Photo: Baci ceremony, Luanag Prabang.

Culture and politics forum

What's wrong with this picture - Malaysia

Posted by MADMAC on 15/7/2009 at 14:46

Proselytizing of Malaysia's majority Muslims by members of other religions is forbidden, though the reverse is allowed. Muslims are also not legally permitted to change religion.

#1 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Rufus on 16/7/2009 at 08:01

I guess the same thing that is wrong with the Catholic church excommunicating members who join other religions.

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Posted by MADMAC on 16/7/2009 at 13:12

"I guess the same thing that is wrong with the Catholic church excommunicating members who join other religions."

Not exactly the same thing Rufus - the Catholic Church doesn't run any countries - minus the Vatican. So, for example, you can prostelytize in very Catholic Ireland or Italy and not be thrown in jail for it.

Not that I am defending the Catholic Church, but again, there is just no comparison here.

Islam is easily the most repressive religion on the face of the earth today. The Catholics could have given them a good run for their money 600 years ago, but now it's a one horse race.

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Posted by MADMAC on 16/7/2009 at 13:14

BTW you might be excommunicated from the Catholic Church for joining another religion (or marrying outside the Church - which is what happened to my Grandfather), but you won't be killed. In many Islamic countries leaving Islam is a capital offense.

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Posted by somtam2000 on 16/7/2009 at 15:37 admin

Not sure those regulations are specific to Malaysia - am pretty sure you won't see many Mormans in Saudi...

"Islam is easily the most repressive religion on the face of the earth today."

Don't agree at all. In some Muslim nations perhaps, but having lived in Indonesia (the largest muslim nation on the planet) for the last three years or so, I can say it is far from repressive... Hell when we were living in Jakarta, friends would come down from Bangkok for a weekend of play because the clubs were so much wilder and FAR more free wheeling.

There's mant different flavours to the muslim faith.

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Posted by MADMAC on 16/7/2009 at 18:03

"Hell when we were living in Jakarta, friends would come down from Bangkok for a weekend of play because the clubs were so much wilder and FAR more free wheeling."

Somtam
Having lived in the Middle East / East Africa for more than two years and having read the Qur'an and the Hadith there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Islam is easily the harshest of the religious faiths.

I tell you what. Try this experiment. There was a piece of "art" exhibited in New Yorkls museum of fine arts a while back called "Piss Christ." It was a representation of Christ lowered into a bottle of urine. It caused quite a controversy at the time (not surprising) with many saying it was completely offensive and should be removed (also there was the issue of government dollars having subsidized it). But no one was calling for the head of the artist, there were no riots on the streets...

Now, I challenge you to create a piece of art in Indonesia called "piss Mohammed" and display it somewhere prominently. See how long you last.

Tolerance in the modern sense of the word is not a strength of Islam.

Again, it is EASILY the most repressive and worse, politicized, faith on the planet today. I challenge you to identify another one that's more so.

#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by sayadian on 16/7/2009 at 21:11

Having lived and worked in Saudi (2years) and Malaysia (3years)I've got to agree with Madmac.
I was once reported to the C.O. at the National Guard School for asking a student if he thought it would rain next day.Apparently it is unIslamic to predict the future.
Whilst in Malaysia my next door neighbour who was a hindu lost her father because when he had a heart attack the only doctor on duty was female and she refused to examine him preferring to prod him with a stick!
As the guys in 3Sqn at Butterworth used to say. The best thing about Malaysia is Thailand.
Indonesia has more of a secular feel about it like Turkey. In fact perhaps Somtam can remind me of the name of the inclusive policy they have.The Chinese can't use their script in public places if I remember.

#7 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by sayadian on 16/7/2009 at 21:12

Having lived and worked in Saudi (2years) and Malaysia (3years)I've got to agree with Madmac.
I was once reported to the C.O. at the National Guard School for asking a student if he thought it would rain next day.Apparently it is unIslamic to predict the future.
Whilst in Malaysia my next door neighbour who was a hindu lost her father because when he had a heart attack the only doctor on duty was female and she refused to examine him preferring to prod him with a stick!
As the guys in 3Sqn at Butterworth used to say. The best thing about Malaysia is Thailand.
Indonesia has more of a secular feel about it like Turkey. In fact perhaps Somtam can remind me of the name of the inclusive policy they have.The Chinese can't use their script in public places if I remember.

