- Religion and Philosophy
What is Islam afraid of?
Having lived in Malaysia for the last 15 months, and feeling that it may soon be time to leave for at least a while, I am holding a review of our time here.
There is no doubt that Malaysia is a beautiful place to live, Penang perhaps even better, if only for the reason that it is governed by the local Chinese majority rather than the Islamic 'bumiputras' who rule the roost in most of the rest of the country.
Initially one is unaware of what the term bumiputras stands for (it stands for 'son of the earth') or what is required in order to qualify, but what is required is actually enshrined in the Constitution:
It means having at least one parent who "professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay customs and is the child of at least one parent who was born within the Federation of Malaysia before independence of Malaya on the 31st of August 1957."
Whew!..... I wish we could get away with that sort of discrimination in Europe or America!
The pecking order here is realtively simple and will be told to you by any taxi driver in your first weeks should you enquire:
- The 'bumiputra' Malayans control government and occupy most choice government positions.
- The Chinese Malayans control most of the business and make money
- The Tamil Indian Malayans do the hard work that the others don't want to do
- The imported (often illegal) low paid workers from Thailand, Indonesia, Bangla Desh and all places east, who do the really crappy jobs and serve the rest of them.
Add into the the 'colonial foreigners' like myself, who generally either have been sent here by their company, or are 'dealing' in South East Asia and choose to live here, and who in general are the same folk who would have been here when the East India Company ran things, and you have a heady mixture of cultures.
Ostensibly Malaysia is 'One Nation' and the propaganda runs constantly telling people how 'One Nation' Malaysia actually is, when it actually isn't at all.
All except for the bumiputra' Malayans have not simply 'Malay' marked as their citizenship, but instead, their ethnic identity, so Chinese Malayans, whose families have been here probably 150 - 200 years, are marked as Chinese Malayans, and likewise Tamil Indian Malayans.
Imagine for one second (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere) asking an American to have 'African American' stamped in their passport, or a situation where 'son of the earth' Englishmen (having at least one parent who "professes the religion of Christianity, habitually speaks the English language, conforms to English customs and is the child of at least one parent who was born within the Kingdom of England before the loss of the Imperial Empire (let's say) 1948) was entitled to superior treatment than anyone of lesser 'quality'.
Hmmm, I hear the European Union issuing decrees as I write to forbid such an action, were any British Government to even think of enforcing such a thing.
No in fact Britain (one can no longer call it Great) has abdicated all of it's sovereignty to foreign powers who now rule the roost for them, and any immigrant is entitled to more rights than a 'son of the earth' British citizen.
The ONLY privilege reserved for 'son of the earth' British citizens n today's world is to be called 'racist' if they dare complain.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
Being acutely aware that I am a guest in their country (I do wish visitors to the UK acknowledged the same) I know that I cannot speak openly and will refrain from doing so, in order not to offend the 'son of the earth' Malayan citizens, but then again I will be leaving soon anyway, and free speech is (I think) permitted still!
Putting it politely, all this discrimination is going to lead to big problems later for the very people it was designed to protect.
The US Declaration of Independence (listed right) is a good example of what an aspiring sovereign nation should seek to outline as a fairly secure route towards nationhood, and although it still grieves me as an Englishman that we lost that particular colony, as a denizen of the world I admire the sentiments expressed and the tenatious way that Americans have (until recently) held to those guidelines:
- "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
Americans should refresh their memories about what their founding Fathers bothered to write down for posterity.
Hello... is anybody listening or awake over there!
OK, let's cut to the chase, this article is called 'What is Islam afraid of?" and although not meant to be contentious, and indeed being nothing more than an opinion held in a free society, it should NOT be contentious, but I have no doubt it could be contentious, because Islam seems to find ANY opposition or criticism to their opinion worthy of conflict and direct action.
Why is that?
Which is of course the question to be answered.
The fact is that it must be very insecure about it's veracity, which I understand, for Catholicism went through a dark period when it also took severe objection to any challenge to it's spiritual, self created 'superiority' to any other belief, and therefore in the Dark Ages it was a stupid or brave man who refused to observe the tenets of Catholicism at least sufficiently to be deemed safe.
The inquisition comes to mind as one instance when I personally would have been seen prominently carrying rosary beads and wearing Christ on a Crucifix (rather than showing an empty cross, Him having defeated death) especially if I had wanted to trade with the so called 'Holy Roman Catholic Empire'.
But we are no longer living in the Dark Ages.... are we?
