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    Public flogging replaces ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ slogan

    (Updated )

    “There must have been a moment, at the beginning, were we could have said - no. But somehow we missed it.”

    - Tom Stoppard, ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead’

    COMMENT | When Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says that the amended enactment allowing for (amongst other things) public whipping in Kelantan only affects Muslims, it is yet again another falsehood told by the state to non-Muslims in this country.

    There is empirical evidence - something I know that some Muslims frown upon - which collaborates the fact that anything concerning Islam in this country affects every single citizen in this country. Furthermore, there is ample evidence that the minions of Umno are exempt from the harsh glare of Islamic laws which is not the reality for every other Muslim in this country.

    While corruption scandals will never be investigated and wrongdoers subjected to public canings, there will be hundreds of Muslims who will be subjected to such public humiliations for “crimes” that ultimately do not affect the country as the crimes committed by the political elites and rich Muslim cabals.

    When it comes to justice and fairness, remember what PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said about the prime minister despite the mountain of evidence of moral and criminal wrongdoing surrounding the 1MDB fiasco -

    “As reported in the press, Hadi has no problem saying that Najib is only human and not a saint, and humans make mistakes, but the act of attacking and bombarding the prime minister with unfounded allegations is uncalled for.”

    “In other words, Hadi condemns the so-called ‘unfounded allegations’ and dismisses the alleged corruption scandals against the current Umno prime minister as the regular failings of human being. Is this what his syariah system would look like?”

    So, when the Kelantan state government warns non-Muslim political parties not to meddle in the affairs of Islam, I say to the Kelantan state government - when Islam does not intrude into the lives of non-Muslims is the day I, as a non-Muslim, will stop commenting on Islam in this country. Do I need to remind anyone that the rhetoric coming out of many Islamists in this country that our rights as non-Muslims should be curtailed?

    I think I will. Remember when Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Jamil Khir Baharom wanted Umno to crack down on religious pluralism because “there were numerous organised efforts being carried out to challenge the freedom allowed in Islam”?

    Here was my response to that horse manure - “What exactly does ‘freedom allowed in Islam’ mean? My own thinking is that the way Islam is defined by the Umno state, ‘freedom’ means freedom to curtail the rights enshrined in our constitution. Freedom means the freedom to not enforce secular laws when it comes to conflict with Islamic laws. Freedom means the freedom to impose religious edicts on non-Muslims because the religious sensitivities of Muslims are paramount. Freedom means the freedom to restrict laws that make it easier for the citizenry of this country to express their opinions and dissent in a very public manner.”

    A prime example of how Islamic imperatives affect non-Muslims is unilateral conversions. Furthermore, this phenomenon and the state’s reluctance to settle this issue once and for all, and the various Islamic hate peddlers from within and outside the Umno state who hamper any form of secular reform to this issue, points to the siege that non-Muslims are under from the Islamists in this country...

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