@ 7.18pm update: Police has denied he is detained under the ISA. It was a rumour probably started by “irresponsible” people, said Deputy IGP Tan Sri Ismail Omar (Bernama).
Early this morning, I read over at Jed Yoong’s and Rocky Bru’s that Zulkifli Noordin was detained by police. According to sms-es that’s been going around, Zul is probably detained for his involvement in the protest against the Bar Council’s forum on “Conversion to Islam”.
Jed thinks that maybe the Penal Code or Police Act may probably have a more suitable charge for someone who “disrupted public order”. Look at Mahaguru58’s blog to see photos and video clips on the protest.
@ 4.32am, I said that I do not know how much this is true, or whether the cops have gone visiting the Bar Council organisers as well.
Anyway, Zulkifli is the PKR/Kulim-Bandar Bahru MP who wants the Bar Council to be led by a Muslim. Read his blog. He also warned others not to challenge the Muslims as their patience was limited.
With a smirk, they’ll say that we are not ready for multi-racial and multi-religious politics.
So, don’t give them a chance to take us back another 50 years, lah!
Yesterday, under my posting : Conversion to democracy first, then Islam…I said:
Okay. It’s easy to condemn the party that looks agressive. But Malaysians need to be converted to ideas of democracy first before we can even speak to them about something as controversial (to some) as “Conversion to Islam” or rather “Opting out of Islam”.
Much as we might detest their move, we need to allow the group of 300-odd Muslim protestors to have their say. We do, after all, respect their freedom of speech. And that means, accepting, though very painfully, those hurtful name callings such as “Babi (pig)…pengkhianat (traitor) and balik China (go home to China)”.
Yes, the protestors hurled all those labels at the organisers/ participants of the controversial forum.
But they forget that the organisers/participants were made up of Muslims, too. This is NOT the case of Muslims vs Non-Muslims.
Honestly, these labels do not surprise me nor pinch me in the least. Because I know they do not represent the views of many Malays and Muslims breathing in our land, especially my wonderful friends out there (you know who you are!).
About going home to China…please-lah, there are more Muslim Chinese in China, than they are Malaysian Muslims in Malaysia, I think. I laugh to think of this archaic notion, which I hope, is only held by a small sector of the protestors. And honestly, even people like me do not like to go to China. What for?
But if this is the overall mindset in which they judge all non-Muslims, then that is another matter for another day. We can see clearly how the government’s effort in nation building had failed in this department.
I am not a big fan of the Bar Council leadership, either,but I guess they are quite bold for wanting to go through this forum, for whatever it is worth, within the four walls of their headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today.
However, their courage was short lived. They had to wrap up the event (after one hour) due to police advice and the cries of angry protestors at their door steps.
Why didn’t the police allow the forum to continue and deal with the protestors outside, as they would have, if it involved Opposition supporters, for example, or demonstrations against the government?
Double standard at work? We are not surprised.
Among the protestors are PKR (Anwar Ibrahim’s party) and PAS members like its Youth chief Sallehuddin Ayub. It would be interesting to see how both parties supreme councils deal with this matter.
Is Anwar Ibrahim going to deal with this at all?
For example, PKR Kulim-Bandar Baharu, Zulkifli Noordin, the lawyer who opted out of the Altantuya case, was present too, and said he was not representing his party, but some Muslim lawyers assosiation.
No matter what you say Zul, you’ve come across as a Muslim hardliner, and hardly an advantage to the PKR, which is supposed to be multi-racial and multi-religious.
So, we all learn a lesson that Muslims (these 300-odd protestors, anyway) are not prepared to dialogue about conversion to Islam, as the attempt by Bar Council to provide a platform for the issue is regarded as challenging the sensitivities of the religion itself.
Where they get this notion is questionable. If we trace the source, perhaps we can understand why they are ranting like this?
But can we safely say that “Muslims cannot dialogue” without knowing whether the Bar Council members who organised this event had made any attempts to discuss their plan with Muslim representatives. Haven’t they learnt from the Article 11 experience in Penang in 2006?
Is it possible to have a closed door meetings with these group of people first before going so publicly to talk about conversion or opting out of Islam? I am not sure.
Because, it’s true that this is a sensitive matter to these Muslims and pushing the boundaries without showing respect (though respect may be involved) nor acknowledging their sensitivities (though this may not have been visible to others) is also something that needs to be looked into.
We need to convince our Muslim brothers and sisters (or rather the people who claim to represent them) that this dialogue is a much needed one, a significant landmark in the exercise of freedom of religion and belief, and that, it is not, and never going to be, one that is Islam bashing.
But what does the forum want to achieve in the end? We may never know now.
Too bad, but we are simply not there yet, to be able to put issues of religion and race on the table and discuss things openly, with a free for all attitude.
We have a long way to go. We’ve been divided long enough. This is merely a symptom, nay, a disease of years and years of delusion (that we have religious freedoms) and rule by division (based on ethnicity and religion).
But we’re getting there, believe me, if we try hard enough to be inclusive than exclusive.
And when that day comes, I am sure going to be glad that I am Malaysian.