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Posted by neosho on 16/7/2009 at 23:42

Be careful Madmac. Just referencing "piss Mohammed" can get them coming after you. You'll wind up living next door to Rushdi. LOL

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Posted by MADMAC on 17/7/2009 at 02:39

"Just referencing "piss Mohammed" can get them coming after you"

It wouldn't be the first time. I wasn't too popular with the braindead Islamic militants in Mogadischu either. It's probably my lack of cultural sensitivity that gets me in trouble with them.

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Posted by somtam2000 on 17/7/2009 at 07:03 admin

Talking about Islam in Saudi and Indonesia/Malaysia as the same thing is a bit like talking about the Guinness you get in cans in Bangkok and what comes out of the tap in Dublin as the same thing.

As I said, there's many different flavours of the Muslim faith and I wouldn't charactise the Muslim faith in Indo or Malaysia as being repressive.

Agreed Islam CAN be repressive -- just as Christianity or Hinduism CAN -- there's no shortage of Christian and Hindu loon fanatics about the place. It's all in the interpretation -- a problem found in most if not all religions.

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Posted by MADMAC on 17/7/2009 at 11:11

"Agreed Islam CAN be repressive -- just as Christianity or Hinduism CAN -- there's no shortage of Christian and Hindu loon fanatics about the place. It's all in the interpretation -- a problem found in most if not all religions."

Somtam
There is one big difference. Islam is now a major political force - Christianity as a political force is as dead as, well dead. The Christian world is now secular. Even our fanatics are generally not blowing places up and sawing off peoples heads.

My own personal experience and observations - from Mindanao to the Sahel - is that where you have Islam you have violence motivated by it. Sometimes a lot, sometimes a little - but never none.

And of course you have ridiculous laws. Witness the above I posted.

Imagine if the English or Americans or Australians passed a law that said only Christians can prostelytize and leaving the Christian faith (as I did) is now a capital offense. Just imagine the hue and cry across the globe. And rightfully so. But somehow these Islamic societies, who have a socio-political compact that wouldn't pass muster with a tribe of barbary apes, do so, not a word.

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Posted by somtam2000 on 17/7/2009 at 13:34 admin

Guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this. If you're going to discuss Muslims in Saudi and Indo/Malaysia as a single coherent group, my POV is that we're talking apples and oranges.

Cheers

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Posted by BruceMoon on 17/7/2009 at 18:56

John

I think you're right on this one.

A few days ago I made a contribution to the (new) Melaka review.

I started by painting a portrait of Islam as now practiced in Malaysia.

I indicated that my experience of Malaysia as an Islamic society is that the Pakistani immigrant labour has so structured the Malaysian presentation of Islam to a Pakistani view that there have been times (in some parts) where I have been made to really feel like the infadel.

When one is spat upon in a malaysian street merely because one is western says much.

As you know, I say it like I think it is (right or wrong).

In this instance, Stuart hasn't published my contribution.

So, it would appear that it may be OK for a discussion on Islam to be undertaken on a Travelfish forum, it's quite another for Travelfish to portray Malaysia with negative comments about Islam.

Cheers

#14 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by somtam2000 on 17/7/2009 at 21:48 admin

Don't know what you're talking about Bruce. I haven't read your submission yet.

Things have been rather busy of late and anyway not all submissions are published on the site.

Regards

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Posted by MADMAC on 17/7/2009 at 22:11

somtam
As I said before. Make a statue of Mohammed (you'll have to guess what he looked like), immerse it in urine, call it a new piece of art called "piss Mohammed" and see what reaction you get in "not so fanatical Indonesia". You'll be dead before the day is out.

Or, try to marry an Indonesian Muslim woman without converting to Islam. Tell her family that you are a whisky drinking, pig eating kufr and have no intention of converting but won't try to convert her to (whatever you are) either. See what happens.

I've been down this road many times.

Laws that grant priveledge in a state to one faith at the expense of another guarantee I will brand that state backward and primative. I don't care how sophisticate they are in any other domains. It's all for not. Malaysia has long been so branded in my book. It ain't the 15th century anymore. Islam is THE principal reason I have zero deire to "See Malaysia" or visit Indonesia. When the people there abandon Islam maybe I'll consider it.

#16 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by BruceMoon on 18/7/2009 at 06:04

You know what bugs me off about Islamic countries - aside from the Infadel bit, and the anti alcohol bit - is the obligatory loudspeakers on the Mosque blaring out several times per day.

