Jan 31, 2013

Freedom of Religion PKR understanding and the Real Meaning in Islam - Kebebasan Beragama Fahaman PKR dan Maksud sebenar menurut Islam

Freedom of Religion - Kebebasan Beragama 
Fahaman PKR dan Maksud Sebenar Menurut Islam
( PKR understanding and the real meaning in Islam )

Berikut transkript ucapan yang dipetik dari Malaysiakini
Terjemahan Melayu bagi ayat bahasa "English" yang di "highlight" biru
Following the transcript of the speech taken from Malaysiakini

Question 1: It's heartening to know that you just cannot coerce someone into believing your beliefs, right? On any matter.

Now, I do want to ask a very controversial question, so what then the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community) here or the sexual minority here?

I'd like your views on that because there are people who feel that just by being able to love the same sex goes against their religion or beliefs, but we don't believe that.

Our own beliefs are such that we are answerable to God, yes, but let us be answerable to God. Thanks.

Moderator: YB Nurul can you... all right, we'll have one more, just one more question, then she'll answer both then take leave. Yes.
The PKR vice-president
I'm very happy to hear YB Nurul speak about freedom of religion ...

Question 2: I'm very happy to hear YB Nurul speak about freedom of religion. Does she actually apply that to Malays as well in terms of freedom of religion? That is number one.

Number two, I think it is a fallacy to believe that Egypt now is (in) a better condition than it was before. Everybody knows that it is getting worse.

I have a friend in Egypt and she is really not happy about what is going on over there, so I do believe YB is trying to promote the idea of an Islamic state, like you know this which is completely not true.

but mainly my question is ...

But mainly my question is, when you speak of freedom of religion, are you actually applying to the Malays as well ? Thanks.

Tetapi soalan utama saya ialah apabila anda bercakap tentang kebebasan beragama, adakah awak sebenarnya mengunapakainya terhadap masyarakat Melayu juga ? Terima kasih.

Moderator: Well YB Nurul, that's a good way to start the morning.

The audience laughs.

Moderator: You have two questions of great import at two ends of the spectrum. Could you try to answer that, please.

Nurul Izzah: Thank you, Cyrus, I love too.

The audience laughs.

Nurul Izzah: Okay, so the first question. In terms of the sexual rights of LGBT, Tariq Ramadan addressed this question when IRF organised his programme, I think about three months back and I think, of course, you're not just talking about Islam.

There are limitations and you know, implemented in Christianity with regards to people of - you know - LGBT, but one thing is important is you should not victimise anyone.

You should not also implement and you know, ensure the laws of the land encroach into private... uh.. into public space.

I think that is the main underlying principle. But if you ask me whether, as a Muslim, I can accept, I think yes, you or whoever that, besides their particular sexual orientation.

Yes, in private you cannot enforce them certain regulation, etcetera. But as a Muslim, I also cannot accept and that is regulation of my faith and as well as my friends who are Catholic, etcetera.

I think here you want to make sure that they are not victimised, the current practise, whether how, through the Borders (bookstore) ... sort of, err, how Jawi or Jakim at that time went to the Borders, some books etcetera, so the way it is practised does not respect and does not give any meaning for the sanctity of Islam, or any religion for that matter.

You must always use hikmah, so yes, I will say here, we have limitation, but certainly it should not be encroached into public space.

The second question with regards (to) what you think I'm trying to promote, I would correct that assumption. Yes, Egypt is undergoing a tumultuous process. It has not been resolved, there are many challenges they face.

I am not saying they have achieved a Utopian ideal view of a state and how it should be governed but I always take the development of the Muslim Brotherhood, in particular, from seen as a rather dogmatic Islamic movement come up with a political entity to meet the needs of the time and their relationship and collaboration with the Christian Coptic is something in particular that we have to observe and appreciate.

So if you say things are bad for Egypt, no. You, and we, must not be so judgmental and that is partly the society or the country that we have inherited that allows us to see things in black and white, whereas sometimes it is not as simple as that.

