Thursday, June 28, 2007

Toleransi?... buntut aku lah! (Tolerance my ass!)

Here's something I picked up off Lim Kit Siang's blog. A very ticked-off retaurant-goer sent an irate email to our YB Ipoh Timur relating an incident where some JAWI (Jabatan Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan) allegedly handed out citations to a few restaurants for having - "little altars and pictures of their deities in their shop"... "because otherwise, Muslims cannot come into their shops".

Really? Since when?

Just because there are altars and pictures, does that make the place a temple? Even if it were a temple (or a church), what wrong with a Muslim entering it if he was not offering prayer? Did it not come to pass that a Caliph of old entered a church with respect and without prayer, and walked away a more accomplished Muslim for that display of tolerance?

I think the question Muslims must ask is: Does the tolerance of and respect for other religions lessen the faith of a good Muslim? If any answer in the affirmative - I think that on the day of reckoning, you might discover that you weren't such a good Muslim after all.

Besides, many Muslim owned establishments display symbols of their faith eg. words from the scripture etc. In fact, most if not all govt departments openly display such symbols. Can we give them citations for it, because otherwise, non-Muslims cannot come in?

And has anyone even checked whether JAWI, as a dept confined only to the affairs of Muslims, has the authority and power to enforce any actions over non-Muslims, and their businesses? Hmmm... did JAWI just abuse their power and contravene the constitutional rights of non-Muslims?

Come on, JAWI... don't be a bloody fool.

Related posts: What's Wrong with Deeparaya?" Musings of an Infidel.

The text of the aforementioned email below:

Tolerance my ass!

Couldnt help feeling this angry today. I know at my age, I am supposed to be mellowing out, looking forward to a nice chilled day and now what? I find myself with the same amount of righteous anger as I had when I was 16 - going through puberty and finding the world most unfair that my mum wouldnt allow me to have my first pair of cargo pants!

I was sitting in the banana leaf shop this morning having a roti and a coffee when a group of JAWI officers entered the premises. 10 officers to be exact, into this little shop. They spent a good 20 minutes going through the place (and it is a small place!) and finally one officer writes out a writ and gives it to the cashier. They then left. Curious, I asked the cashier what that was all about and he replied that they were not allowed to have their little altars and pictures of their deities in their shop “because otherwise, Muslims cannot come into their shops” . What utter nonsense! Are we still living in the Malaysia that is so “famed” for its “religious tolerance”?? The shop is not a mamak shop. It is an Indian Banana leaf shop. Why would it be surprising that they should have signs of their religious beliefs in their own space? I didnt think that sort of thing was illegal (please correct me if I am wrong). What is wrong with this picture? Will it come down to the point when my Muslim friends should not visit my home just because I have a cross or a chinese altar there? PLEASE!

Better yet, I discovered as I was leaving , that the JAWI personnel had targetted the other 3 banana leaf shops along that row of old shops (near the vets office - off Jalan Maarof). There were at least 4 nos of vans for the officers , ALL double parked on the main road and causing an inconvenience to the other road users. Is there a separate set of laws that govern these people? Notwithstanding the fact that they are trampling all over the definition of religious tolerance in this country , they also flaunt the general laws of the land. This makes me really angry and sad about the state of our country.

I now find it difficult to speak up for Malaysia when there are arguments comparing Malaysia to other countries. It is sad that we can have the once world tallest building and still think like we came out of the jungle yesterday.

My Personal Big Sad Day today

MS

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Once again, some Muslims are showing that their faith is so weak that simply seeing other religions' altars and pics will weaken their religiousness. Yes, blame anyone but themselves for the weakening of their religiousness.

By the way, any other non-Muslims here get an increasingly stronger feeling that in Bolehland, tolerance means non-Muslims tolerating Muslims, but not necessarily the other way round?

seantang said...

>>>>> By the way, any other non-Muslims here get an increasingly stronger feeling that in Bolehland, tolerance means non-Muslims tolerating Muslims, but not necessarily the other way round? >>>>>

My sentiments exactly.

Anonymous said...

About DeepaRaya: - well I can't very well profess my believe in the existance of One true God but goes out on the next day and celebrated a religion that has many Gods can I? Those guys that enjoins these religious celebrations indeed have weak faiths.

Yeah. You really know about the day of reckoning? You? Or are we just speculating on what you think the day of reckoning is and What you think a good Muslims should be?

On JAWI. Maybe the shop was advertising itself as Halal, selling its food to muslim under such guise when; infact getting the halal certification and having a small Altar somehow is a conflict & thus empowers the JAWI guys to act. I don't know. I get the feeling that this is an isolated incidents, and not much is revealed on why action was taken by JAWI on these retaurants.

seantang said...

>>>>> About DeepaRaya: - well I can't very well profess my believe in the existance of One true God but goes out on the next day and celebrated a religion that has many Gods can I? Those guys that enjoins these religious celebrations indeed have weak faiths. >>>>>>

There's a difference between celebrating a celebration AND celebrating a religion.

There's a difference between sharing in another's happiness or festivities and sharing in another's religion.

And I don't know about what you consider piety, but to me faith is where my heart and mind is, not where my body lies.

I am not Muslim nor Christian but I celebrate Hari Raya and Christmas. That's because my Muslim and Christian friends place a lot of importance on rejoicing on those important days and they are willing to share their joy with me. That's good enough for me. My faith in my own religion does not suffer from my sharing of their happiness.

>>>>> Yeah. You really know about the day of reckoning? You? Or are we just speculating on what you think the day of reckoning is and What you think a good Muslims should be? >>>>>

I do not know what you think the day of reckoning is. But to me, it is the day you face god eye to eye and explain to him that what you did in life was in accordance to his will.

And again, I do not know what your definition of a good Muslim is. But I am very clear on what FAITH is, simple and basic. It is what I truly believe in my heart, and it is something that torture and thraldom will not shake... much less trivialities like Deeparaya and little altars in corners of restaurants.

Is your personal faith like mine? Strong, confident in my relationship with god and not dependent on the reassurance of superficial displays?

>>>>> On JAWI. Maybe the shop was advertising itself as Halal, selling its food to muslim under such guise when; infact getting the halal certification and having a small Altar somehow is a conflict & thus empowers the JAWI guys to act. I don't know.>>>>>

I'd be interested to know exactly what's the definition of halal. And whether it extends to the ambience of the restaurant, in addition to the preparation and serving procedures.

I know for sure that this does not apply in a place like Bali, for instance.