Ikim, the Institute of Islamic Understanding, is in deep damage control.
On Tuesday, the Star had published an article "Proposal to prosecute non-muslims for khalwat".
In Malaysiakini today, Ikim director-general Dr Syed Ali Tawfik Al-Attas denied the Star’s allegation, stating that the seminar it organised in collaboration with the Syariah Judiciary Department was about reviewing existing syariah laws and to propose solutions to problems pertaining to the Malaysian syariah system.
He said no proposal had been made to prosecute non-muslims for khalwat, be it under the syariah or civil court.
He claimed: “No such proposal was made, and therefore if what is reported in the Star as being comments allegedly made by Syariah Court of Appeal Judge (Mohd Asri Abdullah), are also in error.”
However, he balls-ed it up by adding: "If indeed the learned judge made those statements, we strongly advise that it would behove the judge to be more circumspect in future," implying he couldn’t say for sure whether the Syariah Court of Appeal Judge had threatened to prosecute non-Muslims for playing hank panky with Muslims.
There has been a long history of resentment among Muslims (especially the men) about only the Muslim partners of a khalwat case getting the legal raw end. Many of my Muslim friends said jokingly (with one or two not joking at all) that the non-Muslim partner who is tangkap basah (caught red-handed) in a ‘close proximity’ situation should start sharing the shame and fine.
Hey kawan, I didn’t make the law. Besides I have no shame in such matters ;-), though I must confess the fine won’t be welcome at all – will screw up my beer money.
Anyway, I am more inclined to believe the truth of the Star’s article because Dr Syed himself hasn't been sure whether the 'learned' syriah judge had uttered the proselytising words or not.
By the by, as I blogged in The 'Bumiputera' in the Malay identity, Dr Syed Ali Tawfik Al-Attas was the bloke who once told us:
“The Melayu is defined as first being a Muslim and because he’s a Muslim, he follows the customs and traditions of the Malays which are derived from Islam, followed by the language of the Malays which (also) derives from Islam.”
Malay language was derived from Islam? ;-) ke ke ke ke ke!
Then he committed a greater error in letting us know of his abysmal lack of knowledge about Buddhism.
He had once recklessly ascribed roadside shrines to Buddhist practice, stating: “Look at every other corner or tree and you’ll see a little red Buddhist shrine. People don’t disturb it, they respect it. We don’t go and break it, for heaven’s sakes!”.
He even had the temerity (of ignorance) to chide the Buddhists with “I think sometimes these people are also stepping over their boundaries, the ones who demand too much. There already is freedom of worship, you’re free to worship anywhere.”
Man, he knows diddly f*-all squat about Buddhism. To voice his opinion in public that 'there is a red little Buddhist shrine at every corner or tree' indicated an irresponsibility reflecting unworthily on his stature as director general of the Institute of Islamic Understanding.
As I blogged before in Sneaky Buddhists, Scary Buddhists!, Buddhists don’t give two hoots about the mercy or goodwill of god or gods. Unlike the Abrahamic religions, Buddhism does not subscribe to belief, faith or obedience in an Almighty God. It's virtually a godless religion.
In fact I would say his remarks were insulting to Buddhists
Thus in that incident, Dr Syed had demonstrated his abysmal ignorance on Buddhism in exactly the same way he had condemned non-Muslims as people ignorant of Islam who ought not to interfere with matters Islamic.
Anyway, back to the threat by Syariah Court of Appeal Judge, Mohd Asri Abdullah, if the Star had been spot on in its reporting, it’s worrying that a Judge could make the unforgiveable error of suggesting non-Muslims could be charged in a civil court for khalwat. I worry about the standard of the syariah courts.
And may I borrow the quote of Dr Syed to describe such a statement: “I think sometimes these people are also stepping over their boundaries, the ones who demand too much."
There is a noticeable and very lamentable denominator among some of Malaysia’s Islamic learned in that they seemed to focus only on the superficial aspects of moral policing, mainly of the females (Zuok nightclub, peeping top squad, khalwat, lipstick, headgear, perfume, etc) rather than the nobler aspects of Islam, for example, anti-corruption, compassion (especially for those afflicted with HIV-AIDS or drugs), justice.
Would these puerile focusing be reflections of the misogynistic nature of their individual mentality?