Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Tale of PPP’s Supra Maniam s/o Kolanda Velu And His Ultimatums.


Supra Maniam s/o Kolanda Velu, later known as K.V.S Maniam and now Datuk M. Kayveas has issued an ultimatum to Barisan Nasional, threatening to withdraw from the coalition if Barisan Nasional fails to amend the Internal Security Act. Many have applauded this move. The rest associate him with a faulty radio, which often fails to strike the right frequency and has a volume that can reach the highest level at one point, and turn mute the very next. Truth to be spoken, I too, fail to understand this Supra Maniam.


Political analysts have formed a near consensus, claiming Kayveas’ controversial antics are driven by the motive of keeping the People’s Progressive Party within sight in the political radar. They believe that without these occasional outbursts, or rather mere sparks, Kayveas and his party may face the prospect of being wiped out from Barisan Nasional. Well, maybe not literally, but their voices may soon be insignificant.


In 2007, in the eve of the People’s Progressive Party’s 54th anniversary, Kayveas was quoted as saying that his party would leave the Barisan Nasional coalition if they are not allowed to contest the number of seats they held prior to joining Barisan Nasional in 1972. This did not go down well with members of other Barisan Nasional component parties, and he was gunned down by the likes of Muhyiddin Yassin, Ali Rustam and Chua Soi Lek, amongst others. What transpired next was his change of tune, much to the dismay of even most People’s Progressive Party’s members. He claimed that it was only a request, and not a threat.


"All I did was make a request that the party be allowed to contest for seats it used to hold. It was a friendly request, short of begging. Never at any time did I issue an ultimatum to the Barisan Nasional.”- Datuk M. Kayveas as reported in the New Straits Times on 30 July 2007.


“I just said we would have to think about our future in the BN if we are not going anywhere. I don't think that is an ultimatum. Come on, we are in no position to give ultimatums to anyone."- Datuk M. Kayveas as reported in the Sun on 30 July 2007.


However, on the 30th of November 2008, Kayveas issued an ultimatum to Barisan Nasional.


PPP president M Kayveas today warned that his party will pull out of the Barisan Nasional coalition if the Internal Security Act (ISA) is not amended before the next elections.- Malaysiakini, 30 November 2008.


Kayveas’ statements appear to be constantly volatile. The merit of the case does not favor him either. He seems to be losing ground on both ends. His claim last year that the People’s Progressive Party should be allowed to contest seven parliamentary seats and twelve state seats in the 2008 General Elections simply because these were the numbers held by them before joining Barisan Nasional is far from justifiable. He conveniently ignored the situational and time-frame elements when making that claim.


At that point of time, People’s Progressive Party was a much respected party under the leadership of prominent figures such as the Seenivasagam brothers. Ipoh Municipality Council, under the People’s Progressive Party in the 1960s, was an exemplary model of local administration which was even highly regarded by Barisan Nasional leaders back then. Kayveas has certainly failed to live up to the legacy of the party’s past leaders. Yes, he may argue that it is a struggle to work under an oppressive system, and that had contributed to the downfall of People’s Progressive Party. But if that was the case, why didn’t he stand firm and make a stand when bullied by other Barisan Nasional component party leaders? In fact, what he did was change tunes to re-establish his ties with them. His flip-flops have been the cause of the public’s confidence in him to decline.


Back to his recent ultimatum to Barisan Nasional, in which he threatened to leave the coalition if the Internal Security Act is not amended by the next General Election. If the party feels that the Internal Security Act is an unjust law, they should push for an immediate amendment or repeal. The next General Election would only be in 2012/2013. Here we have a political leader, who is supposed to represent the people, suggesting that Barisan Nasional has about 4 years to consider the Act, despite acknowledging that those who had been unfairly detained would have to continue serving detention for at least as long as that, unless of course, Syed Hamid chooses to releases them.


It surprises me when people consider Kayveas a bold leader. He may be controversial, if compared with most other Barisan Nasional leaders but he has yet to prove that he is bold. If anything, he is more of a coward who often plays the safe game. For example, threatening to quit Barisan Nasional if the Internal Security Act is not amended, and at the same time, give them an unreasonable time span to consider their decision.


Abdullah Badawi has now made it clear that the Internal Security Act would not be amended, burying any ‘hopes’ left of Kayveas. Abdullah Badawi also said that the People’s Progressive Party was free to leave the coalition. This was decided at the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council Meeting on the 9th of December 2008. In an immediate reaction, T. Murugiah expressed shock over the statement made by the premier, but went on to say that “But I don't think Pak Lah meant what he said that we can leave because he's a nice man... but sometimes, what to do?”- Malaysiakini, 9th of December 2008.


