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Zulkifli Noordin’s jihad

PARTI Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Member of Parliament (MP) Zulkifli Noordin recently tried to move a series of constitutional amendments that would elevate the status of Islam in the country’s administration.

We know what he is asking for, but do we actually know why he is doing it? The Nut Graph spoke exclusively to Zulkifli via e-mail, and he tells us what his motivations and strategies are.

TNG: What are the chances of your motions — to amend the Federal Constitution — being heard in Parliament? According to PKR vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah, it is virtually impossible for opposition MPs to have their motions heard in Parliament because of Standing Order 15(1) which privileges government business.

Zulkifli Noordin: I agree that it is almost impossible for a private member’s motion to be tabled and debated in Parliament because of Standing Order 15(1). However, there is always that slim chance that it may see the light, especially if anyone in government, especially a minister, picks it up.

I’m betting on those chances, hoping maybe any of the ministers will pick up on the motion. As the saying goes, you stand a better chance of getting a fish if you cast your line. So why not give it a try?

Why have you brought these motions forward, especially the ones to amend the Federal Constitution to elevate the status of Islam?

It is my opinion that based on the principle of freedom of religion as enshrined in Article 11(1), every person has the right to profess and practise his or her religion.

As you are aware, Islam is not a religion concentrating only on ritualistic practices. It is a religion that encompasses a whole body of jurisprudence that covers the entire aspect of life. From the simple issue of what to wear, to what to eat, how to govern, the economy, business, law, and so on.

So I believe Muslims should be allowed to profess and practise their religion to the fullest. And anything that prevents a Muslim from doing so should be removed, especially legal barriers. For example, a Muslim flight attendant with MAS or AirAsia should be allowed to cover herself, if she chooses to, in accordance with the Islamic dress code.

The same also applies to Muslims who commit crimes, for example, theft or murder and so on. Subjecting a Muslim to a non-Muslim law will be very unfair to him or her, unless he or she chooses to be subjected to that law.

If Muslims are tried based on Islamic law and jurisprudence, and then convicted or sentenced, that will not only serve as punishment in the world. It is also a means to relieve punishment in the hereafter as they have already been punished in accordance with Allah’s law in the worldly realm. A Muslim’s conviction or sentence in accordance with human-constructed laws will only serve as punishment to him or her in the worldly realm, but will not relieve him or her of punishment in the hereafter.

That’s the reason, you see, that I have proposed almost 20 motions that are inter-related.

One thing I wish to highlight is that none of the motions will subject non-Muslims to Islamic law or jurisprudence. It only covers, and only subjects, Muslims to Islamic laws and jurisprudence.

If the motions do get a chance to be debated, do you think you will be able to get the requisite support from the floor to pass the amendment?

I believe in this verse: “If you assist Allah in His religion, He will assist you and put you in a firm position.” (Al Quran, Surah Muhammad, Verse 30)

There are 132 Muslim MPs in Parliament currently. Any Muslim worth his or her salt would definitely support the motions that I’ve put forward.

Sivarasa says this is merely your personal view and not the party’s stand. I’d like to clarify with you whether or not the party, or Pakatan Rakyat, is supporting you in your motions?

I agree that those motions are my personal crusade. I don’t even know what is PKR’s stand on this issue. I do wish that PKR would make a very clear stand.

I must say, though, that there is an understanding among the Pakatan Rakyat [about] respect for freedom of religion and for Islam being the official religion. But on the general stand of PKR that every person has the right to profess and practise his or her religion, I believe the stand that I take does not contradict the general stand. I am merely upholding the right of Muslims to profess and practise their religion.

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Will you keep pursuing these motions, even if they are not given the chance to be debated this time around?

Definitely! It is my personal jihad to uphold the right of Muslims to profess and practise their Islamic religion. And I will do so to my last breath. If I have to die in doing so, then I’m more than happy to give my soul for that struggle. It is my jihad to do so.

The big question that Muslims are asking now is, can we have our lives as Muslims back? And I’m nothing but an instrument of Allah to achieve just that — we Muslims just want our lives back.

See also: It’s God’s will
“There is no compulsion in Islam”

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16 Responses to “Zulkifli Noordin’s jihad”

  1. D Lim says:

    He sounds scary. When one mixes religion with the constitution, there will no longer be any rule of law.

  2. Farouq Omaro says:

    I agree with MP Zulkifli Noordin to an extent. Muslims should get the law they wish. However non-Muslims should be totally exempted from such laws. And in cases where a Muslim and non-Muslim party is involved, then it is up to the parties involved to decide on which court to go to.

    In cases of crime, if the person charged is Muslim, then the Syariah court should be referred to. However I also believe that Muslims who wish to leave Islam should be given the right to do so, except in cases where they leave Islam to evade charges in the Syariah court.