Sometimes in a stormy period, it is important for them to undergo and hopefully, because we wish for the best. We wish that they will have wisdom and finally manage the governance of the country itself.


The bell rings.

Nurul Izzah: Okay, one more minute.

The audience laughs.

Nurul Izzah: Yes, umm, but the idea itself, I think, goes back. And when you ask me, there is no compulsion in religion, even Dr (Ahmad) Farouk (Musa) quoted that verse in the Quran.

Dan bila anda bertanya kepada saya, tiada paksaan dalam agama, malah Dr Farouk telah memetik ayat tersebut dari Al Quran.

How can you ask me or anyone, how can anyone really say, 'Sorry, this only apply to non-Malays.' It has to apply equally.

Bagaimana anda boleh bertanya kepada saya atau sesiapa saja, bagaimana seseorang boleh berkata dengan pasti, Maaf, ini hanya terpakai untuk orang bukan Melayu. Ianya mesti digunapakai  secara sama rata

The audience applauds.

Nurul Izzah: In the Quran, there is no specific terms for the Malays. This is how it should be done. So I am tied, of course, to the prevailing views but I would say that.

So what you want is of course in terms of quality. You believe so strongly in your faith, that even me, being schooled in Assunta with a huge cross in the hall and an active singing Catholic society will not deter you.

The bell rings and the moderator thanks the speaker.

The audience applauds.
Excerpt from : malaysiakini.com

Based on the sentences highlighted in blue, she has refer to the verse which was read before by Dr Farouk

Following the speech by Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa in the forum 
" Islamic State : Which Version ? Whose Responsibility ?
which was held at  
the Full Gospel Tabernacle, USJ, Selangor, Malaysia

Part 1: Main Speaker : Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa, Director Islamic Renaissance Front

We are here this morning in the blessed house of God ??
Only Democrasy could guide muslim society toward Islam ??

Part 2 : Respondents: YB Nurul Izzah Anwar Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur Dr Syed Farid Alatas Associate Professor of Sociology and Head of Department, NUS

Part 3: Respondents: Malik Imtiaz Constitutional Lawyer and Founder of Human Rights Association of Malaysia Datuk Kenny Ng Lawyer and Elder, Emmanuel Evangelical Free Church YB Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa Member of Parliament for Parit Buntar, Perak

Part 4: Respondents: Dr Wong Chin Huat Fellow, Penang Institute YB Baru Bian Assemblyman, Sarawak State Assembly for Ba'kelalan

Religion and pluralism in a divided world

Let me begin with a cryptic line from T.S. Eliot’s “Burnt Norton”:

“Go, go, go, said the bird: Human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.”

But I say bear it we must for indeed, it is a stark reality of our world that certain religious groups hold that only certain fundamental doctrines may lead to salvation.

This exclusivist outlook unfortunately cuts across the board as between religions as well as within the denominations.

In Christendom, we have seen the schisms and consequent upheavals arising from this sense of exclusivity.

Within Islam, Sunni, Shiite and Sufi denominations have had a chequered history and continue to present the world with a scenario of violence and bloodshed.

The backlash against Muslim migration to Europe has become more acrid in the aftermath of 9/11 and 7/7 with right wing politcal parties benefitting from the new bout of xenophobia and fearmongering. France’s ban on the burqa has elicited heated emotion on both sides, but many Muslims scratched our heads in disbelief when Switzerland outlawed minarets.

Back in the 13th century, the mystical poet Jelaluddin al-Rumi wrote in the Masnavi:

“The lamps are different but the Light is the same, it comes from Beyond; If thou keep looking at the lamp, thou art lost; for thence arises the appearance of number and plurality.”

Those verses couldn’t be more relevant for us today. Despite rancorous debates linking religion to conflict and discrimination, it remains a fact that at a personal level religious experience boils down to certain universal concepts. Where does man come from? What is his purpose? What happens when he dies? The spiritual path subscribes us to a universal quest for truth and the pursuit of justice and virtue.

