Sunday, August 10, 2008

On The Ground: The Forum Protest


Ah...too tired yesterday, but since there has been swarms of articles in regarding to yesterday's aborted forum on Muslim conversion, you might want to read the on the scene story yesterday to give the accurate picture. Take note that not all of what you read in the media can be accurate.

1. I came to the place at 7.30 a.m as I was advised by someone the night before to come before 8 a.m. At the time of arrival, there were 5 police cars, including one van, 15 police personnel and a few more handful of SB people in plain clothes.

2. At 7.50 a.m, a small jeep with 6 FRU men arrived and the vehicle parked at UOB bank, then more police personnel and 3 more police cars arrived there.

3. Yes, I was with a few other bloggers, and we had breakfast nearby. The mob started at around 8.30 a.m when more people from Muslim groups arrived at the exterior of the Bar council building. Notable statements on the banners include :"Don't play with fire" or "Don't challenge Islam."


4. Originally, the forum was slated to end at 1 p.m. From inside the building, while the forum is progressing, the numbers of the mob and the FRU swelled. At the beginning, the number of pressmen and police personnel outnumbered them, but towards the end, the mob outnumbered the police and the pressmen.

5. 9.30 a.m: Ambiga received an SMS by Abdullah Badawi himself: stop the forum by 10 a.m.
She announced that the forum will have to be stopped early.

6. At that time, the first part was switched to the second part with discussions with selected panelists on the two famous Muslim conversion disputes.


6. Just 10 minutes before 10 a.m, a small mob led by Kulim MP Zulkifli Noordin and GPMS vice-president Jais Karim came when they were about to finish. The outside speech from the Malaysiakini video shows that they are to enter the building at 9.45 a.m.

Quoting and pic above from The Malaysian Insider:

Despite the heavy police escort, heated words were exchanged between some of the protesters and some members of the Bar Council. The word "monkey" was heard bandied about several times by both sides.

Calls for calm by the forum moderator, Zarizana Abdul Aziz, a lawyer from the Penang-based non-government organisation Women's Centre for Change, were ignored, as were calls from the floor for the protesters, hogging the central aisle, to sit down and not block the view of the forum panellists.

Jais Karim took the mike by force and said, "I am UMNO Malaysia. Close this forum down right now! We want to give advice; next time, don't have things like this that challenge the people of Islam."

Then Professor Mehrun Siraj attempted to counter the man with a very strong eloquent remarks: "You represent Umno; I represent the Muslims! I'm ashamed by your behaviour! Islam does not condone this behaviour! Do not make use of Islam!" This could provoke a scuffle that GPMS tried to do but fortunately someone from BAR council intervened.


You can look at the mob with FRUs

7. We left through the backdoor but the exit was blocked by some mob members. We had to wait until a policeman moved out first and controlled the mob before we could move.

Observations, Rants etc..

1. Forming the largest of the mob is GPMS, the UMNO proxy entity led by the Mamak, KJ's sleeping bedfellow Reezal Merican. These jokers are the ones that tend to be more on the violent end compared to PAS. Note the scuffle inside the auditorium was started by GPMS. Only extermist-level of the mob will have the guts to say like 'Babi', 'pengkhianat' and 'balik China'.

2. Notice the video by Malaysiakini entitled Rival Groups United in Protest. Note of the stark contrast of approach and speeches between PAS and UMNO. But then, PAS should not become the next UMNO if UMNO goes out otherwise everything goes back to square one.

3. The decision to abide to abort at 10 a.m shows that the BAR council is buckling under the pressure of government. Do you notice of another flip-flop here? Abdullah Badawi on Wednesday said that more inter-faith dialogues should be allowed to get both sides understand the whole picture. But then he's just opening the mouth and saying it without really meaning it.

4. What the protesters out there just only thinks that the forum is about Islam bashing. That's only one part of the picture and that's what many perceived. Based on the forum, the real picture is describing:

a) Family problems that arised when someone converts to Islam without knowledge of others.
b) The conflicting two sets of laws (syariah and civil) that makes people confused and the lines blur of which court has the jurisidaction to allow divorce cases and etc..
c) The kind of approach that the Religious Department goes like confiscating bodies and putting them in Muslim burial instead of the funeral methods based on their own faiths.