How do we comprehend this? The Prime Minister has made his stand clear, but the People’s Progressive Party Youth Chairman tries to reinterpret it. Today, the Deputy President of People’s Progressive Party chaired an emergency meeting to discuss their future in their coalition following Abdullah Badawi’s statement. Many who are aligned with them were hoping for the party to leave the coalition and consolidate their position as a formidable party. The outcome of the meeting was that the party would stand by Kayveas. To be fair to them, they may not have opted for a critical decision due to Kayveas’ absence in the meeting.


Let’s watch and see what transpires when Kayveas is back from the States in a couple of weeks. Supra Maniam s/o Kolanda Velu, the party has backed you, and you now have the chance of taking the People’s Progressive Party back to the heights of its glorious heyday. The ball, I’m afraid, is now in your court.


by Argus Eye.


also published in Malaysia Today- http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/15955/84/

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Update: Taiping OCPD Replies SMS, Kuala Kangsar OCPD Still 'On The Loose'.


The OCPD of Taiping has responded to the SMS I sent him, clarifying that both the activists who were arrested in IPD Taiping, have been released on bail.


Below are the SMSes I sent to the OCPDs of Kuala Kangsar.(012-7132719) and Taiping(019-6000240) at 9.17pm and 9.18pm respectively. The SMS, in full, is as follows: “Tuan OCPD, with your kind consideration, please release the JERIT activists. You may be bound by instructions from the top, but we, the rakyat, hope that you would carry out your task accordingly and allow concern citizens to practice their democratic rights.”



At 10.28 pm, the OCPD of Taiping replies the SMS, saying “Already release(d) on bail”.



I sent him another message, asking him if all of them had been released. This was at 10.29 pm.

To that, he replied:



Based on this, it looks like all those still detained are the ones held in IPD Kuala Kangsar. It is important for us to continue sending letters, SMSes and even calling them up to convey our dissent on the way this issue is being handled. Only if we continue to do so, we’d be able to keep them on guard. They should know that we, the public, are aware of the happenings and we would not take assaults and molests committed by officers lightly.We will take them to task.


p/s- The OCPD of Kuala Kangsar still cannot be reached. Keep the messages flowing in for him to retrieve once he switches on his phone.


by Argus Eye.

URGENT: JERIT Activists Arrested, Public Appealed To Convey Dissent.


Today, the 7th day of the JERIT cycling campaign, witnessed the arrest of more activists. At this point of time, eight JERIT activists are still held by the police. One of the female activists, Helen Mary Johnson, had been molested and assaulted. The authorities apparently grabbed her breast and been punched on the face while she was taking photographs of the event. Another activist, Lee Huat Seng, also fell victim to police brutality.


Those arrested are:


1. Ooi Choon Nam (IPD Taiping)

2. Yong Chat Wah (IPD Taiping)

3. Dr. Jayakumar Devaraj (IPD Kuala Kangsar)- Sg. Siput MP

4. Rani Rasiah (IPD Kuala Kangsar)

5. Jothi (IPD Kuala Kangsar)

6. Sugumaran (IPD Kuala Kangsar)

7. Karthik (IPD Kuala Kangsar)

8. S Vasu Rao, 49.


These activists have been denied from executing their constitutional rights. Suara Rakyat Malaysia(SUARAM) has also come out strong in defence of the activists, condemning the arrests that took place hours ago. For more information, contact SUARAM Coordinator, Nalini. Tel: 019-3758912.


The public is also urged to express their condemnation of the arrests. Send in the protest calls and letters to:


1. IPD Taiping
Ibu Pejabat Polis Daerah Taiping,
Jln Taming Sari,
34000 Taiping,
Perak.

Tel: 05-8291222

Fax: 05-8077169

OCPD Taiping: 019 6000240


2. IPD Kuala Kangsar

Jalan Raja Chulan,
33000 Kuala Kangsar,
Perak

Tel: 05 7762222

Fax: 05-7772741

OCPD Gaafar: 012 7132719

3. Inspector-General of Police
Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: +603 2262 6015
Fax: +603 2272 5613


The calls I made to OCPD Gaafar proved to be futile, as his phone appears to have been switched off. I managed to get in touch with the OCPD of Taiping though, and he says that they’re still in the process of investigation.


Lawyer Haris Ibrahim has just come up with a sample letter for those intending to send in their protest letters:

SAMPLE LETTER

[Letterhead of your Organisation]

Inspector-General of Police
Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,

50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: +603 2262 6015
Fax: +603 2272 5613

Dear Sir,

Re: Release 8 JERIT Activists Immediately

We are writing to you, once again, to express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over your government’s ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression.

We are appalled by your government and the police’s latest actions and view this as yet another attempt by your government to intimidate Malaysian citizens from participating in any form of public assembly and exercising their freedom to express their views.

We demand that the eight activists to be released immediately and unconditionally and allow cyclists to continue their campaign in Johor. We further demand that your government stops the assault on freedom of expression.

