Saturday, March 11, 2006

Marina Mahathir Attacked for Dad's Sins

When Marina Mahathir condemned the new man-made Islamic Family Law (IFL) as discriminatory to Muslim women, treating them in an apartheid-like fashion, it was not unexpected that the conservative Islamic community would come out swinging.

They did 2 things, one exactly as she had predicted while the other may be considered as predictable too since it had happened before.

The Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF) told the BBC: "Her prejudiced views and assumptions smack of ignorance of the objectives and methodology of the Sharia, and a slavish capitulation to western feminism's notions of women's rights, gender equality and sexuality."

'... slavish capitulation to western feminism's notions ...'? - wow, if that's not meant to slug Marina under her belt, I don't know what it was!

I blogged in my previous posting Marina had decried that even with the unfair discrimination of the new IFL, people dare not speak out because a climate of fear always surrounds discussion of Islamic issues in Malaysia, and that it was virtually impossible for anyone other than men with religious backgrounds to speak on the subject in Malaysia.

The MPF has come out precisely as she predicted that she, Marina Mahathir is not well versed in Islamic laws. Worse, she suffers from a 'slavish capitulation' to western women's rights. And then, horrors of horrors, Marina is a woman!

[KTemoc notes: What a woman!]

To them, Marina as a woman should have known her place and kept her mouth shut even when it’s clear the new IFL has made the women’s position worse. But no one, not even the MPF has denied the fact, that today, the Muslim women's rights have been greatly diminished vis-à-vis their husbands.

Instead they went about defensively showing that there are adequate so-called safeguards for diminished women’s status in real terms. KTemoc’s question is why should there be such a need for so-called reactive ‘safeguards’ [only verbal assurances] to remedy a revised but worse-off law for women, when the previous women’s positions vis-à-vis their husbands in the IFL of 1984 were better?

The aim of the new IFL Bill had been to standardise all Malaysian states' Islamic family laws but in doing so, the new federal Bill adopted the lowest denominator rather than the highest. This has been what brought down the higher standards of those who enjoyed it under the IFL of 1984.

Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj, women's chief of the reform group Jamaah Islah Malaysia said:

"Women in Malaysia are given unlimited opportunities to obtain high education level, we are free to choose our profession and career besides enjoying high standard of living with our families."

Free to choose …? Yeah, provided some schoolgirls MUST continue to wear their tudungs even during hot sweaty sports, or they would be warned or have their enjoyable sporting activities curtailed.

Besides, the issue has been about women's rights vis-à-vis their husbands', and not about freedom to choose their education. Even Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj has evaded the principal issue, that under the new IFL, Muslim wives are less protected. These have been what Marina has been pointing out.

And the second predictable comment that KTemoc has noted whenever some sectors had been irate with Marina’s comments would be the dragging in the name and associated sins of her father, former premier Mahathir Mohamad, in an attempt to diminish the validity of her points.

Tell me, does the sins of her father invalidate her points?

Precisely - that's the bankruptcy of some people's arguments when you see them resorting to such irrelevant items.

(1) The Star refused to delayed publishing Marina Mahathir's article
(2) Marina Mahathir on Malaysia's 'Climate of Fear'

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