Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More on 'Azan' Controversy

Don't forget to sign the petition to "Free Teresa, Abolish ISA!"

More clarifications of the issue of "azan" in the recent controversy involving the arrest of Teresa Kok under the draconian Internal Security Act. Read here on a comment piece by Abdar Rahman Koya on Malaysiakini with regards to "Deciphering the Muslim call to prayer".

The following is a statement by M Zulkarnain Hamzah, who is a Good Governance and Social Justice Committee Member of Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM). ( JIM also issued a statement against the use of ISA, blogged here).

Shedding light on the 'azan' controversy
M Zulkarnain Hamzah

"By now most groups with leaning towards racial sentiments would realize that Teresa Kok has been wrongfully alleged to send petition to ban azan. But then some people would still accuse her of being seditious in supporting the Puchong resident’s plea for the mosque near them to lower the volume of religious speeches and Quranic recitations.

Some are ignorant enough sadly, and jumped to conclusion that Teresa’s action is seditious and provocative. But Muslims with true understanding of Islam will definitely support the motion by the non-Muslims. It is not Islamic at all to force other people, Muslims and Non-Muslims alike, to hear Quranic recitation or any other religious sermons.

PPIM secretary-general Dr Ma’amor Osman’s statement that religious lectures are as part of ‘syiar’ Islam which he deemed as sacred as the call for prayer, and that there is no difference between azan and religious lectures give a totally wrong impression to the non-Muslims that Islam forces its teachings upon the people whether they like it or not, when the Quran clearly and loudly says that there is no compulsion in Islam.

Allah in Al-Quran said that those who hear the recitation of Quran must be quiet and pay heed to the recitation.

" And when the Quran is recited, give ear to it and pay heed, that ye may obtain mercy." (Al-Quran - Al-A`raf: 204)

Some Muslims are insensitive and let the verses of the Holy Book be carelessly heard indiscriminately throughout the entire housing areas without thinking whether the surrounding residents are in their optimum shape to listen the holy verses in the first place. It is even wrong for the words of God to be forced upon the Muslim community whose members might be sleeping or performing their daily chores, what more the Non-Muslims. How about young parents with babies whose sleep was abruptly cut short during the wee hours? Is there any compassion and understanding left for PPIM and other Malay-based NGOs to put such blanket ruling indiscriminately?

Just like Muslims do not like the nuisance coming from the smoke and ashes of the incense and worship papers of their non-Muslim neighbors, the non-Muslims too do not like to have long recitations and loud speeches alien to their understandings to breach into their airspace done by ignorant mosque administrators.

The Perlis Mufti in his past lectures have highlighted issues with the common practices of certain mosques in this country which have been causing nuisance to the Muslim communities themselves through indiscriminate playing of Quranic recitations during the wee hours, but the state religious authorities (except Perlis) never pay heed to his advice.

Playing the Quranic recitations and religious speeches out loud indiscriminately to others without prior consultation is an act of utter disrespect to the sanctity of the Holy Quran, and to the true teaching of Islam which forbids compulsion in propagating faith.

Islam stands firm on clear-cut evidences found in the Quran and the Prophetic Traditions, and it demands its followers to substantiate their standpoints in a very wise and respectful manner, not whimsical sentiments filled with false sense of ‘religious’ pride. For that, there is absolutely no reason why ISA or any other law should be used to silent critiques which only certain quarters perceive as threatening to Muslim sensitivities.

Full official statement of condemnation of ISA detention for Teresa and RPK can be found at here."
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