We strongly urge you, once again, to stop bringing shame to Malaysia, a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council. We would like to remind you that freedom of expression is guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

Yours sincerely,

[Name]


I think this is as convenient as it gets. All the details have been posted above. Now, let’s get moving. Pass it around.


by Argus Eye.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tribute to RPK- One Month Following His Release.


Today, the 7th of December 2008, marks exactly a month since the Shah Alam High Court ordered the release of Raja Petra Kamarudin. Those present there on that very day witnessed a rare occasion in which Malaysians came forward and gave no recognition to age, sex and colour. It was a spirit that preceded self-made boundaries that have been in existence for a long time.

Below, is a video I created as a tribute for the Prince who so often stood his ground as the People's Champ. YM Raja Petra Kamarudin, this is for you.

video

For those who are unable to load this video, I've also uploaded it on You Tube.
You Tube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKOC182BJnQ


by Argus Eye.

Also published in Malaysia Today- http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/15846/84/

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mahathir and Ku Li Gives A New Name for "The Mind Game".

Mahathir Mohamad has come out yet again, this time suggesting that Abdullah Badawi may not step down as Prime Minister in March 2009 when Najib Razak takes over the UMNO leadership.


"There is talk that even if Najib becomes Umno president, he may not be the Prime Minister. I hear news that Abdullah is still interested to continue serving as Prime Minister"- The Malaysian Insider.


Is Mahathir Mohamad merely pointing out a possible outcome with no card underneath his sleeves, or is he dropping a hint to Abdullah Badawi indicating that the latter still holds the Ace?


Echoing Mahathir Mohamad, is the evergreen Ku Li.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi does not need to step down as the Prime Minister after Datuk Seri

Najib Razak takes over as party president in March.


“That is his prerogative, he has received the mandate for five years,” said Razaleigh in response to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s contention that Abdullah was still interested to remain in power after the party polls.


“He commands the confidence of the majority of the MPs. And the Prime Minister is appointed by the King and not by the Umno General Assembly”- The Malaysian Insider.


Tengku Razeleigh went as far as even stating that he would support Abdullah Badawi, should the latter choose to remain in power.


The statement made my Mahathir Mohamad, and the immediate response by Tengku Razaleigh seems pre-meditated. After withdrawing his support for Najib Razak, it was quite obvious that Mahathir Mohamad had endorsed Tengku Razaleigh’s bid to challenge for UMNO’s top post. Many political observers back then speculated that they had gotten over their past bitter rivalry. Well, they may have been right.


Have Mahathir Mohamad and Tengku Razaleigh drawn themselves into playing their own version of the 'Mind Game' to set up the spark that would eventually see the destruction of UMNO, before they pick up the bits and pieces to re-launch it again?


Although an unpopular figure in the eye of most Malaysians to lead the nation, Najib Razak has what it takes to consolidate UMNO. Mahathir Mohamad had lost his trust in Najib Razak when Najib chose to stand by Abdullah Badawi, even when Mahathir had openly supported him. He saw Najib as an ally, but Najib stuck with Abdullah Badawi instead. Looking at this, the prospect of Najib coming into power does not appeal to Mahathir Mohamad anymore as it does not necessarily guarantee his well-being amongst those in power. Besides, Mahathir’s ego is too high to allow a personality that turned his back on him to be the Prime Minister of Malaysia.


It is a known fact that Mahathir Mohamad, is a shrewd politician. The Anwar Ibrahim saga was testimony to the character of this man. Today, those in UMNO who once worshipped him, have turned into his very own assailants. Is Mahathir prepared to allow these UMNO figures sit at the helm and continue to rule, while he continues to be at the sidelines? The answer is no. However, it is likely that this is how the scenario would turn out to be should Najib Razak become Prime Minister. I do not agree with the notion that Najib’s return would mean the return of Mahathir. However, it would surely mean the return of Mahathirism. We are set to see the same autocratic style of politics. And for once, ironically, this would be horrific even for Mahathir Mohamad.


Tengku Razaleigh, on the other, got a thrashing in his bid to require the minimum nominations needed to challenge Najib Razak. Any hope he had of moving up the ranks in UMNO is as good as gone. Yes, Tengku Razaleigh has been buried although he had far less controversies hanging over his head compared to Najib Razak. He had been buried on the day the official nomination counting ended in the same land that he donated to UMNO to house their Head Quarters.


Now, Mahathir Mohamad and Tengku Razaleigh share a common ground; both feel betrayed by UMNO, and both know they have nothing to lose. Driven by frustration, they wouldn’t mind seeing the destruction of UMNO. To be fair to Ku Li, undoubtedly being the kinder of the two and one who has shown much love towards the party, this is not the same UMNO that it once used to be.


However, as mentioned earlier, with Najib at the forefront, UMNO would only grow stronger. They need Abdullah Badawi to remain in power for as long as possible to enable the already existing cracks in UMNO to widen up. This would turn out to be an advantage for Mahathir Mohamad and Tengku Razaleigh. They would be able to exploit on these cracks, and even possibly exert their influence on some prominent figures within the party.


