Saturday, January 16, 2010

Anti-Christian Violence Erupts in Egypt and Malaysia

xBlog ☪ Journal Sociopolitical Blogs

Anti-Christian Violence Erupts in Egypt and Malaysia


Anti-Christian Violence Erupts in Egypt and Malaysia

Posted: 16 Jan 2010 01:38 PM PST

The notion that Malaysians will somehow wander into a Church by accident and become Christians is, of course, laughably absurd. As in Egypt, Christians make up a small minority of the population of Malaysia: about nine percent.

New American

Although the Christmas day "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been the focus of a great deal of media attention, and his plot the enabling action for a new round of security measures, attacks on Christian congregations in Egypt and Malaysia have not received similar levels of attention.
In Egypt, where the Coptic Church celebrated Christmas on January 7 (following the old Julian and Coptic calendars), seven people were murdered following midnight Mass. According to press reports, riots then erupted during the funeral processions for six of the seven victims of the massacre. Six of the seven victims were Coptic Christians; the seventh victim was a Muslim.
Coptic Christians make up a mere 10 percent of the population of Egypt, and anti-Christian violence has long been a fact of life for the suffering minority. Attacks on the Coptic community are carried out with the slightest of provocations. As the MSNBC.com report notes,
In 2000, the deadliest Christian-Muslim clashes in years left 23 people dead. All but two of the 23 were Copts. The clashes were touched off by an argument between a Coptic merchant and a Muslim shopper in the southern village of el-Kusheh.
However, the Christmas massacre was different than much of the persecution that Copts regularly suffer: It appeared to be a planned assault with many victims. Again, according to the MSNBC report:
The latest attack, however, was unusual because it appeared to have been planned, rather than the customary spontaneous violence that arises from misunderstandings or disputes between Muslims and Copts....
 Egypt's Interior Ministry said it suspected that Wednesday's attack was in retaliation for the alleged November rape of a Muslim girl by a Christian man in the same town. The man is in custody awaiting trial.
But the account takes an even darker turn when it is revealed that not only was the attack possibly a carefully planned assault, but that the bishop of the Nag Hammadi diocese may have been the intended victim. According to Asianews.it:
Coptic bishop Anba Kirollos was the real target in last Wednesday's drive-by shooting against a Coptic church in Nag Hammadi. Meanwhile, police [have] found one of the car[s] used by gunmen in the attack on the Eve of Orthodox Christmas, but thousands of Christians attending the victims' funeral slammed law enforcement and pelted police cars with rocks.
"I was the one intended to be assassinated by this plot, and when it failed the criminals turned round and started shooting and finishing off the young ones," Bishop Kirollos of the Nag Hammagi Diocese told Middle East Christian Association (MECA) today in an interview.
In the evening of 6 January, at the end of the Christmas vigil, at least three gunmen began spraying bullets from two cars against people filing out of the church.
A security guard and six Christians were killed, mostly young men in their early 20s. A young couple and a 14-years-old boy were also among the dead.
Bishop Kirollos said there had been threats in the days leading up to the Christmas Eve service, a reason he decided to start Mass an hour earlier than normal. "For days, I had expected something to happen on Christmas Eve," he said.
The bishop left the church minutes before the attack. "A driving car swerved near me, so I took the back door," he said. "By the time I shook hands with someone at the gate, I heard the mayhem, lots of machine-gun shots."
According to a Canadian Press account on January 10, three suspects have been taken in to custody:
Three men suspected in the drive-by shooting that left six Christians and one Muslim dead in southern Egypt have denied they were behind the bloody attack on Coptic Christmas Eve, officials said Saturday.
The attack was the worst to target Christians in Egypt in nearly a decade. Gunmen sprayed a group of Coptic Christians leaving a local church after mass on Wednesday night. Six worshippers and a Muslim guard died, and nine people were wounded.
The shooting touched off two days of rioting in which 40 people were arrested, and underscored sectarian tensions in the town of Nag Hamadi, some 40 miles (64 kilometres) north of the famed Luxor ruins.
On Saturday, Christian residents of Bahjora, a village near Nag Hamadi, inspected damage from overnight arson that charred their homes. They blamed Muslims for the attacks.
The three suspects in the Christmas Eve attack surrendered to police on Friday after security forces closed in on their hideout in sugar cane fields outside the town.
Whether or not the men who have been arrested were involved in the massacre, and regardless of whether they constitute the entirety of those who allegedly plotted and executed the attack, the Christmas massacre cannot be viewed in isolation from a systematic pattern of anti-Christian violence that the Egyptian government is either unwilling or unable to stop.
At the same time, Christians in Malaysia are also suffering open persecution following a court decision over a question of translation. According to January 8 Associated Press story:
Religious tensions in Muslim-majority Malaysia turned violent Friday with firebomb attacks on three churches following a court decision that allows Christians to translate God as Allah.
"Allah is only for us," said a poster waved at one of at least two protests outside mosques in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, the Muslim holy day.
Many Muslims are angry about a Dec. 31 High Court decision overturning a government ban on Roman Catholics' using "Allah" for God in the Malay-language edition of their main newspaper, the Herald.
The ruling also applies to the ban's broader applications, such as Malay-language Bibles, 10,000 copies of which were recently seized by authorities because they translated God as Allah.
"We will not allow the word Allah to be inscribed in your churches," a speaker shouted over a loudspeaker at the Kampung Bahru mosque.
The Herald says its Malay edition is read mainly by Christian indigenous tribes in the remote states of Sabah and Sarawak.
But the government contends that making Allah synonymous with God may confuse Muslims and ultimately mislead to them into converting to Christianity, a punishable offense in Malaysia despite a constitution that guarantees freedom of religion.
It suggests using "Tuhan," but Christians say Tuhan is more like "Lord," and can't replace "Allah."
The notion that Malaysians will somehow wander into a Church by accident and become Christians is, of course, laughably absurd. As in Egypt, Christians make up a small minority of the population of Malaysia: about nine percent. Unlike in countries where substantially larger Christian communities seem unwilling to assert their legal rights, Christians in Egypt and Malaysia are not prepared to just acquiesce to such discrimination and persecution, and they are receiving support from other Christians living under Muslim rule. Thus, according to the AP article:
Bassilius Nassour, a Greek Orthodox bishop in Damascus, called the Malaysian government's position "shameful."
"It shows Malaysia to be a backward, pagan state because God teaches freedom for everyone, and the word 'Allah' is for everyone," he said.
The extent to which Christian leaders in the nations formerly known as "Christendom" will also speak out to denounce such anti-Christian violence remains to be seen

Mupok Aku

Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban


The taxidriver’s claasic collection on IGPMusa Hassan is a liar! vs RPK THE TRUE MALAY WARRIOR

Posted: 16 Jan 2010 10:16 AM PST




READMORE

RPK…….OUR JUDGES CHANGE DECSIONS LIKE CHANGING UNDERWEARS OR THEY CHANGE ACCORDING TO WHICH WOMAN THEY SLEPT THE PREVIOUS NIGHT..Will there be a written judgment since 3.30pm on 22 May 2009 for Nizar to file an appeal to the Federal Court? The people of Perak are getting anxious with each hour clicked by.

Can mortal enemies ever become friends? Can implacable foes with a long history of warfare — both overt and covert — by some miraculous change of heart become bosom buddies? Can mutual mistrust and paranoia turn into jigri dosti and the exchange of high fives?These are the challenging questions that the TOI has raised in its innovative, path- breaking, pioneering campaign, Innovative, path-breaking, pioneering? Aren't they more or less the same thing? How else can the hawks of war be turned into the white doves of peace, guns turned into roses? How else can the rhetoric of revenge be transformed into the purple prose of poetic harmony?A formidable challenge indeed. How to turn sworn adversaries into allies, thereby ushering in a new era of peace and prosperity for all. The problem was made all the more difficult in that the two opposing entities were of unequal size, resource base and histories. One of the entities was larger, had access to greater resources, and could boast an historical narrative much longer than that of its Johnny-come-lately antagonist.This asymmetry — real or perceived — of power, pelf and influence, made an already complex situation even more complicated. Each time the larger of the two entities would try to reach out a hand of friendship it would be seen by the other, smaller entity as, at worst, a threatening gesture — Come near me and i'll give you such a slap! — or, at best, as a token of patronising condescension — Come here and have your head patted, like the good little fella you are, all your naughty shenanigans notwithstanding. The olive branch of peace — repeatedly held out by the larger, more mature entity — was repeatedly misconstrued as the danda of attack or intimidation by the smaller guy.That's why the TOI launched its campaign. To clear up all these misapprehensions which have entrenched the battle lines and further vitiated the climate of hostility between the two. And which are the two horn-locking, eyeball-to-eyeball entities thatis meant for adversarial entities more difficult of reconciliation So who are the bitterest of enemies — with one of them being far more bitter than the other — is all about? Coke and Pepsi? MAHATHIR AND ANWAR and NAJIB? They're practically Facebook pals compared with two warring camps which would make MAHAYUDDIN look like a Rotary Club meeting. That's right: Being the bigger of the two, and far older, TOI has repeatedly waved the white flag of truce vis-a-vis HT. Hey, let's quit scrapping, guys. The name of the game is no longer competition but co-opetition, where both can share an ever-increasing market of readership and ads. But do you think HT would buy this line? Nope. HT was — and is — convinced that these are all Trojan horses, ploys to put HT off-guard and open to flank attack.Being smaller, and less mature, than the 170-odd-year-old TOI, HT is uncomfortably conscious of following in TOI's footsteps, doing today what TOI had already discarded yonks ago. This is what has given HT not just a chip but a whole packet of Lay's Masala Flavour on its shoulder. That's the real reason behind. To broker peace with HT, amen. That's the realBLACKMALAYSIA.

dumbdumbersj1

"This involves an assessment of the credibility of the witness called by the prosecution. His evidence is unreliable and is to be disregarded and whatever he says in court lends to his discredit. I am in total agreement with the case for the defence that this lack of support of the evidence of PW75 (IGP Musa Hassan) on this point lends to his discredit. In this regard I should mention that PW75 in his evidence gave an interpretation that is contrariwise to the testimonies of PW17, PW19, PW57 and PW73. I found however that the evidence of PW75 on this to be unreliable and to be disregarded," was the opinion of the court.