We rejoice in beauty, both within ourselves and in what surrounds us. We long for knowledge, peace and security amid the mysteries and uncertainties of the universe. In our disjointed world filled with ugliness, violence and injustice, religion gives all of mankind an opportunity to realize values which unify humanity, despite the great diversity of climes and cultures.

Dante – one of the great poets of the Christian tradition – had much to say about this issue. Surrounded by civil strife that tore asunder the landscape of his 14th century Italian countryside, Dante was well acquainted with factionalism and the struggles for power between the Lords Temporal and the Lords Spiritual.

Seeing the damage inflicted by the attempts to overcome these divisions he perceived a solution that was not merely political in nature. Writing in Monarchia he said that the ultimate aims in life are twofold – happiness in this worldly life as well as happiness in the eternal life basking in the vision of God. The attainment of these two goals would come with great difficulty:

“Only when the waves of seductive greed are calmed and the human race rests free in the tranquillity of peace.”

Dante’s vision of universal peace could be achieved only when the nations of the world unite in an undivided planetary polity. This was surely a utopian dream but being European it is worth noting that his dream was not of an imperial Europe.

Nor did he envision the Church expanding beyond its walls. The ruling authority in this utopian landscape would be the faculty of human reason, linking Dante’s vision directly to the philosophical outlook of Muslim luminaries including al-Farabi and Ibn Rushd.

Of course such a new world order never materialized. On the contrary if there is an enduring legacy of Enlightenment thought on the political geography of the world it is the dissection of empires and dynasties into individual, competing nation states rather than a greater unification.

Much blood was spilled to create and then protect these boundaries. Despite attempts by some to purify their lands, the boundaries drawn around the nation-state have been blurred by the advent of modern transportation and communication.

Today’s world is perhaps more diverse and integrated than was the case in the golden age of Muslim Spain, where Christians, Jews and Muslims lived in peaceful harmonious coexistence. And yet we can hardly say that the overwhemling result of this new connectivity is peace and harmony.

Today, freedom of religion without which there can be no religious pluralism, is an entrenched constitutional liberty in the established democracies. As such, favouring one religion over another or granting it a position at the expense of others may be considered as being against the spirit of religious pluralism. Yet this still happens even in certain established democracies in Europe while in the Middle East and in Southeast Asia this ambivalence has been virtually taken for granted until recently.

This is why the discourse on religious pluralism must deal with the fundamental question of freedom of religion and by association the freedom of conscience. The question arises as to whether it is the diversity of religions which makes the divided world more divided or the denial of religious freedom that causes it.

I believe I’m not alone in saying that for religious pluralism to flourish in a divided world, it is morally unacceptable to say to people of other faiths:

“We believe in our God and we believe we are right; you believe in your God, but what you believe in is wrong.”

If the Qur’anic proclamation that there is no compulsion in religion is to mean anything then it must surely be that imposition of one’s faith unto others is not Islamic. But to say this is not to deny the reality of religious diversity for the Qur’an also tells us clearly:

“O people! Behold, we have created you from a male and a female and have made you into nations and tribes to that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware.”

The Guru Granth Sahib tells us that he who sees that all spiritual paths lead to the One shall be freed but he who utters falsehood shall descend into hellfire and burn. The blessed and the sanctified are those who remain absorbed in Truth.

Whatever the religion, whether it be Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and many others, I believe that the higher truths which go beyond mere practice and ritual all converge on the singular truth: and that is from God we were sent forth and unto God shall we return.

Yet certain leaders of the major world religions continue to make exclusivist claims to the eternal truths rather than accepting the commonality that binds us. If we accept that there can be unity in diversity, religious pluralism can therefore be a unifying force, not a cause of division. That is the way to take us away from darkness into light, from war to peace and from hatred and evil to love and kindness.

As for Muslims, there continues to be the problem of those who reject the value of free speech, free press, democracy, and freedom of conscience. They see the culture of religious pluralism as part of a grand conspiracy by ‘others’ particularly Christians to proselytize and convert Muslims. Pluralism is also a ploy of smuggling Western-style democracy through the back door.

