The noted Malayalam writer Kamala Surayya (earlier Das) converted to Islam but allegedly rued her decision before her death. “I fell in love with a Muslim after my husband’s death. He was kind and generous in the beginning. But I now feel one shouldn’t change one’s religion. It is not worth it.”In any case, as long as telepathy doesn’t become widespread, people can convert, re-convert, re-re-convert —or even not convert — without any of the self-styled guardians of faiths reallyknowing. Which leaves me with two questions: did those Agra guys get their BPL cards? And, is there any faith I can embrace that can get me an Xbox One and a bottle of Jameson whiskey upon conversion?
Rabble-rouser PAS of the heartland recently wanted a threat conveyed to the UMNO leadership.things could go wrong.” What he means is obvious: he too would make noise, create nuisance and if possible force another inane Parliamentary debate on some divisive nonsense.
PKR said PAS leaders should stop questioning the faith of Muslims who question the Islamic party’s move to implement hudud law, as there is nothing in the syariah that prevents this.
“It is … unacceptable for certain Pas leaders to continuously question the faith of Muslims whenever they raise questions or doubts on (a) PAS faction’s attempt to implement hudud.
There is nothing in the syariah that prohibits Muslims from debating hudud,” said PKR central committee member Latheefa Koya in a statement today.
She said many ordinary Muslims in Malaysia felt compelled to say that they will not object to hudud but this is a fallacy.
“There is some confusion that as Muslims cannot ‘reject’ the hudud, therefore we cannot question PAS’ version of hudud. This is a fallacy. PAS’ version of hudud is not a sacred cow,” she said.
“The BJP has always been opposed to forcible conversion. The so-called secular parties must support the bill against forced conversion if they are sincere in their clamour against it,” he said.Replying to questions on whether BJP was willing to talk to minorities on the conversion issue, Shah said, “First let there be a consensus among political parties, and the question of talking to minorities can be taken up.”Shah dismissed the criticism of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi that BJP was trying to divide the country on communal lines. “This is a criticism raised only by Rahul Gandhi and some Congress leaders as well as some sections of the media. There is no truth in those allegations.”
Latheefa earlier slammed PAS Kelantan for pushing forward with an emergency sitting to discuss hudud, particularly at a time when Pakatan’s biggest rival Umno was facing serious challenges for example over the issue of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s controversial 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
She accused PAS leaders of helping Umno distract public attention from the 1MDB scandal by playing up the hudud issue.
PKR’s Muslim MPs have refused to say whether they will vote against a private member’s bill to be tabled in Parliament by PAS which would pave the way for hudud to be enforced in Kelantan.
PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli said the party would only make a stand on the issue once it sees a draft of the bill.
“It is premature for me to comment on this. If there is a draft of the bill, we want to see it first. Then we will bring the matter up for discussion at the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) presidential council.”
Rafizi said he respected Kelantan PAS’s right to proceed with their state assembly sitting, adding that PR will discuss how to respond to the proposed bill.
“I do not want to jump the gun on this. We want to methodically deal with this at the national level, just like how we did so in the past,” said Rafizi, who is also Pandan MP.
The 18 Muslim MPs in PKR and DAP have been dubbed the “magic 18” by Gerakan secretary-general Liang Teck Meng, who urged them to vote against the private member’s bill to be tabled by PAS in the Parliament.
PKR has 16 Muslim MPs, while two of DAP’s 37 MPs are Muslims.
The private member’s bill will need a simple majority of 112 MPs supporting it in order for it to be passed. The bill can be tabled once the Kelantan state assembly passes amendments to its Shariah Criminal Code Enactment II, which it plans to do at a special sitting on December 29.
Umno has 88 MPs, of which all, with the exception of deputy speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee, are Muslims.
PAS holds 21 seats in Parliament and their combined force would still be short of four seats for the bill to pass.
DAP’s Zairil Khir Johari today responded to Liang’s suggestion by noting that the party has consistently opposed hudud law for Malaysia.
“DAP’s stand has been very clear from the beginning and Gerakan should ask those in Umno to stand with us,” Zairil had said in Penang today.
Other PKR Muslim MPs would not make a stand until the party leadership made a decision.