It's not about me not being Islamic. It's that no other religion does it, it is intrusive, and unnecessary.

Some Christian churches announce events with bells, some use loudspeakers to convey music or chanting to signal events. If the mosque merely had the Imam chanting to convey an event, that'd be OK.

But, it's the bloody propoganda that bleats on an on. 5:30am ain't my time to be awoken!!!

Cheers

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Posted by MADMAC on 18/7/2009 at 16:48

"is the obligatory loudspeakers on the Mosque blaring out several times per day."

I was in Khebri Dehar Ethiopia (ethnic Somali town). My first night there, a Donkey was bleating endlessly, some bird was squawking loud... I had to pull a guard shift at 0200... finally, about 0300 I fall asleep. At 0412 the adan starts his call to prayer. I swear, had he been in range I would have shot him. He isnt suppose to start until sunrise, which on that day was 0522. That morning I went down the hill, found the adan, and asked the guy if he knew how to tell time or not and then told him call to prayer the next day had better not start before 0522 or I was going to kill someone! I hate sleep deprivation.

#18 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by smash on 18/7/2009 at 17:47

Each to their own I guess - not sure what I agree/disagree with in this thread - some strong statements made... MADMAC, I assume you have no desire to visit Israel and I'd also assume you don't recognize Israel as a 'state'?

Anyway, KL happens to be my favorite city in SE Asia... Bintang shopping rocks.

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Posted by BruceMoon on 18/7/2009 at 18:06

Ash

Bintang aint Islamic - it's hedonistic!!!!!

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Posted by MADMAC on 18/7/2009 at 23:42

"MADMAC, I assume you have no desire to visit Israel and I'd also assume you don't recognize Israel as a 'state'?"

You would have to pay me to visit Israel. I have zero interest and find Judaism only slightly more entertaining than it's close cousin.

But Israel is a UN member state - so of course I recognize it's right to exist.

#21 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by smash on 18/7/2009 at 23:53

Hard for me to agree with the UN on that one. After-all, who sits permanently on the security council... Anyway that's another discussion... ;o)

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Posted by MADMAC on 19/7/2009 at 00:00

All systems of governance are flawed. If you don't accept the international systems, then that means you accept anarchy - dog eat dog world. You (we) can't have perfection. It's an imperfect world and humans are an imperfect species.

#23 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by CG on 19/7/2009 at 05:56

First of all, let me say that i am Malaysian and that i'm a Catholic.

Let me tell you a story, many years ago when i was around 15 or 16 i went to a school that had a student population of around 90% muslims. What happened to me was scary. This bunch of muslim student come up to me and asked me about Jesus. So i told them i'll answer you the best i can but my knowledge might be rusty. Then i go on to answer their questions. Finally one guy asks me if Jesus had ever sinned. So obviously i answer him with a no. Then the guy said that can't be because the only person to have ever not sinned is Muhammad. And here's where i made my mistake. I told them that yeah, maybe he has never sinned too. Because i used the word"maybe" and the fact i refused to agree with them on Jesus, around 15 or so muslim guys surrounded me and it was stopped just because a teacher walked by. 1 year later i changed schools because of many other muslim related incidents.

But i would like to end this by saying that not all Muslims are like that, i have a few Muslim friends that love a good argument about religion just for the fun of it, although if you're a tourist in Malaysia don't ever try your luck with offending Islam.

#24 CG has been a member since 9/7/2009. Posts: 15

Posted by BruceMoon on 19/7/2009 at 08:02

GC

Your experience isn't merely a Muslim/Christian one, nor a Malaysian one. This sort of religious inspired intolerance goes on all over the world.

Here in Australia, similar religious intolerance exists - though possibly its less marked.

To my mind, two central attributes mark religious intolerance:

1/.

The lack of a widespread and universal education system based on the objective teaching of fact based knowledge, and

2/.

The absence of a secular governing/administrative system where religious dogma does not fashion governmental & political decision-making.

- - -

As I noted in post #14, above, my experience of Malaysia as an Islamic society is that the Pakistani immigrant labour has so structured the Islamic dogma in Malaysia to the Pakistani view that Malaysia is headed on an increasingly difficult road.