Therefore, it does make sense for Mahathir to indicate out of the blues, that Abdullah Badawi may not step down. Actually, it was a twisted way of saying that Abdullah Badawi need not step down. And almost immediately, this was exactly what Tengku Razaleigh reiterated. Tengku Razaleigh also mentioned that the Prime Minister is one who commands the confidence of majority of the Parliament, and not UMNO General Assembly. He is well aware, that should this scenario occur, most of the Pakatan MPs would root for Abdullah Badawi. Pakatan Rakyat, particularly Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Kit Siang, have continuously condemned the prospect of Najib Razak becoming Prime Minister, due to unanswered questions surrounding his credibility. Besides, Pakatan Rakyat also holds the view that UMNO would continue to wane under Abdullah Badawi. Yes, once again, the pieces are in place.


But, there is a staggering question that remains unanswered. Is Mahathir Mohamad taking it for granted that Anwar Ibrahim does not have the numbers to cross-over? If Anwar Ibrahim is on the verge of a takeover, as he continues to claim even today, this entire game plan by Mahathir would backfire as Pakatan Rakyat would surely capitalize on UMNO’s downfall.


Or could it be a plan that Mahathir Mohamad is prepared to gamble on, even after taking into consideration the possibility of some MPs waiting to shift sides? He doesn’t seem to have many options to pick from, and this risk looks inevitable if he were to attempt to even be a pale shadow of the Big Charlie he once used to be.


Furthermore, even if Anwar Ibrahim takes over the Government, it does not exactly affect Mahathir Mohammad’s ego nor does it reflect his failure. Mahathir Mohamad had played his cards very well. He left UMNO, and in recent months, he had mentioned one too many times that if Anwar Ibrahim takes over, it is only because UMNO is weak and not because Anwar Ibrahim is a great leader. On the face of it, it appears that he has orchestrated these remarks in the past to be used as his defense should Anwar Ibrahim become the Prime Minister. In the end, Mahathir Mohamad would still have the last laugh at the very party he once guided.


by Argus Eye.


also published in Malaysia Today- http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/15714/84/

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

If Mukhriz Was Wrong, So Was Kit Siang's Ideology.


Let us get the basics straight. Have we acted in a manner whereby we are seen as breaching the Federal Constitution? No. In fact, we often use the term ‘constitutional rights’ as our sword to attack those who claim that demonstrations and candlelight vigils do not conform to the frameworks that shape the ‘Malaysian Culture’. When speaking of the New Economic Policy, we say that we are against it because it is long overdue and the correlation between the length of its existence and the level of discrimination involved suggest that it is positive in nature. The most of us would also say that we, at all times, have abided by the Federal Constitution and we have never questioned the position of Islam as the official religion and Bahasa Malaysia as the national language. We are only opposing the policies implemented by the Government which infringes our constitutional rights, such as the New Economic Policy. Well, if we agree that these are the things we often say, we will also have to agree that today, we are all nothing but plain hypocrites.


KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, the MP for Jerlun, wants vernacular schools in its current format to be closed.


He said the schools should be integrated into the national school system so that pupils would be able to integrate and interact better.” –NST Online


What was so wrong with the suggestion made by Mukhriz that earned him condemnation from almost of all us? Was it the essence of the suggestion itself or was it because he is an UMNO man? Or could it be because he carried the eighth cardinal sin of being the son of Mahathir Mohamad?


On a personal level, I feel the story was carried with much bias. The focal point of the story was the shutting down of all vernacular schools, but if read in detail, the reasoning given was one that we have all been championing for. He went on to say that while Bahasa Malaysia would be the main medium of communication, the Tamil and Mandarin languages should be made compulsory for all Indians and Chinese respectively, and Malays would also have the option of learning these subjects.


Now, in what way are we deprived of our constitutional rights? Are we prevented from learning our own languages? Clearly, the answer is no. If so, why are we whining over it? If the Indians and Chinese feel that we want a school of our own, wouldn’t the only possible reason be for the purpose of mixing around with those of the same colour? And it is amusing that it is the same people who speak highly about the Bangsa Malaysia spirit, who are now advocating a race-based segregation system for young Malaysians. Furthermore, why shouldn’t Bahasa Malaysia be the main medium of communication when it is clearly stipulated in the Federal Constitution that Bahasa Malaysia is the National Language of the country.


The Bangsa Malaysia concept that we all aspire for would require instruments that would help us bridge the racial divides that are seen among us, Malaysians. One important tool would surely be the National Language itself. Undoubtedly, even with the slightest of stereotyping, it can be concluded that the command of the National Language possessed by those in vernacular schools are relatively low compared to those of the national school system. Arguably, this itself contributes to the widening of the racial gap.


