Home Web Specials 2016 Web Specials How does someone actually insult a religion?

How does someone actually insult a religion?

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Our nation is treading on dangerous grounds because statements are prone to be manipulated by certain segments of society from a religious viewpoint, says WH Cheng.

Recently, an opposition member of parliament uttered a remark on the passing of Pas spiritual leader Haron Din in the United States.

The opposition MP tweeted, “Adios Haron Din, may there be peace.” To the misfortune of the MP, his statement was quickly manipulated by many Pas leaders as “insulting Islam”.

In response to the allegations of those Pas leaders and the police reports lodged against the MP, the police top brass was quick and overly eager in wanting to arrest the MP for questioning. This was despite the fact that he had already shown his commitment to cooperate with the police and come forward to give his statement.

I am neither advocating the cause of the MP nor supporting the opposition party he represents, but the wisdom and characteristic of the police top brass should be questioned in this case.

Why prejudge the opposition MP as “guilty as seen” by announcing that he would be arrested even before his statement could be recorded?

Were the police so quick and efficient just because he was a “secular opposition member of parliament” who just wanted to say goodbye to a dead religious man in a secular and non-theological manner?

Let’s say if the MP were to say “RIP, Haron Din” (RIP means rest in peace in English), would those Pas leaders have taken his words out of context and accused him of attempting to convert the dead “pious” man to Christianity while awaiting burial?

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The same goes for the other person who wrote, “someone who made his career selling air jampi for any illness succumbed to his illness in a modern day hospital in San Francisco”. This person too was immediately arrested and brought to another state for remand and questioning.

Why the need for such a knee-jerk reaction by the police? Although Haron Din was a preacher, politician, bomoh and faith healer who was held in high esteem by many Pas leaders, it did not make him a prophet or someone on par with Allah swt.

Umno leaders insulted Karpal Singh too!

When DAP deputy chairman and Jelutong MP Karpal Singh was killed in a road accident, everyone was shocked and saddened because we had lost a credible leader who went out of his way to protect our rights and the people.

All of a sudden, two Umno leaders emerged from nowhere and made harsh and uncouth statements welcoming the passing of Karpal with much “joy and celebration”.

One of the Umno leaders who insulted the late Karpal was Nawawi Ahmad, the Langkawi Umno MP, who wrote in his Facebook that he laughed at Karpal following his death and asked if anyone else would like to follow suit.

This was followed by a statement by another Umno man Zulkiflee Noordin, the former Kulim Bandar Baru MP who contested and lost in Shah Alam in 2013, who was quoted as saying that he was glad that Allah had taken Karpal’s life away to pave the way for hudud implementation.

The words of these two Umno men were gravely insulting, intended to provoke and to create disharmony while family members of the late Karpal were still mourning over the loss.

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Both Nawawi and Zulkiflee seemed to be overjoyed with the passing of Karpal and seemingly wanted as many people as possible to “celebrate” the event.

If the police were to define the latest case as an intended insult to Islam and Muslims in Malaysia, then they should have done the same against both Nawawi and Zulkiflee because their actions and words seemed to have insulted the Sikh religion and the entire Sikh community in Malaysia.

But why were Nawawi and Zulkiflee let off the hook on the excuse that they were only exercising their right to freedom of expression? Why was a set of laws applied differently to different persons according to their political affiliations?

Our nation is treading on dangerous grounds today because any words, statements, writings or postings may be deemed as insulting to the religion if these were to be manipulated by certain segments of society from a religious viewpoint.

And for the sake of convenience and obedience, the top brass of our nation’s security apparatus is perceived by some to take sides and support the ruling party by efficiently acting against those who do not agree with Umno, Barisan Nasional (BN) or whoever affiliated to them.

Why prejudge people by describing them as “mulut gatal”, “biadap”, “kurang ajar” or other insulting words when statements have not been recorded from the so-called offenders who have not yet been produced in court?

So, why all the big fuss over the two statements on Haron and how they will cause disharmony, disunity or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will or prejudice the maintenance of harmony on grounds of religion?

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Source: Berita Daily

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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