They also refused to state whether they would support the hudud bill, but said Muslims were required to support the Islamic laws.
Bukit Katil MP Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin said he wanted to see an official statement from PAS first.
“I cannot give any comments as I have not seen an official statement from PAS. I can only give my personal view once there is an official decision on the matter,” said Shamsul Iskandar, who is also PKR vice-president.
A similar cautious tone was repeated by Sungai Petani MP Datuk Johari Abdul, who said he would wait for PKR’s stand.
“I was not informed of any meeting yet at the Pakatan secretariat level on the issue so I do not have enough information to enable me to comment,” said Johari, who is the coordinator for the party’s MPs and state assemblymen, adding that he expects the party to meet soon to decide on the issue.
Their mixed feelings reveal how divisive the hudud issue is for PR, with the Islamist PAS bent on enforcing it in Kelantan despite objections from DAP.
PR leaders in the past have admitted that if PAS goes ahead with their plans, it could break up the seven-year-old coalition, seen to be the most formidable opposition alliance against BNs’s 54-year rule.
PAS also got rare support from its arch rival Umno, who said it would support attempts to enforce hudud in Kelantan.
In April, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said Umno’s 88 MPs will support the PAS bill, which among others allows for capital punishment on Muslims convicted of theft, adultery and alcohol consumption.
Currently, Shariah is only applied in Muslim marriages, inheritance and such personal conducts as alcohol consumption and relations between sexes.
Meanwhile, two PKR lawmakers were more strident in their responses, saying Muslim MPs could not simply “refuse to support” hudud.
“Muslims cannot refuse God’s law,” said Indera Mahkota MP Datuk Fauzi Abdul Rahman.
“But we have to explain it properly and we have to put the necessary infrastructure in place first before we implement it.”
Fauzi also said he wanted to see the bill first before deciding.
He said it was more important for Malaysians be schooled on the law first and that the police and courts be totally prepared to enforce it.
“If the bill says it wants to increase awareness and publicity and that it wants to put the infrastructure in place first, then maybe I will support it.
“But if it says they will introduce the law first and the rest comes after, then it will be hard for me to agree,” said Fauzi.
Lumut MP, First Admiral (R) Muhammad Imran Abdul Hamid, also did not clearly state whether he would support the bill but said Muslims were required to support Quranic laws.
“If the DAP wants to object to it, that is their right because they are non-Muslims.
“But if Muslims themselves do not support it, then it would seem strange. We have to accept those laws and we have to be wise about implementing them.
“Look at Brunei, the world did not end when they put hudud in place. So we don’t have to worry,” said Imran.
He said hudud would also protect non-Muslims.
“For instance, in Sitiawan (a town with a large non-Muslim population), there are many Muslim thieves. So we want to teach Muslims to fear God’s laws.”
Radical Hindutva has suddenly become a ruse for unemployed or under-employed politicians of the undivided saffron joint family to seek some attention or employment. So, without any provocation BJP’s Unnao MP, Sakshi Maharaj, who was secular for about six years when he was Samajwadi Party’s Rajya Sabha member from 200-2006, suddenly turned totally radical to praise Gandhi’s killer to the heavens, something even real rightwingers don’t do in public.Indira Ghandi’s daughter was snatched by her convert ex-husband around five years ago. To this day, the IGP refuses to arrest Indira’s husband.
Saffron outfits like the RSS and VHP are in an expansion mode in Bengal. From about 250 shakhas in the state five years ago, the number of VHP’s shakhas has increased to more than 400, said VHP south Bengal unit vice-president, Nand Lal Lohia. VHP aims to set up 543 units at the block level across Bengal by Janmashtami next year.
Describing India as a Hindu rashtra (nation) and making a strong pitch for Hindu awakening, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Saturday upped the ante on conversions by challenging opposition parties to bring a law for banning forcible conversions.
Addressing the first-ever public rally by Vishwa Hindu Parishad in West Bengal, Bhagwat said, “There is no need to fear. We are in our own country. We are not intruders or infiltrators. This is our own country, our Hindu ‘rashtra’ (nation). A Hindu will not leave his land. What we have lost in the past, we will try to bring it back. No one should be afraid of Hindus rising. Those who are raising their voice against the rise of Hindus are selfish and have vested interests. And if they oppose, there will be confrontation.”The sammelan kicked off with cow-worship at Shahid Minar in the heart of Kolkata, site of numerous political rallies since pre-independence days. At VHP’s rally, a large statue of a cow was placed near the dais.
