The government of Malaysia is upset at comments made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice concerning the case of Anwar Ibrahim who has been charged with sodomy by Singapore authorities. Anwar, a former deputy prime minister, revived his political career– which previously had also been sidetracked by sexual molestation charges– and organized a three party coalition which obtained 82 seats in the 222 member Parliament. Rice had indicated American concern that Singapore’s political process was abusing the rights of its citizens by making false charges against a prominent politician. Malaysian Foreign Minister Rais Yatim accused Washington with interfering in an internal matter that was none of its business.
Rice argued it was not a simple internal matter, but one involving human rights since an important political leaders has twice been charged with sexual misconduct when he appears to be gaining political power. “We are always going to speak up on human rights cases, political cases,” argued the US Secretary of State.
There is something unusual when a political opponent is charged with sexual misconduct each time he apparently is securing popular appeal in his society. We don’t mean to butt it, we’re just wondering and asking questions.
Several weeks ago the ruling party of Malaysia was shocked by severe losses in parliamentary elections and within a few weeks initiated action against the main opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, who was charged with a sexual crime. This is not the first time Anwar has been accused of such sexual misconduct, but the coincidence of parliamentary losses and accusations against a major political opponent certainly raises questions. Anwar was arrested after returning from a session with the Anti Corruption Agency where he provided information about mistakes made in his earlier case of sexual misconduct. His lawyer told the press his client was being arrested into alleged “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” We assume this means sodomy.
Anwar’s followers are upset because for weeks the media has attempted to demonize their leader as a sexual predator. They believe it is a repeat of the actions taken against Anwar in 1998 when he was charged with carnal intercourse. The arrest took place 15 hours after Anwar told the nation he was standing for election and if his party gained control of the legislature he would push for laws to lower fuel costs.
The world of politics should be free of any connection with how an individual conducts his or her love life. All forms of sexual intercourse are natural and are in accordance of the natural order of life. How can they be anything else?
Malaysia’s education minister rejected complaints from religious groups that schoolgirl uniforms were too sexy and invited rape by men. Education Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, responded by saying, “It is unfair to punish women and children and the clothes they wear for the act of rapists. From what I have seen, clothing is not the main consderation of those who commit despicable acts.” The uniform became an issue after a little-known group, the National Islamic Students Association of Malaysia, claimed the loose fitting white blouse worn by schoolgirls was too transparent. The group which claims to represent 5,000 men, said the uniform “disturbs the eyes of men, whether they like to see it or not..Because of that molestation, premarital sex and all kinds of things occur.”
The women’s wing of the oppostition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, urged education authorities to pay attention to the complaint. “We can’t ignore the fact that the material used to make thse uniforms is too thin and it makes the girls look sexy, especially when they are not wearing the heard scarf, which can cover their chests.”
Lost in the complaint is the simple reality that men who don’t want to become sexually aroused can look down at the ground when encountering schoolgirls. Of course, it appears the men who are becoming sexually aroused are the ones making the complaint. Perhaps, they might consider the possibility that girls are not attracted to the men who are becoming aroused.
A Catholic weekly newspaper in Malaysia has been told to cease using the word “Allah” in its Malay language section or it wants to get a renewal of its license to publish. A senior official in the secruity Minister says the word God as “Allah” is only allowed to be used by Muslims and Christians can not use that word without offending those of the Muslim faith. “Christians cannot use the word Allah. It is only applicable to Muslims. Allah is only for the Muslim god. This is a design to confuse the Muslim people.”
Although the nation’s constitution promises freedom of religion, many religious minorities complain about denial of their right to practice their religious beliefs. They have been denied the right to construct churches and Hindus have complained about demolition of temples by government authorities. Rev. Lawrence
Andrew, editor of the Herald, said the use of the word Allah was not intended to offend Muslims. “We follow the Bible. the Malay language Bible uses Allah for God and Tuhan for Lord. In our prayer and in church during Malay mass, we use the word Allah.” Government officials argue the word “Allah” is not used in English prayers so why should it be used in Malay?
At some point, Muslim religious authorities should cease trying to tell people in other religions how to pray or what to say during their prayers. To make such determinations should rest with God or Allah or the Supreme Being, but never with we mere mortals.
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