Hours ago, the Democratic Action Party lodged a report against Mukhriz for his alleged seditious comments. However, this appears more of a political vendetta considering the fact that Barisan Nasional has often used sedition as an excuse to charge pro-opposition figures. How could the Indians and Chinese be worse of when the suggestion made by Mukhriz would only mean that it is compulsory for them to take up their own languages? Note that in the current system, it is not a compulsion. How could Malaysians be worse of when a system that gathers all Malaysians under one roof regardless of race, comes into play? In the first place, doesn’t this system fit into the Democratic Action Party’s ideology of a Malaysian Malaysia? Yet, they are against it simply because it was a proposal from an UMNO member. Hypocrisy at it’s best, once again.


Lim Kit Siang was quoted as saying:

‘My purpose now is not to discuss the merit or demerit of Mukhriz proposal for a single education system, the validity of his contention blaming the vernacular school system for the polarised society which allegedly caused the poor understanding of the “Ketuanan Melayu” or Malay supremacy concept among the non-Malays and his view that the disunity in Malaysia arose from the different education system.’


From the statement above, it can be construed that Kit Siang refrained from discussing the merit or demerit of the proposal knowing that it would be difficult for him to counter a suggestion that is very much in line with his party’s beliefs. However, since Mukhriz is from the opposite side of the political block, he was not prepared to even admit that the proposal could potentially benefit all Malaysians. Instead, he focused his energy into explaining how Mukhriz has violated Section 3(f) of the Sedition Act by proposing the closure of Tamil and Chinese schools. It appears that the basis for him scrutinizing Mukhriz lies more on a technical ground.


This is the politics that we are seeing today, in which there is not much room for independent-thinking intellectuals like Zaid Ibrahim. Barisan Nasional sees nothing positive in what the Pakatan Rakyat does, vice versa. But they can be forgiven, for they are politicians and this is exactly how their game is played. It is the survival of the fittest, and exploitations know no mercy.


But we cannot be forgiven for being drowned into this game. We often forget that we are the Kingmakers. We place who we want to place in the Parliament, and we kick who we want to kick out of the Parliament. Just like the most of you reading this, I am more inclined towards Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Rakyat. But does that mean that we, the Kingmakers, would have to justify every action taken by them? Does that mean that we, the Kingmakers, should ridicule every move taken by Barisan Nasional? Let us act on principles, along the line of righteousness.


Whilst acknowledging that Mukhriz’s suggestion is positive, he should not be let off the hook too easily. This exact standard should apply to all education levels, be it primary, secondary and even tertiary. Remove vernacular schools, place the students in national schools, and at the same time, open up institutions like UiTM and MRSM for students of all races. It is easy to gain political momentum in UMNO by suggesting the change of system in vernacular schools but if it was indeed a genuine statement with no political bearing attached to it, be bold enough to explicitly state that the same approach has to be applied for all institutions.


by Argus Eye.


also published in Malaysia Today- http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/15616/84/

and Malaysiakini- http://malaysiakini.com/letters/94336

Monday, December 1, 2008

Re-Drawing the Obvious and Existing Line Between Religion and Language.


In November 2007, the Malaysian Government claimed Muslims hold exclusive rights to the word Allah, and Catholic weekly newspaper Herald was told to remove the word Allah from their publications. The word ‘Allah’ can only be used in the context of Islam and not any other religion, said Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum. Asked why a new condition will be imposed on Catholic weekly newspaper Herald when its annual publishing permit is next renewed, the deputy minister said this is to prevent confusion.


“Only Muslims can use ‘Allah’. It’s a Muslim word, you see. It’s from (the Arabic (language). We cannot let other religions use it because it will confuse people,” he said when contacted today.

“We cannot allow this use of ‘Allah’ in non-Muslim publications, nobody except Muslims. The word ‘Allah’ is published by the Catholics. It’s not right.”- Malaysiakini.


Now, in November 2008, the authorities have kept up to their trademark act of sheer stupidity.


“Customs authorities in this Muslim-majority country confiscated eight CDs from Jill Ireland when she flew back to Kuala Lumpur after a trip to Jakarta", her lawyer, Annou Xavier, said late Thursday.

"The Home Ministry informed her in a letter that the CDs were seized mainly because their cover titles contained the word “Allah,” which is prohibited in non-Muslim religious material. Ireland wants the Kuala Lumpur High Court to issue a declaration allowing her to transport any religious material for her own personal use", Xavier said.

"Government officials have expressed concerns that using “Allah” in Christian literature could confuse Malaysia’s Muslims and draw them to Christianity”- AP.


The Malaysian Government has the audacity to suggest that only Muslims can use the word Allah. Alright, I am sure no one is expecting an academic response to this for even a layman would acknowledge that “Allah” is an Arabic word, and although Arabic was the origin language of Islam, Arabic does not mean Islam. The religion did not create the language, but it simply adopted the language to spread its teaching.


Many would find the above justifiable enough to refute the ludicrous claim made by the authorities, but as always, the authorities remain constantly in denial-mode. For their sake, let us get a little deeper into this.


