Tag Archives: jakim

The radicalisation of Malaysia


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The radicalisation of Malaysia
By Zan Azlee

Since when has “liberal” and “pluralism” been considered bad words by Islam? This is quite surprising for me since I consider myself to have traits of both these words, and yet I consider myself a Muslim.

It was reported in the media recently that certain Islamic authorities in Malaysia are of the belief that thoughts relating to liberalism and pluralism has the potential of being radicalised, and hence, is a threat.

As far as I can observe, there are yet to be any person or groups of people who picked up arms and acted violently and also considered themselves liberals or pluralists.

But please do let me know if you have evidence otherwise because I could be biased since I identify with these thoughts. Then I would need a light to be shone down on me.

This is extremely disturbing, especially when Islam is facing extreme challenges (with the likes of Islamic State). Radicalisation is a serious problem and it should be dealt with accordingly.

We need Islamic leaders who are forward-thinking and not those who have an archaic perspective on life and of the religion. Because what is radicalisation if not the rejection of contemporary ideas?

I used to think that those who were attracted to Islamic radicalism were those who were uneducated and lacked knowledge. Hence, it would be easy to manipulate and fool these people.

But I think I may be wrong since it seems that there is an increasing number of people with high formal education joining the ranks of the Islamic State (Isis) in the Middle-East as well as in Southeast Asia.

Another thought that I had is that extreme poverty would cause people to be desperate enough to join a cause that took extreme measures in order to justify the desperate times.

But again, I think I may be wrong. There is evidence that shows that many of those with respected and professional jobs are leaving their comfort zones to join Isis as well.

Then I heard something that made sense. A professor of foreign policy at Georgetown University in Washington DC, Haroon Ullah, said that mainly well-read and well-fed people of the middle-class were attracted to radicalism.

In a short video, Haroon, who also works with the US State Department, explained that these people craved for order and wanted a stop to inefficient governance and corruption. And Islamic radicals offer these, even if it is at a high cost.

If you think about it, out of all the different countries that are trying to battle radicalisation, Malaysia, although wanting to battle it as well, seems to be the only one that is actually embracing it.

The Pew Research Centre recently conducted a survey and it said that 11% of Malaysians actually have a favourable view of Isis and another 25% more say they don’t know.

More shocking is that 80% of Malaysian Muslims also think that suicide bombings are justified. Now this is a very scary thought indeed for me. I don’t know about you!

The one thing people need to do is to show that Isis and similar militant groups actually do not bring about change. What they do bring is more violence and deaths and this cannot be glorified.

The political leaders in Malaysia also have to stop the politicisation of Islam because it could well be that it is one of the reasons that is conditioning such thoughts to develop among Malaysian Muslims.

And definitely the government has to address the fact that people are desperate for change. Hence, they need to make sure that there is efficient and clean governance.

The recent attacks by Isis in Jakarta and the arrests in Malaysia show that the situation is critical in this part of the world. Maybe it’s time to really do something about it.

[This article originally appeared at The Malaysian Insider]

The Fat Bidin Podcast (Ep 43) – JAKIM’s guide to entertainment


The Fat Bidin Podcast (Eps 43) – JAKIM’s guide to entertainment

The Malaysian Islamic Development Department’s (JAKIM’s) recently released its latest edition of entertainment guidelines, which include the suggestion for audiences to be segregated by the gender and for comedy acts to not induce “excessive laughter”. Is it a realistic guideline? Does it hold any weight? Zan and Aizyl asks these questions and more on this week’s podcast.

Listen to more Fat Bidin Podcasts here.

Smoke gets in your eyes


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Smoke gets in your eyes
By Zan Azlee

Way back in the late 1990s, I enjoyed watching the movie ‘Wag the Dog’ starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Anything featuring these two actors is bound to be a killer.

It tells the story of how a Hollywood producer was hired by the White House to create and orchestrate a fictitious war in the media to distract public attention away from a presidential sex scandal.

The idea was so conceivable that even President Bill Clinton had been accused of attacking Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998 to divert attention from his infamous case with Monica Lewinsky.

Sometimes I wonder if I, as a journalist, have ever been manipulated or clouded by petty and insignificant, but intentional, smoke screens and distractions.

I wonder if all the brouhaha about fatwas being issued about liberalism and pluralism being ‘haram’ is just a diversion for the social inequalities that are happening in Malaysia.

I also wonder if ISMA, PERKASA and Ridhuan Tee, who created so much anger through their racist statements and religious intolerance, are just smoke screens to cover up corruption from the public.

I wonder if getting the people of Malaysia all riled up about how unIslamic it is to touch a dog is really just to move attention away from more oppressive acts such as political prosecution. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

Assalamualaikum Nadal!


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Assalamualaikum Nadal!
By Zan Azlee

I named my daughter Athena when she was born. Is it a name of one of Prophet Muhammad’s wife? No it isn’t.

Is it an Arabic name? No, I’m pretty sure it isn’t. Neither is it a Malay name. And it definitely isn’t Indian or Chinese.

It’s Greek actually. It’s the name of the Goddess of Wisdom and War. Semi-goddess, to be exact, since she was an illegitimate child of Zeus.

I chose that name because I thought it’s nice that the patron of wisdom is also the patron for war.

To me, it meant that war is something so devastating that it needed someone wise to watch over it.

I also kind of hoped that my daughter would grow up to be wise, strong and independent, like the name.

Isn’t that a nice reason to why I named her that? Of course, I’m not planning for her to start praying towards Mount Olympus instead of the Kaabah!

But there are those who just smile when I tell them this story. Then they proceed to crack their heads to find out if there is an Arabic definition to the name.

Some have even gone so far as to recite Quranic verses to see if there any words that sound remotely like ‘Athena’.

