I refer to the Malaysiakini report Anwar explains his stance to Christian leaders.
There was ostensibly, as claimed by an anonymous observer ‘no variance between his public pronouncements and his private assurances to his inquisitors’.
Unfortunately this glib remark is not borne out by Anwar Ibrahim's contradictory public utterances. The fact that is was a closed-door meeting and had people speaking to Malaysiakini on conditions of anonymity did very little to allay suspicions and distrust of Anwar's commitment to freedom of conscience and the 'Jeffersonian Focus'.
Anwar has been accused of being 'all things to all men' in his political and religious rhetoric; his recent pronouncements on the Lina Joy case seem to confirm this. Let us not forget that he praised the Federal Court on the ruling that Joy had to go to the Syariah Court to get her religious status clarified. In fact Anwar went one step further and exhorted us to have 'more confidence in the Syariah courts' .
However, when the Syariah courts declared that M Revathi who claimed to be a Hindu was a Muslim and could not change her faith despite undergoing a six-month detention and psychological torture (by being separated from her husband and baby and forced to eat beef) in an Islamic 'rehabilitation centre’, there was pin-drop silence from Anwar. The above is a clear example of his moral cowardice.
Freedom of worship as guaranteed by the constitution applies to every Muslim and non-Muslim alike. When a Muslim changes his or her faith, they immediately fall outside the ambit of Syariah law. As such, apostasy cannot be a crime as the Syariah Courts have no jurisdiction over non- Muslims. Thus the detention and cruel incarceration of Revathi was unconstitutional despite what Anwar says about 'following procedures'.
Belief is a personal matter. No authority can impose a belief system on an individual if he or she rejects it. Truth and sincerity are important Islamic precepts. Therefore labelling someone a 'Muslim ' when they chose to reject the faith is encouraging 'munafik' behaviour which sadly the Syariah courts are guilty of.
Anwar's impression of duplicity can be dispelled by making clear pronouncements in all the mammoth ceramahs he is due to take part in the up-coming elections. He should categorically state that:
(1) Apostasy is not a crime.
(2) Lina Joy should be legally declared a Christian as the Syariah Courts have grossly erred in declaring that a Muslim cannot change faith according to conscience.
(3) Detention and incarceration and the torture which Revathi went through was illegal and can never be regarded as part of an Islamic ‘rehabilitative procedure’.
(4) PKR will institute reform of the Syariah law and procedures in Malaysia if it comes to power.
Aiyah Proarte, Anwar explains his stance to Christian leaders is just one of those tiresome anwaristas' letters.
But will Anwar Ibrahim accept Proarte's challenge to him. And if I may, I would also like to add one more issue, namely, for Anwar Ibrahim to declare he would purge the Constitution of Article 153, and in its place, institute an affirmative program on need-basis.
Mind you, I wouldn't hold your breath.