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Friday, January 9, 2009

No reason to get worked up over hudud, let us respect each other’s faith

Muslims must be given room to discuss how best they want to develop their religion without politicians or the BN-controlled press jumping into the fray and exploiting the issue against the Pakatan

By SK English Team

KeADILan information chief Tian Chua has called for greater religious understanding and respect, following the recent spate of debates over the suitability of implementing hudud in multi-racial Malaysia.

“In a plural society, we must learn to respect each other,” Tian said. “While we want non-Muslim rights and freedom of belief to be respected, we must also respect Muslims for practising their faith.”

“There must be enough room for Muslims to discuss and explore how best their faith can be practiced without politicians or the press exploiting the issue and creating social tensions.”

DAP chairman Karpal Singh had yesterday asked if Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim had erred in saying that hudud law as proposed by PAS would apply only to Muslims.

Karpal had said : “The statement by KeADILan de facto leader, Anwar Ibrahim, that there is no need to reject hudud laws as it is only applicable to Muslims is diametrically opposed to PAS’ avowed aim to turn Malaysia into an Islamist state.

“This has been PAS’ stand from its inception as is clearly reflected by the statements by former and present leaders of PAS. It is important for Anwar to know exactly what PAS intends to do in calling for the setting-up of an Islamic state.

“Perhaps PAS president Hadi Awang should clear the air as to whether hudud laws intended by PAS are applicable to both Muslims and non-Muslims in the event PAS succeeds in setting up an Islamic state. In the public interest he should do so.”

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang - known for his conservative hardline approach - has stated before that hudud is meant only for Muslims.

In a Dec 27 Bernama news report, he again clarified that non-Muslims should not feel apprehensive about the hudud because the Islamic penal code was meant only for Muslims.

Hadi went on to say that non-Muslims could opt for the law that they wanted, for example as provided for in the Syariah Criminal Code of Kelantan and Terengganu.

“It is unnecessary for PAS to give an explanation on hudud because the laws have nothing to do with non-Muslims,” Hadi said.

A natural check-and-balance

Pakatan’s three members - KeADILan, DAP and PAS - have different ideological backgrounds but a common aim of uplifting the well-being of all Malaysians. They are equal partners in the alliance and are not shy to openly debate or even question each others’ differences.

In fact, their propensity for debate has also been their strength and a positive pull factor with voters, who like their culture of questioning.

Many see it as a natural, in-built check-and-balance mechanism that protected the rights of the different segments of Malaysian society.

It additionally serves as a foil against the abuse and manipulation found in the patriarchal style of arch enemy Barisan Nasional.

However, it also exposes the Pakatan to bad press.

The BN-controlled media has seized on each incident to paint an image of a coalition on the brink of a bust-up, rather than discuss the pro and cons of the issues at stake.

Anwar, who in lambasting the BN press for twisting and blowing up the hudud issue, had said: “We are not Barisan Nasional where supposedly Umno dictates and others just follow. We practice democracy.”

Tian said Muslims had the right to discuss and debate how they wanted to develop their religion. On the other hand, non-Muslims had the right to follow the belief of their choice and should not allow themselves to get too worked up over issues that would not impact on them.

“Let me reiterate Anwar’s statement. He said no Muslim is questioning the validity of Islamic law - syariah, kisas and hudud. But the extent and process of implementation will be discussed among Muslims. After all, these laws including hudud only apply to Muslims. There is no need to create polemics within non-Muslims,” Tian said.

Sumber: Suara Keadilan

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