Why lah? Doesn’t a name just need to be a good name? In fact, couldn’t it just be anything the parents feel is good? [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

I named my daughter Athena when she was born. Is it the name of one of Prophet Muhammad’s wives? No, it isn’t.

Is it an Arabic name? No, I’m pretty sure it isn’t. Neither is it a Malay name. And it definitely isn’t Indian or Chinese.

It’s Greek actually. It’s the name of the Goddess of Wisdom and War. Semi-goddess, to be exact, since she was an illegitimate child of Zeus.

 

I chose that name because I thought it’s nice that the patron of wisdom is also the patron of war.To me, it meant that war was something so devastating that it needed someone wise to watch over it.

I also kind of hoped that my daughter would grow up to be wise, strong and independent, like the name.

Isn’t that a nice reason as to why I named her that? Of course, I’m not planning for her to start praying towards Mount Olympus instead of the Kaabah!

But there are those who just smile when I tell them this story. Then they proceed to crack their heads to find out if there is an Arabic definition to the name.

Some have even gone so far as to recite Quranic verses to see if there any words that sound remotely like “Athena”.

Why lah? Doesn’t a name just need to be a good name? In fact, couldn’t it just be anything the parents feel is good?

– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/opinion/zan-azlee/article/assalamualaikum-nadal#sthash.AWtVtdrA.dpuf

named my daughter Athena when she was born. Is it the name of one of Prophet Muhammad’s wives? No, it isn’t.

Is it an Arabic name? No, I’m pretty sure it isn’t. Neither is it a Malay name. And it definitely isn’t Indian or Chinese.

It’s Greek actually. It’s the name of the Goddess of Wisdom and War. Semi-goddess, to be exact, since she was an illegitimate child of Zeus.

 

I chose that name because I thought it’s nice that the patron of wisdom is also the patron of war.To me, it meant that war was something so devastating that it needed someone wise to watch over it.

I also kind of hoped that my daughter would grow up to be wise, strong and independent, like the name.

Isn’t that a nice reason as to why I named her that? Of course, I’m not planning for her to start praying towards Mount Olympus instead of the Kaabah!

But there are those who just smile when I tell them this story. Then they proceed to crack their heads to find out if there is an Arabic definition to the name.

Some have even gone so far as to recite Quranic verses to see if there any words that sound remotely like “Athena”.

Why lah? Doesn’t a name just need to be a good name? In fact, couldn’t it just be anything the parents feel is good?

– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/opinion/zan-azlee/article/assalamualaikum-nadal#sthash.AWtVtdrA.dpuf

named my daughter Athena when she was born. Is it the name of one of Prophet Muhammad’s wives? No, it isn’t.

Is it an Arabic name? No, I’m pretty sure it isn’t. Neither is it a Malay name. And it definitely isn’t Indian or Chinese.

It’s Greek actually. It’s the name of the Goddess of Wisdom and War. Semi-goddess, to be exact, since she was an illegitimate child of Zeus.

 

I chose that name because I thought it’s nice that the patron of wisdom is also the patron of war.To me, it meant that war was something so devastating that it needed someone wise to watch over it.

I also kind of hoped that my daughter would grow up to be wise, strong and independent, like the name.

Isn’t that a nice reason as to why I named her that? Of course, I’m not planning for her to start praying towards Mount Olympus instead of the Kaabah!

But there are those who just smile when I tell them this story. Then they proceed to crack their heads to find out if there is an Arabic definition to the name.

Some have even gone so far as to recite Quranic verses to see if there any words that sound remotely like “Athena”.

Why lah? Doesn’t a name just need to be a good name? In fact, couldn’t it just be anything the parents feel is good?

– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/opinion/zan-azlee/article/assalamualaikum-nadal#sthash.AWtVtdrA.dpuf

named my daughter Athena when she was born. Is it the name of one of Prophet Muhammad’s wives? No, it isn’t.

Is it an Arabic name? No, I’m pretty sure it isn’t. Neither is it a Malay name. And it definitely isn’t Indian or Chinese.

It’s Greek actually. It’s the name of the Goddess of Wisdom and War. Semi-goddess, to be exact, since she was an illegitimate child of Zeus.

 

I chose that name because I thought it’s nice that the patron of wisdom is also the patron of war.To me, it meant that war was something so devastating that it needed someone wise to watch over it.

I also kind of hoped that my daughter would grow up to be wise, strong and independent, like the name.

Isn’t that a nice reason as to why I named her that? Of course, I’m not planning for her to start praying towards Mount Olympus instead of the Kaabah!

But there are those who just smile when I tell them this story. Then they proceed to crack their heads to find out if there is an Arabic definition to the name.

Some have even gone so far as to recite Quranic verses to see if there any words that sound remotely like “Athena”.

Why lah? Doesn’t a name just need to be a good name? In fact, couldn’t it just be anything the parents feel is good?

– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/opinion/zan-azlee/article/assalamualaikum-nadal#sthash.AWtVtdrA.dpuf

Holy Water vs. Air Yasin


Holy Water vs. Air Yasin
By Zan Azlee

Recently, while I was casually browsing through the JAKIM (Department of Islamic Development Malaysia) website, I stumbled upon something interesting. (Please don’t ask me why I was casually browsing though the website. Just don’t!)

There is this one particular page on the site that caught my eye titled ‘Guidelines for Muslims celebrating religious festivals of non-Muslims’. As a multiculturalist Malaysian who celebrates a slew of festivals, from the Muslim to the non-Muslim kind, I obviously had to read it to ensure my Islamic faith is still intact.

It being the Christmas season, I will look specifically at the points that refer to Christmas, just to keep to a timely theme. Or else, this article would be just too long. The page states that if a Muslim is to attend an event, he or she needs to make sure that the event does not consist of ‘ceremonies that are against the Islamic faith’. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]