, “Malaysia was born as a secular state and has always been since 1957.” Well of course, most people often forget East Malaysia joined Malaysia as a secular state together, not as a Islam state together.

  • Lainie Yeoh says:

    Dear Syed Alwi,

    I’m afraid you take for fact what is still under contention in Malaysia — our leaders have alternated on their views of whether or not Malaysia is an Islamic state. Also, it seems you are conflating Islam plus Malay privileges as one.

    Since you refer to our constitution, if you check what the Reid Commission (the people who drafted our constitution) had to say on the subject, Islam was accorded no special position in it. And if any provision were to be made for Islam in the constitution, it would not affect the rights of other religions.

    Even our former lord president Tun Salleh Abas concurred that our law is secular.

    That being said, as we move to the present, history has been somewhat forgotten within these debates. You can find various views on the subject amongst our current MPs at The Nut Graph’s MP Watch section http://www.thenutgraph.com/full-mp-list/

    Suffice to say it will be erroneous to rely upon your arguments that Malaysia is an Islamic state to make your point.

  • Neo Zypher says:

    Syed,

    Here is my proposal:

    If you claim that Malaysia IS a MUSLIM country, may I suggest that you first get the majority to support your statement that Malaysia is NOT a SECULAR country? Failing which – please respect Malaysia’s constitution which was SILENT on the religion on the country. SILENT means neither agree nor disagree.

    Malay privileges does NOT EQUATE to Malaysia as a MUSLIM country.

    Your claim is like… if you do not reject to my claim, then my claim is correct by default. What kinda flawed logic is that? We should start singing GOD save Malaysia… Opps.. should i say Allah save Malaysia before this country implodes.

  • Lainie Yeoh says:

    Dear Syed Alwi,

    But by that logic, it’s just a matter of which one of us can find more people to agree with us? Then again, the crux of my argument is NOT that you are the only person with this opinion, but that you have yet to provide any evidence.

    Not that I know of these ‘many’ you refer to.

    And since this seems to be such a point of contention for you, I run my ideas by Muslims before I publish the comics — and since I have a feeling this will be your follow-up: no, they’re not all my “liberal” friends.

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Lainie,

    Since when did Islam allow for satirising of Islamic teachings and practices ? The very fact that you satirise Islamic practices and values is already bad enough! In other Muslim countries – your cartoons would have sparked riots!

  • Sean says:

    An interesting point 4 on this reply to this question inviting the answer “croissants are halal”:

    http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/107381

    I’d expect some hardcore Christians to hold a similar point of view about promoting the cross – I guess there will inevitably be a balance to be struck between convenient symbols having meaning to worshippers of their respective denominations and the sin of idolatry.

    I’ve not seen a croissant in Malaysia but I make sure to take the opportunity to eat them when I visit Cambodia where they’re quite widely available. Is it just a consequence of by whom the two countries were colonised?

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Lainie,

    Malaysia is a Muslim country because the Muslim majority says so. Forget your Reid commission etc. Just remember Sukarno and do NOT destabilise South East Asia by claiming that Malaysia is not a Muslim country.

    The Malaysian Muslims and South East Asian Muslims will not have it otherwise. Period. ASEAN does not need a religious bloodshed because you people are too arrogant to face the immediate reality……

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Oh by the way, a Muslim country need NOT be an Islamic State. A Muslim country is Muslim controlled.

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Everyone,

    Lets get this clear once and for all. A Muslim country is NOT necessarily an Islamic State. A Muslim country is simply one which has a Muslim-majority AND one whose politics is Muslim-dominated or controlled. In other words a Muslim country is one which is Muslim controlled.

    In South East Asia – Malaysia’s status as a Muslim country is undisputable. The Muslims of Malaysia as well as the Muslims of South East Asia – will not accept otherwise.

    Any claim to the effect that Malaysia is not a Muslim country – has the potential to destabilise South East Asia. It could lead to religious unrest. In the past – this has been the case. Remember Sukarno and the Konfrontasi surrounding the formation of Malaysia. Remember 9th August 1965 – when Singapore was booted out. Remember Natrah in Singapore. Remember.

    Malaysia was, is and will alawys be a Muslim country. To claim otherwise – is to destabilise South East Asia.

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear dominik,

    Who cares ? The Muslim majority in Malaysia wants Malaysia to be a Muslim country. What are you going to do about it ?