But this is actually an aberration when it comes to the application of Muslim jurispriudence. Outside certain concerns of public policy there is no religious obligation upon Muslims to impose the laws and values of Muslims on the entire society.

The Ottoman millet system is but one example of a system crafted by a Muslim state which was grounded in the principle of respect the recognized the rights of non-Muslims to follow freely the dictates of their religion. It was recognised that this was essential to maintain harmony in a pluralistic environment of an expanding empire.

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyah, an eight century Hanbali legal scholar offers us a more vivid case. In the case of the Zoroastrian practice of self-marriage whereby men are encouraged to marry their mothers, this is an act deemed morally repugnant from the Muslim perspective.

When asked whether the Muslim state should recognise such unions, however, al-Jawziyah affirmed the rights of the Zoroastrians provided their cases not be presented in a Muslim court and that the said practices are deemed permissible within their own legal tradition. So, he said, the Muslim state has no business to interfere.

It is unfortunate that some of the wisdom of Islam’s classical scholarship are forgotten. Ideological rigidity remains the stumbling block to progress and reform. Muslims must break free from the old practices of cliché-mongering and name calling, move beyond tribal or parochial concerns. A rediscovery of the religion’s inherent grasp of pluralism is very much in need.

The Qur’an declares: Say He is Allah, the One, Allah, the eternally besought of all. One of the greatest medieval Torah scholars, Maimonides, also known by the Arabic moniker Ab? ?Imr?n M?s? bin ?Ubaidall?h Maim?n al-Qur?ub?, in expounding the unity of God in Judaism said: God is one and there is no other oneness like His.

With reference to the phrase “hallowed be thy name” from the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9), the late Swami Prabhavananda wrote that God’s name can be viewed as a mantra, the repetition of which both confers spiritual power and purifies the aspirant’s heart and mind. By means of this practice, God’s “name is experienced as living and conscious, as one with God—and illumination is attained.”

Historically, Muslims viewed the Qur’an as addressing the intellect as well as the spirit. It set out the order in the universe, the principles and certitudes within it, and demanded a thorough examination of them so that we can be certain of the validity of its claims and message. This pursuit would inevitably lead to the realization of the eternal principles of the Divine Unity which in turn springs forth from the Divine Laws.

But the Shari’ah was never cast in stone and evolves continuously through this dynamic process. In order to maintain a middle ground, the essential ingredients of an Islamic methodology must then be conceived in a holistic perspective which will be universal and eternal in appeal.

It is said that pluralism in a divided world serves only to cement the schisms leading to the tired and tiring refrain of the ‘clash of civilizations’ akin to the beating of ‘an antique drum’. This seems to be the metaphor that appeals to the imagination of historians and political scientists.

The upshot is a clash of visions of history, perceptions, and images which in turn brings about differing and often opposing interpretations, not just of history, but world views. Nevertheless, as Eliot says:

“History may be servitude, History may be freedom.”

We should therefore disabuse ourselves of this notion of the clash between civilizations and refocus our attention on the clash that has been brewing within the umma. We see a more dangerous and portentous clash as one that is intra-civilizational – between the old and the new, the weak and the strong, the moderates and the fundamentalists and between the modernists and the traditionalists.

If we look at history as servitude, we could gloss over the historical perspective and consign it to the realm of academia on the ground that we are already in the 21st century.

Turkey and Indonesia are clearly blazing the trail of democracy for other Muslim nations to follow. The impending accession of Turkey into the European Union is also a clear statement of the level of liberal democracy attained though unfortunately the obstacles thrown in the way by some member countries is very telling of the state of Islamophobia.

In Southeast Asia, Indonesia has already reached the finishing line while her Muslim neighbors are still stuck at the starting block. So history is indeed freedom if indeed we are prepared to learn its lessons. Today, jihad has been invoked by certain quarters to legitimize acts of violence in varied forms and guises, blurring the line between jihad and terrorism.

