By Danial Ariff Shaari
Dr Kamarul Zaman Yusoff must have hit a nerve to have triggered such an angry, hysterical reaction from the Dapsters.
The ‘Becoming Hannah’ controversy conclusively proves that the liberals are biased hypocrites. Only they are entitled to freedom of speech while others must be silenced.
Furthermore, their fever-pitched wailing and gnashing of teeth at what was just a fair criticism in Facebook of Hannah Yeoh shows the extent of their persecution complex.
Essentially Dr Kamarul exposed the hypocrisy of Hannah, the DAP’s Subang Jaya state assemblyman, for preaching politics in church when her party DAP has been loudly proclaiming itself to be secular.
What a huge horde that immediately came to the defence of the Selangor Speaker while relentlessly condemning the UUM lecturer for impying that Hannah’s secular party shouldn’t be playing the religious card.
Some of the enraged DAP evangelicals gripped by hysteria even went as far as to say that Hannah is being persecuted ala Ahok the Jakarta governor.
The comparison is off base for so many reasons.
Hannah camping in the mosques
Is not Ahok (full name Basuki Tjahaja Purnama) legitimately prosecuted? I think he is.
Is he being unfairly sentenced to two years jail? Not at all. That’s merely half the maximum punishment.
Why did the Indonesia court give him two years?
The judge presiding over Ahok’s case was quoted as saying:
“As part of a religious society, the defendant should be careful to not use words with negative connotations regarding the symbols of religions, including the religion of the defendant himself.”
Another judge remarked on the reason for the two years penalty:
“the defendant did not feel guilt, the defendant’s act has caused anxiety and hurt Muslims”.
Now here is an interesting threshold we should apply to Hannah’s case. Has her constant encroachment into mosques and surau caused anxiety and hurt the feelings of Malaysian Muslims?
⇓ Hannah Yeoh and her interns inside the mosque
The DAP’s Occupy Masjid squad defying ban
Not too long ago on March 13 this year, the Sultan of Selangor issued his royal command:
“Pegawai Masjid hendaklah berwaspada terhadap penceramah yang tidak bertauliah kerana dikhuatiri akan menyelewengkan perkara-perkara yang disampaikan kepada jemaah umpamanya ajaran sesat. Pegawai–pegawai Masjid hendaklah memastikan masjid tidak dijadikan tempat untuk berpolitik dan memantau serta menjaga kebersihan masjid dengan sempurna untuk keselesaan para jemaah.”
Titah baginda Sultan Selangor in 2014:
“Janganlah dijadikan masjid sebagai gelanggang untuk berpolitik”
The Sultan of Selangor in his speech on 15 July 2014 said:
“Masjid dan surau adalah tempat umat Islam dan orang Melayu beribadat dan bertemu bagi mengeratkan silaturrahim antara sesama orang Melayu umat Islam.”
According to Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais) guidelines — “masjid hendaklah digunakan sebagai tempat untuk orang-orang Islam beribadat”.
Jais, in its earlier 10 Sept 2012 guidelines, specified that non Muslims are expressly forbidden from entering the main prayer hall of mosques and surau in the entire state. Furthermore non Muslims are prohibited from holding any functions inside.
Women within mosques premises must also be ‘clean’ (“dalam keadaan bersih daripada sebarang najis” or mandi hadas).
Earlier on 27 Aug 2010, Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (Mais) chairman Mohamad Adzib Mohd Isa was quoted as saying:
“Mais memandang serius berhubung isu ini memandangkan ini merupakan kes kedua seumpamanya yang melibatkan ahli politik dan orang bukan Islam memberikan ucapan di dalam masjid/surau di negeri Selangor.”
“Mais juga mengingatkan mana-mana wakil rakyat bukan Islam untuk tidak mengulangi perbuatan yang sama dan tidak menggunakan masjid/surau.”
“Pihak Mais juga menggesa supaya semua pihak termasuk parti-parti politik agar lebih sensitif kepada perasaan umat Islam amnya dan hendaklah menjunjung titah perintah DYMM Sultan Selangor bagi menjaga kesucian institusi masjid dan surau di negeri Selangor.”
The above warning was issued when the DAP evangelical, Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching, was in the news for her tazkirah-in-mosque escapade.
Don’t ask the Dapsters if the actions of their evangelical idols have caused anxiety and hurt to Muslims. Instead ask the Malays, particularly those living in Selangor.