Being born in 1951, my first passport was stamped 'Church of England' where they asked to identify my religion (and in those ancient days, it did form part of our passports) and to a degree it was true, because having been raised a child of the Imperial Empire and Christened at 6 weeks old by an Anglican vicar, I did worship England, had scant idea who Christ was, and cared little for the traditions of the (bastard) English church.
Of course it was many years later, when I studied history, that I realised that 'my' C of E church had been born out of spiritual wedlock, a mere plaything to secure separation from Rome and Anne Boleyn, a bastard founded upon its fathers principals and then savagely reformed back and forth by successive kings and queens at their whim.
The tide had turned and Catholics were now banned from their ritual and religion.
Even today Catholics are barred from possessing the British Crown, which may be sound principal if one wishes to ensure no Roman invasion, but hardly smacks of confidence that the supposed State religion is strong enough to withstand scrutiny and challenge.
That is the same reasoning that has Islam defending itself against any criticism or comment, and it is equally wrong for the same reason.
IF one is to hold a religious belief, then the ABSOLUTE root must be founded in truth and relationship with God.
The three monotheistic religions all hold that they contain the sole way to reach Gods favor.
This is not the place for me to argue the merits of each religion, besides which you who are reading already have an opinion whether you favour one or the other or none, so let's not press that point, the point to pursue is how can you be sure that what you believe is THE TRUTH?
The simple answer is by examination, both of the literature provided when one enters the religion of your choice, or birth, alongside the same literature provided to adherents of other religions who YOUR leadership declare to be false or heretics.
Any sensible devotee will seek to do this, with an open mind and a clear heart.
Yet here, in Malaysia, Islam deny their members the right to leave Islam in favour of another religion.
How can that be, that by accident of birth one is born to be called Muslim and cannot chose NOT to follow that religion, even when (or if) one feels that another path is correct and your birth religion is in error.
I in effect left the C of E at 8 years of age, when I just stopped going, three years later I was conjoined by a familiar spirit from the enemy team, and lived as a secularist under demonic control for 30 years, then finally I came to Christ, and having accepted that for me Christ was THE TRUTH, commenced a five year in depth study of Christianity, Islam and Judaism as comparative religions, because I wanted to KNOW not why Christ wa sthe answer, but more importantly be sure why Islam and Jusaism were NOT the answer.
If I am not able to stand firm on my belief after challenge by all other beliefs, then my belief is scant at best, if I am not allowed to examine all beliefs before committing to THE belief that I KNOW to be true, then the religion that decrees I may NOT seek the truth is in error and liable to be wrong.
Selah (think on that)
Religions flounder in an all encompassing structure that allows no dissension, yet seem to flourish in persecution, hence the Malay Islamics' are terrified that Christianity may flourish here and that their people will 'convert' to such a degree that Christians proletysing to the Muslim community is strictly forbidden.
This is good for Christianity, for it both represses the Christian believers (which strengthens their faith) and, where thoughts are possible, or questions suggested, raises the question in Islamic minds as to WHY would their leaders and government BAN someone telling anyone else about their beliefs and experience.
Pat Condell is an atheist, but still a funny guy and sometimes very pertinent despite his obvious lack of belief in God, so I tolerate his humour and in this instance (there being a shortage of Islamic humour on the web) put his video up for view.
There is no intention to offend in this article, indeed, living in SE Asia has broadened my understanding of all religious people, without shaking my faith and trust in Christ, but I really cannot understand how any reasonable faith leader can demand that their followers MUST NOT be allowed to explore their faith against comparative religions.
Equally, I fail to understand how anyone born into a faith cannot get to the point where they test their faith against other faiths.
Sure, I do understand that most people cannot be bothered to think, that the scriptural command to be 'Bereans' and check all things against the Word and the Spirit is totally ignored by the vast majority of believers, and I guess that this would be so of most other faiths also.
We have a tendency to accept what is proffered to us, and a dislike of shaking the status quo, or becoming known as 'trouble makers'
But no matter what religion you hold faith in, one common denominator needs to be recognised and treated with caution. In Christ I call it Churchianity, which is the things added to what Christ preached, which make living a life in Churchianity an obstacle course rather than reconciliation with God.
Too often we get trapped in the belief that it is our responsibility to prepare people for eternity, when in truth our responsibility is to show folk that they have been separated from the love of God, and to heal that separation bringing reconciliation to the lost and lonely.
Our role is to make man's traditions and laws redundant by making Gods love and Grace predominant in our lives and the lives of those we meet.
All mankind was created equal in Gods eyes, so why do we build barriers to segregate people from God?
That's all folks!