Thanks to the Obama administration, we have seen some palpable change from the Bush policy of selective ambivalence in the war on terror, supporting autocrats in the Muslim world on the one hand, and championing the cause of freedom and democracy on the other. Although after more than a year since the administration took office we have yet to see substantive changes in the substance of American foreign policy with the Muslim world.

Within Islam, freedom is considered one of the higher objectives of the divine law in as much as the very same elements in a constitutional democracy become moral imperatives in Islam – freedom of conscience, freedom to speak out against tyranny, a call for reform and the right to property.

In closing, permit me once again to draw on my perpetual reserve in Eliot’s Four Quartets:

“What we call the beginning is often the end, And to make and end is to make a beginning, The end is where we start from.”
Mr Anwar Ibrahim, de facto leader of Pkr
also mention about the right to choose ..

 Kita sudah membina satu pakatan yang hebat dan kita telah rangka agendanya. Tiada isu berkaitan menukar Malaysia menjadi sesuatu yang lain dari negara demokratik dan liberal dengan jaminan perlembangaan, keselamatan ...

Maksud awak, Lina Joy memang patut diberi kebenaran menukar agamanya..
It's her right ( itu hak dia ) ??


Some of them have made their own "Ijtihad " and came with conclusion
" There is no compulsion in religion and It has to apply 
equally to non Muslim and Muslim "
and They have made their own interpretation on the following verse


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ ۖ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ ۚ فَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىٰ لَا انفِصَامَ لَهَا ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.
There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.
Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.
There is no compulsion in the religion; right-mindedness has already been evidently (distinct) from misguidance. So whoever disbelieves in the Taghut (i.e. false gods, idols, devils and seducers) and believes in Allah, then he has already upheld fast the most binding Grip, with no disjunction (ever); and Allah is Ever-Hearing, Ever-Knowing.
Tidak ada paksaan untuk (memasuki) agama (Islam); sesungguhnya telah jelas jalan yang benar daripada jalan yang sesat. Karena itu barangsiapa yang ingkar kepada Thaghut dan beriman kepada Allah, maka sesungguhnya ia telah berpegang kepada buhul tali yang amat kuat yang tidak akan putus. Dan Allah Maha Mendengar lagi Maha Mengetahui.
Tidak ada paksaan dalam ugama (Islam), kerana sesungguhnya telah nyata kebenaran (Islam) dari kesesatan (kufur). Oleh itu, sesiapa yang tidak percayakan Taghut, dan ia pula beriman kepada Allah, maka sesungguhnya ia telah berpegang kepada simpulan (tali ugama) yang teguh yang tidak akan putus. Dan (ingatlah), Allah Maha Mendengar, lagi Maha Mengetahui.


The Explanation on Their " Ijtihad "

Apostasy, compulsion, and Nurul’s point 
Anisah Shukry  | November 12, 2012

Yet again, Umno as well as the likes of Ibrahim Ali and Nasharudin Mat Isa have resorted to misusing Islam to discredit a member of the opposition bloc.

According to a transcript provided by Malaysiakini, Nurul Izzah Anwar said at a forum last weekend that “…there is no compulsion in religion… How can anyone really say, ‘sorry, this only applies to non-Malays.’ It has to apply equally.”

Hishammuddin Hussein, the home minister, described Nurul’s statements as insensitive and causing public anger.

Nasharudin, the former PAS vice-president, said that she must repent and what she said goes against Islam.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister, said her statement was stupid.

Now, putting aside the fact that nearly every time good ol’ Hisham, Nasha and Mahathir open their mouths, they say something stupid and insensitive that anger the public, Nurul, on the other hand, did not say anything “radical”, “liberal”, “dangerous to the faith” or even new.

On the contrary, what she said has been discussed among Islamic scholars across the globe for years. It’s just that no one seems to have clued the Powers That Be on this.

A blanket rule for all

Nurul said that there is no compulsion in religion, whether for Muslims or non-Muslims.

And she has a point.

