I’m a liberal Muslim!


I’m a liberal Muslim!
By Zan Azlee

MARCH 30 — As a practising and continuously learning Muslim, I have to take it as my personal responsibility to comment on a recent quote by Datuk Salleh Mat Rasid. The Internal Security and Public Order director of the police said that social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have made Malaysians liberal.

He then continued to say:

“In a borderless world, human thinking will change greatly, particularly towards the liberal. They will say things which cannot be done can be done… This is what we’re afraid of because when the thinking of Malaysians is driven by negative things, specifically those that can threaten security and public order, it can lead to a situation where the country is no longer safe.”

I have to say that in my humble opinion, this has to be one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard or read in all my years of being alive. [Click to read the rest of the article at The Malaysian Insider]

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Do you have a problem if my baby isn’t a genius?


Does my baby have to be a genius?
By Zan Azlee

MARCH 23 — A couple of days ago, I was having lunch with a friend at our favourite “skip-work-for-a-couple-of-hours” mamak restaurant. Now, we both have kids. I have one-year-old Athena while he has four-year-old Mya and one-year-old Hamka. We’ve known each other since our puberty and our conversations have gone from porn actresses when we were teens to parenting now that we’re in our thirties.

“Just the other day, Mya was telling me that she’ll be working at CERN* in Switzerland when she grows up,” he said.

“Yeah? And where did Hamka say he’ll be working when he grows up?” I asked.

“He’ll be in Paris.”

“Let me guess. He’ll be a famous artist?”

“Damn right! Then, during the holidays, they’ll get together somewhere in central Europe where their mother and I can come visit.”

“Well, Athena told me the other day that she plans to rent a room in Kabul to cover World War 10 as a hotshot freelance war correspondent!”

“Yup! Our kids are going to be geniuses!” [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

iPhone Journalism in Syria


Inspiring journalism!

iPhone Journalism
By Zan Azlee

MARCH 16 – Solo-journalism has been my passion for many years now and it has been the basis of almost all my journalistic work till today. For the many news reports I do and documentaries that I produce, I would write, shoot, edit and take my own photographs, literally as a one-man-crew.

And I get to do all this thanks to all the technology available today. I have small broadcast quality video cameras, laptops for editing and mobile Internet. Over the years, solo-journalism has started to grow. Big broadcasters such as the BBC, CNN, Channel 4, etc, have been experimenting with the concept.

I, myself, have contributed news stories and documentaries that were produced solo-journalism style to some of these big broadcasters. But there really hasn’t been an entire news network or agency that has actually converted fully to solo-journalism in obtaining their content.

But things might just change seeing that one of the big international news networks, Al Jazeera International, recently aired a documentary shot fully with an iPhone. [Click to read the full article]

I really don’t want to be ashamed to be a Muslim in Malaysia


Zan flirting in Tehran, Iran.

Being a Muslim in Malaysia
By Zan Azlee

MARCH 9 -  I’m sick and tired of people saying that the greeting ‘assalamualaikum’ and ‘waalaikumsalam’ are exclusively for Muslims and haram for anyone else. Apparently, if a non-Muslim greets you that way, you will be damned to hell if you were to reply. And god forbid, if you were to initiate the greeting! To those who aren’t familiar, ‘assalamualaikum’ means ‘peace be upon you’, and ‘waalaikumsalam’ means ‘and upon you be peace’.

I really wonder where is it said in Islam that the ‘salam’ is exclusively for Muslims? I would be really grateful if someone could point this out for me. Please save me from my ignorance because as far as my religious knowledge goes, I have only found evidence that proves that it isn’t a sin.

Over the years, I have traveled extensively throughout the Muslim world (especially the Middle-East) and people in all of these places greet each other, whether Muslim or not, with these greetings. And in all of these countries, this has never been an issue at all. And hence I find it very problematic that it is a big issue in my own country Malaysia. [Click to read the rest of the article at The Malaysian Insider]

There’s no such thing as a moderate Muslim


The translated Quran my parents bought for me from Mekah has been quite handy!

No such thing as a moderate Muslim
By Zan Azlee

I’ve always wondered why people like to label Muslims as either being moderate and progressive, or extremist and fundamentalist. These terms should actually be redundant because if you are a true practicing Muslim, you are moderate and progressive by default, and never extremist and fundamentalist.

Islam has always been a fluid and organic religion that preaches moderation and the pursuit of knowledge to constantly improve one’s life, society and the religion itself. Moderation in Islam leads to balance, and this is relevant towards every aspect of a Muslim’s life, be it career, finances, diet, entertainment and even worship.

In fact, the term for this in Islam is Wasatiyyah. As stated in Surah An Nisa:

“Oh people of the Book. Commit no excesses in your religion, nor say of Allah except for the truth.”

Funnily enough, the same government in Malaysia that bans concerts due to ‘religious considerations’ without taking into consideration any other explanation, also founded the Institute of Wasatiyyah. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]