Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Opinion on the Recent Interfaith Dialogue

Malaysiakini had an entry titled : Bar Council's forum: More shelling for police, protesters . This is the excerpt :

Twelve non-governmental organisations today signed a joint statement, denouncing the high-handed action taken by Muslim protestors and the police to stop an open discussion on legal issues related to the conversion to Islam.

The blogger Kaytee posted some notable comments on the issue ( Who had insulted Islam? ) .

This is not the first time that a public forum revolving around Interfaith dialogue is disrupted with similar protests or rough approach.

As a Malaysian, I am quite disappointed with the outcome although such happening is not really unexpected. This incident makes me think for a while before writing. I was trying to decipher and analyse the implicit cause of such response from particular Muslims.

On the subject at hand, indeed the theme "Conversion to Islam" is sensitive but does that mean it should not be brought up as a public discussion? I think it should, considering the fact that Islam is the official religion of the nation and every citizen would be affected (directly or/and indirectly) by that.

Furthermore, over the years there are unpleasant cases of body-snatching, Lina Joy among others causing confusion and disagreements among Malaysians. The best attempt to iron all these out is to hold discussions for both sides of the party (Muslims and non-Muslims) to table their opinion, questions, priorities and maybe, voice out their dilemmas.

Issues as described above can only be solved when both sides of the parties get to know what each other are thinking. A common understanding can only be formulated if all factors are taken into account. Without discussion, none of these are achievable.

A dialogue does not instantly promise a solution but it does indeed help in getting more minds to think and therefore, the possibility of achieving an agreable amicable solution is higher and perhaps quicker. It is a long journey but more brains create greater synergy.

Why can't Malaysians see the dialogue this way? Why can't Malaysians look further and be far-sighted?

Religion/faith is a sensitive issue to all. It touches the core of one's soul and more often than not emotions run deep. But, in order to sort out related issues emotion has to be temporarily put aside.

Besides, a dialogue should not be literally seen as negatively "challenging" one's religion. It should be viewed in the positive light of promoting inter-religious tolerance, inculcating understanding and sorting out problems.

Reading news like Molotov cocktail scare and No, this 'Babi' will Not 'Balik Cina' are disappointing. Interfaith dialogue has nothing to do with race, animals or China. It absolutely has nothing to do with violence.

Perhaps, all Malaysians should try to comprehend this phrase "I may not agree with what you have said but I will defend your right to say it".

Anyway, Blogger Kickdefella said there could be some other people who is behind this in his latest post. That makes me curious when I think of it ... Could it be? Must really read and analyse....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The irony of all this is the use of religion as racial "trump card" by BN as its' last defence.After the Bar Concil incident, than UiTM. I wonder what's next. This will go on until the Permatang Pauh bi-election and till Sept16.So,tell the PKR folks to becareful because anything said, even the slightest gesture, however noble and sincere the intention may be, will be manipulated by BN to its advantage.

ASK4u (find my comments in MT)