Saturday, June 09, 2007

Malaysia, After Lina Joy: Epilogue

For the forum "Malaysia, After Lina Joy: A Dialogue", when we booked the hall at Armada Hotel which catered to some 400 persons, we were more than a little concerned that the hall would not be fully occupied. Normally, our forums are considered very well attended with a crowd of 150 persons. In fact, we attempted to procure another hall at another hotel nearby which would have been smaller, and cost much less. ;)

However, as it turns out, the worry was needless, as the DAP Petaling Jaya volunteers worked relentlessly over the week to publicise the event. An estimated more than 600 persons turned up for the event making the hall standing room only, plus another sizeable crowd, listening via the hotel speakers outside the hall. Towards the end of the forum, one of the audience even told us, the organisers, to secure a bigger hall the next time round. ;)

I thought the forum was a success, not from the perspective that we "found" a solution to all our problems relating to Lina Joy, but that it was a historic meeting of members from both sides of the divide to come together to hear each other out. For that I'm specifically grateful to the President of Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia, Yusri Mohamad, who was gracious enough to participate as a panelist.

When many of us, of both views, often do not even understand or emphathize with the views of the other, as they have never been properly explained, then you can never have meaningful dialogue. Unlike the often interrupted Article 11 forums, we are thankful to the police for granting us the permit to hold the dialogue, for one of the very first time, we were able to hear first hand, the other side of the story. It served as a 'starter', and we hope there'll be more dialogues and discussions in time to come.

The dialogue is well reported in Malaysiakini, with Yusri's views, entitled "Respect Islam First, Then Dialogue":
Speaking at a dialogue regarding apostasy, he told some 600 people who packed a hotel in Petaling Jaya last night that there must be respect for the religion, its specialists and authorities.

“It’s a danger if we try to build circumstances around something very fluid and subject to debate. Islam is not all-consensus,” said Yusri.

“Who gets to determine which part of Islam is already settled and definite and which part is still open to debate? There must be a respect for authority, specialisation and expertise in Islam.

“Of course you can advise on Islam but please respect the sensitivities,” he stressed.
And that of the others here, "A Secular Constitution Protects All Religions":

Dr Azmi Sharom:
Another issue as to jurisdiction in the Syariah Court of the civil courts is clearly listed in Schedule 9. What is not in the list are constitutional freedoms. Constitutional freedom is clearly in the hands of civil courts. And for civil courts to say no, this is a syariah matter it is in effect saying that ‘we’re not going to live up to our responsibility to deal with this matter’.
Ambiga Sreenevasan:
The constitution is the supreme law of the federation. It doesn’t undermine any religion. The Bar Council sees this from a very legalistic point of view. It’s not to say we’re pro-this or anti-that, we’re looking at the constitutional approach taken by the courts all these years.
The Bar Council president has also let it be known that she is happy to participate in forums or dialogues organised by ABIM or other Muslim organisations, both to listen to other views, as well as to present hers. It's a good start, and I certainly hope that it can continue. And certainly, where we disagree, we can at least agree to disagree amicably.

Finally, we are grateful that the audience who came were generous with their donations, who help the Party cover the cost and expenses for the evening. And for those who attended, I hope you went back with a better understanding of the issues at hand.


Anonymous said...

Great! Tony, DAP shud organise similar forum in Kuching since Kuching is DAP's I'm really interested with the forum and from the pic, foreigners are interested and participated too!

-danny from kuching(i don't want to put my blog's link coz KJ is reading ur

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:16
For the survival of the fittest huh, must be very interesting, no wonder the DAP farmer use excessive pesticide to fratricide weed...

Shawn Tan said...

from the picture, it looks like it was well attended.. that's good!!

Anonymous said...

Next time can you record the event so all M'sian can see it? :)

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to burst the bubble of anyone here but lets look at the turnout in perspective. The forum was held at the heart of one of the largest Christian community in this country (we all know the parking situation in that area every Sunday). Certaintly there are also other similar pockets elsewhere but they are not reflective of the entire nation, at best only half the non-Muslim community at best.

So yes the forum is a success, but its only a qualified one rather than a full testimonial or representative one.

These forums are a means to maintain the causes alive but they are no mean fool-proof or even equal counter-balance against the growing trend. For that, the issue must be clearer - the debate much more succint to capture the imagination of many more.

Anonymous said...

It cannot be called a success when the forum is only attended by only asection of likeminded christian community. No need to beat around the bush , be forthright

Sagaladoola said...

Hi there,

This is the guy who recommended that you all have a bigger hall:

His name is Mahaguru58 @ Zainol Abideen .....

Speak to him yeah .... He is a liberal Muslim.


MAHAGURU58 said...

May Peace be upon all here,

Brother Sagaladoola,

Hehehehehehe...branding your's truly as a 'Liberal Muslim' eh?

I didn't know that. Many judge me from my writings to be a 'gentler' version of MENJ! Hehehehehe!

Actually, I am nothing like MENJ. He is young, abrasive and doesn't give a hoot to spewing whatever comes to his mind when he duels with his online adversaries.

I have my own way. :)

I am a Caller to Islam bro. I don't fancy calling myself anything but a Malaysian Muslim. I am just that.

My wish is to see the Muslims in Malaysia unite as one and Insya Allah @ God Willing, I am about to work towards just that.

Some may say 'Dream On! I will but it is an achievable dream if things go as I plan.

Those of you who are concerned about the way things are happening here in our nation, don't listen to rumors.

Check and double check what you hear, read or listen to.

Things aren't exactly as horrible as many make it to be.

We have all lived here in relative peace and harmony save for a few who love to focus on the negative side of things.

Malaysia ain't perfect folks but it's our home.

I for one look forward to the next dialogue.

Tony, some makan makan will be appropriate. Charge entry fees lah!

Like the Bloggers Gathering! :D

Maybe even have a karaoke session for everyone to cool off afterwards?:P

What do u say?

Anonymous said...

Yup, you must paint a bleak picture to get attention. Saying are not as bad as it seems does not audience, right TP?

Anonymous said...

Do not worry of the label liberal or whatever you name it. Most importantly all muslims belief they are created by the same person which is Allah..

( )

MAHAGURU58 said...

Correction yee aun,

First and foremost, Allah the Almighty is not a 'person'.

He is Our Creator.

Secondly, the term defines the personality.

Hence, we can't simply accept whatever we are called as.

I respect you as a rational being hence I won't use you as an example.

Just giving you a hint. If someone calls you a lunatic when you aren't, I am sure that you will take offense being called so.

I know Brother Sagaladoola means well as he has known me by my writings but I disagree with the term 'liberal' because I am not one.

Hehehehe...I am a Muslim. Period.

Take care guys. Have a nice day.

See you all at the next forum.

Btw, I wrote about why PAS wasn't invited to the dialogue here:

Check it out. :)

MAHAGURU58 said...

That last sentence should read :

Btw, I wrote ASKING about why PAS wasn't invited to the dialogue?

Sorry for the slip up. Lao liao lah!

Anonymous said...

Hellooo shenyeeaun 1:12 AM,

if you are in Iran saying like this
"created by the same person which is Allah"

will cost you at least your head if not your stomach explode into pieces...

you can say your God is a person but not other people /religion God

Anonymous said...

That Fella only study maths (how to make money at any cost syllabus) in school and the same in OTAR aka UTAR. Don't expect him to know any other thing as religion