A consequence of the Pakistani 'flavouring' of Islam in Malaysia is that it places a great peril for Malaysia as it moves forward. I have repeatedly been advised when in Malaysia that the comments made by any Imam in a Mosque are not allowed to be reported in the media. This means that not only are the comments of Imam's beyond reproach, but that there is no counter-balancing of ideas in the minds of adherents.

That Islam only allows for males to be ‘taught’ by the Imam also means that the natural counterbalancing towards peace that naturally occurs where women form part a debate ceases to influence. This is especially troubling when considering the aggressive and extremist Pakistani ‘version’ of Islam.

For the future of Malaysia, that the collective Imam is made supreme, and the political administration has become subordinate to the will of the collective Imam, then the nation must grapple with increasingly isolating itself from non-Islamic states.

It appears to me, especially as the UN and OECD have both labelled Malaysia as the leading state fostering global tax evasion, that the tendency for the government to be increasingly Islam-centric (to me, brought about by the Pakistani flavouring of Islam in the nation) will be at its own future economic peril.

At and since Merdeka, the government has consistently showed itself capable of positively discriminating against ethnic, cultural and religious groups. Because of this, I think the Pakistani Islamists will lead Malaysia to a less than desirable place.

KL and the Chinese influenced cities are outwards facing, but the remaining (largely rural) cities are increasingly inwards looking. Despite the relative prosperity of the nation, and the actual prosperity experienced in Selangor, much of the country has always been and continues to 'do it hard'. This provides a fertile ground for the Pakistani style Islamic rhetoric to gain such a hold on the nation.

The point I am making are not about Malaysian people per se: once each person drops the self-righteous position of looking at westerners as infadel, they are lovely kindly people. Rather, my point is about the way Malays as a nation have allowed themselves to be herded by the Pakistani Islamic extremists who want -

(1) international recognition of their ‘cause’ and

(2) the world to be run as an Islamic state.

Sadly, the world has tried this approach in the past with the Christians, and peace and prosperity did not then prevail. I can't see how it can under any religion.

Cheers

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Posted by somtam2000 on 19/7/2009 at 11:51 admin

A couple of points re some of the above:

Madmac, in Jakarta we'd get the first call to prayer regularly around 4.30 -- no doubt you know the first call has the extra line "prayer is better than sleep"...

Anyway, in a fit of Sunday procrastination, while I couldn't find the prayer times for the exact place you mention, I did find the following for Addis -- you'll see the first call is well before dawn -- so I guess lucky you didn't shoot him.

Bruce, Malaysia is no longer on the OECD list you mention and even when they were they were listed alongside states such as Costa Rica, the Philippines and Uruguay - so I'm not sure how that has anything to do with Malayisa being a muslim nation.

You may or may not also be aware that Malaysia is in the process of substantially changing the bumiputra policies and it's approach to, for example, land ownership by foreigners, is positively progressive compared to somewhere like, say, Thailand.

#26 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,498
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Posted by MADMAC on 19/7/2009 at 13:10

"Anyway, in a fit of Sunday procrastination, while I couldn't find the prayer times for the exact place you mention, I did find the following for Addis -- you'll see the first call is well before dawn -- so I guess lucky you didn't shoot him."

First call to prayer is suppose to be at dawn. If someone is publishing nonsense that puts it before dawn, they are not following doctrine. Pretty simple really. Even the dumb, non time telling SOB in Ke'bri Dehar agreed with me (or maybe he was concerned because I was armed - though this doesn't impress most Somalis).

#27 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by BruceMoon on 19/7/2009 at 14:41

Somtam, I disagree with you regarding your comments on Malaysia. The response by Malaysia on tax evasion was typical political double speak.

Malaysia was 'named' by OECd precisely because it was running a tax evasion scheme for the Islamic financiers from Labuan.

This island is a territory of Malaysia and is where the Labuan Offshore Financial Services Authority ("LOFSA") was incorporated to administer the tax haven island.

Labuan offers financial products and services to customers worldwide, including banking and investment banking, insurance, captives, trust business, fund management, investment holding, company management, and, as their website shows [size=12[this is especially for Islamic financing.

Yes, peninsular & Borneo Malaysia are clear, but NO, Malaysia still runs the racket.

Your comment that Malaysia is changing bumiputra policies is again, a sham. Like most political statements, what is said versus what is done is often miles apart. This is a glaring example.

And, go ask non-Malay residents of Malaysia whether they can buy land outside KL, Penang and the tourist centres. Theoretically yes, in practice, no - unless they are really wealthy and bribe the State administration.