These are not my words. These are the words of Judge Supang Lian of the Kota Kinabalau Sessions Court in a 90-page Grounds of Decision about the lack of credibility and unreliability of Malaysia's IGP, Musa Hassan, on why Dato' Ramli Yusuff deserved to be acquitted of what Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak would classify as a frivolous charge. (See pages 1664, 1665, 1686, 1698, 1740, 1744 and 1745 of the MACC's Appeal Record below).

As what has been revealed many times before this in numerous articles and special reports, IGP Musa Hassan wanted to get rid of Ramli Yusuff. One reason was to eliminate all suitable successors so that he could stay on as IGP beyond his retirement in August 2007. The second is because Ramli had uncovered the IGP's links with the Chinese underworld prostitution, illegal gambling, loan sharking and drugs syndicate. Before this, Malaysia Today had in fact published more than a dozen Statutory Declarations signed by underworld figures as well as police officers, which included his own ADC.

The Unholy Trinity of the IGP, the AG and the MACC fabricated several charges against Ramli — including the frivolous charge that Ramli took a 'joyride' in a police Cessna — with an aim to bring him down.

Extracts of the Judgment below show that Ramli was actually on official duty that day and not 'on a frolic of his own', as the legal fraternity would say. Ramli was in fact surveying the porous Sabah coastline. And quite rightly so considering that yesterday the US government issued a travel advisory to its citizens to be wary of travelling to Sabah where they expect tourists to suffer acts of terrorism (See here: US warns of trouble in Sabah)

And just like in Anwar Ibrahim's case, they amended the charge against Ramli because the evidence of the pilots, which were presented very late (PW69 and PW73), showed that Ramli was doing a security survey over Police PGA Post Den Haven and its coastline and was nowhere near the land they accused him of having an interest in.

In desperation, DPP Kevin Anthony Morais amended the charge from "using an aircraft to survey the land" to "diverting an aircraft to fly in the VICINITY of the land". Only Kevin Morais will know what that actually means. And as if this case was more serious than even a murder case, Kevin presented 75 witnesses just to prove that Ramli took that unauthorised joyride.

IGP Musa Hassan (PW75) was the MACC's so-called 'Star Witness'. Yes, no less than the top dog himself testified during Ramli's trial, an 'honour' indeed for Ramli. But Musa Hassan was so badly discredited by the Sessions Court Judge because of his twist-and-turn testimony. Despite this damning judgment, Kevin Morais has filed an appeal against Ramli's acquittal when he should have instead admitted defeat and just crawl home with his tail between his legs to go lick his wounds like a good little faggot.

The MACC Advisory Panel should look into this lest the MACC gets further discredited and be made to look more the fool than it already is.

Obviously, Kevin Morais has not learned his lesson. He now sits in the witness box as the 'Star Witness' in the ongoing trial of lawyer Rosli Dahlan where he was torn to pieces and stripped naked for all and sundry to see. The court in fact burst out laughing, the Judge included, to see Kevin being cornered like a mangy dog — my apologies to animal lovers the world over.

Kevin should by now have been impeached and cited for perjury.

Is that why Kevin has asked for a long break — so that he can 'rearrange' his story after his lie about the cheque butts or whatever butts that turns him on?

Rosli Dahlan's trial will resume on 31 May 2010. Expect Kevin to again get his knickers all twisted into knots when the lawyers seek his impeachment and ask that he get sent to jail for perjury. But I suppose a few years in jail and getting sexually molested by the other prisoners would be a great pleasure for someone like Kevin

was musa hassan lobby, the actual and truthful reasons behind the decision not to appeal. Is it because the decision of the High Court judge was so powerful? Or was it the pressure by the ruling elite that led to the decision of the A-G not to appeal?


rosmah



Charge Saiful instead for making a false report and causing all the trouble. Send him to jail to share with perverts so that he can fulfill his dream



IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN THE MALAY SUPREME RACE NAJIB'S1 MALAYSIA 2 SYSTEM C4 TIME BOMB IS TICKING TICK TICK TICK,COREK, COREK COREK

the IGP real dirtcop have links with the Chinese drugs, prostitution, illegal gambling and loan-shark syndicate based in Johor and which was expanding its operation throughout Malaysia HIS CONTRACT MUST BE RENEWED AT ANY COS? najib with that much baggage dont have a chose

POSTED BY THE TAXIDRIVER786 AT 9:36 AM 0 COMMEN


Fantastic Threats and Funnies

Posted: 16 Jan 2010 08:18 AM PST

Possibly Malaysia's next Prime Minister. Sleep well.
I am sooooo bad :-)


Threat?

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today reminded all parties not to undermine the peace and harmony enjoyed by the nation at the moment, in reference to the ongoing furore over the "Allah" issue.

Funny?

"We will not politicise this issue because this is not a political issue. This is about peace and harmony in the country. We should defend it at all cost. We should not be careless or adopt a lackadaisical attitude."


Goodnight all.

Niamah!!!


Fantastic Facts and Funnies

Posted: 16 Jan 2010 08:00 AM PST

You want to play Internet? Ok. I change my mode already. Mari la!
Cakap orang putih! Ha!


A good friend of mine alerted me to this NST report about something that the Minister of Information, Rais Yatim said for inclusion as a Fantastic Fact and Funny.


At first I was just going to cut and paste the headline here and let you have a good laugh. But when I read the rest of my friend's accompanying email I thought that I would share it with you in its entirety. Although I have not yet gotten his permission but I am sure he won't mind. So here it is......

"We are not saying that they cannot use Facebook or Twitter but when using such facilities they must upkeep the values taught by Islam, Buddhism or Christianity to maintain our culture,"


Eh? he forgot a few. And since when was Christianity and Buddhism parts of "Malaysian, especially Muslim," culture?

"They are just selling Facebook, Twitter, L-Band and various other services, even through space, as a product but we do not do such business. We accept all this in a state of cultural shock"


what the fuck is he talking about? and besides, MOL yang beli MySpace tu milik siapa? Vincent Tan ni kafir Barat ke? Kena shift gear lagi la rais.

"Newspapers are still relevant, so is Facebook, but do not be carried away with everything and disregard the old system"

HAHAHAHA. Carried away. With "everything". In case you wonder why I laugh, see next para, to wit:

"As a former analyze of the law in the country, I wish to advise the people that they cannot escape from the law for their actions."


What the fuck is an analyze of the law in the country? Cannot escape from the law? Tangkap la org baling molotov koktail/cat merah/batu/botol kat gereja2, surau2 dan gurdwara sentul. tangkap la mamat yang letup altantuuya. "Newspapers are still relevant"? hah shift gear lagi skali. Aiya enough la. i wanna vomit. oh yes, if he found that 62 per cent of msians understand the 1malaysia concept, then i must be a 38 percenter. i should make a jacket, like the illegal motorcycle gangs in the US, so I can better assist myself in not escaping the law of which Rais is such a brilliant analyze.

Okay, now if you're one of the 38%-ters, take a deep breath in and say out loud...............

NIAMAH!!!


Fanning The Flames Of Religious Extremism

Posted: 16 Jan 2010 07:24 AM PST

It looks like any other normal, quiet, peaceful neighbourhood, even today.


Except on the 8th of January 2010, that image was shattered as home-made firebombs set the corner section of the shoplots ablaze, severely damaging the building and its interior.


What made that building (and specifically that lot) special was that it was a large, prominent church in the Desa Melawati neighbourhood.

According to one of the church members, Metro Tabernacle has a membership of 1700 and they have occupied that particular spot for the past 12 years. There have been no significant incidences prior to this.

This church was the first to become embroiled in a controversy revolving around the usage of the word, "Allah" in the Christian context.

Religious fanatics, displeased with the court ruling that allowed The Herald to use the word, employed terrorist methods in an attempt to intimidate.


It came at a price for Metro Tabernacle. The damage is estimated to run into more than a million ringgit. The members have been forced to relocate for their regular services.


Heaps of expensive equipment was damaged beyond repair.

But I suspect even *that* was not as damaging as knowing that someone - a fellow Malaysian - could needlessly and heartlessly destroy the place you once regarded as home merely because he disagreed with you.

Or because it served a political purpose.


The right to call each other “Macha” !

Posted: 16 Jan 2010 05:41 AM PST

Good news!

As a twist to the tussle to the word "Allah", where two opposing groups have created Facebook groups for and against the use of the word for all Malaysians, there is another interesting group created that has the potential of uniting both of these differing groups..

A bunch of young Malaysians have formed "We support the right for all Malaysians to refer to each other as "macha".