5. Many perceived that non-Muslims only attended the forum. Wrong. When I was watching the proceedings, there are a handful of normal Muslim citizens there as well. They were there because they are prepared to listen to the other side of the story, problems and effects from religion conversion. This is something that some reps should come and listen to their story, not just stay outside and bash people as if being misled by some who desired them to be misled. Nik Aziz has said in a press statement that there should be evaluation of logics of Muslim and Non-Muslim, a very high-level maturity required discussion between individuals or both parties. Should this be a good follow up?

6. The ones who initiated this is UMNO. PAS and other NGOs followed suit because (since UMNO has power over mainstream media) UMNO-controlled media will make remarks or chastise that other parties are not defending the rights of Malays and Islam. You can notice of how the mob behaved - split between moderate and extremist. You can know who is the moderate and who is the extremist. Check back my previous post here. UMNO has certainly repeated its cliches.

7. The problems happened because fear factor: judges are afraid to do what is right fearing of political remanding and persecution. Likewise it also happens to the police. If they start arresting UMNO people, they will face heavier persecution.

Updated version:

Kickdefella has just mentioned that the forum above is actually deliberately organized with the help of Abdullah Badawi - the ulterior motive is to deflect his attention off from his dismal showing. The move has been planned since the general elections. In his perspective, the forum will:

1. Distract his critics attention away from him.
2. Force both UMNO and PAS away from the attention of him and on the religion platform.
3. PAS and PKR becomes stuck in the middle.
4. See also point #6 of my rants.

7 comments:

  1. Dear Melvin,

    I believe this whole protest was a well planned tactic by UMNO to cause a situation that can lead to emergency rule. I salute the Pas and PKR leaders who were there to tackle this head on, though Zulkifli Nordin may have overdone it a bit. The action by Unit Amal of Pas in preventing the crowd from storming the building is commendable. I also deplore the mule headed approach by the bar council to proceed with the forum knowing the explosive situation that we are in now. Most of the issues pertaining to conversion is brought about by the convertee themselves who obviously do not care about their own family leading to loss of property, etc. There are so many other pressing matters that the bar council should consider, they seem to have a knack for letting opportunities slip, for example when the hosted the PM earlier when efforts were made to compensate wronged judges, they did not raise the issue of ISA detainees. I still remember the glowing tribute that Ambiga paid to the PM, look at the sham trial against DSAI now. Grow up bar council, your holier than thou attitude sickens

