Religion and compulsion…a scholar’s view

As a non-Malay who grew up in a largely Malay area, I could not help but be exposed to the Malay way of life, the culture and Islam. I am not completely uninitiated about this religion and found it in many ways a structured and egalitarian religion.

 In my formative years, I had noticed the slow but steady “Islamisation” of this country and its visible effects. When I was a young adult I understood the whys and hows of this phenomenon (Power, Politics, Protectionism, Fear).

The issue of apostasy has been around in Malaysia for some time, even during my schooling years but largely an underground thing. That it has become big enough is surely because a lot of Malaysians are finding their voices and making themselves heard.

The steady shift in the past few yars towards religious authoritarianism in the country is alarming, especially since it seemed that the government in Malaysia is bowing to pressure from radicals and hate-mob that want to put a stop to any move towards inter-religious dialogue and understanding.

What exactly are these insecure people afraid of? Loss of their power and political dominance? On the religious side, it is useful to examine if the teachings and message of Dakwah was lost along the way.

On the Constitution side, we have to ask, do we really have religious freedom here. Come on, this is religion that we are talking about here. I’ve always thought that faith is something between oneself and God, and not something that is decided by your peers, political masters, king ….whatever.

Please remember that Prophet Mohamad as well Moses, Jesus and Abraham before him suffered a lot of persecution but did not budge from their faiths. But in their hearts no one could dominate them.

A faith, is something you embrace wholeheartedly. It should not be forced on one. That is what I’ve always felt. Today I’m glad to see a voice of reason echoing in a more scholarly manner what I’ve said.

Read on.


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