Togadia said slaughter of a single cow was an insult to Hindus. He made a sales pitch for cosmetics manufactured from cowdung and urine of cows by the VHP. “We earned Rs 15 crore through sale of shampoo and face wash made from cow urine and face pack made from cow dung,” said Togadia. He then asked the crowd if the sale can be boosted to Rs 15,000 crore. He was not disappointed with affirmation from the crowd.
Togadia’s tirade against Bangladeshi infiltrators, who he called a security threat, found takers, especially, those coming from border districts. “You must pledge that you will not take in Bangladeshi Muslims as tenants or employ them even if they offer cheap labour,” he said after rattling off a nine-point action plan for being a “practising Hindu”.
Togadia accused chief minister Mamata Banerjee of minority appeasement. “Mamataji is wooing minorities by calling for reservation and doling out honorarium to imams. Why is there no grant for Hindu priests or Hindus who are unemployed?” he asked.
If “hudud” is in the news, you can bet on three things:
First: Umno-Baru has something serious to hide.
Second: PAS will capitalise on their spot in the limelight, and raise more religious issues.
Third: More Malays will join the brain-drain.
The other disturbing aspect of hudud is seen when ignorant and manipulative Malays issue the blanket phrase, “If you are not a Muslim, you have nothing to fear.”
Hudud has not yet been implemented, but if shariah law is a taste of things to come, then everyone, both Muslim and non-Muslim, have everything to fear. Malaysians lack confidence in the civil courts to implement justice. So, what makes the authorities and PAS think Malaysians should trust them?
What if there had been a miscarriage of justice? Our medical technology is not sufficiently advanced to regrow a limb. It is neither fair nor just, for a non-Muslim to be punished lightly, whilst his Muslim counterpart is punished harshly for a similar crime. Who looks after the limbless criminals? Who looks after his family, assuming he has one? Our welfare system is barely coping, under ordinary circumstances.
Addressing the first-ever public rally by Vishwa Hindu Parishad in West Bengal, Bhagwat said, “There is no need to fear. We are in our own country. We are not intruders or infiltrators. This is our own country, our Hindu ‘rashtra’ (nation). A Hindu will not leave his land. What we have lost in the past, we will try to bring it back. No one should be afraid of Hindus rising. Those who are raising their voice against the rise of Hindus are selfish and have vested interests. And if they oppose, there will be confrontation.”
The following non-Muslims ended up being the victims of shariah law; a law which most people assume only affects Muslims.
S. Deepa’s former husband Izwan Abdullah, a convert, disagreed with the Court of Appeal and snatched their son from his wife, despite both the Seremban High Court and Court of Appeal granting his wife custody of the children.
Indira Ghandi’s daughter was snatched by her convert ex-husband around five years ago. To this day, the IGP refuses to arrest Indira’s husband.
By now, you should have noticed that talk about hudud “appears” when the government has some bad news it wants to hide. This time, the list of bad news is long.
Prime Minister Najib Razak is under attack from within his own party, with allegations that factions loyal to former PM Mahathir Mohamad are making things difficult for Najib. The nightmare with 1MDB is only just beginning.
The PM is facing intense pressure from the group of prominent, intellectual and influential Malays, dubbed the “Eminent 25”, who have implored Najib to act. No one in living memory can remember a time when influential former civil servants criticised the PM’s leadership. The Malays in this group are not the Isma or Perkasa types.
Najib’s government is also hounded by news about illicit outflows. A decade-long study, by the Washington-based Global Financial Integrity (GFI), alleges that Malaysia has lost around RM1.38 trillion (US$394.87 billion) since 2003. The latest data provided by GFI state that, in 2012 alone Malaysia lost around RM171.11 billion (US$48.93 billion), enough to pay for 42 KLIA2s.
Minister in the PM’s Department, Abdul Wahid Omar dismissed the GFI report and said that it was a repetition of previous reports. Najib’s cabinet appears to be in denial.
