Tuesday, December 28, 2021

No regrets, says woman who stood against bigotry in halal row

No regrets, says woman who stood against bigotry in halal row

Noor Shamera Hassan’s post that had the support of an ustaz for her clip.

PETALING JAYA: Noor Shamera Hassan knew she would hit turbulent waters when she decided to speak up publicly against Muslims who questioned if food donated by non-Muslims for flood victims was halal. But that did not deter her.

She produced a 90-second video clip berating the naysayers whom she described as using a double standard at a time when people were just interested in survival after the devastating floods last week.

The emotional clip, calling for rational heads to prevail, went viral on social media, and received thousands of positive comments from Muslims that even Noor Shamera did not anticipate.

“Of course, there were some Muslims who chastised me questioning my authority over haram and halal, saying I had no locus standi. I was not discouraged because I always speak up against injustice.

Noor Shamera Hassan.

“But I must say 90% of the Muslims who commented were in support of my clip. It also included an ustaz who commended me for speaking up,” she told FMT.

In the clip, the 39-year-old mother of two teenagers lashed out at those asking if the donated food was halal although they had nothing else to eat and could possibly die of starvation.

“Islam allows Muslims to eat any food available in times of such emergency and if meant for survival. You see unmarried Muslim couples holding hands, is that halal? You see that everywhere but don’t question such unIslamic practices. Why?

“Please do not hurt the feelings of others especially when they were so magnanimous to sacrifice their time, effort and money,” she is heard saying in the video.

Asked what prompted her to do this despite knowing some would react negatively, Noor Shamera said she was upset seeing Muslims rejecting food aid delivered by non-Muslims on the basis of it being non-halal.

“I got all riled up when food from the Sikh temple was questioned even though they serve only vegetarian dishes. They are not known to cook meat in their temple premises. I told myself I must send a strong message out to make the volunteers feel better,” she said.

The video clip brought her more than 20,000 new followers on her social media accounts.

A response from a Malay/Muslim to her post on Instagram showing support for her stand.

Her mother called to say how proud she was, and asked her to continue what she is doing. “I am thankful for her support. I am also teaching my two children about the need to co-exist in a plural society.”

Noor Shamera said the subsequent actions of Muslims helping to wash temples and non-Muslims washing mosques in flood-hit areas showed that people could rise above racism.

“I have plenty of non-Muslim friends and as much as they see so much goodness in Islam, I see them being good human beings, too.

“Let us not forget how the people helped each other. If we cannot learn tolerance from this episode, I am afraid the future looks dim,” she said.

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