Although I have made it a point not to join any Facebook grouping, this one nearly got me to sign on!

In these trying times where many words are considered sensitive, the ability to call each other "macha" is a brilliant and fun twist that adds value to the situation.

It is also a gentle reminder to laugh at ourselves and chill out a little.

So Malaysians, let's do a little chilling and cackle more. I recommend both those who are for and against the word "Allah" to find a common ground by taking the first step and call each other "macha".

What do you say Macha?

Peace, MachaAnas


The Righteous Man

Posted: 16 Jan 2010 05:04 AM PST



Reading RPK's latest article in Malaysia Today of the title "Musa Hassan's failing fishing expedition" reminds me of a story in history during the period of the Warring States, the period of chaos and upheaval leading to the founding of the Qin Dynasty of Shih Huang Ti (The First Emperor).

The state of Wei was ruled by Marquis Wen (Lord Wen) who was a wise and virtuous ruler of the state and had decided to attack the neighboring state of Zhongshan who was ruled by an immoral and corrupt tyrant.

Lord Wen of Wei appointed General Le Yang as Commander in Chief to lead the attack to rid Zhongshan of the corrupt and immoral ruler despite the knowledge that General Le Yang had a son who is an official in the state of Zhongshan.

When General Le Yang army arrived at the state of Zhongshan the ruler tied up Le Yang's son and pushed him to the front line in warning the General to withdraw otherwise his son will be cooked and made into soup for the General.

General Le Yang instead led an all out attack on the city and the ruler had Le Yang's son cooked and the soup was send to General Le Yang with further warning that his son's wife and children will be next if he does not withdraw. General Le Yang was unperturbed, he took the bowl of soup and drank it on the spot and said to the envoy: "Thank your King for the soup. The day that we capture your city we will have a pot ready for him too." The envoy panic and returned conveying the General's message to the ruler and the frightened ruler knowing that the fall of the city is inevitable than hanged himself.

There have been many historical stories of such despicable act where the family members or the citizens were held at ransom or made as a human shield by immoral and corrupt leaders and officials and it still happen today in this modern world, will these people ever learn, and so as history repeats itself over and over, these immoral and despicable tyrants will eventually die and rot a horrible and terrible death and worse is the shame that is attached to their families for time in memorable as recorded in history.

And the funny thing here is that you can bet on it that such acts are always carried out by evil beings and corrupt and immoral person. You will never see the virtuous and honorable men behaving in such a crooked manner. In life, regrets for an evil act always come too late and in their desperation much more evil will be committed as their souls have been traded to the satanic forces of the dark.


The Emperor is Exposed

Posted: 16 Jan 2010 08:00 AM PST

It has become one of the hallmarks of the Umno method: act first, and maybe think it over later. The latest example of this is of course most evidenced by the handling of the Allah controversy.

By now, much ink, and not to mention keyboard strokes, has been expanded in revealing the absurdity of the ban on the use of Allah by non-Muslims. The mere politicization of the issue from the very inception of the ban illustrates the mockery it made of the issue. But it also reveals precisely this propensity to act – and only then (maybe) ponder the absurdity of its actions.

How exactly could a responsible government – not to mention in a multireligious country - even issue such a ban if it had put even some modicum of sensible thought into realizing how preposterous this would be. But of course a responsible government, where perhaps there was a strong commitment to inter-faith dialogue, would be aware that the Sikh's holy book has numerous references to Allah in its text. And perhaps even more Malaysians across the board might know this fact.

But of course that would only be possible if we had a government which was not hell bent on building walls of ignorance between us and repeatedly isolating us from each other in practically all facets of our daily lives. The religious isolation between the different faiths is only a microcosm of the wider isolation we seem to experience in our daily lives. Our wonderful Umno regime's schemes have got us socializing and playing less with each other, sitting less along-side each other, living in increasingly segregated communities, working less with each other, eating less alongside and with each other… the list goes on and on.

So is it any wonder that the regime acts on a politically motivated religious ban without a sufficient – let alone thorough – understanding of other religions? And isn't this utterly incompetent handling of the matter now being only further aggravated and compounded by further politicization of the matter by this latest twist of a dual so-called 'east-west' Malaysia policy on the ban?

Of course we've seen numerous other instances of such Umno practices. Just in recent past, we've had flip-flops on the language medium in schools, the number of subjects students may take or not take, and whether English should/should not be a compulsory subject…. These flip-flops are all too familiar to us and again reveal the lack of competence; which then only serves to further exacerbate the need to disguise that incompetence (and the other corrosive qualities such as the chronic corruption and patronage system) with more religiously and racially-laden distractions.

It seems strikingly clear that everywhere we look, the Umno regime has, in its policies, been reinforcing a divide between us while conveniently espousing the same old rhetoric of unity, harmony, pluralism and such flowery but otherwise hollow words to Umno.

Amazingly, this flip-flop, as demonstrated now with an 'east-west' Malaysia Allah policy, actually reveals that Umno really isn't even very savvy anymore at its own game. Or maybe the rest of us are waking up and realizing the Umno game.

Either way, the emperor is being exposed.

G. Krishnan


“Print Herald in East Malaysia…???”

Posted: 16 Jan 2010 03:24 AM PST


gobind suspended from parliament 160309 nazriImagine receiving an sms,"Sarawak mosque under attacked.Comment..??" Can you tell me how..? I was fuming mad and really aggitated and then cooled down and thought rationally with our audie61 crew. So here goes..

 Think outside the Box..We have heard so many views from all religious scholars, political divides,Muslim and christian NGOs and it seems everyone is sensitive and only are putting their foot further in to aggravate the already fragile  situation. To us in Sarawak after interviewing many Christians and Muslim Brothers and also after Nazri's statement we thought O.K. a solution…. is at hand.

  • However judging from this article in Malaysiakini and picking up the points it seems the tension has risen up to another notch.
  •  PAS vice-president Mahfuz Omar -He said that not only is there now two sets of rules, the minister should not be making pronouncements since the court process which sparked the controversy is still pending.
  •  Herald Editor Lawrence Andrew he said the matter is currently being dealt with in court and all parties should wait for the outcome and Nazri recent pronouncements may confuse the public.
  •  DAP veteran lawmaker Lim Kit Siang- criticised Nazri's pronouncement because it showed that cabinet had already decided on the matter, while at the same time, calling for inter-faith dialogues to seek a solution. He adds that the 'two rules' for the use of the term 'Allah' makes a "total mockery" of the government's 1Malaysia campaign.

Lets get a grip of the whole situation and all sides please call a TRUCE  Enough of using religion to score poltical points or mileage. audie61 says," GOD for one does not want the human kind to quarrel over how he wants to be called. We as  Malaysians are better of than that and we do not want to be looked down by the World community."

If the solution is to be found it is up to the editor to come up with a solution of PRINTING THE BAHASA MALAYSIA VERSION EXCLUSIVELY JUSTS FOR EAST MALAYSIA AND PRINTED IN SARAWAK OR SABAH. BETTER STILL FORGET ABOUT THE BAHASA MALAYSIA VERSION. WE IN SARAWAK AND SABAH KNOW HOW TO SPEAK AND READ ENGLISH AS WE WERE COLONISED BY THE BRITISH. DO WE NEED TO SAY MORE..?????

WE in Sarawak do business alongside and eat together with our Muslim Brothers  and we do not have religious, racial,skin,colour  tensions. WE IN SARAWAK INTEND TO KEEP IT THAT WAY as I cant speak for my Sabah friends.

IF the Editor of the catholic news wants to see me I do not mind and I will tell him in so many words…Retreat and you will all  be wiser because of it…Also dont ever think that we need the Herald to tell us about our FAITH..We are stronger than that and do not use us Sarawakians or Sabahans to push for your Bahasa Malaysia Version. Please………we are all up to our noses with all the politicsed views as this is a religious matter. Also dont think we are Apple Polishing Nazri. He can also call me …

Dont also tell me next that GOD will not forgive me as I have blaspheme or better still kick me out of the Catholic Church.

 DO NOT USE THE PEOPLE OF SARAWAK AND SABAH TO FIGHT FOR THE HERALD IN BAHASA MALAYSIA as an EXCUSE


Goods & Service Tax (GST) - A One Stop Read

Posted: 16 Jan 2010 02:59 AM PST

I thank The Star for featuring the following articles on the GST- I have been waiting for one :) I suggest Malaysians read these articles to understand it. They are from today's STARBIZWEEK.
  1. Making sense of GST here
  2. Hoping for a good deal out of a taxing issue here
  3. What you should know about GST here
  4. Terms to remember here
  5. Should you fear the new tax? here

You may also want to read about MIER's Prof Ariff (one of the proponents of the GST) here and watch Tony Pua's understanding of the issue here .

cheers and peace, anas


Cap Naga : Perbezaan Di Antara Gus Dur dan Tok Mat

Posted: 16 Jan 2010 02:19 AM PST

Sumber: Merdeka Review
Penulis: Lee Phung Koon
Terjemah Oleh: Lim Hong Siang
Tajuk: Cap Naga : Perbezaan Di Antara Gus Dur dan Tok Mat


Sejak pemerintahan Suharto, Gus Dur tidak berhenti mengkritik politik kuku besi Suharto. Gus Dur berdepan dengan ugutan, fitnah, malah digulingkan dari kedudukan sebagai Pengerusi Nahdlatul Ulama. Walaupun imejnya konservatif, namun dasarnya mendukung idealisme yang progresif dan liberal. Dalam artikelnya (Gus Dur) yang disiarkan dalam Wall Street Journal, beliau pernah menyeru agar umat dari negara dan agama yang berlainan untuk bersatu menyingkir rasa dendam-benci antara agama, dan mencegah terrorisme.....


