Friday, February 20, 2009


Year 2002

For the last several weeks there has been rioting and killing in India. Hundreds have been killed. Today, March 15, 2002, is the day that many fear could engulf the entire sub-continent in a civil war in which millions could die. Ever since the Hindu Nationalist Party, the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad), won elections in 1992 and drove the traditional Congress Party from power, tensions have been rising. In 1992, Hindu rioters stormed the oldest Muslim mosque in India, tore it down and reduced it to rubble. This led to riots throughout the country that left 2,000 people dead. Sam Sloan wrote this years ago. Read it here

Has humanity grown since or is religion still obstructing it?

August 25, 2008

Hindu-Christian Violence Flares in India?

The remote, destitute state of Orissa, marred for years by Hindu-versus-Christian violence, erupted in a retaliatory killing on Monday after the murder of a Hindu leader led a mob to burn small Christian churches, prayer halls and an orphanage that had housed 21 children? Read here

Has humanity grown since or is religion still obstructing it?


A Coptic Christian so enraged by the conversion of his sister to Islam and subsequent marriage to a Muslim man has murdered his brother-in-law? The attack which targeted the whole family to place in the Cairo apartment of Miriam Atef Khella. Police are now searching for the brother and uncle. Read it here.

12th January 2009

Dancing girl 'murdered by Taliban after refusing to give up traditional performances despite death threats'? Read it here.

Has humanity grown since or is religion still obstructing it?


Tasleem Solangi (in the photo), a 17-year-old girl, was accused without any proof of "immorality": the young woman was accused of having an "extramarital" relationship, for which reason she was punished by relatives. From the initial reconstruction, it emerges instead that a land dispute was at the origin of the brutal killing. The girl was murdered solely in order to convince her father to sell. Read it here

Inspired by “Buddhism” too?

Read here“Muslims in Burma are not considered to be citizens. They have no rights and often suffer discrimination and indiscriminate killings. Many of them, in particular after 1962, had to flee the country and still today live in refugee camps in Bangladesh, which actually do not welcome them. Although Muslims have taken active part in the 1988 revolt, and paid the consequences more than the Buddhist population, the majority of monks and Buddhists in Burma have anti-Muslim sentiments, in particular based on the fear of possible intermarriages”.

Has humanity grown since or is religion still obstructing it?

Friday, May 18, 2007

First death in Dera, Sikh violence?

Activists of the Dal Khalsa and Damdami Taksal attacked Dera branches at Maur and Mastgarh near Bathinda. Read it here

Has humanity grown since or is religion still obstructing it?


Is One God not enough?

What about compassion, kindness, mercy, acceptance, celebration as human beings and humanity?

We need to look deeply within our souls to discover if we really do believe in the Creator and “His overwhelming Mercy.


[NOTE: This article is not meant to insult any religion but merely to share news which shows that people act violently in the name of religion. Those who know me know that I prescribe to the Quranic view: “To you your way and to me, mine”.]

ALERT: Readers, please alert me if there are any factual errors in the news posted. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Violence of Hypocrisy

The minds of human beings have been trained by our current system to recognize only what is superficial and what is physically imminent. Our kindergartens, schools and universities are geared towards “physical survival studies”. Hence we may produce excellent technocrats but poor human beings. Academically brilliant but with poverty of character.

We often speak against the violence of physical wars. True, wars are destructive, cruel and irrational. But what are the real underlying causes? What is it that makes one human readily and nonchalantly murder children, women, and families in broad day light and then – celebrate the killing as a victory of some dubious cause? Have we ever addressed the roots?

To me, it is totally hypocritical to speak of the sanctity of life and yet in same breath destroy it. To a large extent it is also the hypocritical nature of human beings that has been the cause of untold miseries on earth. The refusal of human beings to recognize and manage this nature. For me, the violence of hypocrisy is far more deadly and destructive than the violence of the physical wars. It encompasses the physical violence.

