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I agree with Ridhuan Tee

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I agree with Ridhuan Tee
By Zan Azlee

I never thought in my entire life that I would one day state publicly that I am in support of my self-declared arch nemesis Ridhuan Tee Abdullah. But here it is, on this good Friday, that I am writing my column (which is usually utilised to condemn Mr. Tee) to show my support of his recent columns on Prophet Muhammad.

He wrote in his past two columns in Sinar Harian that although it is condoned for Muslims to praise the Prophet, we should not go to the extent of being too obsessed with him. The action and reciting of the selawat to the Prophet is encouraged in Islam because it shows love for the messenger and also the unity of Muslims. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

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A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

criticiseislam

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet
By Zan Azlee

Call me murtad (apostate), I don’t care. Call me syirik (polytheist), I don’t care. Heavy accusations in Islam, these two. I hope the accusers have the necessary proof, evidence and criteria to do so. I, an official Muslim, hereby publicly declare that I have no problems with other religions aside from Islam using the word Allah to refer to God.

Most of the times when I write my column, it is to address a readership that is as wide and as general as possible without targeting too specific a group. But this week, I am writing to Muslims in particular (err, but if you are an infidel, you can still continue reading!), and especially Malay Muslims.

As Muslims, we are obligated to believe in the existence of the prophets and this includes the prophet Jesus, who brought to the world Christianity, and even Moses who brought Judaism. As a Muslim, we are also obligated to believe in the existence of the holy books and this includes the Bible which taught Christianity and the Torah which taught Judaism.

And, when we believe in all this, we also have to believe that all Abrahamic religions come from one God, and in Arabic (the main language of Islam’s Quran) the word is Allah. So, when an argument is made that Christianity and Islam are two different religions, no one can deny it. It’s true. These are two different religions.

But when it comes to God, both these different religions refer to the same God. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet (oh crap, did I just objectify God as a rose?). [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



Have fun in Jerusalem, you lucky Christians!

jerusalem

Have fun in Jerusalem!
By Zan Azlee

DEC 21 — I’m very religious in my own opinion. However, there are many people — some I know and even those I don’t — who might not agree. But these are the same people who send me anonymous e-mails praying that my daughter grows up practising beastiality.

I’m sure they are all very religious and have paid their downpayment for a nice condo in heaven for after the rapture. But that’s not what I want to write about today. No. What I want to write about is much more important.

I would like to congratulate my Malaysian Christian brothers and sisters over our government’s decision to relax the rules and regulations to visit the holy land in Israel. It’s a good move by the government as it shows that it is sensitive to the needs of the people and is willing to overlook certain political issues.

But this makes me slightly bitter. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not calling for the new regulations for Christians to be revoked. I am sincerely happy for them. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



How innocent are Muslims?

The opposite reaction
By Zan Azlee

SEPT 28 — I will always stand up for what I believe in. I’ve even walked away from lucrative projects because I didn’t think they were right. Most of the times, I believe so much in certain things that I make a lot of noise and ruckus that it gets annoying. Oh yes, I guess you could say I have a holier-than-thou attitude when it comes to certain things!

But there are times when you believe in something so much that you have to remain quiet because that would be the most logical strategy. That’s why I think that the many Muslims who showed outrage towards the film “Innocence of Muslims” are making a big mistake, and I did not show my outrage.

Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, and even Malaysia, where thousands of Muslims protested against the anti-Islam film, were basically playing right into the hands of the film-makers.

They walked the streets, vandalised as they went along. Damn it, they even killed innocent people because of the bloody film.

And was it all worth it?

Was it to protest a film that insulted the Prophet Muhammad and ridiculed believers of the second largest religion in the world, thus offending over a billion people? Or was it really to bring international attention to a lousily-made, 15-minute, tasteless, online film that would have just gotten lost in Internet oblivion? A film made by a conman?

Maybe I should put this into better perspective. A perspective that I think most of my readers would actually understand and be able to relate to. Let’s say a hypothetical country is being run by a hypothetical government that many of the people feel needs to be changed. So they take to the streets to demonstrate and protest. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



Ridhuan Tee forgives me! Oh thank god!

Looks like Ridhuan Tee got a bit touched by my column last Friday at The Malaysian Insider and responded to it in his own column in Sinar Harian on Monday. Click here to read what he wrote!

Funny thing is, although we both disagree with each other, neither of us resorted to childish name calling… which is not what can be said for some of the readers who posted their comments (both in his blog and under my column!). Hahaha!!



Ridhuan Tee does it again!

