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G25 fails to moderate Islamophobia of the non-Muslims


AS only to be expected, G25 were quick to laud the government’s withdrawal from its earlier decision to take over RUU355.

The liberal group of eminent geriatrics had decried the proposed 355 legislation, which they alleged would alienate Sabah and Sarawak.

In their March 30 press statement, G25 also expressed concern RUU355 might make “the minority races feel that they do not count”.

G25 consider Abdul Hadi Awang’s draft amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 as something “divisive” as well as “a first step towards the implementation of hudud’.

With due respect, RUU355 does not make non-Muslims comparably negligible in the eyes of the law, in contrast to Muslims.

Nor does 355’s inapplicability over non-Muslims mean that the Chinese and Christians are neglected. It just means non-Muslims are subject to fewer personal laws in Malaysia on top of enjoying lighter punishments for identical crimes.

So why all the fuss and noise?

After all, non-Muslims do not and cannot be forced to enter an appearance before syariah judges.

G25 truly trying to out-DAP the DAP

Most recently a G25 member, Mohamed Tawfik Ismail (pix above) sought a declaration from the court that Hadi Awang’s proposed 355 amendments are in violation of the federal constitution.

In his 27 March affidavit, Tawfik declared that 355 would promote “discrimination and inequality”. This, he claims, is ultra vires the constitution’s Article 8 guaranteeing equality before the law.

Tawfik forgets that this very same sentencing power of the Syariah Courts, enabled by 355, has been in existence for more than 50 years. Why does he choose to raise an objection only now?

In fact, to put in constitutional context, the rights of Muslims are special compared to the non-Muslims.

As upheld by justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad (now Tun) in the case of Kamariah Ali v the Kelantan state government & Anor [2002] 3 CLJ 761, Islam is the only religion that is mentioned expressly in the federal constitution.

Thus the constitution gives specific powers to the state assemblies to enact laws relating to any act or omission which is considered against the precepts of Islam.

The states’ enactments are variously passed through their respective legislative assembly or the Federal Act through parliament. Implementing syariah is still very much a democratic process.

That is what RUU355 is all about and therefore it can’t be unconstitutional, can it? The one that is challenging the constitution is you yourselves, G25!

For the umpteenth time, M’sia is not secular

It’s hard to decide whether it is G25 or DAP that is more ‘liberal’.

In a late-2014 open letter, G25 worried about the conflict arising from the overlapping jurisdiction of civil law and syariah. This worry about our legal systems is uncannily consistent with the grouses of DAP’s most liberal leader, Zaid Ibrahim.

Separately, Tawfik had controversially called for the Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim) to be abolished.

Then in 2015, G25 lambasted the criminalizing of khalwat offences. They defended their spokeswoman Noor Farida Ariffin’s complaint against moral policing by the state.

Are they suggesting that Muslims should allow immorality and sins to prevail, and turn a blind eye? If so, these G25 liberals are malpracticing their own religion.

G25 appears to be ideologically aligned with the DAP’s mantra of secularism that is actually a direct challenge to Article 3 — “Islam is the religion of the Federation”.

Like DAP, the G25 retirees think that they have better vision/version of Islam and its implementation (or no implementation because they wish to remove certain syariah crimes, remember?)

There is no peace and harmony amid disorder

G25 speak of Islam’s compassion but mischaracterize it to mean Muslims are permitted to commit personal sins without earthly punishment as well as to follow their own individual understanding of the religion, like Cik Siti Kasim.

G25 aspires to promote “democratic lifestyle” riding on the Rukunegara’s second ambition (cita-cita), which could be why the non-Muslims are now becoming emboldened to interfere with matters that do not affect them … believing G25 is their ally and Malay shield.

Furthermore, some liberal Muslims do not want to be subject to Islamic rules and laws, thinking they have the freedom to opt out of the jurisdiction of syariah courts and syariah laws.

Largely concurring with Siti, it seems at the very least G25 would have Muslims be freer to interpret Islam, its rules, its laws and perhaps even the freedom to become an apostate without incurring punishment.

Wouldn’t all this liberalism create disorder and chaos? Yet G25 claim to be fighting for national unity, peace and harmony.

G25’s disconnect is possibly due to their belief that akal is better than the teaching of religious scholars.

They argue that Islam encourages its believers to use akal or one’s intellectual capacity to decide what is best.

Such an argument is congruent with the world view of Malay Dapster Syerleena Abdul Rashid who sees religious scholars as adopting anti-intellectualism and providing little room for freedom of thought.

It is as if G25 and Syerleena are suggesting that freedom of thought is limitless but conveniently overlook the part where intellectualism is promoted by Islam in order to be close to Allah and His deen (way of life). Mind you, Allah’s way, not mankind’s ways and not the religious authorities’ ways.

G25 exacebates the problem, is no solution

Diversity is the gist of G25’s social belief.

On a related issue, there are essentially two genders. Promoting acceptance of diverse genders (variations of transgender) is merely supporting natural disorder. The Quran prohibits an LGBT lifestyle, period.

Nonetheless, in the name of tolerance G25 dares to urge our government to recognize SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) as demanded by the LGBTs.

Following the Orlando mass shooting at a Florida gay nightclub, G25 were alarmed at local hostility against LGBT, calling it homophobia.

Whatever it is, they cannot insulate Muslim LGBTs from being arrested by Malaysian religious authorities. Cross dressing is a syariah crime.

We are a conservative society following traditional norms. Look at the public reaction to the “gay moment” in Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast. Unacceptable.

G25 are in favour of making Rukunegara a preamble to the federal constitution. They like the Rukunegara’s “liberal approach” and support for “democratic lifestyle”.

However the enemies of Islam will only take advantage of such a liberal approach to brew prejudices against Islamic institutions and our desire for stricter syariah.

They have zoomed in on the prevalent hysteria over hudud in order to oppose the holistic features of Islam.

As a champion of moderation, G25 has patently failed to moderate the Islamophobic stance of non-Muslims and minorities.

Danial Ariff Shaari is deputy chairman of Isma’s i-Peguam