No wonder then that Allah in the Quran denounces the hypocrites as being worse than the disbelievers. The Quran in chapter Al-Baqarah (2) verse 44 says:

Do you enjoin right conduct on the people, and forget (to practice it)
yourselves, and yet you study the Scripture? Will you not understand?”

And further, Allah says it is an odious or hateful attitude to say one thing and to do another:

“O you who believe! Why do you speak of that which you do not do? Grievously odious is it in the sight of God that you say that which you do not”. (Quran 61.2 - 3 )

There must be consistency in behavior, speech and judgment. Any consistent inconsistency in the inner world (our selves) is violent and brings forth violence in the outer world.

2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? (Bible: Matthew 7:2-4 (New International Version)

In religion especially, the sin of hypocrisy is rampant.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Bible: Matthew 23.27-28)

The hypocrite wishes to enjoy the approval of his peers and even the perquisites of a religious office by appearing outwardly moral or religious, while inwardly he is not. Furthermore, when hypocrites rise to high position, they set a bad example for ordinary believers and bring religion itself into disrepute. They also exhibit satanic or demonic qualities and unleash violent miseries. We will see behavior that we cannot reconcile with the merciful or the “rahmah” nature of the Divine being.

“Hypocrisy, arrogance, pride, anger, harshness, and ignorance; these are the marks of those who are born with demonic qualities, O Arjuna.” (Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 16 verse 10)

The Buddha calls him a Brahman whose passion, hatred, pride, arrogance and hypocrisy has fallen like a mustard from the needle.

IF we accept that hypocrisy is an unavoidable human condition, then the problem will be the failure to manage it. We must learn to hate this hypocrisy and prevent it from externalizing itself into miseries for others and violent consequences for the world.

On the other hand, if we accept that hypocrisy is a sickness, then we must cure this deadly virus.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009


A prominent lawyer, Haji Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera was kind to email me the remarks of President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast. I now reproduce excerpts from that speech:

"There is no doubt that the very nature of faith means that some of our beliefs will never be the same. We read from different texts. We follow different edicts. We subscribe to different accounts of how we came to be here and where we're going next – and some subscribe to no faith at all.

But no matter what we choose to believe, let us remember that there is no religion whose central tenet is hate. There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know.

We know too that whatever our differences, there is one law that binds all great religions together. Jesus told us to "love thy neighbor as thyself." The Torah commands, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow." In Islam, there is a hadith that reads "None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." And the same is true for Buddhists and Hindus; for followers of Confucius and for humanists. It is, of course, the Golden Rule – the call to love one another; to understand one another; to treat with dignity and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this Earth.

It is an ancient rule; a simple rule; but also one of the most challenging. For it asks each of us to take some measure of responsibility for the well-being of people we may not know or worship with or agree with on every issue. Sometimes, it asks us to reconcile with bitter enemies or resolve ancient hatreds. And that requires a living, breathing, active faith. It requires us not only to believe, but to do – to give something of ourselves for the benefit of others and the betterment of our world.

In this way, the particular faith that motivates each of us can promote a greater good for all of us. Instead of driving us apart, our varied beliefs can bring us together to feed the hungry and comfort the afflicted; to make peace where there is strife and rebuild what has broken; to lift up those who have fallen on hard times. This is not only our call as people of faith, but our duty as citizens of America, and it will be the purpose of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships that I'm announcing later today".


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Meeting the Jehovah Witnesses in UK

When I was studying in England for my law, three people came knocking on my hostel door one evening. I opened the door and there were 2 guys and a girl, probably in their early twenties.

“Hi”, said one of them, while the rest smiled warmly at me. I smiled back and put on a ‘what can I do for you face’. The girl now introduced, “I am Beth, and this is Peter and Jacob. We are Jehovah Witnesses and we want to share the good news with you. Do you have a minute?”.

“Sure”, I replied and invited them in. I made a pot of coffee because I anticipated a long stay and served them “richie” biscuits. They explained to me about God and the Bible. I listened intently for almost an hour to them without any questions. My response in that hour was few and was confide to “can you explain that to me again please”.

