From Ravinder Singh via email
Things have become so confusing in Malaysia that even a rabble rouser like Jamal Yunus can assume the mantle of a religious authority. It sounded very much like he was issuing a fatwa when he recently condemned Muslim politicians opposing the so-called hudud bill as devils.
Will these Muslim politicians be intimidated?
Of course, the use of Islam as a weapon is nothing new. For reasons of his own – or perhaps reasons explained to him by his party superiors – Jamal is hoping that Muslim voters will withdraw their support for MPs who vote against the bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act of 1965.
Apparently, there are others besides Jamal who are carrying out this campaign of intimidation.
Last Friday, a newspaper published a picture showing children holding up placards saying they were in support of the bill because they were Muslims.
Surely this kind of practice – using innocent children to further the cause of politicians – is not allowed in Islam. Surely those children were merely being obedient to their elders without knowing whether they were doing right or wrong.
Will Muslims MPs who do not support the amendment be psychologically broken if their constituents start calling them devils, or will they educate their constituents about the hypocrisy behind PAS President Hadi Awang’s bill?
The Muslim politicians who have in the past declared that they would not support the bill must show us they are people of honour by staying steadfast to their declared stand. Jamal has no divine authority to turn them into devils.
Muslim politicians should not be taken in by the baseless blanket explanation that existing punishments under Islamic laws are not effective in fighting crime.
Crime has gone up because school discipline over the past 40 over years has gone down to such a level that in some schools teachers are afraid of their pupils. Isn’t this the most absurd situation, where children are allowed to acquire devilish behaviour and become criminals in adult life?
Hadi and his ilk should instead look seriously into the causes of school indiscipline and take measures to bring back the kind of discipline that was standard in the 1950s and 1960s.
Isn’t it better to administer a few strokes of a light cane on children to change their behaviour than to allow their indicipline to grow into criminal behaviour and then whip them with 100 lashes, amputate them or stone them to death?
Ravinder Singh is an FMT reader.