  • Yee says:

    And another thing, you are clearly living in a state of intense paranoia, when in fact, nobody has ever stated that they want to destroy Islam in Malaysia nor SE Asia in the first place. Oh my god, doc, oh my god. :P

  • Kong Kek Kuat says:

    Hahaha… aku takleh berhenti ketawa lar beb… ko ni kelakar lar…

    Pengetahuan sejarah engkau sebagai “Dr.” sempit seperti jalan kecik kat belakang rumah aku.

    “Just remember Sukarno and do NOT destabilise South East Asia by claiming that Malaysia is not a Muslim country,” “Malaysia was, is and will always be a Muslim country. To claim otherwise – is to destabilise South East Asia.”

    Aiyoyo alamak alakazam mak aku huh! Lainie Yeoh, ko jangan lah wat si “Dr” marah yer. Aku takut nanti South-East Asia meletup lar…

  • Anak Malaysia says:

    Sudahlah Encik Alwi,

    Toksah peduli hal Malaysia, hangpa pi komen kat blog blog Singapura la, buatpe jaga tepi kain orang?

    Kat sini hangpa banyak cakap, tengok hangpa boleh cakap banyak kat Singapurapura tak?

  • nipaa1412 says:

    “It could lead to religious unrest. In the past – this has been the case. Remember Sukarno and the Konfrontasi surrounding the formation of Malaysia.”

    Where did you study I wonder? Konfrontasi has totally NOTHING to do with religion <.<""" It was more of a territorial interest for Indonesia Raya.

    "Remember 9th August 1965 – when Singapore was booted out. "

    Singapore was booted out simply [because of] racial issues. The separation NOWHERE touched the Malaysia status of Islamic or Secular state. It was simply Race identity versus Malaysian Malaysia.

    "Remember Natrah in Singapore."

    I wonder how Natrah comes to the picture where it is only a legal case between Natrah's parents and Natrah/ Nathrah's adopted family. Although it is a minor religious conflict, how does this prove that Malaysia needs to be an Islamic state? By simply brushing through Natrah's biological parents case because they are Catholics?

    I can hardly see any of these examples have anything to do with the need of Malaysia continuing to be an Islamic state.

    "ASEAN does not need a religious bloodshed because you people are too arrogant to face the immediate reality……"

    I wonder who's arrogant here hmm haha. By the way, realities have been crushed throughout the years of mankind. Apartheid abolished, [African-American] rights in USA, fall of communism in Russia, Japan rising to be a first world country in mere 50 years, and the list go on. These are great events that defies your brand of realities in life and changed the way we think and live.

    Instead of you asking us to accept Islamic Malaysia, what about trying to understand how a secular Malaysia that would benefit Malaysia. In fact, a secular Malaysia is a stronger Malaysia.

  • mnz says:

    OK, ok Dr Syed Alwi,

    You have spoken loud enough – Malaysia is a Muslim-majority (but supposedly non-Islamic) country.

    But even in a Muslim country, Muslim should accept the right of other Muslim to be or not to be religious, the muftis should not act like as if they know better about those jerseys and all others are little ignorant children who should follow their say, the imams, scholars and the Islamists should not be thinking that everyone should think alike. The conservative majority should respect the right of the minority non-religious (I won’t use the word ‘liberal’) – those Muslims who do not feel comfortable in following rigidly and literally the words, the hierarchy and forms of the religion.

  • JayCKat says:

    Too much self importance. Far too much. It may have been true even a decade ago. But not so now, and growing less important as the years roll by. [...]

    “Remember Sukarno and the Konfrontasi surrounding the formation of Malaysia. Remember 9th August 1965 – when Singapore was booted out. Remember Natrah in Singapore. Remember.”

    Is that suppose to scare a Malaysian non-Muslim, non-Malay?

    And how is the konfrontasi supposed to remind us non-Muslims the importance of Islam to Malaysia? It is like shouting “Remember the Alamo!” No relevance to the point you are making. Indonesia and Malaysia was a political thing.

    [...]

    Really now, trying to scare a Malaysian non-Malay by reminding him how Singapore got booted out of Malaysia brings a smile to my eyes and a laugh to my lips.

    I would argue kicking out Singapore was the one good thing that Malaysia did. Singapore has become a mirror for Malaysia to look at, an alternate Malaysia of what could be if things happened differently. A Malaysia (in miniature) which is now a developed nation and economically strong.

    Really (snort), “Remember 9th August 1965!!!”

    Saya sungguh takut sampai terhilang akal. Apakah akan saya buat.

    And what? Malaysia kicks out Selangor, Penang ?

