Regrettably, for the Malaysian government which keeps professing it rules a ‘moderate’ Islamic nation, its has come down terribly hard on actress Rosnah Mat Aris on a religious issue.
Incidentally, the term ‘moderate’ to describe Islam has been had scorned and rejected by Dr Mahathir – see Dr Mahathir: "No such thing as moderate Muslim".
Rosnah had on Sensasi, a TV3 entertainment programme, responded to a query (or was it criticism) of her association with younger men by comparing herself to Siti Khadijah, wife of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Prior to becoming a prophet, a 25-year old Mohamad (pbuh) married the 40-year old Siti Khadijah.
For that comparison, Rosnah has been suspended from appearing in any radio or television shows over Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) for a year with immediate effect.
One year ban, but what about her ‘pot of rice’ then?
The TV3 show has since been banned even though government spinmeisters said it’s only the live broadcast being changed to one that’s pre-recorded (to enable timely judicious editing of Rosnah-like statements).
Let’s examine the facts of her costly faux pas.
Indeed, in the marriage of Prophet Mohamad (pbuh) there was an age difference, but so what? According to the Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History (2005), via Wikipedia:
“Muhammad became a merchant. He was involved in trade between the Indian ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. He gained a reputation for reliability and honesty that attracted a proposal from Khadijah, a forty-year-old widow in 595 CE. Muhammad consented to the marriage, which by all accounts was a happy one.”
So what was Rosnah attempting to do by quoting the above fact? I believe she was under pressure to respond to a query, live on TV, why she preferred young men (or words to that effect).
So, she chose to refer to Siti Khadijah as a role model, believing that she could cling to a highly Islamic personality as a defence against, what she saw as, an attack on her character.
I do not believe she was disrespectful but au contraire, she hope that by referring to the wife of the Prophet (pbuh) as a role model she too could slide up the scale of respectability.
But regardless, does the great religion of Islam feel threatened by such a woman’s remarks?
I don’t believe so. I believe it has nothing to do with the sanctity of Islam but the nasty grubby sensationalising exploitative holier-than-thou politics, either to out-PAS PAS or assume the holiest Islamic credentials in time for the general election. Haven’t we just witness the idiotic Mat Skoding gambit which flopped miserably?
The timing was just bloody rotten for Rosnah. Her innocent (or even defensive) comment was sensationalised as a disrespectful remark against Islam, when I can still remember some worse, indeed blasphemous remarks made by both UMNO and PAS politicians.
One particularly notorious claim was that voters for a certain party could ascend to Heaven - a remark that dared even to usurp the sole prerogative of Allah swt.
I think it’s high time moderate (there, I’ve gone and used that word) Malaysian Muslims should tell the hypocritical government that they don’t need such official persecution or punishment of Muslims on questionable grounds or even momentary errors of judgement, when the religion is strong enough to accommodate and forgive human errors.
It’s an issue that could have been, at most, easily solved by an official repudiation of her remarks. And surely with her public declaration of remorse, if need be, she should only merit an official ‘naughty, naughty, don’t do it again’.
Instead, Yusuf Goat-balls claimed he was shocked by poor Rosnah’s words when he viewed the recorded version of Sensasi, beat up the holier-than-thou drums and then issued that ban. For him, the Islamic heartland is now secured - Alhamdulillah.
But what about poor Rosnah? Do Muslims believe that's what Islam deem appropriate for her? Or, has it been only Yusuf Goat-balls exploiting the issue for Islamic brownie points?
Of course in deciding on the ban, he said there was a lengthy discussion on Rosnah’s words, but may I ask whether Rosnah was allowed to present her case, or apologies, again!
Rosnah was accused and ‘found guilty’ of hurting the feelings of the Muslim community. SIL was also accused and 'found guilty' of hurting the feelings of the Chinese Malaysian community.
The difference? One strayed onto politically holier-than-thou grounds in a period when the UMNO government is about to announce a general election, while one has the protective tangkal (amulet) of periuk emas (golden pot).
But Yusuf Goat-balls sermonised that the move was also the government obligation to educate and inculcate good values among the people.
What hypocrisy when his government is rife with pissed poor pathetic conduct, conniving and corruption. Why doesn’t he educate ministers and government officials on transparency, accountability and due process in accordance with the tenets of Islam Hadhari?