Talk about hudud will never cease, because it is convenient for Umno-Baru and its coalition partners to give it an airing, from time to time.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Shariah Department’s Islamic Faculty lecturer, Izhar Ariff Mohd Kassim urged Muslims to unite and fight for Islam in Malaysia. He said, “If the Chinese can be united in rejecting hudud, why can’t Muslims be united in implementing it?”
Is Izhar shortsighted? The implementation of hudud is not about Muslims against Chinese. Implementing hudud should never be seen as “them against us”.
Hudud is a barbaric and inhumane set of laws, which legitimises limb amputations, stoning and beheading in God’s name. Look at how people were repulsed by the recent Sydney café crisis when a madman used God’s name to kill and cause chaos. Look at how Islamic State beheads people and commits mass murder in God’s name.
National Professor Council political cluster head, Professor Mustafa Ishak alleged that DAP was engineering to install Mat Sabu as the president of PAS, and take over from Hadi Awang.
Mat Sabu does not need DAP to fight his battles for him. Hadi is outdated, just as hudud is a set of laws which do not belong in modern times. As we saw during the Selangor menteri besar crisis, Hadi flip flopped, kept information to himself, was dictatorial and saw no need to consult the central committee, but most of all, he was dead set against any woman becoming leader of the state, or the nation.
A man who sets the nation back in time and makes a mockery of women’s education and work does not deserve the vote of women, who comprise 50% of our electorate and 50% of our workforce.
Hudud does not have a place in modern, secular Malaysia.
If the ulama are convinced that hudud is what most Muslims want, why not persuade Umno-Baru, to set a date for a referendum and ask Malaysians if hudud is what they desire. Umno-Baru claims it is the only party which has the interests of Islam and Malays at heart. So why has Umno-Baru failed to implement hudud?
“We must remember that the confrontation is for the ills done to our ancestors,” said Bhagwat, adding, “Hindus have been tolerating crimes by Bangladesh or Pakistan. Our God says after 100 crimes, you must not forgive any crime.”
“Till the Hindus are here in India, the country is there. If Hindus are not there, then everybody living here will be in distress,” Bhagwat said.
Speaking at a Hindu Sammelan as part of VHP’s golden jubilee celebrations, Bhagwat said Hindus do not convert, so nobody should try to convert Hindus to other religions.
“We are trying to create a strong Hindu society. Those who strayed, were lured away. They were looted from us. The world knows. Ab agar mera maal wapas aata hain, toh kaunsi badi baat hai?(If now we are taking back our property, then what’s the big deal?),” Bhagwat told the 20,000-strong crowd.
Targeting Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, VHP international working president Praveen Togadia said, “Mulayamji, you are known for taking an anti-national stand, but if you make an anti-conversion law we will support you.”
Senior VHP leader Ashok Singhal could not attend the rally due to ill-health.
These comments are significant at a time when political parties in the opposition have unitedly stalled Rajya Sabha following ‘ghar wapasi’ programmes by saffron outfits. The opposition has been demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on the conversion issue.
A profusion of saffron flags on Kolkata streets was a rare sight. Rallyists came from the city and neighbouring districts. Many of them like Surojit Mukherjee, a class XII student from Khardaha and Rahul Jaiswal, a 19-year-old who works in a garage, joined the Sangh Parivar about a year ago.
Earlier, senior VHP functionaries from Bengal had admitted their decision to hold the Hindu Sammelan was guided by the “changed political circumstances” in the state. Decoded, it translates into the increasing strength of BJP in Bengal.
Modi remains the Hindu Hriday Samrat and the controversial Hindutva agenda only bolsters his primary credentials as the biggest leader of the BJP. Only non-ideological issues of governance, competence, corruption or development can make a dent on his image and the regular Hindutva politicians of the Hindi heartland are incapable of raising these concerns. Conversion or re-conversion is a completely different agenda of the Parivar and it should not be mixed up with the attention-seeking tricks of individual politicians.
The attempt by the Parivar seems to be to put an end to the activities of the various proselytising religious groups among the lesser privileged castes. Any demand for a restraint on Sangh Parivar’s conversion activities can only be met with a blanket ban on conversion all together, which is exactly what the Parivar seeks.