Islam is all about an individual’s own voluntary submission to Allah; there can be no coercion because faith cannot be forced upon anyone, even on those Malays who are born Muslims.

I mean, if I asked you, at gunpoint, to believe in Islam, would you? Unless you’re already a believer, then of course not. You’d probably blubber a bit about how being at the brink of death has opened your eyes to Islam, but your convictions would remain the same.

So compulsion is not the answer – education is, just as Nurul mentioned in a later statement.

In fact, even in the Quran, Surah Al-Nahl, verse 126 states:

“Invite [all] to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.” (16:126 – translated by Yusuf Ali)

Now, for those of you who are going to say that I’m no scholar and should just keep my mouth shut and let the experts talk it out, allow me to produce a quote from the former Chief Judge of Pakistan, SA Rahman.

“Man is free to choose between truth and falsehood and the Prophet’s function is to convey the message, exemplify it in his own life and to leave the rest to God – he is no warder over men to compel them to adopt particular beliefs,” he wrote.

This is further fortified in several Islamic verses, including Surah Ali Imran, verse 20 and Al-Ma’idah, verse 92, which state if individuals turn away from the message of Islam, then the Prophet Muhammad’s duty is only to educate – not force nor coerce.

Freedom to choose still exists

Unfortunately, we still have the likes of Nasharudin who argue that the “no compulsion in religion” verse (2:256) only applies to non-Muslims in the issue of converting to Islam.

In other words, once one becomes Muslim, let the coercion begin!

Now, I challenge him and other like-minded individuals to point out any verse in the Quran which states that that sort of double standard exists.

Nasharudin did mention Surah al-Ahzab verse 36 as “proof” that there is no freedom in religion for Muslims.

“It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger, to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.” (33:36 – translation by Yusuf Ali)

But, as you can see, this verse just states that when Allah has commanded something, it is not fitting for a believer to have any choice in their matter – the freedom to choose still exists, as mentioned several times in the Quran.

But while freedom exists, the Quran still states what is right and wrong.

And if one chooses what has been forbidden, then one will face the consequences of that decision, whether in this life or the hereafter.

Islam and apostasy

Now, by virtue of the fact that freedom of religion exists in Islam, does that mean Muslims, and Malays, have the freedom to renounce their religion and should not be coerced or punished into remaining as Muslims?

Since I’d rather not have 15 policemen raid FMT’s office over this article, I’ll refrain from stating my stand, but just share the views of several revered scholars in Islam who are not Malaysians, not Malays, and do not have any vested political interest in the issue.

The former chief judge of Pakistan, SA Rahman, wrote in his book “Punishment of apostasy in Islam” that:

“There is absolutely no mention in the Quran of mundane punishment for defection from the faith by a believer, except in the shape of deprivation of the spiritual benefits of Islam or of the civil status and advantages that accrue to an individual as a member of the well-knit fraternity of Muslims.

“He should, however, be free to profess and propagate the faith of his choice, so long as he keeps within the bounds of law and morality, and to enjoy all other rights as a peaceful citizen of the State, in common with his Muslim co-citizens.”

He also added that apostasy is an offence in the realm of the rights of God, rather than the rights of mankind, thus there would be no pressing necessity to punish a peaceful change of faith.

Meanwhile, Dr Ahmad Ar-Raysouni, a professor of principles of Islamic jurisprudence, wrote:

“…if Allah did not coerce His creation towards belief in Him, nor did He permit his Prophet [pbuh] to do so instructing him, then how could He allow, or order, the leaders of the Muslims to force one to remain as a Muslim or return to it under the threat of death?”

Another Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, wrote:

“…all of the moral teachings of the Quran are based on the notion of moral responsibility, which entails the freedom of choice. Therefore, to state that one must be put to death for choosing to disbelieve would only undermine the entire moral edifice of the Quran.”

Controversy over nothing

In the end, it’s clear that what Nurul said on that fateful day has its basis – both in the Quran and in the viewpoints of certain scholars.

