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UNDERSTANDING LIBERALISM AND RELIGIOUS PLURALISM
WRITTEN BY: DR CHANDRA MUZAFFAR
4 NOVEMBER 2014

The fatwa issued by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) and gazetted on 31 July 2014 declaring any person or group "professing liberalism or religious pluralism” as "deviants” raises some troubling questions. The group, Sisters in Islam, was specifically named in the fatwa.

Of course, a fatwa in Islamic jurisprudence is only an opinion and does not command mandatory force but when it is employed to castigate an individual or organization as "deviant” it assumes a different connotation. The reckless use of the term "deviant” has created deep schisms and feuds and even caused bloodshed and violence in Muslim history. It is only if a religious authority can provide incontrovertible proof that a person (or group) has veered from the fundamental teachings of Islam should one resort to such a description.

To establish that one has become a deviant through alleged adherence to "liberalism” or "religious pluralism” the authority concerned has to show convincingly how these two ideas contravene the essence of Islam. To start with, MAIS must be aware that the term "liberal” appears in the fourth goal of the Rukunegara, our National Charter. It says that the goal is to ensure "a liberal approach to her (Malaysia’s) rich and diverse cultural traditions.” In its description of this goal, the Rukunegara speaks of a society that is "free to choose religion, custom and culture of their own in line with the interests of national unity.”

 
 
TO FIGHT SEDITION OR TO PROMOTE HARMONY?
WRITTEN BY: DR CHANDRA MUZAFFAR
8 SEPTEMBER 2014

When Prime Minister Dato Sri Najib announced more than two years ago that the Sedition Act of 1948 would be repealed and replaced by a National Harmony Act, I welcomed the proposal on behalf of Yayasan 1Malaysia ( see The National Harmony Act: Rights and Restraints 23 July 2012).

In the last few months however some prominent Malaysians have publicly argued for the retention of the Sedition Act. While there is some merit in their arguments, they overlook the undeniable fact that the basic thrust of the Act runs counter to the spirit of the most fundamental law that governs the life of our nation, namely, the Malaysian Constitution. Our Constitution envisages a democratic polity that respects the freedom of expression. "A democratic way of life "isalso one of the five cherished goals of our national charter, the Rukunegara. Our national vision, Wawasan 2020, also speaks of fostering a mature democracy as one of our nine strategic challenges.

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KINDNESS TO ANIMALS: AN ISLAMIC VIRTUE
WRITTEN BY DR CHANDRA MUZAFFAR

In the view of the controversy over the "I want to touch a dog” event, Yayasan 1 Malaysia (Y1M) would like to draw your attention to an article written by its chairman, Dr Chandra Muzaffar, in 2006 on the larger question of kindness to animals, including dogs.

In all religions kindness to animals is an exalted virtue. Because animals arc God’s creations, the human being has a duly to look after them





MH17: WHY IS MALAYSIA NOT PART OF THE PROBE?
WRITTEN BY:  DR CHANDRA MUZAFFAR
22 NOVEMBER 2014

Why is Malaysia not in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the MH 17 crash of July 17 2014?

Aren’t there guidelines that spell out which parties should constitute the probe team in the event of a disaster of the magnitude of MH 17? As the owner of MH 17 it is logical and sensible that Malaysia is part of the probe. Malaysia has more rights to be in the JIT than some of its present members. One can understand why Ukraine is in the team since that is where the plane was shot from the sky. We can understand the Netherlands’ membership of the JIT since the flight originated from Amsterdam. But why is Belgium in the JIT? Is it because Brussels is the administrative capital of the European Union and the EU may have some aviation responsibilities over commercial flights in the continent? If that is the case, then it is the EU, not Belgium, which should have a place in the team. What about Australia? Is it a member of the probe because a large number of Australians were killed in that tragedy? If that is the consideration, then Malaysia should also be in the JIT since 43 of our citizens were killed, the second largest number after the Dutch, 193 of whom perished in the calamity. Perhaps the Unites States should also be included since Boeing is the manufacturer of the aircraft.

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AUDITING THE NATIONAL LANGUAGE
WRITTEN BY: DR CHANDRA MUZAFFAR
23 OCTOBER 2014

We are in the midst of the National Language Month ( Bulan Bahasa Kebangsaan) 2014. BBK has been observed in one form or another since the early sixties. Essay-writing competitions, oratorical contests, poetry recitals, musical presentations and the like are among the programmes that accompany this Month. The overall purpose is to promote the use of Bahasa Malaysia as an expression of the nation’s identity and as an instrument of national unity.   

During the launch of this year’s BBK, the Deputy Prime Minister who is also the Minister of Education, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, announced that the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) and the Institut Alam dan Tamadun( ATMA), has begun conducting an audit on the use of the national language in six public universities. The audit will look at how extensively Bahasa is used in lectures and in academic writings, among other aspects of university work. In the next stage, the audit will cover all public universities. It will then be expanded to include private universities.

 
 
EQUILIBRIUM: THE KEY TO OUR SUCCESS
WRITTEN BY: DR CHANDRA MUZAFFAR
12 AUGUST 2014

It is significant that the Star has launched a campaign to encourage the articulation of Brave Views and Bold Ideas but tempered by the voice of moderation.

One hopes that this campaign will help to overcome one of the major shortcomings in the public discourse on ethnic issues in the country. There is a pronounced tendency for opinion-makers who highlight a particular extremist view targeting a certain community to ignore or downplay a similar extremist position directed against another community. For instance, those who are outraged by a cow head procession are somehow not incensed when the carcass of a pig is left outside a mosque. Likewise, groups who protest against insulting remarks about Ramadan choose to maintain a stunning silence when a non-Muslim religion is subjected to derogatory comments. When some communal politician describes a third generation Malaysian of Chinese descent as " pendatang”, he draws the ire of an entire community but when some other public figure rubbishes the Malay root of this nation so clearly acknowledged in the Malaysian Constitution, hardly anyone from that community attempts to rectify such a blatant distortion. 




 


Bersatu Menyelesaikan Kepincangan Sosial Negara

Empati mendatangi kita dalam berbagai bentuk dan seringkali kita terlepas pandang betapa empati sepatutnya menjadi reaksi spontan yang tidak perlu di olah atau di nukilankan dalam berita atau cerita sensasi yang selalunya trajis.

Malah telah menjadi seperti satu lumrah masyarakat kita yang sangat tertarik dengan pendekatan mensensasi kejadian trajis tanpa mempedulikan akan pedas lada atau masin garamnya.

Kelibat adik Siti Sofea Emelda seorang anak kecil yang berumur 2 tahun akan selalu kelihatan di Pasaraya Kotaraya Kuala Lumpur bagi mereka yang berniaga dan lazim ke sana. Anak kecil ini juga tidak asing kepada kumpulan NGO "Pertiwi Soup Kitchen” yang sering meringankan seketika beban pencarian sesuap nasi bagi mereka yang tidak mempunyai tempat berteduh atau di label sebagai golongan gelandangan kotaraya.

SETERUSNYA..
 
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