Ketika kita menyambut tahun baru 2010, dua orang ahli politik terkemuka di Malaysia-Indonesia telah meninggalkan kita. Pemergian mereka mencungkil perbincangan dalam dunia wacana. Pada hakikatnya, tiada hubungan antara kedua-dua orang ini, sedangkan mereka hidup di negara yang berlainan. Apa yang menjadi persamaan antara mereka adalah darah "cap naga" yang mengalir dalam tubuh mereka.

Gus Dur, atau mantan Presiden Indonesia Abdurrahman Wahid meninggal dunia pada 30 Disember 2009. Allahyarham disemadikan dengan upacara pemakaman negara, dan Indonesia menetapkan Hari Berkabung Nasional selama tujuh hari.

Mendukung dasar progresif dan liberal

Banyak media asing, termasuk New York Times telah menyiarkan belasungkawa untuk Allahyarham. Secara perbandingan, keadaan di Malaysia agak dingin, melainkan segelintir ahli politik muda seperti Liew Chin Tong (MP DAP), menulis dalam kenyataannya yang berjudul Sejarah memperingati Gus Dur buat selama-lamanya:

"Sejak pemerintahan Suharto, Gus Dur tidak berhenti mengkritik politik kuku besi Suharto. Gus Dur berdepan dengan ugutan, fitnah, malah digulingkan dari kedudukan sebagai Pengerusi Nahdlatul Ulama. Walaupun imejnya konservatif, namun dasarnya mendukung idealisme yang progresif dan liberal. Dalam artikelnya (Gus Dur) yang disiarkan dalam Wall Street Journal, beliau pernah menyeru agar umat dari negara dan agama yang berlainan untuk bersatu menyingkir rasa dendam-benci antara agama, dan mencegah terrorisme...

Pada masa yang sama, Gus Dur mengubal dasar yang memperlihatkan keterbukaan untuk kaum minoriti di Indonesia, memansuhkan undang-undang yang tidak adil, dan melayani setiap bangsa dengan saksama. Sejarah akan memperingati Gus Dur yang bertungkus lumus menggerakkan pluralisme, toleransi dan pendemokrasian di Indonesia."

Ini adalah penilaian yang adil terhadap Gus Dur, walaupun ada antara kita yang masih ingat kekerapan Gus Dur melawat dari negara ke negara, gelojoh pada makanan dan mengantuk ketika mesyuarat, sehingga ada yang menyamakan Pak Lah kita dengannya.


The Satanic Verses

Pada hakikatnya, Gus Dur sebagai pemimpin pertubuhan ulama terbesar di dunia negara Islam (iaitu Nahdlatul Ulama yang mempunyai 40 juta anggota), pemikiran dan kelakuan beliau amat bermakna untuk negara kita yang berbilang agama dan etnik. New York Times menyebut beberapa perkara seperti berikut:

Beliau membela hak kaum minoriti, komuniti bukan muslim dan kaum Cina yang diseksa. Gus Dur menyanggah pengkritiknya, "Mereka yang menuduh saya tidak cukup Islam seharusnya membaca semula al-Quran. Islam menganjurkan inklusif, toleransi dan perkongsian bersama." Apabila semua pemimpin Islam di dunia menyerang The Satanic Verses, beliau adalah satu-satunya tokoh yang berani mengatakan sesuatu yang baik untuk penulisnya, Salman Rushdie.

Di negaranya, Israel dilihat sebagai musuh nombor satu. Tetapi, pada tahun 1997, Gus Dur pergi ke Jerusalem untuk menerima satu hadiah (prize) bagi pihak bekas Presiden Israel yang dibunuh. Setelah menyandang jawatan Presiden, Gus Dur turun menziarahi Timor-Timur, meminta maaf secara terbuka bagi keganasan yang dilakukan oleh tentara Indonesia sebelumnya. Malah, Gus Dur cuba menggerakkan penubuhan "Suruhanjaya Kebenaran".

Cuba fikirkan, antara pemimpin yang kononnya "sederhana" di negara kita, siapa yang melaksanakan kata-katanya seperti apa yang dilakukan oleh Gus Dur? Bukankah kebanyakan daripada mereka cakap tak serupa bikin?

Darah "cap naga"

Gus Dur berdarah orang Cina. Malah, salasilah keluarganya berasal dari China, yang mana nenek moyangnya bermastautin di Surabaya setelah menyertai rombongan Cheng Ho pada tahun 1417. Gus Dur boleh bertutur sedikit bahasa hokkian. Beliau tidak pernah pantang dengan darah Cinanya. Ini sesuatu yang amat berharga untuk seseorang ahli politik, dan inilah keistimewaannya Gus Dur sebagai tokoh politik yang jujur.

Populasi kaum Cina hanyalah 8% daripada jumlah penduduk Indonesia (menurut Wikipedia versi bahasa Cina). Seandainya perhitungan dibuat dari persektif mengaut undi, Gus Dur tidak perlu memikat hati orang Cina. Sememangnya, beliau membela kaum Cina atau kaum minoriti bukan kerana tubuh beliau berdarah Cina. Untuk perkara ini, biar kita melihat pula seorang lagi yang berdarah cap naga, Tok Mat, bekas Menteri Penerangan yang meninggal dunia pada hari pertama tahun 2010.

[ADS] Terima Email Dan Dapatkan $$$ Setiap Kali Membacanya !!!
[ADS] Malaysia Online Contest, Promotion & Earning Blog!!!
[ADS] Earn $$$ From Your Website With Adbrite!!!

"Seingat saya, apabila orang tua ini memerlukan sokongan orang Cina, maka beliau akan berbangga dengan darah Cinanya; apabila memerlukan sokongan orang Melayu, maka beliau berperangai lebih Melayu daripada Melayu yang tradisional," demikianlah yang disifatkan oleh seorang pemerhati politik terhadap Mohamed Rahmat.

Inilah hakikatnya.


Menyerang isteri Anwar

Terdapat satu cerita "darah cap naga" yang terkenal pada Tok Mat, meskipun bukan sesuatu yang membanggakan. Pada Mei 1999, apabila gerakan reformasi menyemarak di masyarakat Melayu, dan pada ketika BN memerlukan sokongan orang Cina, Tok Mat yang berada di baris depan kem Mahathir cuba mencalar Anwar Ibrahim dengan mempertikaikan kelayakan Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (gambar kiri), isteri Anwar sebagai pemimpin. Alasan yang digunakan adalah Wan Azizah melanjutkan pengajian di Singapura, malah ada darah cap naga dalam tubuhnya.

Hey, siapa yang tidak kenal bahawa kedua-dua suami isteri bos di belakang Tok Mat juga pernah menuntut di Singapura? Meskipun darah bosnya tidak bercap naga, tetapi bercap gajah. Tersalah bodek ini telah mengundang malapetaka, yang berakhir dengan pemecatan oleh Mahathir dari jawatan Menterinya pada bulan dan tahun yang sama.

Dalam buku tulisan Mohamed Rahmat, UMNO:Akhir sebuah impian yang diterbitkan sebelum pemergiannya, beliau tidak menafikan bahawa dirinya pernah berkata sedemikian. Tetapi beliau menganggap apa yang diperkatakannya tidak salah. Beliau layak untuk berkata sedemikian kerana tubuhnya juga mengalir darah cap naga. Ibunya orang Cina (beliau dibesarkan orang Melayu), jadi beliau menganggap dirinya sebahagian daripada orang Cina. Maka beliau boleh menegur orang Cina sebagaimana beliau menegur orang Melayu.

Sememangnya, beliau terlupa bahawa beliau mempunyai seorang isteri Teochew. Menurut sahabat dari Johor, Tok Mat amat baik pergaulannya dengan komuniti Cina di tempatnya, Pulai.

Baca Selebihnya @ merdekareview.com


Najib has NO IDEA to tackle problems faced by Muslims in Malaysia how long can Najib can last as the Prime Minister

Posted: 15 Jan 2010 09:43 PM PST


PRIME MINISTER ON RUN Khairy said Umno was trying to reflect the sentiments of Peninsular Malays who did not want Christians to use the word "Allah", but it did so in a way that went out of control.

Is this the man?
The custodian of the dying ember?
The man who generations to come will remember as the last man standing, before the new dawn set in?
OR
Is this the man who is going to set in an even more harsh regime?
To ensure he and his team will have a long run on the nation?
Driven by chauvinism, and detested by the international as well as the domestic society?
Is this the start of a dynasty in the Malaysian Public Life?
Does this mean that we Malaysians are so incapable that we need a select few families to tell us how to live our lives?
Are we so dependent that all aspects of our lives need to be controlled?
Are we so handicapped that we need these political dynasties to teach how to interact with each other?
CAN WE THE MALAYSIAN PEOPLE RISE TO THE OCCASSION WHEN THE NATION NEEDS US?
CAN MALAYSIA DEPEND ON US?


Anwar speaking to reporters before the start of the dialogue with the Christian community at the Luther Centre in Petaling Jaya. – Picture by Jack Ooi

PETALING JAYA, Jan 10 – Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today had a dialogue here with the Christian community in an attempt to defuse tension caused by the series of firebomb attacks at churches.