    ReplyDelete
  2. PRESS STATEMENT
    NATIONAL MIC YOUTH COORDINATOR
    T.MOHAN

    THE MIC YOUTH STRONGLY CONDEMNS THE TACTICS OF IRRESPONSIBLE GROUPS IN DISRUPTING THE BAR COUNCIL FORUM ON CONVERSION TO ISLAM IN KUALA LUMPUR TODAY.
    THEIR ACTIONS IS A STEP BACKWARD TOWARDS THE UNITY AND RELIGIOUS HARMONY AMONGST THE VARIOUS RACES IN MALAYSIA ENVISIONED UNDER VISION 2020.
    WE ARE DISAPPOINTED WITH THE GROUPS FOR FAILING TO ALLOW THE DISCUSSION OF THE ISSUES OF INTER-FAITH IN A MATURE AND RESPONSIBLE MANNER.
    THE BAR COUNCIL HAS REITERATED THAT THE FORUM ON RELIGIOUS CONVERSION WAS NOT TO QUESTION THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 121 (A)
    OF THE CONSTITUTION BUT TO ADDRESS THE CONFLICTS OF LAWS FACING FAMILIES CAUGHT BETWEEN THE SEPARATE JURISDICTIONS OF CIVIL AND SYARIAH LAWS.
    THE MIC YOUTH REALISE THE NECESSITY OF THE ABOVE FORUM AS IT WILL CLARIFY CONFUSION OF THE CONCERNED GROUP AND WILL BE A BASE FOR GUIDELINE FOR THOSE WHO ARE LOOKING TO CONVERT TO THEIR ORIGINAL RELIGION DUE TO THEIR PERSONAL JUDGEMENT.
    WE BELIEVE OPEN DISCUSSIONS AND DIALOGUES ON THE PROBLEMS ARISING OUT OF THE SYARIAH AND CIVIL COURTS SEPARATE JURISDICTIONS AND OTHER ISSUES TO RELIGIOUS CONVERSIONS ARE IMPERATIVE TO FIND SOLUTIONS.
    THERE ARE SO MANY CASES WHERE INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES WERE AFFECTED BECAUSE OF THE CONVERSION IN AND OUT OF ISLAM. MANY WHO HAD CONVERTED WERE ALSO IN A DILEMMA AS THEY WERE UNABLE TO REVERT TO THEIR FORMER RELIGION.
    WE STRONGLY BELIEVE THESE GROUPS SHOULD HAVE USED THE FORUM TO COME AND GIVE THEIR VIEWS INSTEAD OF ACTING HIGH-HANDEDLY AND FORCING THE CANCELLATION OF THE FORUM.
    WE ARE DISAPPOINTED THAT THE POLICE HAD ALSO FAILED TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST THESE GROUPS FOR STAGING DEMONSTRATIONS AND HAD INSTEAD ASKED BAR COUNCIL TO CANCEL THE FORUM.
    THE MIC YOUTH IS ALSO CONCERNED WITH THE STATEMENTS MADE BY CERTAIN LEADERS WHO HAD STRONGLY OPPOSED THE FORUM AS IT HAS CAUSED RESENTMENT AMONGST THE NON MUSLIMS
    THEY SEEM TO HAVE IGNORED THE FACT THAT THE BAR COUNCIL HAS ALREADY CLARIFIED THAT THE FORUM WAS TO ADDRESS THE CONFLICTS OF LAW.
    THEY SHOULD HAVE COME OUT WITH THEIR PROPOSALS IN ADDRESSING THE ISSUE OF NON-MUSLIM HUSBANDS WHO ABANDON THEIR SPOUSES AND THEIR FAMILIES AND CONVERT INTO ISLAM RATHER THAN TO STOP A LEGITIMATE FORUM.
    THE MIC YOUTH ALSO CALL ON HINDRAF TO PUBLICLY STATE THEIR STAND AS THE GROUP WHO OPPOSED THE FORUM WAS LED BY A PARTI KEADILAI RAKYAT MP. IS THIS WHAT HINDRAF GETS FOR SUPPORTING PKR IN THE GENERAL ELECTION?

    ENDS

    ReplyDelete
  3. From Racism to Satanism

    1. If anyone thinks as a Malaysian at heart you will never support any of the current political parties who speaks only about championing or protecting their own race and religious interests. Whether it comes from UMNO, PAS, MCA, MIC, PKR, Gerakan, Hindraf, PBS, DAP, PPP or whatever new name it’s called racism and whoever supports that party is called a racist. It is no different from apartheid. It dirties and poison your soul.

    2. Those who are racists but speak with a fork tongue (Jeyklls), hiding it behind other causes like religion, meritocracy, education, poverty etc are even worse than clear cut racists and can only fit into the category of satans.

    3. Malaysian racists and the MSN have corrupted the following words which meant differently in other countries ex. nationalism, patriotism, royalists, freedom, liberty, corruption, democracy etc.

    4. Power, Greed and Selfishness rule in Malaysia and now we include Racism and Satanism.
    More facts at http://patek1472.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. well i will have to say this, PAS with all their propoganda is better off by staying put in KELANTAN and rot.. These PAS ulama should be ashamed of themselves.. I'm a Buddist and had a uncle who convert to Muslim but our family relationship is still good.. Matter of fact our family celebrated Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Christmas and very nearly Deepavali.... So what is all this regarding a Forum??? Will Islam suffer a downgrade over a Forum??? Will all Muslim feel threaten over this forum?? I've ask my uncle and he say no... So what's the big deal??

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  5. The problem with these protester is the protesters are nothing but mere hooligans. While pretending to safeguarding Islam, they themselves potrayed Islam as a religion for the extremist.

    Enuff said, UMNO and Zulkifli Nordin wanted the Malaysian Muslim to stop thinking, stop discussing and embraced UMNO's version of Islam, whatever that may be.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I beg people from others country is laughing at us by such incident, at the same time witnesses China Olympic grand opening. People is moving up, we are moving down.. shame..shame..