That somewhere is worse than Malaysia does not endorse Malaysia: that is a stupid proposition.

Facts speak louder than words!!!

#28 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by CG on 19/7/2009 at 16:15

"You may or may not also be aware that Malaysia is in the process of substantially changing the bumiputra policies"

Well Somtam, in the past the government has said that it is making changes to the whole bumiputra thing. But that's all it was, words. But this doesn't really bother most non malays because we're all used to it.

But the whole bumiputra status doesn't just apply to malays. It also applies towards second generation Malaysian muslims. Which really is weird to me because I'm a 3rd generation Malaysian of Indian decent.

For me i believe that the bumiputra status should only be given to the poor. Currently from what that is seen in real life is that it only help a very small number of malays. It works well for the rich.

#29 CG has been a member since 9/7/2009. Posts: 15

Posted by somtam2000 on 19/7/2009 at 17:00 admin

Madmac: We're discussing trivialities here, but first call is before sunrise -- not at sunrise. Bearing in mind that in Jakarta I almost never even saw the sun, I dunno what they were timing it by, but first call was at around the 4.30 mark -- sad I know, but I actually liked it (we got it in stereo as we were within walking distance of six mosques).

Bruce: You started off saying "especially as the UN and OECD have both labelled Malaysia as the leading state fostering global tax evasion" then qualified it by noting you were just talking about Labuan -- big difference yes? And anyway Labuan is working towards full compliance for year end -- yes wait and see, but looks like progress to me. Also worth noting that OECD rate Malaysia/Labuan as Category 2 in this regard -- along with Belgium, Lux, HK and Singapore.As for Bumi changes, given the announcements were made very very recently, it's a bit unrealistic to see changes overnight.

As per CG; Bumi can serve a useful purpose for the poor -- but it's being abused by those who don't need it -- show me a land that doesn't happen.

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Posted by exacto on 19/7/2009 at 23:15

Here is what I found about the call to prayer on Beliefnet. It says:

The Arabic text of the adhan is similar for all five recitations (with a slight difference in the adhan recited for the pre-dawn prayer, which adds the line "Prayer is better than sleep").

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Posted by exacto on 19/7/2009 at 23:37

oops! i hit the post button before i was done.

anyway, i found another reference on this website http://www.islam-usa.com/pray5.html which talks about prayer times too. it says:


There are five obligatory prayers in a day. Each Salat must be offered at or during its proper time.The Muslim should make a serious effort to pray each prayer at the beginning of its period.

The Morning Prayer (SALAT-UL-FAJR)

It can be performed at any time between the breaking of the dawn till just before sunrise.


in this description it seems that dawn and sunrise are quite distinct, but that the prayer should clearly take place before sunrise. my guess is that if the prayer should be done at the beginning of the proper period, and the period begins with the breaking of dawn, then the call would necessarily be before dawn.

of course, you late sleepers could sneak your prayer in anytime just before sunrise and still be okay. ;-)

personally, i've always enjoyed hearing the call to prayer, and consider it one of the highlights of the four years i spent in turkey, as well as my visits to malaysia and indonesia.

the entire reason i travel is to experience new and different things. i don't have to own them. i don't even have to like them. but i definitely enjoy discovering them. that's the whole point, isn't it?

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Posted by MADMAC on 20/7/2009 at 00:49

"personally, i've always enjoyed hearing the call to prayer, and consider it one of the highlights of the four years i spent in turkey, as well as my visits to malaysia and indonesia."

I'm not a morning person.

#33 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by limeandsoda on 27/7/2009 at 14:18

I live on and off in Malaysia, and i feel that many of these comments are merely prejudiced. (seriously, how do you expect your comments about the 'nature' of Malaysian religion and society to be taken seriously when in another breath you complain about the 'annoying' calls to prayer that interrupt your precious sleep? Poor little baby.)

Australia, in my experience, can be a far more intolerant society.

#34 limeandsoda has been a member since 29/10/2007. Posts: 10

Posted by MADMAC on 28/7/2009 at 00:32

"Australia, in my experience, can be a far more intolerant society."

Really? I didn't know that Australia had laws limiting who can preach what religion there.

Islam sucks. It is a terrible, repressive socio-legal system.

If some loser was chiming church bells at five and waking me up that would piss me off too!

The call to prayer is just an example. From Ramadan to alcohol obssesiveness to clothing it's just an intrusive way of life.