    As for parties calling for the ban of shows, artists, films, or books which may offend Muslims, I agree but please ban it among Muslims only. For example if Channel (V) and MTV are considered offensive to Muslims, then bar Muslims from subscribing to these two channels. And if Rihanna the artist is considered offensive to Muslims, ban Muslims from attending her concert.

    The fact is that non-Muslims do not mind Muslims having their laws as long as it does not affect non-Muslims. But persecuting Muslims who have converted to other faiths is considered interfering in non-Muslim affairs.This is because it involves another religion.

    Even during the time of the Malacca sultanate there were Malays who inter-married with the Chinese and left Islam. That is how we got the Baba-Nyonya of today.

  3. Maozi says:

    Farouq, you have syariah for that matter. Don’t drag the Constitution into religious matters, this will ultimately lead to a Muslim state instead of a secular country, and some 40% of the non-Muslims cannot accept that.

    This is a time that banning will only invoke more curiosity and arouse more rebellions. Educating your Muslimins and Muslimats is the correct way, instead of ban here ban there.

  4. hamzah says:

    Yup, sounds like a closet Umno racist.

    Show me where it says in the Quran that Islam can be elevated higher than other religions?

  5. Abdul Rahman Khoo Abdullah says:

    Two thumbs up for our MPs from Pakatan Rakyat.

    KIta mesti yakin dengan hakikat kehidupan bersama dalam sebuah negara yang mengamalkan Perlembagaan Malaysia.

    Perlembagaan Malaysia kata dalam Perkara 3 Agama Islam Agama Persekutuan, kita kena akur dengan prinsip itu. Biarkan mereka yang beragama Islam mengamalkan ajaran agama mereka, selagi mereka tidak mengganggu gugat ajaran agama lain. MPs berkenaan hanya mahu perkasakan Perlembagaan Malaysia, selaras dengan Agama Islam Agama Persekutuan buat orang-orang Islam sahaja, bukannya untuk penganut agama lain.

    Buat D Lim,

    “He sounds scary. When one mixes religion with the constitution, there will no longer be any rule of law. ”

    Ini bukan masalahnya….Ini merupakan jalan penyelesaian. Untuk penjelasan, saya titipkan petikan dalam Perkara 3 buat rujukan saudara;

    Perkara 3 (1) Ugama Islam ialah ugama bagi Persekutuan; tetapi ugama-ugama lain boleh diamalkan dengan aman dan damai di mana-mana bahagian Persekutuan.

    Saudara MP berkenaan hanya ingin mengamalkan ajarannya secara aman dan damai, maka dengan ini selaras dengan dua perkara dan besertakan dengan rasionalnya cadangan beliau WAJIB diterima oleh semua rakyat di Malaysia.

    1.Bersesuai dengan Perkara 3 (AGAMA ISLAM AGAMA PERSEKUTUAN)
    2.Bersesuaian dengan konsep Persekutuan “ugama-ugama lain boleh diamalkan dengan aman dan damai”.

    Maka dengan itu saudara sekalian yang membaca, kita seharusnya bertindak selaras dengan prinsip Perlembagaan iaitu kembali kepada dasarnya.


    Maka jika saudara rakyat Malaysia, dari bangsa atau agama apa sekali pun, anda harus menerima saranan daripada MP berkenaan kerana ianya langsung tidak mengganggu gugat ajaran saudara yang bukan beragama Islam. Kita rakyat Malaysia harus faham di mana negara ini dibina dari asas perpaduan. Maka dengan asas perpaduanlah kita harus bertolenransi dengan seluruh penganut dan agama yang ada di dalam negara. Kita mesti faham kehendak mereka terutama bagi yang beragama Islam.


  6. navin says:

    I think MP Zulkifli is doing what he thinks will be best for Muslims. As a non-Muslim, I have no qualms about his crusade. I say fight the good fight.

    I do know that in Islam (and every other known religion), respect is very highly regarded as a fundamental virtue. People’s beliefs and values vary dynamically here in Malaysia. Notwithstanding the sensitive race issue, I know that Malaysians will embrace a law that is harmonious to all and equally flexible in implementation. We are not hardcore fundamentalists here.

    But the underlying goal is this: in the end, there can be no meaningful progress without the power of togetherness. Without unity, there is no foundation to hold up our achievements. Religion, yes it is important, vital for survival. But when you peel away the multi-coloured layers, you will find that the essence of all religion is to bring people together. It’s really that simple.

    I hope MP Zulkifli forges ahead with his crusade with that in mind.

  7. Karcy says:

    While the economy is sliding down into the pits and big firms are all shaking in their boots, this man is more concerned about whether Muslim Malaysian air stewardesses should wear the hijab or not, and is prepared to challenge the Federal Constitution for it.

    There is a time and place to do your own thing and break the status quo. Acting like a loose cannon (or a solo jihad cowboy) in the already turbulent PKR is hardly a wise decision at all.