The dialogue, attended by about 100 members of the Christian community from various denominations, was hosted by Bishop Phillip Lok from the Lutheran Church.

Speaking to reporters before the start of the closed-door dialogue, Anwar urged the Muslims to honour the pledge made the second Islamic Caliph to defend the rights of the Christians.

He also slammed the police for not seriously protecting the places of worship.

"The Caliph Umar, who visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 638 AD, was careful to ensure that the Muslims respect the sanctity of Christian places of worship," said Anwar, reading from a prepared statement.

"What, then, of our own police's hesitation to offer an assurance of safety and security for Malaysian churches," he added.

Anwar reiterated his stand that the Umno-controlled Utusan Malaysia should be made responsible for the attacks.

"Much of the blame for the recent attacks can be placed at the doorstep of the Umno-led BN ruling party," he said.

PKR leaders, including Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (centre), and members of the Christian community before the dialogue with the Christian community at the Luther Centre in Petaling Jaya. – Picture by Jack Ooi

"Its incessant racist propaganda over the Allah issue and the inflammatory rhetoric issued by the government-controlled mainstream media, including in particular Utusan Malaysia, are reprehensible," said Anwar.

He called for an inter-faith dialogue to resolve the issue of the use of the word Allah.

"With respect to the use of the word Allah, for example, it cannot be disputed that Arabic speaking Muslims, Christians and Jews have collectively prayed to God as Allah throughout the last 14 centuries," said Anwar.

"While sensitivities over its usage have arisen in Malaysia, the way to resolve these conflicts is not by burning churches and staging incendiary protests but by reasoned engagement and interreligious dialogue," he added.

Since the court ruling on Dec 31 allowing the Christians to use the word 'Allah' to refer to God in Malay, seven churches have been attacked.

It is indeed ridiculous that Indonesian religious leaders urged Indonesian Muslims not to follow the acts of some Malaysian Muslims who attacked and damaged several churches in their country following the disputes over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims. The attempts of some Catholic priests here (in Indonesia) to play down the dispute as merely a language problem and express sympathy to the Malaysian government are also no less absurd. We expect them to be more willing to accept the facts no matter how bitter or embarrassing they are.

The statements of the religious elites, as quoted by The Jakarta Post on Monday, reflected a strong sense of self denial – if not ignorance – that implied that Indonesia has no religious conflict, nor attacks on place of worship. Just click on Google and you will easily find out how many churches have been burned and damaged in this country over the last few years, including very recently.

While it is true that freedom of religion and freedom of expression is much more guaranteed in Indonesia — Malaysia's Constitution is discriminatory to non-Muslims and non-Malays — but the facts show that religious violence is much higher here than in the neighboring country. Therefore the above appeals are not based on true facts, but more on the willingness to portray that violence as a very rare practice here.

Showing sympathy by our religious leaders to the Malaysian government just because the government condemned the church attacks can also be misleading. It is clear the ruling government in Malaysia is the most responsible party in the violence. It was widely suspected, including by opposition parties and international media, that the government tried to use the sensitive issue between Muslims — by the Constitution, all Malays are Muslims — and non-Muslims to regain popularity there.

The Indonesian government is also the party most responsible for inter-religious conflicts in this country because of its refusal or inability to act firmly against law breakers. We can easily count the number of people who attacked places of worship and were punished. The police often seem powerless against such troublemakers for several reasons, including the cowardice of its generals to deal with people who use religious jargon to justify their barbaric acts. And like Malaysia, the government here often uses sensitive issues to divide people and cheaply boost its popularity.

Inter-religious dialogues are held only at the top level, while at the grassroots, people often feel they have no connection at all with their leaders. Only by having honest dialogue at all levels with sincerity and respect, will we be able to find and resolve the roots of the problems.

The problem in Malaysia is not just a linguistic problem, the roots are much deeper. And let us stop regarding others are worse than us. The church attacks are not exclusive to Malaysia. And to be honest, in many other parts of the world, mosques are also attacked by those who think their religion is superior to others. — The Jakarta Post

Religious violence is rare in Malaysia, and so its people are rightly alarmed at the current spate of attacks on churches, which can conjure up memories of the 1969 race riots. The government has strongly condemned the attacks, but its policy of trying to coddle its Muslim population undermines its stated goal of an open Islam and stokes the very religious tension that it wants desperately to avoid.

The violence is the latest consequence of attempts to ban the use of the word "Allah" by Christians. In 1986, the Interior Security Ministry barred the word from non-Islamic publications on the grounds that it could confuse Muslims, but the ordinance was usually not enforced. However in December 2007, the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association and the Islamic religious councils of seven states invoked it in a lawsuit against the Malay language weekly, the Catholic Herald. The government sided with the councils, saying that Christians' use of the term "could increase tension and create confusion among Muslims." Authorities also asked the Herald to put on its front page the word terhad, "restricted," meaning solely for distribution to Christians.

Christians and others responded that "Allah" has been used by Christians for centuries to refer to God, including in Malaysia. No other country has such a ban; even the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) says it opposes one. "Allah," the Arabic word for God, is used by Christians in Egypt and Syria, and, of course, neighboring Indonesia. On Dec 31, 2009, the High Court ruled that Christians had a constitutional right to use "Allah." The government called for calm, but quickly said it would appeal and, on January 6, the judge suspended her ruling pending an appeals court decision. Subsequently, nine churches have been attacked, most of them firebombed. There have also been attacks on the Catholic Herald's legal team, whose offices were vandalised yesterday.

This is not the only federal government attempt to repress anything that could be perceived as deviating from the state-sanctioned version of Islam. In 2005, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi proposed that Malay-language bibles have "Not for Muslims" on the front. In 2003, the government banned publication of a Bible in Iban, an indigenous language, although the ban was later lifted. In March 2009, customs officials seized Christian books and other materials containing "Allah," and now some 15,000 volumes have been impounded. Since Indonesian Christian books in Bahasa contain the word "Allah" they cannot be imported. The government has also rebuffed calls for a state inter-faith advisory council.

The censorship is not restricted to non-Muslim material. Using guidelines issued by the Islamic Development Department and with the consent of the Shariah courts, the federal government has prohibited over 50 "deviant" interpretations of Islam, including Shiism, the faith of over 10 per cent of the world's Muslims. In 2007, the Internal Security Ministry banned 37 books, mostly by Muslims, after the Publications and Quranic Texts Control Division said they "twisted facts and true Islamic teachings." In 2008, other books were banned, including "Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism" by Norani Othman, published by the Malaysian Muslim women's organisation Sisters in Islam, and Amina Wadud's "Quran and Women: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective."

The attempted ban on "Allah" is part of a larger government program to shield Malay Muslims from anything contrary to state Islam or that might upset or confuse them. One reason for this effort seems to be political maneuvering by the ruling party to shore up its Islamic credentials and hold onto Malay votes. But there is also genuine concern to prevent adverse Muslim reaction to different views.

However, religious tensions are increasing in Malaysia, and not only because of ethnic divides and electoral calculation. Much is tied to ongoing restrictions on conversion from Islam coupled with the writing bans themselves. These bans stoke expectations that Muslims should, or even can, be shielded from anything that might challenge their beliefs. In a global world and a modern Malaysia, this is impossible, and the resulting dashed expectations feed frustration and tension.

If the government believes, as its actions imply, that many Muslim Malays are ignorant about their faith and so are easily confused, then, rather than trying to restrict non-Muslims or different Muslims, it should call on Islamic teachers to do a better job. After all, Muslim civil servants are already required to take government-approved religion classes, and Islamic religious instruction is mandatory for Muslim children in public schools.

It should also use its persuasive powers to tell its citizens that, as members of a thriving society in a global world, their beliefs will inevitably be questioned and challenged. Malaysia's talented population is capable of dealing with different thoughts and ideas, and does not need suffocating and self-defeating protection.

As Sisters in Islam, a Malaysian NGO of Muslim women committed to an open interpretation of Islam, says: "Ignorance is never bliss. By narrowing the space for open dialogue among citizens and squashing their quest for information and to read, the government's 2008 banning of 'Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism' can be deemed as 'promoting Jahiliah'"—the very state of religious conflict and confusion that Islam came to overcome. It would create a "suppressed world where we will blindly follow with no questions asked." — Wall Street Journal

Umno no longer commands the middle ground and if it continues on this trajectory, the party's fortunes can no longer be certain, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said.

Reflecting on the party's role in the raging 'Allah' controversy, he said the party is on a road that is taking it away from being a party for all.

"Nobody wants to be a loser, but we're definitely not straddling the middle ground any more. It might become what PAS used to be — a party that appeals to just a certain base. It's scary," he told The Straits Times in an interview.

PAS is the opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia.

Asked if he thought that Umno's rhetoric had created a tense situation, Khairy, 34, said he believed so.

At times, the party has too quickly taken a hardline approach, and especially now with the 1 Malaysia approach, this is just not reflective of that, he said.

Khairy said Umno was trying to reflect the sentiments of Peninsular Malays who did not want Christians to use the word "Allah", but it did so in a way that went out of control.

He said it could have reflected this sentiment equally well by calling for a dialogue with the Church, rather than taking a polarising hardline position.

However, he did not believe the dominant ruling party will allow itself to self-destruct as it has always shown that it is able to be pragmatic.

The recent attacks on nine churches, one convent school and a Sikh temple had become a turning point of sorts for Umno, which forms the backbone of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

The attacks came amid heightened tension after the High Court allowed a Catholic newspaper to use 'Allah' to denote the Christian God.