Islam believes that God Almighty has many attributes, and that every “Name” associated with him has a meaning. There are 99 Divine Attributes for God Almighty in Islam, and Allah is one of them. “Elaw” in Aramaic is “Allah” in Arabic. Even before the arrival of Islam in the Middle East, the Jews and Christians referred to God Almighty as “Allah”(expectedly so, noting that they spoke in Arabic and God means “Allah” in Arabic). It is important to comprehend the significance of the word “Almighty” as it reflects upon the Supreme God that is above all other gods, be it in the form of idols or even human. “Allah” is both Arabic and Aramaic. On the other hand, the Hebrew speaking ones called Him “Yahweh”, which a Hebrew-language word, or “Jehovah”, which also means God.


Epigraphic and inscription evidence tell us that the religion of Arabia(before the arrival of Islam) dates back to 500 BC, or 1000 years before Muhammad. This was revealed by renowned Islamic Sheikh, Ibrahim al-Qattan, during the International Progress Association function in Vienna. He went on to say that the gods they believed in include Baal Shamin, Dhu-Samawi, Allah and Rahman. Among all these deities, Allah was said to be at the helm of the ‘hierarchy’ that existed and it was common back then for the word “Allah” to be inscribed by Jewish traders on stones along the Arabian trade routes. According to Sheikh Ibrahim, Islamic concepts and rituals got their traits from ancient paganism in the Arab land. He cited examples such as pacing around the Kaaba seven times, the climbing of Mount Arafat and the stoning of Satan, to name a few.


There were three main religions in Madinah(today known as Saudi Arabia); Judaism, Christianity and Idol worshipping, although technically, idol worshipping may not fit the definition of a religion. The Arabs were mentioned about in the Bible hundreds of years before the arrival of Prophet Muhammad. Arabian kingdoms such as Muntherites in Iraq and Gassanids in Syria were Christian kingdoms that existed during the third to the eight century, and the language used was Arabic. These kingdoms were representations of the Byzantine and Roman Empires.


“Encyclopedia de Islam” stated that the Christian Missionaries of Hira were the ones who created the Arabic Northern characters that are used in the Quran(Leyde et Paris, 1960, pp. 579a-622b). This claim is also supported by Jawad Ali, in his book “The history of Arabs before Islam”(Vol. 8, pp. 178-179). The church doors of Zabad on the South East of Allepo in Syria holds witness to this as the Northern Arabic letters were found inscribed on them. Church doors in Ir. Haran had similar letters on them too, and it was dated back to 568 A.D. The use of Arabic was also rampant in schools, ranging from subjects such as poetry to commerce.


Christians, even of that age, had Eparchies (dioceses and bishops) all across Arabia, including Mecca itself. Churches, Christian schools and convents were discovered in many countries, including Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Palestine and Lybia. A convent recently discovered in Karbala (Iraq) indicated that it was established in the first century of Christianity.


A famous Franciscan Archeologist, Father Pecerillo, come across tens of churches and houses dating back to the Forth Century in Madaba, which is located at the south of Jordan. The Arabic inscription “Bism El-Ellah al Rahman al Rahim” was observed on them, and this proves that the Christians were the first to use this phrase. Some religious scholars suggest that Christians may have used it to indicate their belief in the Holy Trinity. Whatever the reason may have been, it would still coherently act as a piece of evidence to confirm that “Bism El-Ellah al Rahman al Rahim” was in use more than two hundred years before Islam.


And despite all these, the Malaysian authorities go as far as saying “We cannot allow this use of ‘Allah’ in non-Muslim publications, nobody except Muslims. The word ‘Allah’ is published by the Catholics. It’s not right.”- Malaysiakini.


By fearing that Muslims would be drawn towards Christianity simply because the word Allah is used in Catholic publications(rightly so), it does nothing but reflect the sense of insecurity on the part of the Malaysian authorities. I am sure even Muslims are perplexed by the manner in which the authorities are handling this issue. Islam is 1400 years old, and a statement of this sort is indeed an insult to all Muslims with strong faith in their religion.


To the Malaysian authorities, if you are still oblivious to all the facts above, you may want to ponder the below.


Muhammad’s father was named Abd Allah, which means ‘Servant of God’ in Arabic. And my friend, it wouldn’t take a genius to tell you that this was years before his son was born or Islam was even founded.


by Argus Eye

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Are We Forgetting the 'Natural Eunuchs'? Or Did I Get It All Wrong?

"One of Malaysia's highest Islamic bodies has banned females from dressing or behaving like men and engaging in lesbian sex, saying it is forbidden by the religion."

"The National Fatwa Council issued its ruling following a two-day meeting that discussed recent cases of young women apparently behaving like men and exhibiting homosexual tendencies, state news agency Bernama reported."

