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Religion aside, this is no way to treat an old man

YOURSAY ‘Kassim Ahmad made two mistakes in thinking he cannot be arrested.’

Marina Mahathir choked up over Kassim's case

Tok Karut: Every Muslim intellectual (and I cannot over-emphasise that) understands the 'controversy' of the hadith as a source of Islamic law.

What Kassim Ahmad has to say in this country is not an issue in the Middle East, North Africa, India and Indonesia among intellectuals and people in the street. This is precisely the problem in Malaysia where the state assumes authority in determining what Islam is or is not.

The state cannot profess to be Muslim as the state of belief or disbelief belongs to the citizens. The fact that "Islam is religion of the federation" does not accord a place for the state apparatus to assume this function over the citizens.

It is time to raise this challenge. Whether the courts of law (including the syariah courts) can do justice to the matter is quite another matter. Self-governance allows us to think through these issues in a rational manner and make a determination for now and the future.

God alone knows all things.

Ferdtan: Controversial scholar Kassim Ahmad made two mortal mistakes in thinking he cannot be arrested.

One, he thought that since he is anti-Anwar Ibrahim he is a friend of Umno, much like the proverb, ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend.’

Another is that since he had the support of ex-PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was invited to officiate the launching of his book, he believed wrongly that he had the right to say anything with impunity.

After many accusations were made, Mahathir saw the danger and sought to defend Kassim but to no avail. He is still unable to prevent Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi) from arresting Kassim.

Round one to Najib. Mahathir’s apparent status and influence further diminished; he can’t even protect his friends at all.

Former MCA chief Ling Liong Sik who underwent the humiliating long corruption trial learned the hard way. Never depend on another, even the once great Mahathir.

Marina Mahathir, shed not your tears for 81-year-old Kassim, but do shed a tear for Malaysia. Who empowered these governing religious bodies, giving them so much authority over Muslims and in some case the non-Muslims in Muslim and non-Muslims disagreements and conflicts?

Have the people forgotten it was Mahathir’s government which set up parallel religious courts, the Syariah Court, which even superseded the power of the civil court as enshrined in the Federal Constitution?

These religious authorities who are at presence acting on the behest of Umno are a law unto themselves. We are going into the dark age of the past whereby we banned everything; Muslims will be so controlled that they are not allowed to think for themselves.

Uniformity of thought and behaviour of Muslims in conformity of the conservatives is the agenda. Anything different from their dogmatic beliefs is considered deviant teaching and branded as pluralism; as though pluralism is a dirty word whatever its objective.

I cannot say much as I do not understand Islam well. Anyway, good luck to all Muslim Malaysians; you need it.

Oriole: This is barbarism at its worst - to take an octogenarian into custody, subject him to this torture (such questioning techniques are considered torture in civilised parts of the world) and eventually remand him.

And for what exactly? Has he stolen from the nation? Has he brutalised or beaten or killed someone? Has he been involved in corrupt practices? Has he preached racism or narrow-mindedness, or violence?

What's even more worrying is the silence of civil society in this bullying of an old man. Of what use learning or status or religion is if we condone such barbarism?

Absalom: The degree of lack of common sense and fair play in this country is mind-boggling.

There was a case of a woman allegedly pregnant with child, blown away with explosives where no one had to answer for the heinous crime and no cry for justice from any religious authority.

Here is a case of an 80-year old man who was treated with total disregard for his health, like a common criminal, for speaking his mind.

Angry_Voter: Instead of arresting Kassim, let’s have a debate or forum on the issue and let’s hear what he has to say. Unless, of course, Jawi is made up of brain-dead ulama.

Fair Play: Jawi officials must be out of their mind. How can it, by interrogating an old man until 4am, prove anything to anybody, especially to other ethnic communities and the world at large?

TakeMiddlepath: Islam is said to be a religion of peace and compassion. But look at what is going on with Jawi, a religious body.

They even pressed for no bail. On what account was that for? Then bail had to be posted by those residing in Federal Territories. Any reason for this again?

I really find it totally absurd but again I'm not well versed in law. I only look at the humanitarian aspect - questioning an old man of 81 years old until 4 am is wrong.

What Marina said is true. Where is our country heading to in terms of fairness and justice? Like they said; let the one who has not sinned cast the first stone.

Onyourtoes: Good, the more they do it, the worse the situation will become. How to describe the regime that rules Malaysia today - feudalistic, corrupted, hypocritical nincompoops?

Game Changer: I do not know what Kassim actually did, but judging by the support from credible organisations, he should be considered a hero instead of a criminal. What the government did is such a shame.

Azhar: I share Marina's sentiments. What did Kassim do to warrant such treatment? Religion aside (which by the way is being made a mockery of), is this the way to treat a senior citizen?

Abasir: The defenders of Islam, who in turn are protected by Putrajaya, are simply demonstrating the greatness of the religion, its compassion and its uniquely civilised practices.

That is the reason the majority of Muslims on both sides of the political divide in this truly Islamic country will not be offended by this most compassionate action ... except a few 'deviants'.

Gravity: Well Marina, it's your father's legacy. The country is reaping what your dad has sown.

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