Category Archives: journalism

The liberal threat


jumaat

malaysian-insider-logo

The liberal threat
By Zan Azlee

We hear the ‘liberal threat’ term being brandied around all the time these days. But what does it really mean?  If you want to touch a dog, you’re considered a liberal threat.

If you are fluent in speaking English, you’re considered a liberal threat. If you have studied overseas and come back to Malaysia with grand ideas, you’re considered a liberal threat.

If you like to rationalise and use logic, you’re considered a liberal threat. If you want to debate and talk about issues in Islam, you’re considered a liberal threat.

And who do these liberals threaten? Apparently, the ones feeling threatened by all this are all the other Malay Muslims in the country. The ones who aren’t liberal.

And how do we know they aren’t liberal? Well, I’m guessing its because they don’t want to touch dogs, don’t speak English fluently and never studied overseas.

But what it really boils down to is that they also don’t want to involve any thinking when it comes to faith. Because they feel that faith is something that you accept blindly.

To them, rationale or logic cannot be used ever to debate and discuss issues regarding Islam because that would mean you have no belief.

The Islam that is threatened by the liberals is a strict version of Islam that is not open to interpretation or discourse because what is officially sanctioned might just be changed.

Too many years have gone by where the authorities have had control over what the people believe and fear. If this power gets out of their hands, they wouldn’t be relevant anymore.

It’s funny how the religion has digressed into such a form because when it first started, consultation with the people was a key element in it’s jurisprudence. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

About these ads

To grant or not to grant


kopitiam

To grant or not to grant
By Zan Azlee

Several years ago, I received a call from MDeC, the Multimedia Development Corporation, and they requested for a meeting with me to discuss an issue.

It was regarding my career as a filmmaker and it seemed like I had something that could help them out. So I agreed to go and meet up with them in their office.

They wanted to find out why I had never requested for a grant or financial assistance in producing any of my film projects, not from them and not from anyone else.

MDeC, a government agency, is responsible for, among other things, helping the content industry develop and grow in Malaysia. Oh, and they give out grants as well.

They wanted to perfect their grant giving and had questions for me as to why I don’t need grants and if they could figure that out, they might be able to provide better service.

I explained to them that it wasn’t personal and it wasn’t that I didn’t like their grants! I just really never needed a grant and could handle things on my own.

My projects are always small enough for me to able to fund on my own, either by pre-selling the content or even just saving up for them. The fact that I’m a one man crew also helps.

Of course I also told them that I really couldn’t be bothered applying for grants because of all the administration and red tape that goes along with it (I know because I’ve attempted before!). [Click to read the full article at KopitiamEkonomi.Com]

My multi-faith family


race

astro_awani_logo

My multi-faith family
By Zan Azlee

I always like to see my own family as a microcosm of the country’s larger society because we have members of many races and ethnicities as well as many faiths.

Everyone respects everyone else. All the major Malaysian religious festivals are celebrated by us together and with much joy and happiness.

Not only do we celebrate the festivals together, we also pay our respects and mourn together when one of us passes away no matter what religion he or she was.

And because of this, we understand each other very well, including each others’ faith. Not once has there been any fights, disagreements or arguments because of religion in our family.

I cannot for the life of me think in good conscience that if I am a Muslim, I need to defend my religion by proclaiming publicly that my religion is the best in the world.

Having faith in a belief personally is fine and I have no problems with that. Because if that wasn’t the case, then I wouldn’t even be a Muslim.

The fact of the matter is that I don’t understand how there can be a double standard when it comes to people of different faiths in this country.

I cannot understand how a Muslim who calls for the burning of the Christian Bible can be allowed to do so because he is thought to be defending Islam.

What is the logic and rationale of defending Islam by burning another holy book? A holy book that even Muslims are required to believe in according to Islamic rule.

Or is this something where logic cannot be applied (an argument that many extremists tend to dish out to other Muslims who try to rationalise things out)? [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

The Fat Bidin Podcast (Ep 22) – Dog day afternoon!


Top dogs Zan and Aizyl may be barking up the wrong tree and howling at the moon while sniffing each other’s backside as they ponder about man’s best friend (featuring the full recording of Syed Azmi Alhabshi’s statement).

Listen to more Fat Bidin Podcasts here.

Which mazhab is the best? Ours?


bd2c4-jakim

malaysian-insider-logo

Which mazhab is the best? Ours?
By Zan Azlee

I went for Friday prayers at the main mosque in Bamiyan, a city and province in the mountains of northern Afghanistan. They are mainly from the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, as opposed to the Shafi’i here in Malaysia.

The way the prayers were conducted were slightly different in the arrangements of the sermon and optional prayers which I wasn’t used too. And neither did I understand the sermon.

But it was no big deal. The Hanafi school is one of the four main Sunni schools, or mazhabs, and it’s aqidah (creed) is the same. The only difference is the interpretation of fiqh (jurisprudence) and rituals.

So it is no problem for a Shafi’ifollower like me (being from Malaysia) to pray alongside those from the other mazhabs. Through my travels around the world, I have prayed alongside all of them.
Now back to northern Afghanistan on that Friday afternoon about three years ago. After Friday prayers concluded, I managed to catch up with the Afghan Imam who had led it. He was young and very handsome.

I told him where I came from and told him why I was in his country (I was shooting a documentary). We chatted for a while when he brought up the subject of the different mazhabs between our regions.

“Shafi’i mazhab has beautiful teachings. I admire the strong faith that the Malaysian Muslims have. They are known around the world to be very devout in their faith,” he smiled.

I mentioned to him that I noticed the differences in how they conducted Friday prayers the Hanafi way and I was unfamiliar, so I mainly just followed the crowd in the mosque.

“That’s okay. We are all Muslim and we share the same faith. Our structure may be different but our hearts and intentions are the same. We are brothers,” he said in response.

Being the humorist and comedian that I am (and usually in the most inappropriate times!), I mentioned to him that he is the most good-looking imam I had ever met! He laughed and we hugged goodbye. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]