One of the guys was so pleased with me and said”, “You are blessed with a seeking spirit”. “Thank you”, I responded.

Finally, the girl smiled and asked, “Would you like to join us at the Church this Sunday?”

I must admit I liked her Spanish blue eyes and her smile.

“Sure. Would love to. But I have a problem that you may help me with?”.

“What’s the problem?”, asked Jacob, who was doing most of the preaching earlier.

I got up and got my translation of the Quran by Yusuf Ali and gave it to Jacob.

“This is the problem. This book says it is the holy word of God and it seems to make sense. Can you help me sort that out in my head? Have you read it?”

Three of them looked at each other and then to me and shook their head. Jacob looked at me rather suspiciously and said, : “Er, you didn’t tell us you are a Muslim?”

I quickly assured him, “I am a believer. Don’t let the fact that I take the Quran to be the word of God put you away. I really want you to help me sort this out in my head. You can have my copy. Read it and lets explore it too. I want to explore the Bible too”.

There was silence. Beth took my copy. We then chatted for a brief while about where I was from and then they left.

On Sunday, I went to the Church (one of my Muslim friend were upset). The three of them were surprised to see me and Beth welcomed me. After the service, I was introduced to some of their friends. I invited them over to my hostel on Monday for mutton curry. They accepted. I gave them each a copy of the Quran translation which I had bought and asked Beth to bring back my copy when she comes for lunch.

Following Monday, they came for lunch. They liked my cooking and I must admit I was elated that they liked my cooking!

During desert, the discussion turned to religion. Now I started.

“I have been reading the Bible that you gave me. There are quite a few things I can’t seem to understand. I gave them a set of notes and biblical passages that I have made. Have any you read the Quran yet?’

Beth said she has. The other two, smiled, looked at each other and Jacob said “Well, honestly Jay, we did not. We do not feel the need to. We have found the spirit of Christ”.

“Oh ok. But Jacob, You inspired me when you said that the Lord loves the peacemakers and the truth seekers. Let me just show you one of the verse in the Quran that bothers me”. I showed them chapter 41 verse 52 which read:

“Say: ‘What if the Quran is from God and you decide to reject it? Who is in greater error than the one who is in a prolonged opposition?’

While they were looking at the verse, I said, “Well, Jacob, we surely cannot reject or accept something without knowing what it is, right?”

Jacob read it rather quickly. Beth read it slowly and said, “Very interesting”. Jacob then suddenly said something about them being late for something else. They all got up to leave.

“Thanks for coming. Thanks for caring;” I said then continued, “I would really be happy to meet again to discuss both the Bible and the Quran.”

Two weeks nobody came. In the third week, Beth knocked on my door. We discussed the Bible and the Quran almost every other day for almost 6 months. I tried to meet up with Peter and Jacob. Beth told me they do not want to see me. They even advised her to stay away from me. I found that amusing as I had only wanted to discuss. Subsequently, she decided to become a Muslim. I remember her asking me if that is a good idea and I remember my reply.

I replied, “Daarrling, that is entirely your choice” with the naughtiest smile I could muster. To me, I had nothing to do with her conversion. She wanted to discuss and I was happy to share and learn.

We kept in touch for some years after I came to Malaysia. She married an Englishman who also converted to Islam.

Peace !

Note: I have also had visits from Jehovah Witnesses in Malaysia. But sadly, they only come once despite my invitation! My loss!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Why the fight to use the word “Allah”?

The term “Allah” as many in many parts of the world knows is a term that is used exclusively by Muslims to denote the concept of “The” “One God” who has no partners, does not beget nor is begotten. The term “Allah” used by the Muslims also encompasses the following belief:

“God! There is no god but He,-the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permits? He knows what (appears to His creatures as) is before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass any of His knowledge except as He wills. His Throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory)”. (Quran: 2.255).