And while some people, including Siti Kassim, may view her later statement as a “retraction”, I don’t – just because Nurul doesn’t condone nor support apostasy, doesn’t mean she is denying that freedom in religion exists. She is just not supportive of fellow Muslims making the wrong decision.

So, really, the fact that Umno is latching onto this issue and fanning the flames of religious sentiments is just another sign of its desperation to stay in power.

But in this case, Umno is signing its own death warrant because misusing religion for political mileage does not go down well with (thinking) Malays and Muslims.

As for Nurul? Kudos to you for answering Siti Kassim’s question honestly and risking your own political standing to do so. A Muslim should never hide the truth from another just to save his/her own ass.

So I suggest the best thing for you to do from here on out is to stick to your stand, and the facts that support it. Because we Muslims are behind you all the way on this.

Pakatan urged to make a stand on religious freedom 
By Azreen Hani Thursday, November 15, 2012

Will Pakatan leaders take a stand on the issue of religious freedom 
as what they have done with their budget? (Photo by Hussein Shaharuddin/ The Mole)

KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Rakyat is urged to make a stand on religious freedom and state whether they will amend Article 160 of the Federal Constitution if they win the next general election.

Human rights lawyer Siti Zabedah Kassim told The Mole: “Article 160 has done a lot of disservice to Malays and Muslims. How can we equate a race with a religion?”

“If Pakatan Rakyat wants to win in the heart of Malaysians, they should explain their stand and clarify the law of the land and the law of Islam,” she added.

Article 160 described Malay means a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom.

Asked whether she believes Pakatan should pledge to amend the constitution should they get in power, Siti said: “Yes, definitely.”

Siti also said now is the time for the opposition coalition to educate and discuss the issue of religious freedom, taking heed from the statement made by Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice president Nurul Izzah Anwar recently.

She suggested for Pakatan leaders to discuss in more public forums involving Muslim scholars in order to educate and explain to the public, instead of relying from only a single view.

When asked whether what transpired during a public forum in Subang Jaya where she posed a question to Nurul Izzah is consistent, Siti said: “Yes. I was there and I asked her the question because we want to clarify what is the position of religious freedom here.”

“Religious freedom should not be treated as a taboo. It is not about being liberal or modern, it is because it (religion) affects our living,” Siti explained.

Thus she believed Nurul Izzah should have used the platform to promote religious freedom for the betterment of the nation and religion, instead of retracting her statement.

“I admit, I am disappointed when I see how she kind of changed her tune on the issue,” said Siti.

“I feel if Nurul Izzah stood by her statement, she will be remembered in history as someone who is doing a favour for Malaysia and Islam, in showing that the religion is compassionate,” Siti added.

Using Turkey for example, Siti said the country has 99 per cent of Muslim population and yet they are governed under the secular law.

“Still, nobody seems to want to leave Islam, because the religion is not dictated to oppress them.”

In support of Nurul Izzah's remarks, Steve Oh wrote an uncouth letter in pro-opposition portal Malaysiakini, stating: “The Malay mind thus becomes like a licensed mind because the government and its religious authorities decide what they can and cannot believe and do.”

A blog post at Stop The Lies had then challenged the writer to push for the amendment of Article 160 of Federal Constitution.

Meanwhile Perak DAP chairman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham when contacted was non-committal when asked whether Pakatan will amend Article 160 in the Federal Constitution as suggested.

Ngeh however said: “I believe everyone should refer to the Article 11 of the constitution. There should be no issue about this.”

Defending Nurul Izzah, Ngeh had previously tweeted: “Nurul as MP is defending the Fed Const. Art 11(1) EVERY PERSON has the right to profess & practise his religion.”

On his Twitter when asked whether four Pakatan states will allow religious freedom Ngeh wrote: “This freedom is guaranteed by Fed Const thruout the country.”

He had also said in another post: “Fed Const says up to age 18 foll (follow) religion of parents. Thereafter, he has freedom to choose.”

Article 11 of stated every person has the right to profess and practice his religion.
Freedom of Religion 
Surah Al Baqarah verse 256


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