Umno has been put on the defensive as many blame it for creating an atmosphere of racial polarisation that made it ripe for violence to flare.

To many people, Umno is equated with radical views such as those expressed by an Umno Youth member, Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah Sanusi, who wrote in his blog that the Church was "reaping what it had sown".

Umno had become increasingly hardline after the BN suffered stunning losses in the 2008 general election, as it sought to appeal to its core constituency.

Khairy, despite leading the traditionally hardline Youth wing, has fast become one of its most moderate voices. He was among the first Malay leaders to visit the arson-hit Metro Tabernacle Church on Jan 8.

Once seen as a radical himself, he has been consistent in his message since becoming Umno Youth chief last year.

Khairy sees the church attacks as a crossroads in Malaysian history, and disagrees with some Umno leaders who brush off the incidents as minor because of the minimal physical damage to the churches.

He said the government's response has been too slow and disparate, especially at a time when public signalling is crucial during a crisis.

"You can talk behind closed doors, but you have to tell people what you are doing and that's not coming through," he said.

He noted that each side is hardening its position each day, and no one is taking the middle ground.

"The longer it drags, it becomes harder for either side to accept any solution," he said.

Khairy holds an in-between view of the controversy. He said that while 'Allah' is a generic term carrying a generic meaning for God in Arabic-speaking countries, many Malays in the peninsula see it as having a specific meaning. 'Allah' was not used here before Islam arrived.

"In the peninsula, the Malays accepted Islam and the name 'Allah' because we distinguished it from other meanings of God. But it's different in Sabah and Sarawak. The Muslims there are more open towards the generic usage of Allah," he said.

He, thus, hopes the government would consider a compromise, for example, that the Herald's publication in East Malaysia be allowed to use 'Allah' but not for the newspaper's peninsular edition.

"That's going to be tough for both sides to accept," he conceded.

No deal, clergymen tell Nazri

Nazri had indicated that Putrajaya may allow Christians to use the controversial word but only in Sabah and Sarawak. — File pic

Church ministers from both sides of the South China Sea slammed the federal government's latest attempt at a compromise over the use of the word "Allah" by Christians.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, had indicated that Putrajaya may allow Christians to use the controversial word, but only in East Malaysia.

"Christians in Sarawak and Sabah need not worry over this issue because it is a common tradition there. I have been to an Iban church service and I heard the word "Allah" used there," Nazri was reported saying in an exclusive interview with a Kuching-based newspaper last Thursday.

"Muslims here in Semenanjung cannot accept it as 'Allah' was never used in Christian preaching until recently and they questioned the motive behind the substitution of 'Tuhan' for 'Allah'," he allegedly added in justifying the ban in the peninsula.

But church leaders from the two East Malaysian states presently based in the peninsular strongly opposed the idea.

"It is a ridiculous arrangement and undermines freedom of expression," Pastor Richard Semporoh, the peninsular adviser for the Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB), a popular Evangelical church, told The Malaysia Insider last night.

"We East Malaysians who worship in BM but living in West Malaysia will continue to use it as that is the only medium we use but for internal use only," Semporoh's colleague, Pastor Danil Raut who heads the SIB's peninsular chapter, added.

The SIB is one of the biggest churches in East Malaysia but its influence is growing in the peninsula with the migration of many Sabahan and Sarawakian Christians here in search of work.

There are also views that Nazri's comment does not represent the federal government's official stand.

"The matter has not been discussed with church leaders. So it must be his own view," Reverend Hermen Shastri told The Malaysian Insider when contacted.

Shastri, who is the general secretary of the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) remained tight-lipped on Nazri's remarks to the Borneo Post.

The CCM, a general grouping of churches and Christian organisations in the country, is part of the bigger umbrella body known as the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM).

Shastri disclosed that church officials from both sides of the country have yet to meet and discuss their common stand on the Allah row, but declined to talk further.

"No comments until church leaders make a decision on the matter," he said firmly, and stressed: "Leaders of West and East Malaysia."


CAN ALLAH BE MONOPOLISED BY ANY COMMUNITY?

Posted: 15 Jan 2010 11:18 PM PST

by Asghar Ali Engineer

Of late I have been receiving questions about the controversy these days in Malaysia about 'Allah' as Malay Muslims are objecting to the use of word 'Allah' by Catholic Christians. The Malays feel only Malay Muslims can use the word Allah and Christians cannot. The case was fought right about the High Court and the high court of Malaysia also allowed the use of word Allah by Christians. However, the Government of Malaysia suspended the Supreme Court verdict for the time being. It is not because the Government is trying to defy the orders of Highest Court but because the controversy has become politically unmanageable due to overcharged emotions.

The Roman Catholics translate the word God in their Malay language paper Herald as Allah and hence the controversy. Of late violence has erupted and a few days ago some three churches were attacked with firebombs and one was extensively damaged. The religious extremists are determined to inflict their views on others. Malaysia, like India, is a multi-religious society and bye and large it has remained peaceful except when violence had erupted in late sixties between Malays and Chinese.

But again relations between Malays and Christians or Malays and Hindus erupt or situation becomes tense. All multi-religious societies experience inter-communal or inter-religious tensions in some or more degrees. All Malays are Muslims and constitute about sixty per cent of Malaysia's population. In Malaysia, Malays and Muslims have become synonymous. As mostly weaker sections of society embrace Islam in the hope of equality and justice, in Malaysia too, poorer sections embraced Islam and Malays till recently were poor and backward. However, now most of them are well educated and economically better off.

The Malays who oppose the use of word Allah by Christians, argue that this will confuse ordinary Malays and in view of missionary activities of Catholic Christians, they may convert to Christianity and they want to ward off this confusion among Malays. This may have its own rationale but the problem has to be solved through dialogue and mutual understanding. But the problem is that some politicians would like to exploit such controversies to their benefit.

In fact those who object to use of word Allah by Christians are on weak grounds. As Allah is one and creator of all of us cannot be monopolized by any one religious, much less linguistic community. The word Allah in Arabic was in use before Islam appeared on the scene in Mecca. As Maulana Azad points out in his Tarjuman al-Qur'an the word Allah is derived linguistically from pre-Islamic 'eel' as in Jibra'il or Israf'il etc. The word is Hebrew was also iloh or ilah and by adding 'al' (which in English is used for 'the'). Thus al-ilah (the God) became Allah in Arabic and was used for supreme God.

In fact Muslims should welcome if non-Muslims too use the word Allah for God or Ishwar etc. How can one object to use of Allah by others? Anyone who learns Arabic and talks about God will have to use word Allah. All Christian Arabs freely use word Allah in countries like Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon etc. No one objects to use of the word Allah. At least I do not know whether any Muslim Arab ever objected to such use.

I was in Lebanon in late nineties for a Christian-Muslim dialogue and we decided to visit mosque on Friday and a church on Sunday. We Muslims offered salah (prayer) on Friday and Christians sat in one place till prayer was over and we discussed with the imam of the mosque certain inter-communal problems. Similarly we Muslims observed the service in the church on Sunday while Christians in the group participated in the service.

The priest who was delivering sermon in Arabic was using the word Allah only and had rosary (tasbih) in his hand like the Imam in the mosque. If a curtain had been drawn between us and the priest I would have felt as if Imam in the mosque was delivering khutba in the mosque. Of course there were theological differences but otherwise Arabic language made us feel one.

As I always maintain any language exists prior to any religion and not otherwise. A religion uses a language which pre-exists it. More than one religious community can use the same language and terminology of both the religions would appear very similar. In fact in Lebanon Christians have rendered yeoman service to Arabic language and it is Christians who have prepared dictionary of modern Arabic Al-Munjid which is consulted by all Arab scholars of modern Arabic.
No language can be monopoly of any one religious community. In India too many Hindus learnt Arabic and Persian which was court language and they fluently spoke Persian and even wrote poetry in Persian like Chandrabhan Brahman. There were several first rate Urdu poets who were and still are Hindus and they use words like 'Khuda and Allah in their poetry. How can one object to that.

And as for fear that use of word Allah by Christians would confuse Malay Muslims and they may convert to Christianity is not a well grounded fear. Only those who feel their religion is followed without much conviction can entertain such fears. And for Malays their very identity and existence is based on Islam and as pointed out above, Malay and Muslims have be come identical. How can then such fear be justified?

When one Malay Muslim had converted to Islam a few years ago there was such a hue and cry and Shariah court sentenced her and she had to revert to Islam, then how can such a fear be justified that there will be mass conversion to Christianity. And in modern democratic society one cannot stop conversion through fear of law. If any one converts to other religion it is between him/her and Allah. In matters religious one is answerable only to God, not to any human being.

However, matter is really not religious but political. The majority community feels it would be reduced to minority and hence it resists any conversion to other religions. In India the Hindutva forces are enacting laws in the BJP ruled states to stop Hindus converting to other religions like Christianity or Islam but welcome if any Muslim or Christian converts to Hinduism. Thus political benefit and not conversion is the issue. In a truly democratic society what matters is democratic and fundamental rights not conversion to or from majority community religion. It should be purely an individual decision whether to convert to or from any one religion to another religion. Otherwise our democratic rights would be in great danger.

And as rightist forces and extremists make big issue out of nothing to create a scare against minority the rightwing extremists in Malaysia also have tried to create such a controversy. And as in India when the BJP raised such a controversy about Ramjanambhoomi temple, the Congress Government under Narsimha Rao allowed Babri Masjid to be demolished. The Malaysian Government too is scared and is afraid of implementing the High Court judgment for the time being.

