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Halal? Haram? Heck if I know…

OCT 12 — It’s really surprising that people want to talk about halal and haram, but not just in Penang. It’s truly impressive, in Penang, how a bunch of geriatrics say that they don’t want money from any source that is considered haram.

It seems as if we are back to the same holier-than-thou mentality in politics that was visible in the 70s, where even graveyards and grieving for a dead relative were politically segregated. This was the age when Umno and PAS supporters were so passionate to the point that the arguments clearly extended after death.

There should be no paranoia when it comes to the question of halal and haram. Not in this nation where we are opening up to the rest of the world to prove that we are, in fact, truly a moderate Muslim majority nation that in all honesty respects the rest of the population as equals. That was the true Malaysian goal.

What we have now in the 1 Malaysia campaign, is a farce. A cover-up of gigantic proportions. All talk and no “meat”, per se.

The scary part of all this is that it is becoming more and more like 1 IslamicConservativeMalaysia, where everyone and everything is merely discarded as being non-Malaysian, plus the constant criticism and censorship.

Seriously, we can’t drink, we can’t eat, we can’t even talk without looking over our shoulders for fear of offending someone.

This is what makes me believe that we are now all truly non-Malaysian.
Past Malaysians were curious to seek out knowledge. They were confident. They were jovial with one another to the point where racist jokes were nothing more than a laughing matter.

Yes, they do sound like Russell Peters.
They were helpful and courteous with one another and everyone else. They were the kind of people who would never look at someone’s dress, or hair, or even contact lenses and think that the people were not proud to be Malaysian or Muslim or Malay even.
We have moved away from that.

The Malays are not to be trusted and lazy, the Chinese are too greedy, the Indians know nothing better than to get drunk and beat up women. And even worse, if you’re from Sabah and Sarawak, you’re not even Malaysian.

These are all the exemplary statements and notions that are flying all around the nation. I’ve heard of them and I am sure all of you have too throughout the days, months and years of your lives.

The very purpose of having the Sedition Act was to undo these perceptions that were being spread purely for political motives, dividing the people using a quote by Goebbels, the Nazi propagandist.

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.
Perhaps so many times that it becomes ingrained in your mindset.

With all that being set, what has been done by Umno in Penang is open a can of worms. The whole idea that welfare money comes from gambling, drinking or even the sale of cigarettes, which are also haram by fatwa, goes to show just how little Muslims truly know about halal and haram.

Honestly think about it, Muslims, devout or liberal alike.
What should you do should you gain haram money, in Islamic teachings?
You give it away to the poor and needy. All of it.

Be it orphans, widows, single mothers or the elderly.
So, for the state of Penang at least, who else would be more needy than paranoid geriatrics who obviously skipped a few lessons in Pendidikan Islam to allow themselves to be taken advantage of by opportunistic politicians?

People so desperate for salvation but who are miseducated to believe that gambling money would send them to Hell. This is what Umno in Penang has done.

They have somehow taken the idea to people who feel they are so close to death, so afraid to lose the promise of a better life after death, that by taking this money to help them live their lives with a little more comfort, will damn them for all eternity.

This, of course, coming from people who themselves gamble. Look at the elections. If you do not get a certain number of votes, you lose your deposit. Now isn’t that in itself a gamble?!

This just goes to show another Muslim teaching in parable. Knowledge is power. The faithful are those who not only seek knowledge, but propagate and question it in order to gain deeper knowledge, thus leading to piety and the honest fact that we, as mere humans, were never meant to understand everything thus leading to the belief in a higher power guiding us.

Call that power whatever you like, be it Allah, Jesus, God, Yahweh, Guan Yin, Shiva, Guan Yu, Kali et cetera.
And yes, that’s as spiritual as you will get me to ever admit in a column.
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

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