  • Minah Rock says:

    Malaysia was, is and will always be a Muslim country. To claim otherwise is to destabilise South East Asia.

    How does it destabilise SEA?

  • ben says:

    Dear Dr.,

    All Singaporean Muslim Malays will not have it that Malaysia can be considered not a Muslim nation?

    I am very afraid that it is these very thoughts of sowing religious discord and threats of bloodshed that actually prevents the people you influence from the ability to progress.

    I do not know your purposes of repeatedly emphasizing and bashing people into submission that Malaysia’s status is as a Muslim nation. What good does that do to you?

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear minah rock,

    Because the Muslims of South East Asia will NOT accept anything otherwise. It is in the geopolitical interest of Islam for Malaysia to remain Muslim. Period.

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear mnz,

    For as long as the non-practicing Muslims do NOT publicly display their non-religiosity – and neither do they encourage nor spread non-religiosity among the Believers – then I guess there is no problem. But if you flagrantly display your non-religiosity among other Muslims – then that is an act that is definitely against Islam…

  • mnz says:

    Dr Syed Alwi,

    You are not addressing my concern.
    There are degrees of religiosity, and there are personal spaces that the conservative should respect, and there are spaces for disagreement by an ordinary Muslim that should be highlighted. Provided a person maintains a minimal universal moral standard, a Muslim should be free to determine his or her relation with God. I think that is ‘Islamic’.

    If I think the mufti is illogical and speaking nonsense, should I listen to him, even if fatwa is something Muslims are supposed to abide to? So what if I decide not to follow the rituals and forms to the letter? So what if I wear a Manchester jersey or attend yoga classes or dance poco-poco despite the mufti’s warning or fatwa? A ‘good’ Muslim would follow, and insist that others follow, even if something doesn’t seem not to make sense (the “ikut sajalah” mentality). But my thinking is this: Islam has always been said (by the ulama) to be agreeable with common sense. So if something is not at all in line with common sense and logical reasoning, then I just won’t care and the proponents/conservatives should respect my position.

  • Neo Zypher says:

    Why the double standard? What happened to mutual respect? If you wish ppl to respect you, please respect other ppl first. Give more, take less!

  • Michael says:

    Dear Dr,

    I’m waiting for you to answer Bad Rabbit’s comment. It’s one of the earlier ones.

    Thank you.

  • mnz says:

    Fallacy, fallacy.

    “Muslims of South East Asia will NOT accept anything otherwise”
    All Muslims? In all the Southeast Asian countries? Any survey? Statistics?
    Or maybe, only in PAS-dominated areas, and Acheh, probably.

    “…to remain Muslim”.

    What have we been debating about? How does one pass the viva with this sort of logical faculty?

  • nipaa1412 says:

    I think that is your point of view. It does not represent the real situation. Unless you are backed with facts, assuming that every muslim thinks the same with you is very dangerous thought indeed

  • Radix says:

    Dr Syed Alwi

    Can you be more specific – how does the fact that Muslims in Southeast Asia not accepting that Malaysia should be anything other than a country with Muslim majority & dominance lead to instability if Malaysians claim otherwise? Are you saying that Muslims in Southeast Asia will resort to violence if Malaysians maintain that we are a secular state? In fact, are the examples you raised still relevant today?

    In the first place, how do you know that Muslims in SEA view things this way? What is your evidence? I don’t see Muslims from outside of Malaysia (other than yourself) being too concerned about the Islamic-Secular State debate or even the cross-on-the-football-jersey debate. Maybe you can post some links showing mass dissatisfaction in Jakarta, Patani, or Mindanao surrounding the discourse here on political Islam.

    It’s clear from the responses to your comments here that many are not convinced by your statements. You’ll need to try harder. I suggest more empirical evidence will help.

  • Thank you for linking this Islam Question and Answer site. I especially like the closing comments of this particular query –

    “Moreover, the crescent is not a symbol of Islam, rather it is a symbol of the Ottoman state. There is a great difference between attributing a symbol to Islam, which needs a valid text, and attributing a symbol to a Muslim state, such as the symbol of the Umayyad state or the ‘Abbasid state and so on. It is not right give this symbol sanctity and a religious significance.”

    Somehow, this restores my faith in humanity, a little. Can there be any doubt that this is a deeply conservative site? Yet this syakh has provided a mature response to the question. Clearly, just because one adheres to a conservative religious stance, that does not mean that one needs to have undergone a lobotomy.

  • Kong Kek Kuat says:

    Haha… I don´t see why you people are wasting time with this fellow.