(On the contrary, you can find passages in the Bible that says God is tired and rested).

Sure, some Arab Christians that I know also use the term “Allah” to denote “God”, but in that part of the world, it is understood that the “Christian theological” conception of God and the Quranic teaching of “God” are completely different. After all, they are all Arab speaking and the word “Allah” is from the Arabic “Al-iLah” meaning “The God”. So the word for god is “ilah” in Arabic.

This is also understood when we consider that Muslims say “there is no ilah (god) but Al-Lah (‘The God”)”. Hence I cannot understand the rationale why the particular Catholic quarter is clamoring to use the word “Allah” in its Malay writings. The Malay word for “god” is “tuhan”. SO what is the real motivation here?

Communication wise, the short answer will be use the term “tuhan” in the Malay writings.

The Muslims, irrespective of whether they are Malays, Chinese, Indians, Americans, Spanish, Portuguese, Filipinos, Uzbeks, English, etc all use the term “Allah” when they refer to the Quranic concept of God.

How do the Christians do it? Is there a specific term for “god” in the Christian world? If there is, then use this word. Otherwise, points of references may be confusing and misleading.

The Bible has many references to “god” – Elohim ((Isa. 54:5; Jer. 32:27; Gen. 1:1; Isa. 45:18; Deut. 5:23; 8:15; Ps. 68:7); El Elyon (Gen. 14:19; Ps. 9:2; Dan. 7:18, 22, 25), Yahweh ((Gen. 4:3; Ex. 6:3 ; 3:12), Adonai ((Gen. 18:2; 40:1; 1 Sam. 1:15), Father, etc. There are also many characteristics of god in the Bible like Yahweh shalom, Yahweh Sabbath, etc.

OR since Jesus Christ is central to Christianity, why not follow the xample provide for in the Bible itself – where Jesus is reported to beseech God for help while he was on the cross?

"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"—Matthew 27:46.

He called God “Eli, Eli”.

So why “Allah” in the Malay version? I do not see the word “Allah” in my collection of the KJV Bible version, or the RSV version, or the NIV version or NKJV version or the Jehovah Witness version or the other versions that I have. None.

So why the fight to use “Allah” in the Malay language? How will that assist better communication of biblical ideas?

Personally, I have no qualms about how people want to refer to “god” and whether they believe or not. After all, institutionalized religions have apparently become larger than the Truths. My experience has been religion is preferred to truths even in matters that defy logic and reason.

But when one party is insisting on using a particular term that has been generally understood to be some particular concept in another context, you wonder why.

For example, you have the concept of the “holy trinity” in Christianity – Father, Son and Holy Ghost. In the Quran, it clearly says “do not say three” as follows:

“They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them. Why turn they not to Allah, and seek His forgiveness? For Allah is Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful”. (Quran 5:73-74)

Hence the concept of “Allah, Anak dan Ruhul Kudus” is objectionable to a Muslim. To the Muslim mind, the Bible has varying ideas of God in the Bible. In the Quran, the idea is only one and is consistent – there is only ONE God who has no partners. While Christians believe that Jesus Christ is “God incarnate” or “God in human flesh”, to the Muslims, Allah is Allah and never did “He” send anyone to earth to “die” for “Him”. To the Muslims, Jesus is a prophet. This is just some few examples of the reasons why Muslims may react to concept of “Allah” in a context other than “ONE God”.

Theological differences are normal. Accepted. True guidance is Allah’s domain.

But the point is: why insist on the Arabic word “Allah” which refers to “one God” when a generic Arabic word “ilah” for God is available?

Likewise, why not use the word “Tuhan”, the Malay word in Malay literature?

How then would the “Father” or “Yahweh” or “Elohim” be termed in Tamil or Chinese? Ming Ming Shangti or Andavan?

For the Muslims, in any language it is “Allah”.

Peace !

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Berdakwah atau "Bertingkah laku" ?

