Sunday, May 4, 2008

ABIM Media Statement

"Azril Mohd Amin" azrilmohdamin@ gmail.com

ANGKATAN BELIA ISLAM MALAYSIA (ABIM)
MUSLIM YOUTH MOVEMENT OF MALAYSIA
4 MAY 2008 / 27 RABIUL AKHIR 1428H

MEDIA STATEMENT ON THE FOLLOWING ISSUES:
1. The action by Y.B. Karpal Singh in filing a police report against the Regent of Kelantan, and
2. The calls made by MCA president, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, relating to some contentious religious and racial issues

The Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) strongly feels that some remarks and actions by certain political leaders relating to religious and racial issues of late warrant our comments and response.
Firstly, we find the action by Y.B. Karpal Singh in filing a police report against the Regent of Kelantan, Yang Teramat Mulia Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra as extremely improper and clearly overstepped the boundaries of proper comments when dealing with a member of Malaysian royalty. Being a seasoned politician, we are still wondering until today what exactly was in the mind of Mr. Karpal when he decided to take such an action which is, to say the least, very problematic and uncalled for. Mr. Karpal could have clearly thought of a more respectful and sensible way to respond to the Regent's speech. At the same time, we fully agree and support the call from the Kelantan palace for an end to this controversy. We do feel that it is unfortunate that remarks from a member of the Malaysian royalty, which could have been taken in a better light, has been unduly problematized and politicized.
Secondly, the calls made by MCA president, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, relating to some contentious religious and racial issues must take into account the Malay-Muslim perspective.
On the issue of conversion out of Islam, we fully understand the possible difficulties and hardships that may arise on the part of those who wish to convert, but at the same time, we have pleaded time and again that the critics of the present law on apostasy must also be willing to fully consider the ramifications of this issue on the core elements of the Islamic faith and jurisprudence.
The critics cannot in all earnest, expect the Muslims to just ignore a clear injunction and principle in our religion. And to expect Muslims in Malaysia to take the issue of apostasy lightly is actually doing just that. Converting out of Islam is a specific religious issue and the extent of its prohibition and permission should be left to the proper religious authority to determine.
The Federal Court's decision in Lina Joy's case provides a solid legal basis for this position. Former Chief Justice, Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, in his majority judgment held that the determination of whether a person had renounced the religion of Islam was within the realm of Islamic law, and that the right authority was thus the Syariah court. His Lordship further said that the way one leaves religion is set by the religion itself. "In other words," His Lordship said,"one cannot embrace or leave a religion according to one's whims and fancies."
In Malaysia, we believe that the process of allowing the right and competent parties to deliberate and find the solution for contentious religious issues is still not beyond grasp. In that light, we feel that an earnest and genuine process of collective deliberation amongst the rightful religious authorities in Malaysia should take place with regards to the recent controversial religious issues. This process, which may require time and independent space for the people involved, must be allowed to take its course. Inputs and feedbacks from all parties should be considered but everyone must be prepared to accept that the aim of this process is to discover the authoritative Islamic position on the matter since this is an internal religious issue.
Assuming that at the end of the day the experts do find cases and situations where conversion out of Islam may be legally recognized, the next issue would be to determine the proper procedure for conversion out of Islam. We have stated time and again that conversion out of Islam is interlinked with other issues, some of which are formal and legal. Therefore, this process must be properly regulated and cannot be left open or unlimited. Again, another process of collective deliberation, which gives priority to authoritative interpretations of religious texts and legal reasoning, should be allowed to take its course.
In light of the current controversy, we would like to refer all parties to our various memoranda and documents on the matter.
In our considered view, the MCA is essentially saying that the Federal Court's interpretation of Articles 11 (1) and 121(1A) of the Federal Constitution in the Lina Joy case was wrong. Perhaps the MCA would like to introduce a private member's bill in Parliament to amend Articles 11(1) and 121(1A) of the Constitution to nullify the effect of Lina Joy. Let us see if they can get Malay/Muslim support on this issue. We must not forget the results of the survey carried out some time ago - which pointed out that Malays considered themselves Muslim first and Malay second. We would caution the MCA and other political parties (government as well as opposition) when making public comments on this issue; what they are doing will cause greater polarization between Malay/Muslims and non-Muslims in our nation.
YUSRI MOHAMAD
President
Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM)


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Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."

(Muttafaq 'alaih)

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