    If the Muslim majority in Malaysia is with him, we would have heard them by now.

    I only see two or three on TNG who are with him. That doesn´t make it a “Muslim majority” except in his fantasy.

    He may not even be a “Dr.”, because if he is, he´d tell us who he is associated with, and where he comes from.

    Sudah lah TNG readers…

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Neo Zypher,

    How to respect people who routinely mock and insult Islamic teachings and practices ? Respect has to be earned – it does not come from insults.

    Malaysia is a Muslim country. Leave it at that and let the Muslims go about their daily lives. If you do not like Islam – then please do NOT live in a Muslim country.

  • mnz says:

    Is this not a personal attack?

    Isn’t this against the comment policy?

  • Colin Wong says:

    @TLP, I am Malaysian and I live my daily life as a minority, affected by changes that happen in the Muslim community. I am a qualified party in all these discussions. Syed Alwi, I’m not sure if he had not crossed the line. Don’t get carried away by this Muslim brother’s sentiment.

    As far as we Malaysians are concerned, he is an outsider. You would not want my genetic kin in China to do as Alwi does. Heck, if a Singaporean Chinese dares to comment on our affairs, you’ll be launching a jihad. Stop behaving schizophrenic and play fair.

    Alwi, you are welcome as a guest to the discussion because I know your view does not echo that of downtown KL Malays entirely.
    TLP, I do not want mainland Chinese to get involved in our affairs and threaten our Malay brethren with their military might, wealth and influence because this is MY Malaysia, OUR Malaysia. So speak as a guest would. Thanks and welcome into our midst.

  • mnz says:

    This is interesting.

    Dr Syed Alwi,

    do you still hold the following position:

    “ALL religions are good – PROVIDED – we take them with a pinch of salt and with some scepticism.”

  • TheOthers says:

    Therefore we would like the same. Don’t push into other religion’s space.

    And if, according to your saying, what matters is now, then the pig is all right for this day and age. Perhaps 600 years ago, it was in the desert and pigs were reared at some dirty locale. But it’s a creation of the Almighty ____ (the name that I should not use because it is not allowed in Malaysian law). So why hate pigs? ____ said he created all these creatures for all? I remember my Malay female friend in Singapore said about the pig movie “Babe”, “the piglet is soooo cute”. She didn’t eat it. She just finds it cute. And it is.

    In 2001, the radio was playing one of my favourite songs at that time “J___ to a Child” by George Michael. And yes the first word was deleted from the song. We can’t use A____, we can’t use J____. _____ _____ ______ ______ _____. ____ ___.

  • lol says:

    Too true.

  • farha says:

    Dear Dr Syed Alwi,

    Why are you still bringing up the cartoon? You need anger management.

  • I-mam says:

    Dear all, when Dr. Syed Alwi said stay out of [the business of Muslims], please do so. He is the law! And he is Islam!! He is above anything…

    And to you Dr. Syed Alwi, my brother…I can feel the anger, hatred and fear inside you…it leads you to the dark side and blinds your eye. You are not as tolerant as you claim a Muslim should be…You like to use this..”you are not a Muslim so stay out of Muslims business…” This is not very nice…as a Muslim brother, I would urge you not to say it anymore. You might be a Muslim but YOU ARE NOT ISLAM!! You don’t speak on behalf of all Muslims. Hmmm…you are getting away from Islamic teaching…

    Asalamalakum.

  • Sean says:

    It is difficult to strike a balance, isn’t it? Dr Syed Alwi dismisses our arguments not on the basis of reasoned argument, but because we haven’t made the same lifestyle choices as him. I wish I was better at Latin so I could describe his argument-fu as “against the non-Muslim” attacks. I don’t think ‘ad dhimminem’ is quite right…

  • Sean says:

    I agree with mnz, a sentiment that was removed from another of my comments because I juxtaposed it with an ad hominem attack – exactly what we should all be seeking to avoid.

  • Deborah Loh says:

    To Sean and mnz,

    Thank you for raising this. We apologise for failing to exercise better judgment while trying to clear the deluge of comments to this and many other postings. The two ad hominem comments have been removed and trashed. We hope readers will limit their comments to the article topic or ideas raised by other commentors, instead of focusing on personal characteristics or attributes.

    Thank you for holding us accountable.

    Deborah Loh
    Assistant News Editor
    TNG

  • Kong Kek Kuat says:

    @ Deborah Loh

    But sometimes, it is a person´s weak mind, rather than a weak point of view, that is the cause of a weak argument. Some people have both, too.