"Berdakwah" mempunyai pengertian yang berbeza bagi berbeza orang. Banyak kegiatan berdakwah yang berlaku terutama dikalangan agama Islam dan agama Kristian. Pada amnya dan kebiasaannya, tujuan kegiatan dakwah dilakukan ialah untuk mempengaruhi audien sasaran untuk menganut agama yang didakwah atau untuk tujuan memberi kefahaman tentang suatu agama. Pelbagai kaedah berdakwah digunakan melalui pelbagai saluran media.

Dikalangan orang beragama Islam, mereka menganggap dakwah sebagai satu ibadah yang digalakkan. Di Malaysia, umpamanya, pelbagai program "agama" diterbitkan melalui televisyen dengan memanggil pelbagai pencEramah. Samaada program-program ini berkesan atau setakat melepaskan batuk ditangga adalah perkara lain.

Pada saya, dakwah yang terbaik ialah dakwah yang berlaku melalui perbuatan dan tingkah laku lazim seseorang. Tingkah laku lebih berkesan daripada berpuluh ceramah mengenai kebaikan sesuatu agama.

"Wahai orang-orang yang beriman! Mengapa kamu memperkatakan apa yang kamu tidak melakukannya! Amat besar kebenciannya di sisi Allah - kamu memperkatakan sesuatu yang kamu tidak melakukannya" [Al_Quran 61: 2-3)

Di Malaysia, mahu tidak mahu, tingkah laku dan perbuataan orang Melayu akan memberi kesan kepada imej agama Islam dikalangan bukan Islam. Walaupun kita tahu bahawa sikap penganut tidak semestinya mencerminkan tuntutan sesuatu agama, namun manusia lazim nya bukan lah bersifat logikal atau rasional atau pemikir. Mereka sering membuat rumusan yang singkat berdasarkan pengalaman mereka tanpa menilai pengalaman tersebut. Maka, apabila imej orang Melayu tidak dipandang tinggi, umpamanya, imej Islam juga akan tidak akan dipandang tinggi. ini lah beban yang dipikul oleh orang Melayu yang perlu sentiasa mereka berwaspada.

Imej ini pula lebih berkesan apabila orang itu bercakap mengenai Islam. Bagaimana cara yang digunakan untuk berbicara mengenai Islam - cara merendah diri atau sombong?, cara "patronising" atau berdiskusi?, cara memaksa atau cara minda terbuka?, dan sebagai nya. Begitu juga sikap, perangai dan perbuatan pemimpin-pemimpin Melayu dan kakitangan Kerajaan juga dianggap sebagai mencerminkan keberkesanan ajaran Islam. Maka, kegiatan rasuah, malas bekerja, bersikap asabiyah atau rasis, bersikap tidak adil, mentali subsidi yang berterusan, berjawatan tinggi kerana kenalan dan bukan kerana kemahiran dan sebagainya tidak akan mencerminkan diskripsi Allah bahawa "umat Islam adalah umat yang terbaik bagi manusia".

Selagi nilai-nilai taqwa yang disebut didalam Al-Quran itu tidak menjadi landasan kehidupan harian orang yang menganut agama Islam, ia masih jauh daripada menjadi "Muslim" ( iaitu orang yang menyerah kepada Allah) dan mustahil ia mencerminkan "umat yang terbaik". Ini lah cabaran orang Melayu yang mahu berusaha menjadi Muslim dalam Negara kita.

"Serulah ke jalan Tuhanmu dengan hikmat kebijaksanaan dan nasihat pengajaran yang baik, dan berbahaslah dengan mereka (yang engkau serukan itu) dengan cara yang lebih baik; sesungguhnya Tuhanmu Dia lah jua yang lebih mengetahui akan orang yang sesat dari jalanNya, dan Dia lah jua yang lebih mengetahui akan orang-orang yang mendapat hidayah petunjuk" [Al-Quran: 16:125).


NOTA: Artikel ini merupakan pandangan penulis dan penulis mengalu-alukan pandangan bebeza, jika ada, didalam semangat saling belajar.