Any multi-religious or multi-cultural democracy does not work smoothly in ideal sense. Even advanced western countries are facing problems of inter-religious tensions. In France there is often tension between African Muslims and white French. It is not so much religious but economic and political and also rightist forces are behind such eruptions.

Recently the French Government of Sarkozy which is rightist in ideology has proposed ban on burqa and if someone puts it on it proposes to impose fine of 750 Euros which is huge amount. Now it is ridiculous for an advanced democracy to dictate what one should or should not wear. The French rightist government has denounced burqa as 'prison' and even if it is, it is not business of government to dictate the nature of dress.

However, the socialist left is opposing such a ban though they also consider burqa quite undesirable but they do not consider it desirable to ban it. Thus after all it is not secularism which is in danger as the French Government feels and rationalizes its action with but their own political power. As religion cannot be in danger by deeds of few extremists, secularism cannot be in danger just because a few women wear burqa in France and yet we see how French government is creating scare and how it is dealing with the subject.

In many countries with multi-religious structure the right wing among religious majority community has been suppressing voice of reason successfully. The moderates are being silenced through creating mass hysteria. There is great need for civil society to play its role and support enlightened policies. Most of the moderate intellectuals have no time or interest to study the issue in depth and become victims of high pitched propaganda.

We need what we call public intellectuals who raise voice of reason and take public stand even risking their own reputation, or even career. Most of our moderate intellectuals argue why we should bother about such things and give way to such extremist forces. We should always be ready like Bertrand Russell, Jean Paul Sartre or Noam Chomsky to fearlessly criticize the powers that be in keeping with their conviction. What is the use of conviction which does not inspire you to speak out irrespective of consequences? Be it controversy about Allah or burqa or crime of Zionists or rigidity of orthodoxy. They alone can save democracy.


all(ah) ok in east malaysia

Posted: 15 Jan 2010 07:42 PM PST


Govt says: Sabah & Sarawak can use "Allah", West Malaysia cannot.

(What's the bet the Court of Appeal will – surprise, surprise – say the exact same thing?)

 As someone put it: 1Malaysia 2Systems.

But MOST interesting is this quote by Nazri the law[less] minister:

Excerpt from Malaysiakini report:

The High Court, in its ruling on Dec 31, had contended that "there was no evidence to show that the use of 'Allah' (by non-Muslims) could incite violence". Nazri conceded that such incidents had not happened during the hearing and the government could not, therefore, produce such evidence in court. The subsequent arson attacks on the churches, continued Nazri, "proved that the government was right (about the 'Allah' ban)".

Similarly in NST:

He said banning the use of "Allah" by Christians was a preemptive move to stop outbreaks of religious violence in the nation, and the government was proven right in doing so when churches were attacked following the High Court ruling in favour of the Herald weekly.

 

Things that make you go hmmmmm …..


Eye of the storm

Posted: 15 Jan 2010 11:05 PM PST


The cover story of Time magazine indicated that Malaysia, not Indonesia or the Phillipines, is the hub, financial and planning centre for the Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist network.

Shocking news? Read part of the article here and you can read more in MT here.

……………….Very few suspected peaceful, relatively prosperous Malaysia, where Muslims make up two-thirds of the population but seemed to have bought into the consumerist, essentially pro-Western views espoused by their leaders.

But after months of investigation and hundreds of hours interrogating detained terrorist suspects, even government officials in Kuala Lumpur can no longer deny that Malaysia was the financial and planning center for the region's main al-Qaeda-linked terrorist network, the place Osama bin Laden's proselytizers chose to recruit a core of loyal followers, launch new groups into neighboring countries, and coordinate with Southeast Asia's existing Islamic radicals. Increasingly, it seems clear Malaysia was one of a number of hubs used in the worldwide preparations for the carnage of Sept. 11 in the U.S.


The von Trapp family, remember?

Posted: 15 Jan 2010 10:08 PM PST


For those of us in our fifties, a show that all of us must have watched during our childhood is the "Sound of Music". Even if you did not have the opportunity to watch that show, you must have heard of the song "Do, Re , Mi" or  the theme song "SOund of music", or "my favourite things".

For those who have seen the show, the image of Julie Andrews running and hopping and singing with her guitar will forever be imprinted in our minds.

And we will always remember how the family risked their lives escaping from the rule of tyranny, the Nazis which annexed Austria just before the start of the Second World War.

And of course, the Von Trapp family of 7 children. DO you ever wonder where are the children now?

I received some photos via email on their reunion after 40 years.I thought some of you might want to see how they are now :

These were the Von Trapp Family in the show.

They must be my age now.

And,

The who is who :

The show was based on an autobiography by Maria Von Trapp, with many alterations apparently from the real life happenings. For those who are interested in the real story of the Von Trapp,  you can read it  here.


A blogger's view

Posted: 15 Jan 2010 09:15 PM PST

I got the link to this blog from RockyBru. I think everyone who's ever offered his or her 2 sen worth on the Allah issue should read this too. The blogpost is titled "The Problem of Meaning, Abdullah Paderi and the Pangkor Treaty." And it is taken from the blog Pure Shiite........Pererration of a Space Monkey from Uranus. Read. Enjoy. Think. Debate.

The Problem of Meaning, Abdullah Paderi and the Pangkor Treaty


Welcome back folks…….

Today what shall we talk about?


Should we go into the discourse of whether Allah the Arabic "Loan-word" in "Malay" should go Mainstream and its potential impact on the cognitive behavoir of the Malays

Or should we try to understand how the fuck we got here in the first place…..

mmm……which one folks?

Let us do both……

Where shall we begin…..

Simple things first….

Allah is an Arabic Loan Word in Malay or is it an exclusive Arabic word not in Malay?

Simple rite……

Hah…which one?

Ok lets assume that its a loan word from Arabic and is used widely in the Malay Peninsula say from Friday, 22nd February, 1303

Why that date......(read more)


Projek LRT Melaka : Penyelewengan Yang Telah Berlaku

Posted: 15 Jan 2010 08:11 PM PST

Sumber: Guang Ming Daily
Tajuk: Projek LRT Melaka : Penyelewengan Yang Telah Berlaku






Perkara ini telah dibangkitkan oleh MP Kota Melaka (DAP) Saudara Sim Tong Him dalam surat akbar berbahasakan Cina iaitu Guang Ming Daily dimana terdapat penyelewengan yang telah berlaku dalam projek LRT Melaka. Sebagai Rakyat Malaysia, saya berharap Kerajaan Melaka akan mengambil tindakan yang cepat untuk membendung masalah seperti ini.....

Lebih banyak gambar didalam

Majlis Perasmian Projek LRT Melaka?



Tetapi adakah projek tersebut begitu rapat dengan kawasan perumahan? Bagaimana pula dengan pencemaran bunyi?



Tiang LRT yang begitu jauh sekali daripada landasan LRT, adakah ia cukup untuk mengambil berat daripada LRT?


[ADS] Terima Email Dan Dapatkan $$$ Setiap Kali Membacanya !!!
[ADS] Malaysia Online Contest, Promotion & Earning Blog!!!
[ADS] Earn $$$ From Your Website With Adbrite!!!


News adopted from guangming.com.my
Photo adopted from mykampung.sinchew.com.my

Some fact about Malacca LRT Project

MALACCA: Malaysia's historical city Malacca is expected to have its own Light Rail Transit (LRT) system and Express Rail Link (ERL) by 2015.

Under the draft district plan for Melaka Tengah, the LRT will serve Melaka Sentral and Malacca International Trade Centre, while the ERL will be linked to KL International Airport.

However, Mayor Datuk Zaini Md Noor said the proposed development plan would depend on the needs of the people.

Zaini said a sub-terminal for buses and taxies would be built in Paya Rumput within the next 10 years as the population there was rising tremendously, especially in Cheng.

Koh (left) and Zaini viewing the 2003-2015 Melaka Tengah Local District Planning Draft in Malacca recently.
Among other projects planned for the state are the Multi Media Super Corridor, Batu Berendam Airport and Hang Tuah Jaya.

The state also projects the population in Melaka Tengah, which covers 30,445ha, to reach 520,000 by 2015.

The Melaka Tengah Local District Plan Draft was jointly prepared by the state Town and Local Planning Department and Malacca City Council. Read more @ thestar.com.my


Fantastic Facts and Funnies

Posted: 15 Jan 2010 08:03 PM PST

In other words they all can but you cannot. Tu je. Faham?

Today's fantastic fact and funny comes from none other than the master himself, Nazri Aziz. The minister in the Prime Minister's Department (one of quite a few others drawing a salary there I believe).

According to the report in today's Star Nazri said, "Christians in Sabah and Sarawak should be allowed to use the word "Allah" because it has been part of their custom for decades........."

But "......they must respect the sensitivities of those in the peninsula, who are uncomfortable with the use of the word by non-Muslims, and not use the word here"

"I have been to a church in Sabah and I know that the Kadazans and Ibans refer to God as Allah. The Muslims there are used to it. That is their custom, let it be."

"But when they are in semenanjung (peninsular Malaysia), then they must respect our custom here, which means that you cannot use the word 'Allah', because people here cannot accept it...."

HUH???!!!

But okay before you flers start firing off comments blaming Umno for this Nazri was quick to add that this was merely his personal opinion on the Allah issue.

