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."


lan said...

nice one bro Zulkarnain! you help shed some light in this issue

Augustinian Successor said...

Well said Tony! The official status and by extension, the dominant status of Islam does not mean "lording" over religions and cultures. There is the delicate balance which the social contract and the Constitution has sought to carefully preserve notwithstanding the many changes done to it throughout the years. The presence and right of Islam is not to be conceived without the presence and right of the other religions and vice-versa. This is the meaning of multiculturalism.

Anonymous said...

YB Tony,

You've got a lot of b@lls.

I can see the lunatic fringe being offended by the choice of words used in this latest posting, file a police report against you, and you will join RPK and TK in incarderation.

Anonymous said...

how beatiful is that!

when muslim start defending their non-muslim friends.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous,

YB Tony Pua was merely quoting the excellent and insightful article by M Zulkarnain Hamzah from JIM, who I believe has perfect authority to comment on the azan issue.

So why should the "lunatic fringe" get offended by the choice of words anyway? Tony didn't even write them.

Or are you saying that these people are so simple-minded and illiterate until they can't even differentiate who wrote what?

Anonymous said...

Is this a uniform practice of Muslim faith to blast loudly in their morning Quranic recitations? Definitely not. In Australia, I do not see this done by the mosques here. Just because the non-muslims have been very polite and not make a fuss about it, it does not mean it is right. In a mult-religious country like ours, "A give and take attitude is most desirable". A bit of common sense and understanding will save the day.

Anonymous said...


TK wasn't guilty of stirring up racial hatred either - look where she ended up.

The lunatic fringe in our midst must be treated with caution and respect. Don't underestimate the power of ignorance.

Anonymous said...

I just want RPK, Teresa and rest of ISA detainees out.As far as I know ISA is draconian in nature and tell me which religions will agree with this law. Only the religion named BN is the only proponents of this law. Say what they want to say, but bottom line is release RPK, Teresa and the rest, their rightful place is out here with families and friends. RELEASE THEM NOW, PRIME MINISTER and DON'T BE CRUEL.dh9753

Anonymous said...

The Home Minister said that there were lots of police reports lodged against Raja Petra for his blog postings that allegedly are against Islam, and therefore, he had to be detained under ISA.

In Teresa Kok's case, allegations by a former Menteri Besar and a local Malay daily were enough to detain her under ISA. A few days after she was detained, several Malay and Muslim groups started to file police reports against Teresa.

So, how exactly do the folks in Putrajaya and Bukit Aman determine who is allegedly dangerous enough to pose a threat to the nation?

Our first three prime ministers and the Englishman who had helped draft the act in 1960 knew exactly how the ISA should be used, and they were worried that this piece of law would be abused in the future for political purposes. Clearly, their fears were not unfounded.

Anonymous said...

Well said, but the fact remains that Teresa never supported the plea for the mosque to lower the volume of religious speeches. The government has arrested someone on the basis of what is now widely known as a blatant lie. And let us not forget the perpetrator of this lie, our much-missed former Mentri Besar.

Anonymous said...

This is one true Muslim bro to the non-Muslim world out there & a true Malaysian. This is the kind of example Malaysia was suppose to share with the world ie people of all races & religion can live together in harmony/peace. But unfortunately, there are some hideous faces that do not wish to see this happening & claim that it will be the doom of BN.

Unfortunately also, there are still BN MPs & pro-BN NGOs harping on this issue. Do not really know what they aim to achieve except branding themselves as total idiots to the public eye.

Anonymous said...

Abdar Rahman Koya's article in malaysiakini on the azan is a must-read for Muslims and non-Muslims and an eye opener for DAP politicians.

Anonymous said...

How important mutual respect is!
Well said YB.