Guarding the sanctity of Islam

A British Muslim who has many family contacts in the Yemen reports that most of the remaining Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp inmates are Yemeni. These families have reported to him that the Prison Camp guards have used forced-feeding this past Ramadhan by inserting tubes into the inmates’ stomachs, to destroy their fast. What happened to Obama’s promise to close this facility? We have proof here that even Obama cannot stand against the deadly enemies of Islam, whatever he says or does otherwise.

Even the concept of an “expanding Islam” in America appears to be merely “wishful thinking”. The most recent national census there reports the same several million Muslims as the census of ten years before. There is no real expansion, except perhaps among the immigrants from failing Muslim states. And even these have been prohibited by banking regulations from sending more than a pittance of their American earnings abroad to their families in the Middle East. Failing that, they have resorted to buying up old church buildings and turning them into mosques, hoping the visual presence will constitute some sort of da’wah among the American passers-by.

The largest contributor to the United Nations budget is the USA. The UN was created in hopes of preventing any further world wars, by signing up the entire world of nation-states into the secular system of organization, by which Muslim countries especially could be more easily controlled. Malaysia will have her “human rights” record examined this year by the UN Human rights Council in Geneva, for which comprehensive preparations are being made to educate this council that the world cannot accept the UN definition of “human rights”. Additionally, the Muslim concept will be presented for comparison.

Even so, if the US President is impotent to control the enemies of Islam, of what use is the United Nations to Malaysia? For example, in his speech at the dinner to mark the 30th anniversary of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCSHT) on 10 August 2013, Mr. Jagir Singh, its new president has promised to take legal challenges all the way to the United Nations if they cannot be resolved here. Mr. Jagir, a lawyer, said MCCBCHST will chart a roadmap to refer religious rights issues to the UN.

MCCBCHST’s warning is hilarious, and if it moves to bring issues such as religious conversion of minors and the use of the word  ‘Allah’ dispute to the UN will be a complete waste of time and valuable resources. Malaysia will be laughed out of the UN sessions should that occur. How Malaysia regulates her domestic affairs, particularly of religious issues, is entirely her own, private concern. We cannot have every country of the world appealing to the UN when they are unhappy with certain policies. We always remain critical of the UN as a secular product of the West, therefore not the proper venue to adjudicate issues especially of religions, whether in or out of the media.

For decades, have not there been obvious critics of every kind which have decried the corruption, arrogance and ineffectiveness that seems to permeate the UN? Are they not controlled essentially by the Security Council, whose undemocratic élite members have veto power over every resolution the General Assembly might put forth? By which authorities are Muslims ordered to put their private ideological debates into the hands of non-Muslims, aiming for “unity” or any other cliché condition?

It is true that Malaysia will be “examined” this year on her “human rights record”, via the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council. Malaysia is, in fact, assembling a comprehensive set of materials arguing her human rights records, including sexual and gender policies before this UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in October this year. We are participating as any good community member must, in the collective discussions of the day. And yet, some of our own people, in the person of this new head of the MCCBCHST, are claiming total impossibilities for the Malaysian state, whose Federal Constitution enshrines Islam forever as the religion of the Federation. They are challenging Islam by bringing as many issues to the courts. They have no respect for Islam as the religion of the Federation as stipulated by Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution, by using secular human rights arguments to destroy the sanctity of religious values. Over the past two decades, we have seen attempts to emasculate this established position through filing of applications in Civil Courts by certain quarters. And now they want to use the UN human rights channels.

As a matter of fact, Islam has been the law of the Malay Peninsula since 1136, ever since the Hindu Kedah ruler, Merong Mahawangsa converted to Islam and assumed the Muslim name of Sultan Muzaffar Shah. Before independence in 1957, Islam was the official religion of all the Malay states. What the Constitution did was to state that Islam becomes “the religion of the Federation”, by virtue of Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution. For minority religions to seek equality or even dominance of their various polytheistic value systems withint the Malaysian context is ridiculous, not to mention legally suspicious.

In view of the Federal Constitution, do they even have the right to appeal against Islamic values and institutions? Do the non-Muslims really have the right under law, as they claim, to demand all Azans (Prayer Calls) to be heard only inside the various Masajid? This is in imitation of American law, which stipulates this restriction to one of the fundamental revealed aspects of Islamic culture and practice.

Must Mr. Jagir create a “tempest in a teapot” (not “storm”, the Minister Tan Sri Joseph Kurup doesn’t even know the correct idiom) by internationalizing profoundly domestic issues of debate and concern?

This man, and the MCCBCHST, are a profound embarrassment for Malaysia in the international body known as the United Nations, which in themselves also claim to regulate and protect various unIslamic conditions which they arbitrarily designate “human rights”. Human Rights clearly include family law and gender policy, in which no international body, especially as controlled by the secular political and economic interests of a somewhat specious “United Nations”, have any right to interfere — ever. Malaysia cannot stand by and allow such a precedent to be established, otherwise, Muslim sovereignty worldwide may be emasculated by her ideological opponents and outright enemies, as might the sovereignty of any other member nation at any time.

Therefore, Malaysia should stand proud as an exemplary example of interfaith coöperation and coexistence, and those within her borders who wish to complain or attack Malaysia’s achievements along these lines should have their wrists slapped roundly by the United Nations authorities themselves. Imagine, if they have to enter every similar domestic dialogue worldwide? What a farce! The United Nations themselves should thank Malaysia for taking this stand, and follow suit. Nations must “grow up” and deal with their family feuds internally. Thus, this MCCBCHST must be “thrown out of the courtroom”.

AZRIL MOHD AMIN is vice president, Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia.

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