    ReplyDelete
  7. Attempting to chip-off the irreversible
    By Davy de Verteuil, Trinidad & Tobago

    1. Why the Bar Council idea should not be considered malicious and provocative?
    2. What dialogue is the Bar Council "you" seeking from a people with a 1400 year custom?
    3. Why is the Bandar Kulim MP label a hard liner now?
    While your claim of India like China having more Muslims than Malaysia that does not denote the influence and founding institutions by way of numbers, Malaysia is a sovereign country and no nation sovereignty is determined by its size.
    For your information Islam and Muslims are violently kept in check both in China Kashmir and India proper. So have a good look before you attempt to trivialise the Malays inalienable right to guard their customs and way of life.
    However I implore the Malay people; it is not proper that you refer to your fellow humankind as pigs- this is an insult also to God and His messengers. We are all part of the human family created by GOD and this goes against the essence of Islamic enlightenment.
    Have you ‘Bar Council’ not realized the hatred from respondents in the many blogs in Malaysia?
    What are you telling us that this reactionary behaviour is entirely the Muslims fault also?
    I disagree with the name calling yet I refuse to pander to the Bar Council’s condescension of innocence as they claim that the call was merely to discuss. The Bar Council’s determination and wilful defiance, its sarcasms betray the rational here. This is not a professional institution representing issues of Law and Justice but a group rearing to displace a people and their indigenous right. The Bar’s actions are fraught with ulterior motives and could erode the little trust form the nation’s majority.
    In my honest opinion this group of legal individuals have attack the constitution of Malaysia as they use their offices to challenge and turn over the constitution through an assembly outside of parliament.
    This isn’t freedom of any kind rather it’s a recipe for anarchy neither is this the defence of any community but an affront to disenfranchise the other. The Bar Council acted like a legal and intellectual entity toward bulling the Malays.
    Riling any group of people invigorates extremism and the Bar Council should blame itself for the near fracas it brought about. Transformations are taking place in South &Latin America and in Africa where the indigenous have been marginalised brutalised that left various cultures extinct as the √Člite are on the offensive yet here in Malaysia the Early people are told that their ways and customs are unacceptable which form a historical point of view goes against the very grain of freedom liberty and justice.
    To All quarters, until you all come to appreciate that none can move the sun and the moon from where they stand there will always be antagonism.
    The Bar Council attempt to diminish indigenous Muslim rights and customs in an all too pretentious dialogue is a betrayal of civility and boarders on a malicious coup, they know all too well that attacking Islam tantamount to declaring war on its forbearers.
    Perhaps they were testing the soil but they were overwhelmed by a small band determined not to spare as much as a spark.
    The March 8 election results and the current political uncertainty was not due to Muslim or Islamic traditions in Malaysia but that failures for accountability unbridled corruption and ineptitude across the board were dragging the nation down.
    There are elements (Bar Council)who believe that this is an opportune moment to belt the Muslims and ransom the country of its norms and founding traditions- well sorry....That demo sound a warning otherwise.
    And for those of you sighting the US as an example on any issues of democracy freedom and justice - by GOD you don't have to go there - just read....I lived and was educated in the US and Canada; you have no idea of the US except for its Hollywood and media fallacies impressed on the rest of the world.
    Judging from your disgusted ill or uninformed or both; points of views I can only ask: are you all happy with the slaughter of over 1million Iraqis and the pretext by which this mass killings were executed? For your information they weren't all Muslims though majority are and the thousands of brown Christians who were considered collateral damage that perished.
    I have not read or experience similar out pouring of hatred towards Britain and the US as I am witnessing here both by the host blogger and its contributors.
    How dare you site America as an example where it contains the biggest prison population in the world/history and the black brown and chinky eye peoples are often targets of abuse due to inherent unrepentant racist that forms America's reactionary safety valve?
    Why is it that in Malaysia the indigenous have to surrender their traditions and customs because it is deemed unfair when at the same time you “Bar Council” wished to invoke your customs and perceived rights as equitable and just? Aren't the Malay Muslims losing their rights then? I am not afraid to say this; The Malays like everyone else are this nation, but they Malays are the earlier ones; like it or not, that carries a lot of weight as much as Right.
    I will always know my rights in the house of my in-laws no other method in adoption will have me fooled.
    From the desk of an Arawak African & Indian in ‘ONE’ on the beautiful Islands in the Caribbean.
    Arawak is a people or tribe who is refer to as American Indian or Red Indian.
    Indigenous rights are my struggle- No apology.

    ReplyDelete

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