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Reclaim Our Religion

By Mariam Mokhtar, Malaysia Chronicle

It is about time responsible Muslims spoke out openly to stop the hypocrisy in our society and reclaim both the religion and streets from barbaric people whose only aim is to create hatred towards non-muslims.

Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching received a death threat yesterday and a dead chicken was left at the entrance to her office.

Recently she was condemned for wearing tight clothing when she attended a mosque aerobics/health and fitness morning on 12 December.

In August, she was accused of another indiscretion, this time for addressing an audience in the prayer area of a Surau in Kajang Sentral on 22 August.

I was born a Muslim, but have been described as Jewish by inclination, a Christian by spirit, a Hindu by acceptance, a Buddhist by karma and on the Malaysian forms which ask me to state my “race”, I get into trouble because I always write, “human”.

If I had an MP like Teo who tried her best to reach out and engage all walks of society regardless of their racial or religious inclinations, I would be happy.

She could be dressed like Lady Gaga or Lady Godiva for all I care.

What matters is that she looks after her constituents, addresses their problems and tries to resolve them. That is why people elect their MPs.

I am prepared to overlook any mistakes made by people, in the way they dress as long as their hearts and actions are sincere.

What use have we of people who dress the part but who are rotten to the core, who have nothing to offer the Malaysian people in terms of integration and cohesion?

The people who left the chicken as a warning for Teo, are cowards. They tarnish the good name of Islam and have no place in our society.

Unfortunately our government has a half-hearted attitude towards Muslim/Malay extremist groups in this country. These groups create tension, violence and hatred toward non-Muslims.
It is us Muslims who need to immediately act, to effect change.

Look at the recent trends in our society. When we woke up to the shocking news that children were being married off to older men, what did these Muslim groups do? Nothing.

When women were being whipped for having sex outside of marriage, did we hear any protests about their mistreatment even though they were first offenders and had willingly pleaded guilty? No.

When there were reports of paedophilia and incest we looked away.

When a maid was raped, no one came to her defence.

We have broken families and suffering children because one of the parents converted and 
whisked the children away, but do we hear any protests about the injustice? No.

We expect others to respect our religion but happily and unashamedly condemn non-Muslims in our Friday sermons in the mosques.

What sort of messages are we passing to our young?

We collect funds and stage mock assaults complete with rifles and handguns in our shopping complexes just to highlight the suffering of the Palestinians but we conveniently kick our own non-muslim citizens around like a football.

We have forgotten our true Malaysian roots. What happened to our characteristic mutual respect and understanding for other races, that we were once famous for? It appears that we now have to adhere to 'visitation rules' for Muslims during times of non-Muslim celebration.

I went to a mission school like my parents and their siblings. I continued my education overseas and as part of the school’s activities, spent time in churches, synagogues and temples, where prayers were also held for Muslims.

I returned to Malaysia where we curse the non-Muslims and teach our young to hate them and call them infidels. If that was not enough, we drag a cow's head through the streets and set churches alight.

Are these messages of love and peace, or messages of hate?
Here is one woman, Teo Nie Ching who is trying her best to reach out to her community and we have fools who are hell-bent on stopping her.

Where are the voices of condemnation from the ruling party and our Islamic leaders? What about royalty? We do not need their political interference, but are they not the rulers of everyone in the land?

Most important of all, where are the other 'normal' Muslim voices to stop this madness?
Is this what our government and the people want – a breakdown of law and order, a disintegration of trust and mutual respect?

We Muslims need to stop blaming our problems on others. We Muslims need to admit that we tend to create problems for ourselves.

It is our silence against the violence and cowardly acts of these sick people that gives them the stimuli to continue their evil acts.

Who will join me and demonstrate with passion and in such numbers against the violent attacks perpetrated against courageous people like Teo?

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