  8. weber says:

    Mr Farouq,

    I don’t quite agree with your opinion to bar Muslims from watching channels like MTV, Channel (V) etc. Let one choose for oneself what he/she wants and what he/she does not.

    I prefer that the service provider allows the option of what should be included in the subscription.

  9. Satubangsa says:

    Yes Zul, you can have full freedom to practise whatever Muslim faith and practices you wish. Can the other Muslim sects like the Ahmadiyyah also have their full freedom to practise Islam according to their beliefs? Or do you say they cannot because they are deviationists. Well, they think they are correct in their interpretation of the Quran. So, that by default means you are a deviationist in their faith. But I think they will not smear you with the term deviationist because they believe in loving all and have hatred for none.

    But the fact remains that the Sunni Muslim Malays in Malaysia refuse to allow the Ahmaddiyah Muslims to practice their faith in freedom. Let’s not even bring in the Shi’ite and Sufi Muslims into this discussion otherwise I think you will go berserk and ask all the other non-conforming Muslims and non-Muslims to stop from discussing about your brand of Islam as if you are the only Allah-sent authority which you are most definitely not. Otherwise you will compromise the fundamental tenet of Islam which is that Prophet Mohammad pbuh is the last prophet and you definitely are not one.

    Yes, you can and should have full freedom to practise your religion but what about issues that fall between two jurisdictions as in the case of the many issues faced by Muslim converts some of whom wish to leave the religion. Don’t be simplistic or even try to lie to us that what you are proposing is only for Muslims, life is not that simple and many issues fall in between the cracks.

    Being a lawyer, you cannot be that naive as not to know that. You already have your freedom now under Malaysia’s Constitution but that liberty which you are entitled to becomes an infringement once it encroaches into another human being’s rights (religious or otherwise) whether intentionally or indirectly.

    We are not fools and we hate your condescending attitude of treating us Malaysians like fools as has been done by Umno/BN all these 50 years.

  10. Tommy says:

    If he persists, either DSAI kick him out or we want DAP to be out of PR. He is a mole in PR. Please wake up before it’s too late. Why always bring up such issues when by-elections are on the way? PR will lose my vote if he is still in PR come next election. And I mean it!!

  11. narf says:

    This is assuming that most Muslims agree with these laws in the first place. I am a Muslim and I personally do not agree that the syariah laws in place in Malaysia are completely Islamic-based. I would like full freedom to believe and observe my religion as much as I can, and that includes following a syariah law that is unbiased, fair, based on the Quran and subject to reinterpretation when necessary via general consensus of scholars who are held accountable not only to God but to the people whom they lead.

    When this happens, then I will support that all Muslims be subjected to only syariah law. Until then, I feel that civil laws are more Islamic-based than the Malaysian syariah.

  12. Karcy says:

    I think everyone here is missing the point; the issue is that Zulkifli Noordin’s interview, and his previous articles, show that he is thick with political double-speak. Check some of the older ones, he was a member of PAS and contested under PKR to gain a seat.

    There is also the issue of whether it is wise to make a move to amend the Federal Constitution when the country is in a power shift. My only guess is that he is doing what a politician is doing: striking while the iron is hot. He is making use of the unstable situation now, what with the anxieties of the Malaysian-Muslim community still fresh in everyone’s minds. If the country was in a more stable position and he proposed the amendment for Islam, no one would listen to him.

    With people like Nik Aziz, you always know what you’re going to get. He wants to establish an Islamic theocracy simply because he believes it is right. The same cannot be said of this man, whose words are littered with back doors. And ultimately, the issue is not Islamization but PKR. If PKR’s people are filled with all sorts of people going on solo left and right, the party will fall apart. Right now it is the hinge between DAP and PAS, so if PKR falls, very likely PR falls too.

  13. tengku mohd faizal says:

    This is democratic Malaysia, he can do whatever he wants, those who oppose him are akin to the BN banning of Harakah and Suara Keadilan for no reason.

  14. tengku mohd faizal says:

    But then again, please focus on the economy and welfare of the rakyat.

  15. rin says:

    All these talks are very vague and abstract, Islamic law and jurisprudence for Muslims etc. I respect his belief that everyone should be able to profess and practise their religion to the fullest (possible).

    But can anyone elaborate on what is the actual effects on Muslims and maybe non-Muslims too if his motions are passed and implemented? How huge will the impact be? And do a lot of Muslims felt the same, that it is unfair for them to be subjected to non-Muslim laws? Or is it just Zulkifli’s personal views?

    This article raised more questions than answers for me.

  16. Whatif says:

    The day the Kulim MP fights for the freedom of Mak Chik Kamariah Ali for her right to practise her faith will be the day he frees himself from all religious bondage.

    If any Muslim would willingly take her place in prison so that the old lady would be free to live her remaining life in freedom, that Muslim would have experienced the love of Allah. Would you, Kulim MP?

    I know Haris would.

    Peace to all mankind.

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