This has nothing to do with prejudice. The word prejudice means to prejudge something. I'm not prejudging anything. I am speaking from experience.

#35 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by cuffedbloke on 30/10/2009 at 01:12

Hi MADMAC,

I'm Malaysian Chinese (and a Christian) and have lived in Malaysia most of my 30+ years of life. In most of that the Solat has never bothered me, I'm usually fast asleep. If it did offend me I would be free to buy ear plugs or move to another country. I do find it annoying but its part and parcel of living in a Muslim majority country.

I don't believe in Islam, and can agree that some of what it advocates will be considered barbaric or downright irrational; however not all of it is like that.

Prejudice is not just judging some beforehand (I assume before one has a good amount of facts as well), but also being partial and imbalanced toward a particular subject.

Just my two cents. =)

#36 cuffedbloke has been a member since 15/10/2009. Location: Malaysia. Posts: 30

Posted by MADMAC on 30/10/2009 at 11:00

Cuffed
I don't disagree with anything you said, but you will note that often you see people who are aplogists for the ridiculous and when you criticize another culture you are quickly labeled "prejudice". I am critical of elements of my own culture, and have no problem criticizing another culture when it's embracing the absurd. In the case of Islam, with which I have had a lot of direct experience, I find a lot to criticize. I would be very reluctant to live in an Islamic country (although I almost moved to Somalia, but that was in spite of, not because of, Islam) for this reason. Equally I am not tempted to visit Malaysia for this reason as well.

#37 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by cuffedbloke on 30/10/2009 at 11:09

Where are you from MADMAC? Seems to me you could be rather misinformed about Malaysia. I won't say I love this country to bits, most non-Malay Malaysians will likely tell you the same, but this is not Somalia, nor is it Saudi Arabia, nor is it Pakistan. Malaysia does offer a whole lot more other than just Muslim culture (and its perceived annoyances, if any).

As a sidelined Malaysian Chinese I have hardly ever been harassed by either the Islamic authorities nor my fellow Muslims. This is the reason why many people find Malaysia attractive - there is actual harmony in diversity (can't say too much about unity though).

Apart from the religious, Malaysia has plenty to offer almost all visitors regardless their preferences. Apart from some commonsense respect for all cultures (particularly the Malay) and also the normal religious respect (you'd expect to do the same in Buddhist Thailand or Cambodia towards their religion), Malaysia offers a largely hassle-free experience.

I do hope you will consider opening up your mind towards our country. =)

#38 cuffedbloke has been a member since 15/10/2009. Location: Malaysia. Posts: 30

Posted by idreamofdurian on 30/10/2009 at 15:04 TF writer

I love Malaysia. I'm not Muslim but I'd move to Malaysia in a heartbeat.

I disagree with pretty much everything about Islam (and every other religion), but can be tolerant of other people's choices. At least Muslims don't proselytize!

The majority of Malay Muslims I've met have been open-minded and sincere people. I'm a feminist and Islam clashes pretty hard with equality of the sexes, but I was pleasantly surprised by the status women seem to have in Malaysia. I've seen Malay Muslim police officers, soldiers, doctors, managers, bankers, -- with out without headscarves.

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Posted by MADMAC on 30/10/2009 at 19:11

I dream
Did you really just write this:

"I disagree with pretty much everything about Islam (and every other religion), but can be tolerant of other people's choices. At least Muslims don't proselytize! "

Muslims don't prostelytize? Oh contraire, it's just that they are probably not as active in places you would tend to frequent. When I lived in Africa I was constantly pestered by Muslims trying to cvonvert me. How do you think it became the worlds second largest faith?

Cuffed
I might actually go to KL because some friends of mine who dance are teaching there (they are Malaysian). So maybe... but Hanoi is higher on the list because Dao Sao Mai is a very special dancer and I want to support her there.

#40 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by idreamofdurian on 30/10/2009 at 22:40 TF writer

Muslims don't travel over the word and proselytize under the guise of "doing charity work". Also, I've never been approached in a non-Muslim country by proselytizing Muslims, but I've been approached by Christians, Mormons, Jehovas, etc. in non-Christian countries!

#41 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by MADMAC on 30/10/2009 at 23:15

"Muslims don't travel over the word and proselytize under the guise of "doing charity work"."