⇓ Hannah Yeoh in her tudung
Blasphemy/ cases in Indonesia
Returning to the case of Ahok, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said:
“Ahok’s is the biggest blasphemy case in the history of Indonesia. He is the governor of Indonesia’s largest city, an ally of the president. If he can be sent to jail, what could happen to others?”
It is as if HRW is saying that because Ahok is a governor or an ally of President Joko Widodo, he should be privileged to say any religiously bigoted remarks, and should not be subjected to the law.
Although more liberal than Malaysia, still, Indonesia has done a lot to preserve and uphold the sanctity of Islam.
In January 2012, an Indonesian named Alexander Aan claimed on Facebook that God does not exist and disseminated 11 cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad pbuh. He was sentenced to 2½ years jail.
In May 2010, Bakri Abdullah was sentenced to a one-year jail term because he claimed to be a prophet and had ascended from mountain to heaven on two separate occasions in 1975 and 1997. This is considered blasphemous as the Islamic core belief is that Prophet Muhammad pbuh is the final messenger.
In June 2009, Lia Aminuddin aka Lia Eden was handed a two-year prison sentence for spreading Salamullah – religious teachings of her own invention which was decreed deviant by Majelis Ulama Indonesia in 1997.
Malaysian liberals decried the judgment on Ahok as the death of democracy. It was a “dark day” for freedoms in the world’s most-populous Muslim majority country, they lamented
Below is Ahok’s blasphemous remark:
“In your inner hearts, ladies and gentlemen, you may feel you cannot vote for me, because [you have been] lied to by the use of Surah al-Maidah, Verse 51. […] So, if you cannot vote for me because you are afraid of being condemned to hell, you do not need to feel uneasy, because you are being fooled. It is alright.”
Ahok was trying to convey a message that his political opponent was abusing the said Quranic verse to induce Muslims not to vote for him.
What does the Quranic verse actually say?
“O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.”
Muslims rest their religious beliefs upon the Quran and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad pbuh. According to the verse above, it means that Muslims must prefer a Muslim leader over a non-Muslim.
It is a religious obligation. Wasn’t Ahok attempting to prevent Muslims from abiding by the Quranic sanction on choosing (or voting) a Muslim leader? I believe he was.
And how is that a crime of blasphemy? Section 156(a) of Indonesian criminal law says:
“By a maximum imprisonment of five years shall be punished any person who deliberately in public gives expression to feelings or commits an act,
a. which principally have the character of being at enmity with, abusing or staining a religion, adhered to in Indonesia;
b. with the intention to prevent a person to adhere to any religion based on the belief of the almighty God.”
Arguably, Ahok was abusing the Quranic verse the moment he mentioned it to dissuade Indonesian Muslims from adhering to it.
What needs to be understood is that a sovereign country is entitled to enact laws that they deem reasonable and necessary. It is wholly appropriate for a country to regulate its societal behaviour and harmony in a multiracial, -cultural and -religious nation.
Further, the international human rights law which is applied in some other countries especially in the West may not be suitable in its own form to be moulded into our Asian context. Hence, we have different regulations and a reasonable restriction of the human rights and freedom.
This restriction has already been recognised by the so-called international human rights law under Article 19(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right (ICCPR) which reads:
“The exercise of the rights (freedom of expression) provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.”
⇓ Hannah Yeoh perpetually camping in the mosques
Bottomline: What is Hannah doing in the mosques?
So the different standards is the reason why some individuals in Asian countries like ours will be subject to criminal prosecution for making hate or blasphemous speech. The Westerners must respect our parameters.
From the legal perspective on Ahok’s case, we can see how ridiculous it is for the evangelicals to compare Dr Kamarul’s police report to some kind of alleged victimization of Hannah Yeoh.
And more hypocritically, Malaysian liberals love to tout free speech in the West but they want to deny Dr Kamarul’s freedom of expression.
Do note that Westerners too are growing tired of the minorities taking advantage of identity politics and accusing the majority of persecuting them; for example, “…many Australians are just sick of being told that they can’t criticise anyone in a minority”.
The fact is that many Indonesian Muslims found Ahok’s statement outrageous and this cannot be simply ignored.
A more pertinent question is whether the DAP mosque occupiers are viewed as behaving outrageously and causing anxiety and hurt to Muslim sensitivities.
The double standards of the liberals, like Hannah’s hypocrisy, is too obvious to ignore.
Danial Ariff Shaari is an Isma activist trained in law