…are a dime a dozen these days.
I refer specifically to the storm generated by the forum organised by the Malaysian Bar Council, on religious conversion.
Let’s be rational about this whole conversion business. Can you? After all, religious conversions are something you undertake in a sane frame of mind, aren’t they?
So the issues that came up with it will have to be discussed in the same way.
This discussion is about rights and aimed at the possibility of reaching an understanding that will hopefully someday result in equitable legal resolution.
Faith is, for all God-fearing people, an issue that it sacrosanct. But we are human beings and our interpretation of what the holy books say may be flawed even.
Let me ask you something however. What if the enforcement of religious rule result in patent injustice and denial of basic human rights? What if it breaks up families? What if it results in whole families suffering because a man’s adoption of another religion grants him a loophole that enables him to escape from his responsibilities?
As it is, many women and their children are suffering because some husbands left them in the lurch. Even Muslim wives seeking redress in the Syariah Court often fail to get it. A man can often get away without paying alimony to the wife he left.
That was the Syariah Court. The topic of the moment involves the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court and the Civil Court and how the glitch in our legal system that our lame-ass legislators have no political will to fix, is causing a lot of suffering.
So the Bar Council forum was timely. But insecure people will do what they will, tacitly approved and aided by both the police and our government.
But what about these issues of justice and equity? I ask because there are a lot of cases emerging in recent times that points to this flaw in our legal systems that results in a breakdown in families.
It is nicely documented by this blogger. Go check it out.
Bar Council VP Ragunath Kesavan, made a statement on Monday about the protest generated by the forum and I would like to draw your attention to this part…
“At the end of the day, if we cannot speak about this, then who else is going to bring up these issues, ” he told a press conference yesterday.
Ragunath said the council’s forum on conversion to Islam on Saturday was not intended to question Islam as the official religion of the country nor its position as provided for in the Constitution.
“The issue here is matrimonial matters involving a Muslim and a non-Muslim. There is a lot of unhappiness among non-Muslims on how such matters are handled at present.
“There is no proper legal representation for issues involving property and child custody. That is why the forum was organised. “
Ragunath said such forums were a healthy way of promoting better understanding and providing the right solution through proper discussions.
“I don’t think the way forward is to have a closed-door meeting to come up with a solution and impose it on the people. It does not work. You need to understand the problem faced by the people and try to help them with it. – NST Online.
Blogger Rockybru in his posting asked this series of questions.
Should the Bar have gone ahead with the forum in the first place? Should it have held it when we are more ready, like after they’ve held equally controversial forums on other religions? Or, perhaps, after the Pakatan Rakyat has formed the Government? Would PR be more tolerant of such a discussion on Islam? – Rocky’s Bru
I don’t think banking on the Pakatan Rakyat government, if it ever gets in to power, is a wise move. Why can’t this government do something about an issue that needs to be looked at? What would be the right time to bring this up? What is the guarantee that Pakatan Rakyat will be more amenable to this kinda discussion? We don’t know, do we?
There are other rumblings out there about why Islam was singled out? Again I tell you morons out there, this is not about singling out Islam. This is just some issues of legal jurisdiction when it comes to conversion as well as inter-religious marriage.
Ours is a multi-ethnic, multi-faith country. These issues are relevant and should be addressed before they become another Natrah/Maria Hertogh incident that rocked Singapore decades ago.
And if you say your religion, whatever faith choose to profess, can turn a blind eye to injustice and unfairness, then I pity you.