Yes they do - extensively in Africa. Here in Thailand it's a much tougher sell, because Islam has a very, very dim view of idolatry. So I have not run across it here. But in East Africa there are tons of Islamic aid organizations prostelytizing.

"Also, I've never been approached in a non-Muslim country by proselytizing Muslims, but I've been approached by Christians, Mormons, Jehovas, etc. in non-Christian countries!"

Not in Muslim countries - because apostasy is a capital crime in many and you will be ostracized as a minimum if you leave the faith. Go to a Muslim country and try to convert someone who's Muslim to Bhudism - watch what happens.

Muslims have a different approach - but they are not being "less aggressive" in their sales pitch. It's just probably not as active in places where you are living or traveling.

#42 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by sayadian on 31/10/2009 at 03:54

Madmac
I just read a book by a Somali lady named Ayaan Hirsi Ali called The Caged Virgin. I think it says a lot about Islam and is written by a Moslem.A lot of it deals with the fact Muslims never question their faith and hence there is no development within its structure and philosophy.

#43 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by sayadian on 31/10/2009 at 03:54

Madmac
I just read a book by a Somali lady named Ayaan Hirsi Ali called The Caged Virgin. I think it says a lot about Islam and is written by a Moslem.A lot of it deals with the fact Muslims never question their faith and hence there is no development within its structure and philosophy.

#44 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by MADMAC on 31/10/2009 at 11:12

Sayadian
Ayan Hersi is considered an apostate in the Muslim community and she is REVILED in the Somali community. She plays fast and loose with the truth, but she also has some very valid points to make.

Before I started living amongst (and for a while with) Muslims, I had a very tolerant attitude towards Islam. I'm afraid I've lost that, as Islam is far to confining and brutal a doctrine for me. We tend to view the word tolerant as having the connotation of accepting that maybe others have a point - that they are legitimate. Islam views tolerance as permission - but brooks no arguement about who has "The Truth". So while I still have many Muslim (mostly Somali - but some Turks and Syrians as well) friends, as a religion and socio-political compact I have nothing left but contempt for the institution of Islam.

#45 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by exacto on 31/10/2009 at 22:30

MAC,

Sorry to hear that your experiences with Islam have been so overwhelmingly negative. Fortunately, mine have been generally positive, and my travels in places like Indonesia and my four years living in Istanbul and exploring Turkey have dramatically improved how I feel about Islam.

I'm pretty certain that Islam is not the homogenized movement that is being presented here. For example, I suspect that in eastern Turkey, it would be much easier to encounter the hard-line behavior that you mention. But in western Turkey, I typically found folks who were tolerant and friendly and often invited me to join in their cermonies (a form of proselytizing I suspect but also a genuine wish to share their beliefs and include me as a guest).

I think it all comes down to culture. In the small rural Utah town where I live, there is no shortage of folks who try to use religious doctrines to enforce their own narrow opinions. But that's a misuse of religious principles for culture or political gains, and not necessarily a reflection of the religion itself.

In any case, I drank enough Bintang beer in Indonesia and enough Efes in Turkey (and Raki/Arak for that matter) to know that not every sector of the Islamic world is completely hung up on alcohol. It was much easier to get a beer there than it is to get one here where I live. Regards.

#46 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,628
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Posted by MADMAC on 31/10/2009 at 23:43

It is funny how similar the Mormons and the Muslims are huh? I like the Turks a lot. My last serious dance partner was Turkish and she was a great friend. I miss her.

#47 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by exacto on 1/11/2009 at 01:00

Yes, I've noticed how similar they are too. Maybe that's why I like my neighbors here so much, even if I don't see the world the same way they do. Good people.

I like the Turks as well and usually found them pretty easy to get along with and talk to. Very hospitable folks. There is a good salsa scene in Istanbul (at least there was a few years ago), and dozens and dozens of other styles of clubs with dancing and live music. Don't know if you've been, but I imagine you'd like the place. It doesn't get too many American visitors, which is a shame, because it is one of the best places I've ever been as a tourist. Regards.

#48 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,628
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Posted by MADMAC on 1/11/2009 at 11:07

I haven't been, but Istanbul is known for a solid salsa scene and I've danced with one woman who taught there.

#49 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Tilapia on 1/11/2009 at 22:31

Interesting. Though I've never been to Istanbul, I have traveled in Turkey (central, south and east) and found it to be one of the easiest, most friendly countries I've ever been to.

#50 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,490
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