The above is an extracted statement made by the spokesperson of the National Fatwa Council. To begin with, let us determine the key elements of the text, which arguably, could be disputed. The statement released by the National Fatwa Council seems to suggest that females who dress and behave like men, also engage in lesbianism. If interpreted on a looser tone, it would suggest that female who dress and behave like men, are inclined to resort to lesbian sex. Whilst acknowledging the instances whereby some females that dress and behave like men may fit the above bill, it is not convincing enough to rid the effect of a perceptual error.


I am not a Muslim, and yes, I did read the stern warnings issued by various quarters, particularly Tan Sri Musa Hassan and YB Zulkifli Nordin, cautioning non-Muslims not to interfere as the ban does not affect them. Tan Sri Musa Hassan confined his warning to non-Muslim demonstrators from several non-government organizations who staged a demonstration against the fatwa ruling. As an exerciser of constitutional rights, I view demonstrations as part of democracy. However, I believe that we have to be reasonable in doing so. The non-Muslims, mostly I would say, do not understand the teachings of Islam well enough. Therefore, to opt to take this cause to the streets does not seem apprehensible to me. The purpose of a demonstration is not only to vent out dissatisfaction, but also to send a strong, cohesive message across the various layers of public. But how do we do that when we ourselves aren’t equipped with the fundamental knowledge surrounding it? Let us not get carried away. While fighting a lost cause may still reflect glimpses of sheer determination, fighting an unknown cause reflects nothing but sheer ignorance. Some may point out that I am starting to practice guided democracy, but let me assert that I am merely showing respect to my Muslim brothers. Guided democracy prohibits certain lawful actions, and I do not subscribe to that system. I am in favor of ethical values to set in and complement democracy.


YB Zulkifli Nordin took a stronger approach in attempting to steer away the non-Muslims. He was quoted as saying that non-Muslims have got no rights whatsoever to interfere with matters pertaining to Islam. He went on to say that he wouldn’t have a problem with non-Muslims wanting their daughters to resort to lesbianism, for as long as they do not drag Muslims into this social wrack. To wind up his statement, he mentioned that if the non-Muslims continue to meddle with the affairs of Islam, some of them will have to rise to defend their religion.


This is the tale of a man who is not willing to allow anything to come between him and his religion. I understand his sentiments, but being an elected representative in a multiracial country, he could have constructed his thoughts in a more appropriate context. Although I indicated earlier that it is not reasonable for the non-Muslims to go as far as organizing demonstrations to voice out their opinion regarding the fatwa, that does not mean that they can’t even discuss it. Zulkifli Nordin’s remark seemingly suggests otherwise. The time has now come for us to crush the notion that religious openness would lead to untoward incidents. This is an age where we should seek enlightenment or renaissance of a sort, to say the very least. Sadly, just like in most other areas, our nation is backpedaling here too.


I will continue to raise my doubts on Islam, and I urge my fellow Muslim brothers to do the same with other religions. But let us do it with a clear conscience; let us do it for the sake of enhancing our knowledge and not as a smearing tool, for we have passed that barbaric period. As a non-Muslim, I never have, and never will, insult another religion. In fact, in my very first post, I even called on everyone to stop the attack on Islam, which I consider to be a beautiful religion.


The Quran itself says that one should go as far as China to acquire knowledge. There are many theories on this, with some believing that it was China’s civilization that prompted the Prophet to cite it as an example. Others went to say that it could be because at that point of time, the Arabs knew about China as the limit of the world. However, that doesn’t really matter. The point to note is that the Quran implies the importance in pursuing knowledge.


And this is the reason why no one, including YB Zulkifli Nordin, should prevent us from seeking the truth.


So, let's get back to the fatwa ruling; does Islam really prohibit homosexuality?


“And lo! thy Lord, He is indeed the Mighty, the Merciful.”- Surah 26:175

“Messengers of good cheer and off warning, in order that mankind might have no argument against Allah after the messengers. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise.”- Qur’an 4:165


On the other hand,

Scientific research has provided sufficient evidence to prove that homosexuality is genetic. This may not apply to all homosexuals, but it certainly does to a considerable number of them.


Looking at some of the characteristics of God as defined in Islam above, would the merciful Supreme Being ‘create’ homosexuals by birth(genetics), and at the same time, forbid it?


Did He forbit it?


I came across an article by Faris Malik that may have answered the question. Below is a compilation of quotes from his writing, which I tried to rearrange and post accordingly for the benefit of the readers.


Qur'an recognizes that some men are "without the defining skill of males" (24:31: "ghair oolaa il-irbati min ar-rijaali")


These are the ones referred to as 'natural eunuchs' in ancient years(now, referred to as gay). Here, references made to eunuchs are with regards to those who are born eunuchs. Hence, different from castrated eunuchs.