    For example: Syed Alwi´s weak arguments are not merely due to his weak points of view (e.g. “Malaysia was, is and will alawys be a Muslim country. To claim otherwise – is to destabilise South East Asia.”), but are also due to his character to others ad nocumenta (e.g. “Who cares ? The Muslim majority in Malaysia wants Malaysia to be a Muslim country. What are you going to do about it ?”).

    As such, how could you not allow an ad hominem comment on this person?

  • Master Yoda says:

    ” 6. Al-An’am [108]Dan janganlah kamu cerca benda-benda yang mereka sembah yang lain dari Allah, kerana mereka kelak, akan mencerca Allah secara melampaui batas dengan ketiadaan pengetahuan. Demikianlah Kami memperelokkan pada pandangan tiap-tiap umat akan amal perbuatan mereka, kemudian kepada Tuhan merekalah tempat kembali mereka, lalu Ia menerangkan kepada mereka apa yang mereka telah lakukan.”

    I supposed someone can help to translate the above taken from Al-Quran.

    Islam doesn’t encourage Muslims to interfere in other ppl beliefs. Why do we still have those hypocrites?? Obviously they didn’t do their prayer and read the Quran.

  • mnz2 says:

    A plea to non-Muslims (especially):

    Before you start entertaining the thought that you would rather have the Islamist than the racist to govern the country, please try to understand Islamism in the global context. There is no fundamental difference between the Islamist here in Malaysia and that in Algeria (google “Algeria Islamist”) or Egypt. It’s politically naive to judge Islamism based solely on what you see here in Malaysia. State power is not the same as federal power. The mufti today has limited enforcement power. You have to go to Saudi Arabia, or you have to talk to Iranians (there are many in KL).

    I am *not* an Umno guy. I hate racial politics, but its politically naive to think that Islamism is the answer (as tried to be argued for in the article “Why Be Afraid of PAS?” for example – but I can’t reply to that because of censor). You will be just trading one problem with a bigger, much more complex problem. Racially based problems can and have been solved elsewhere (or at least appear to be solved), as we have seen in South Africa and Germany. But political religion is one beast you would not want to let out from the bag, or get too close to federal control. The answer to a corrupted, incompetent secularism (or pseudo-Islamic secularism) is not total Islamism; I think it is more a humanistic secularism that concerns itself with and respects the country’s history and institutions, the global *essence* of religions, and ensures social justice as the nation progresses to the future.

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Anak Malaysia,

    It is in the best interest of Islam in South East Asia and in the best interest of Singaporean Malay-Muslims – that Malaysia remain under the control of Malaysian Malay-Muslims.

    As you correctly pointed out – Melayu Singapura tak ada suara dalam arena politiks Singapura. Dengan sebab itulah politiks Malaysia harus di kuasai kaum Melayu-Islam Malaysia. Jika tidak – maka nasib Melayu Singapura akan menjadi lebih teruk !

    Singapore Malays need a Big Brother to give us a meager amount of political voice.

    Finally I make NO APOLOGIES for all my views. They may be controversial – but they are honest and do reflect upon the reality of communal politics in the Nusantara. You may not like it – but it nevertheless is quite true…….

  • Ellese says:

    Dear Deborah,

    Why are you entertaining kkk? [...]. Previously he wrote to the effect that generally Malaysians are stupid and naive. Now he is writing that Dr Syed is not only having a weak argument but an inferior and weaker mind than him. How can you allow yourself to be duped by him? And the funny thing is that he thinks his comment is not ad hominem when plainly it is.

  • Ellese says:

    To those who think Malaysian’s constitution is secular, please note that Article 3 states that Islam is the official religion of Malaysia. Also note that under our constitution civil courts cannot override syariah courts. If secular means separation of state and church, clearly our constitution does not do that. Then how come it’s secular?

    To Umno, Malaysia is an Islamic state because it’s ruled by Muslims (the most basic argument of an Islamic state under Islamic jurisprudence). To PAS, Malaysia is not unless our laws implement hudud and put the Quran as the highest form of reference (the strictest definition of Islamic states under Islamic jurisprudence). To PAS supporters, this is the raison d’etre of their cause, and judging by Nik Aziz’s statement last week, it’s still being pursued.

    Are we just fighting about nonmenclature to serve different personal needs? Or is it a reflection of our country focusing again and again on our differences than our common goals?

  • Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear Ellese,

    There is NO common goal. There never was….The people on TNG are mostly secular humanists, free thinkers or very pro-West. They want a secular, Western-style liberal democracy. They will never accept the current role of Islam in Muslim Malaysia.

    Huntington was right when he described Malaysia as a torn society. These people here fail to realise that the majority of the Malays in the Nusantara – are conservative Muslims.

    That has always been the Malay Dilemma. How to govern a Malaysia that is divided along ethno-religious lines ? Witness the latest PAS-DAP dispute. What is it about ? Is it not the issue of Islamic State, secularism, Hudud etc ? You see – Malaysian society is inherently unstable – being divided by Islam.

    Over the years – the Malays of the Nusantara have become more Islamically conservative – whereas the Chinese in the Nusantara have become more Westernised. There are exceptions – but by and large this trend is quite obvious.

    The only way UMNO can remain relevant is by a complete clean-up of corruption. UMNO must be spotlessly clean…….

  • Adam says:

    Dear Ellese,

    Our constitution is secular and our federal civil court is the supreme court of the country. Syariah courts are state courts only. Only the Muslim federal court judges dare not override the Syariah courts for obvious reasons. That is why we have such atrocious and confusing decisions lately.

    TDM has also revised and amended our constitution so many times over the years, it is barely recognisable. Do you know that there is a clause which states that any amendment which is not fair and just to any citizen should not be implemented and should be declared null and void even if the majority agree to it? That is to protect the rights of the minority. That is the beauty of our secular constitution but TDM has abused it.

    For that matter, many of the amendments made were “illegal” and contrary to the spirit of our constitution even though it has gone through parliament.

    The British left us with so many good tings to jump-start our nation: a superb law system, a strong education system with English as the medium of instruction, a sound economic foundation with good infrastructure, etc. It is sad to see that we have messed it all up.

    I cry for the nation and I cry for our beloved Tunku Abdul Rahman.

  • Yee says:

    Agreed. While UMNO goons are loathed for racial and religious bigotry, PAS might not be much different with their constant display of religious fanaticism. The last thing I’d like to see is Malaysia turning into a copycat Iran or Saudi Arabia. There’s no permanent savior be it BN or PR. Check and balance is strictly needed to ensure progress.

  • mnz says:

    Syed Alwi,

    As someone with close ties in Singapore, I can understand your sentiment about Singapore and the need, as you perceived,
    for the Malays to continue being politically dominant in Malaysia.

    But then it doesn’t take a lost of political dominance for the Malays to fade away. The Malays will be lost if they take religion too seriously – we will then see more Malays who are more Arabic than the Arabs, who are living more for the afterlife than for this world, who simply lack the urge to live life fully and most productively, or who seem to live in the 14th century rather than the present. And of course, when this happen to the majority ethnic group, the nation will be lost too.

    Anyway, talking about ‘Arabized’ Malay, I suddenly remember the Al-Arqam movement in the 80s and 90s. During that time, it was quite common to see groups of individuals spotting turbans and purdahs anywhere in the country, even on the beach. I wonder what it would be like had Mahathir not wiped out the movement? Would they have grown into a dominant political force out-rivalling PAS?

  • Kong Kek Kuat says:

    @ Syed Alwi

    “The only way UMNO can remain relevant is by a complete clean-up of corruption. UMNO must be spotlessly clean…….”

    I wouldn´t bet on that becoming a reality — because even Hitler´s pure Aryan race was corrupted.

    Maybe the problem is not corruption, but a moral void that breeds an attitude which the lay[persons] in Malaysia refer to as “I can get away with anything in this country as long as I am UMNO”?

  • Yeo Kien Kiong says:

    In your professional opinion, is there any difference between fighting endlessly for the form of your religion and fighting endlessly for the spirit of your religion?

  • mnz says:

    Once the Islamist gains power, it’s difficult to do any check-and-balance, as true-blue Islamists have scant respect for man-made constitutions, man-made laws, and western-style democracy. Many things will be based on God’s words, and you don’t argue against God’s words.

    The way I see it, the best way ahead for PR is for a single PR party to be formed, effectively dissolving or diluting the Islamism threat.

    Other advantages to forming a single opposition party:
    a) a single PR party will boost the people’s confidence in the capability of the opposition to form a stable federal government.
    b) no more DAP to carry the ‘Chinese chauvinist’ stigma

    It may be relatively easy for DAP and PKR to merge together.
    It will take lots of talking and negotiation to get PAS to join in, but if you are able to do it, the rest of the world will be interested to know, as you would have solved the Islamism problem.


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