I tried very hard not to get sucked into writing about the debacle of the overzealous religious extremists in Malaysia and the national gymnast’s clothes.
Well, actually the gymnast never even got involved in the debacle. She merely shrugged off the comments by the overzealous religious extremists and continued on.
Self-assured and confident, all Farah Ann Abdul Hadi did was to post one tweet on her Twitter account – “Empty cans make the most noise.”
Enough said. She knows what she’s done (she won several medals at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore) and there isn’t a need to prove anything.
The overzealous religious extremists, on the other hand, got the support of an overzealous religious master in the form of Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, the minister in charge of Islamic affairs.
While Farah Ann had just did her best in doing Malaysia proud, the overzealous religious extremists obviously had other things on their mind when they saw her in her leotard.
They said that her clothing was too revealing and that she needs to cover her “aurat”. They even demanded that she repent before having to face the consequences.
Yes, they are ridiculous and Farah Ann knows that. And we all know that. It is because of the ridiculousness of the issue that I initially did not want to write about it.
But as ridiculous as they are, they are still loud and people can still hear them. Hence, I have to succumb to writing about it because something like this needs to be written and discussed about.
Although Farah Ann seems confident and mature enough to shrug it off, I think it is important that we still show our support and hopefully this will strengthen her courage.
It is also important to write about because we need to encourage others to also possess and display the kind of strength that Farah Ann has.
And, of course, it is important that we write and discuss about it so that the noise from the empty can will be drowned out and never heard from again.
The minister and those who like him need to assert their authority because it is the only way they know how to instil fear in people, hence become “needed” by them.
It seems so easy to convince Muslims that something is wrong because Islam says so. If you don’t do this, it is against Islam. If you do that, it is against Islam.
And for a Muslim, if you are being accused of doing something against Islam, there is nothing else you can say to explain it because of the way Islam is ingrained in our minds.
We are constantly taught to fear God, to fear the religion and to fear sin. We are scared into submission so much that love and compassion gets thrown out of the picture altogether.
Islam is not a simpleton religion. It is not as simple as merely an issue of covering your “aurat” or exposing it to differentiate between a good Muslim and a bad one.
And neither is it as simple for you to be considered a good Muslim just by judging and questioning someone’s faith publicly as if you are defending the honour of the religion.
Many Malaysians saw Farah Ann as a national athlete who did the country proud by giving her best and becoming the best in what she does.
As for those empty cans who were making so much noise, one piece of advice: look at yourselves first before criticising other people.
If you look hard enough, then maybe you will all discover why you saw Farah Ann as something different than what the rest of us saw.