The Qur'an also says that some people are in fact "ineffectual" ['aqeem]. In other words, there are neither male nor female:

42:49 "To Allah belongs the dominion over the heavens and the earth. It creates what It wills. It prepares for whom It wills females, and It prepares for whom It wills males. 50 Or It marries together the males and the females, and It makes those whom It wills to be ineffectual. Indeed It is the Knowing, the Powerful."
Arabic: "Lillahi mulku us-samaawaati wal'ardhi. Yakhluqu ma yashaa'u. Yahabu liman yashaa'u inaathan wa yahabu liman yashaa'u adh-dhukura. Aw yuzawwijuhum dhukraanan wa inaathan; wa yaj'alu man yashaa'u 'aqeeman: innahu 'Aleemun Qadeerun."


Muslim, Collection of Authentic Traditions, Book of Greetings, Chapter 912:


(5415) Umm Salama reported that she had a eunuch [mukhannath] (as a slave) in her house. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) was once in the house that he (the eunuch) said to the brother of Umm Salama: 'Abdullah b. Abu Umayya, if Allah grants you victory in Ta'if on the next day, I will show you the daughter of Ghailan, for she has four folds (upon her body) on the front side of her stomach and eight folds on the back. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) heard this and he said: Such (people) should not visit you.

(5416) 'A'isha reported that a eunuch [mukhannath] used to come to the wives of Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and they did not find anything objectionable in his visit, considering him to be a male without any sexual desire [fakaanoo ya'doonahu min ghair oolaa il-irbah]. Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) one day came as he was sitting with some of his wives and he was busy in describing the bodily characteristics of a lady and saying: As she comes in front four folds appear on her front side and as she turns her back eight folds apear on the back side. Thereupon Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: I see that he knows these things; do not, therefore, allow him to enter. She ('A'isha) said: Then they began to observe veil from him.

Bear in mind that in ‘A’isha’s telling of the account, she mentions that he was allowed into their private rooms because the women saw him as someone who “lacked the defining skill”. She actually quoted the Qur’anic verse stating about men who “lack the defining skill of males”, signifying that if he had really “lacked the defining skill”, his presence in the room would have been proper. In this context, hearing how he spoke about the daughter of Ghailan, Muhammad sensed that he did not lack the defining skill of males. The fact that he had sexual appreciation for women disqualified him as an intimate domestic servant, according to the Qur’an as well as the standards of the day. Since the system required household servants to be heterosexually indifferent, there is room for abuse, whereby a heterosexual male may pretend to be otherwise, solely to gain entry into the private space of women.

There is a hadith in which the Prophet's companions asked whether they were allowed to use men (presumably prisoners of war) as "eunuchs" to fulfill their sexual urges, since they were far from their wives.

Bukhari LXII 6:9 [Narrated by ibn Mas'ud:] "We used to fight [in battle] together with the Prophet, peace be upon him. There were no women with us. We said: O Messenger, may we treat some as eunuchs [a laa nastakhsii]? He forbade us to do so."


Yes, the Prophet did forbid his followers from designating men as eunuchs, but that was because one cannot just resort into ‘treating’ a straight man as a eunuch simply to satisfy his lust. In fact, that was essentially the sin of the people of Lut. The question is, could a eunuch (i.e. one who permanently lacks arousal with women) be used as a eunuch? Ibn Mas’ud did make a reference about eunuchs being used for sexual gratification, and the Prophet understood what he meant. It was in fact common in the Arabic society, and was considered a use that was appropriate to eunuchs. Since they weren’t regarded as males, there was no prohibition against it, not even in the Qur’an.

According to David Ayalon in Eunuchs, Caliphs, and Sultans: A Study in Power Relationships (Jerusalem, 1999), eunuchs were still used as sex objects for straight men in the Mamluk dynasty. Part of their roles was to avert older Mamluks from having sexual contact to younger trainees:

The eunuchs seem to have served as a shield against homosexual lust in yet another way. They themselves formed the target of that lust, thus diverting it from the youngsters. They are described as being womanly and docile in bed at night and manly and warlike by day in a campaign and in similar circumstances (hum nisaa' li-mutmainn muqeem wa rijaal in kaanat al-asfaar; li-annahum bin-nahaar fawaaris wa bil-lail 'araa'is). [Arabic quoted by Ayalon from Abu Mansur al-Tha'alibi, Al-Latâ'if wal-Zarâ'if, Cairo 1324/1906-7, p. 79, lines 1-7; and the same quote from Tha'alibi in his Tamthîl wal-Muhâdara, Cairo 1381/1961, p. 224.]


If this is the case, Islam does not forbid homosexuality among those who were born eunuchs. Therefore, wouldn’t it be unjust for all gay men to be prosecuted under Islamic laws? What if they were in fact eunuchs, who actually lacked the ‘defining skills of a male’? Does this qualify to lead us to a whole new perspective regarding lesbianism in Islam? What if they were actually "ineffectual", as acknowledged by the Qur'an itself?


I hope my fellow Muslim friends would be able to provide me more information on this topic.


by Argus Eye.