Ridhuan Tee does it again!
By Zan Azlee

JULY 27 — My beef with Ridhuan Tee began a few years ago when I first started reading his writing and listening to him speak in public about Islam. I have to say that I although I don’t agree with almost everything that this man utters, I still subscribe to the belief that I will defend to the death his right to say it. And when I say that, I also hope that my right to express my disagreement with him will be defended by the man himself. How else can we enter a discourse, right?

Anyway, my beef with him has grown thanks to his recent rant at the launch of his books “Masih Adakah Ketuanan Melayu?” and “Cabaran Saudara Baharu di Malaysia”. I have yet to read them, but trust me, I definitely will. But what he said during the launch, which was reported by the media, was enough to ruffle my feathers. Tee, a Chinese who embraced Islam many years ago, mentioned that because the Federal Constitution defines Malays as those who profess Islam, he had no choice but to place himself among those in the Malay race as well. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



Manipulating religion for worldly gains

Manipulating religion for worldly gains
By Zan Azlee

MAY 11 – One Muslim calling the other a kafir (infidel). Muslims simply declaring anything they feel like as being haram. All this while still in the heat of Bersih. What I am referring to is to the article in the New Straits Times which carried the headline ‘Nik Aziz the father of kafirs’.

And I am also referring to the country’s fatwa council declaring that it is haram for Muslims to be participating in Bersih rallies. The New Straits Times wrote that former IGP, Tan Sri Rahim Noor, says that PAS’ Nik Aziz is the father of kafirs. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



Don’t read books or touch bananas and cucumbers!

I can’t eat pork or drink alcohol. Now I can’t read a book either? Oh yeah… no touching bananas or cucumbers too!

A haram book? What next?
By Zan Azlee

DEC 9 — Do not eat the book. Do not drink the book. Do not touch the book. Do not use any kitchen utensils that have been used with the book. Because it is haram.

The book that I am referring to is “Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going”, which has been declared haram by our Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim).

I find the decision utterly ridiculous. Apparently, Lee mentions that Muslims in Singapore are “socially distinct and separate” and should “be less strict on Islamic observances” to aid integration and the city-state’s nation-building process.

In my opinion, I see the act by Jakim as an act that clearly defies the teachings of the Quran as it obstructs the quest for knowledge. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



Muzzle knowledge, and be muzzled by fire!

As an academic, I have been insulted by incidents in the last few weeks. So, here’s my column for The Malaysian Insider this week.

Muzzle knowledge, and be muzzled by fire
By Zan Azlee

NOV 4 — Education and knowledge is something that is very important to me. And equally important is the process of gaining it. The recent issue with the International Islamic University’s (IIU or UIA) suspension of Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Bari is an embarrassment in my eyes.

An academic should be allowed to express his educated and intellectual views if so he wishes because it is his right and his responsibility to do so. It is this right and responsibility of an academic that will lead to better educated students and a more civilised society.

If this right and responsibility is taken away from an academic, then the society that has done so would be a society that stifles intellectual development. As an Islamic university (as its name suggests), should it not be more Islamic?

Maybe I can assist by providing a particular quote by Prophet Muhammad:

“Whoever conceals knowledge would be muzzled on the Day of Resurrection with a muzzle of fire.” [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



I’m no expert in Islam but…

My column this week at The Malaysian Insider in response to the comments from last week.

I’m no expert in Islam but…
By Zan Azlee

JUNE 3 — Religion seems to be quite a hot topic whenever it is discussed. This is especially so when it comes to Islam. And even more so when it challenges conventional thought. I’ve learnt this over the course of writing my thoughts and opinions openly and frankly all this while and receiving the opinions and thoughts of the readers as well.

Sometimes the comments that I get are just okay and sometimes, they can be quite passionate. The latter is when I feel obligated to respond. My column last week received quite a range of comments that I felt warranted a proper response from me this week.

There were many that concurred with my thoughts, but no point responding to them. That would just be preaching to the converted. What I really want to do is to respond to those who disagreed with me. Everyone is definitely entitled to his or her opinion, but right now I have the pen in hand! [Read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]



Let us be blasphemous!

My column this week at The Malaysian Insider. Please don’t condemn me to hell my fellow Muslims!

Let us be blasphemous!
By Zan Azlee

MAY 27 — I am no longer a believer and will burn in hell for questioning Islam. And, by raising and seeking answers to issues that I am in doubt of, my children will even grow up to have sex with animals. These are some of the things I have been called and accused of by certain people in reaction to the documentary films and articles I’ve written that deal with my religion. Of course, I don’t take these comments to heart. But it does make me think about how receptive Malaysians, Muslims specifically, are when it comes to really learning about Islam. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]




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