NIAMAH!!!


PERMIM WOMAN IN MAKING The caged and saved,PERMIM screwed it up because in their pursuit of power and ego gratification

Posted: 15 Jan 2010 05:25 PM PST


so called
qualified and committed mix of professional so the the canai and teh tarik maker are

Click for larger image

PERMIM organization STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES MY FOOT• Strengthen PERMIM organization with qualified and committed mix of professional and business people


IT IS FOR OUR GRAND CHILDREN AND THE FUTURE GENERATION.DONT BE MISLEAD BY THE TINEST OF THE MINORITY


PERMIM organizationWHO HAVE VESTED INTERST TO RIDE ROUGHSHOT OVER THE MAJORITY, HOW DANGEROUSLY THEY TWISTED


• Create a cooperative environment within the community that could promote and enhance PERMIM's legitimacy and supremacy to represent the community


If you letin this filth and evil,

you deserve to get screwed

(likely from the back after witnessing

the penchant for posterior talents)

People get the governance they deserve.

(so think wisely…)

the so called

qualified and committed mix of professionlTuan Hj Dr. Syed Ebrahim Mohd Esmail


• PERMIM President 2005 to current

Click for larger image

real qualified and committed mix of professionl are shut out


MIER's Ariff: 2010 will be a tougher and more challenging year get ready to out of job

MIER'S ARIFF: 2010 WILL BE A TOUGHER AND MORE CHALLENGING YEAR

Click for larger image

Tuan Hj Dr. Syed Ebrahim Mohd Esmail

• PERMIM President 2005 to current





FEMINISM


PERMIM organization STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES MY FOOT• Strengthen PERMIM organization with qualified and committed mix of professional and business people


IT IS FOR OUR GRAND CHILDREN AND THE FUTURE GENERATION.DONT BE MISLEAD BY THE TINEST OF THE MINORITY


PERMIM organization

WHO HAVE VESTED INTERST TO RIDE ROUGHSHOT OVER THE MAJORITY, HOW DANGEROUSLY THEY TWISTED

• Create a cooperative environment within the community that could promote and enhance PERMIM's legitimacy and supremacy to represent the community


If you letin this filth and evil,

you deserve to get screwed

(likely from the back after witnessing

the penchant for posterior talents)

People get the governance they deserve.

(so think wisely…)

When you do something wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you

Susan Tay

One day, a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realised what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quietened down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up.

Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

**********************************************

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping-stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

Free your heart from hatred – Forgive.

Free your mind from worries – Most never happen.

Live simply and appreciate what you have.

Give more.

Expect less.

NOW …….

Enough of that crap. The donkey later came back and bit the farmer who had tried to bury him. The gash from the bite got infected and the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.

MORAL FROM TODAY'S LESSON:

When you do something wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you

Develop and implement an effective communication with Branches and Affiliates Management

so that they remain active and relevant to deliver the expectations of the community

so you have not had any communication you are only to implement it yet

Inculcate in today's youth about Indian Muslim heritage and being proud of the Ancestry
Establish a "Think Tank" research institute to help PERMIM undertake research studies(census,

rich poor gap, educational needs etc) for self help and to ask for government's assistance


Martin Luther King and his Civil Rights Movement had a dream, ,

so does Najib. Mahathir had a dream

PERMIM screwed it up because in their pursuit of power

and ego gratification, they destroyed our institutions of governance.

and our system of checks and balances. And today,

Malaysia is a wasteland engulfed by corruption, incompetence and moral degradation.

BY FAISAL AL YAFAI, JANUARY 11, 2010

Like most ideas, this one did not have a single genesis. I've been thinking, and to some extent writing, about feminism for many years and in many guises. The word itself is controversial, with some damning it as the force that destroyed the family and others defending it as the movement that freed a gender. It is one of those terms that starts simply and rapidly gets tangled: if you look around the world and think there are inequalities between the genders, and that those inequalities are not biological and are unfair, you are probably a feminist. And that's where the arguments begin.

But definitions are only useful for what they illuminate, and the language of feminism, like the languages of democracy or freedom, has often been used to obscure.

So much of the discourse around the West's relationship with the Muslim world has been framed through the language of women.

It was around women that early Christian Europe framed its opposition to the pleasure palaces of the "Mohammedans", the barely disguised yearning for the exoticism of the Orient. The role of women in Egyptian society was cited by Napoleon as a wedge through which to enter the country; was cited again as a justification for the Anglo-American invasions of both Iraq and Afghanistan, and is regularly cited as apparent evidence of a lack of commitment to equal rights in Muslim communities.

Within the Muslim world, discourse around women's roles and rights remains highly charged. As much as some point to the treatment of women in Europe as evidence of the vanishing of the West's moral compass, it is also the case that, across much of the Muslim world, women's dress has become a way to impose a religious vision upon the society, even as Muslim women use the veil to reclaim their own identities.

And, still, in too many countries, internal social and cultural wars are fought on the battleground of women's bodies.

So the question of what counts as feminism, as liberation, in the Arab and Islamic worlds is complicated and intricate. To try and answer it, I am leaving London next week for Beirut, the first stop on a journey that will take me thousands of kilometres across Arab and Islamic lands, through Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and to the very edges of Indonesia.

Through interviews, experiences and research, I hope to come close to an answer, and I've been immensely privileged to be awarded a Churchill Fellowship, the living memorial to Britain's wartime leader, to fund this exploration.

What do I hope to find? Not easy answers, for sure. Even the idea of what counts as liberation is mixed.

I have called the introductory chapter of the book I am writing about this journey "The caged and the saved", reflecting the two ways people think of what the Muslim veil does.

In it, I tell an anecdote of encountering these contrasting attitudes in real life, when, walking around London with a friend, she asked me, of a woman wearing a Saudi abaya, "How can she think she is liberated when she dresses like that?" It occurred to me another woman might ask the same question about the women around her displaying acres of flesh.

Nor is there a clear dividing line between political and religious perspectives. Earlier this year in Morocco I interviewed Nadia Yassine, of the banned Islamist group Al Adl wal Ihsane. As much as she spoke the language of women's rights and of female liberation, she was reluctant to be pigeonholed as a feminist in the western understanding of the term. Her perspective, she said, stemmed from her faith. The imam and the activist can sometimes reach the same conclusions.

Within the Muslim world, as within the West, the idea of what feminism is, where it comes from, how relevant it is, what form equality ought to take are real, live debates. They come to us in snatches: harassment of women on the streets of Cairo, the wearing of trousers in Sudan, unsegregated university campuses in Saudi Arabia, the burning of girls' schools in Pakistan.

And threaded through these snatches are less-regular glimpses of clear successes: the leadership of women such as Queen Rania, Benazir Bhutto and Lubna Olayan. And there is the immense lived experience of millions of women, who assert their own independence daily through their work, relationships, devotion to their family and faith.

The Arab and Islamic worlds are going through a period of immense change and the ideology that holds nations and regions together is altering. The big –isms of the world – nationalism, capitalism, Islamism – affect women in each country differently.

The outward symbols of faith are obvious illustrations of this, but the framework of the society is equally important.

The professor in Tehran and the village-woman in Indonesia will not only dress differently, they may also have different conceptions of the relationship between men and women. I expect to meet those who espouse feminism from a purely secular perspective, and those who say that Islam has provided a clear manifesto for women's rights.

So I am not setting out with preconceived notions. I don't begin from the assumption that one way of living is better than another, nor do I go in with the assumption that what occurs to one person in one country is indicative of a nation or a faith. But I do think it is possible to delineate between ways of organising a society: that if you look closely enough at a society's history and people, it is possible to make fine, sensitive judgements. Though I expect differences, I also hope for some common ground.

The Arab world is a complex place; nations of Arabic speakers who think they are one but act like they are many. It is a place that defies easy categorisation.

I have lived, travelled and reported across many Arab countries over many years, but there are still times when I come across something – an event, a conversation – that makes me think I have barely scratched the surface.

Such has been the case with my conversations about feminism: I've often understood the word in terms of equality of laws, education and employment. But it is astonishing how varied people's perceptions are around the Middle East.

If that is the case with the Arab world, with all its many commonalities, imagine the complexity of the Islamic worlds that stretch across Asia and Africa. That's the reason I have broadened the journey out to encompass the vast non-Arab Islamic world: the Shia customs of Iran, the South Asian experience in Pakistan and the newer Asian traditions in Indonesia.

The exploration of these places will be a key theme, because no idea lives in isolation; all are shaped by the experience of their societies. I want to go beyond a purely intellectual discussion to understand the lived experiences of women in these societies.

I admit there have been times these last few weeks, as I prepare to leave London and skim through old books on the subject, that I have wondered if it is perhaps an overwhelming one. I have been incredibly lucky so far to have friends and colleagues who have helped me get started – I know I will meet many more over the next few months. What I don't know is if I will find any answers, or even if there are any: that's why I am going.

BY FAISAL AL YAFAI, JANUARY 11, 2010

Like most ideas, this one did not have a single genesis. I've been thinking, and to some extent writing, about feminism for many years and in many guises. The word itself is controversial, with some damning it as the force that destroyed the family and others defending it as the movement that freed a gender. It is one of those terms that starts simply and rapidly gets tangled: if you look around the world and think there are inequalities between the genders, and that those inequalities are not biological and are unfair, you are probably a feminist. And that's where the arguments begin.
Posted by TAXIDRIVER