By Mariam Mokhtar
March 13, 2015
Muslim fundamentalism, if left unchecked, will have tragic consequences on families and communities. Will religious zealots understand that their actions wreck families and split-up communities? Religious fanaticism destroys peaceful co-existence and has the potential to destabilise a nation. Will Islamic fanatics give up only when they have killed everyone?
One month ago, G Thiyaggurudeen alleged that his teachers had forced him to drink “air penawar” (holy water), before he was indoctrinated by religious missionaries, and coerced into making a police report against his father.
Yesterday, the 14-year-old drank coffee laced with paraquat, because he did not want to be traumatised by the religious missionaries, again.
The teenager’s ordeal started at the beginning of the school year, when his father S. Ganesan requested that his son not attend Islamic Studies classes at his school, near Port Dickson.
Ganesan, a Hindu, had been unsuccessful in his attempts to change his son’s religion, on the MyKad, from Islam to Hindu. Ganesan, is a Hindu, who converted to Islam when he married a Muslim in 1982. His second wife, the mother of his teenage son, is an Indonesian Muslim. He has since divorced her.
Ganesan successfully applied to be an apostate, in 1987, but his son was not so lucky. The teenager has had no end of problems with his birth certificate and identity card. Despite approaching the Syariah court, to change the religious status on his son’s MyKad, Ganesan was informed that he could only do this, when his son reaches the age of 18. He would then have to seek his son’s consent to amend the MyKad details.
Last February, soon after Ganesan’s request that his son, Thiyaggurudeen be excluded from the Islamic Studies class, the teenager alleged that two Muslim teachers had taken him to a missionary centre in Negeri Sembilan, where he received an indoctrination which lasted a few hours. He alleged that his captors were state religious department officials.
A tip-off, by a security guard at his son’s school, enabled Ganesan to rescue his son. Earlier that day, it was also alleged that two teachers at his son’s school, had forced Thiyaggurudeen to lodge a police report against his father. They also claimed that Ganesan had been guilty of abusing his son, over the past three years.
Thiyaggurudeen has been warded at the Tuanku Jaafar hospital in Seremban where he is under observation. The lethal effects of the weed-killer develop over several days. At his son’s bedside, Ganesan said, “My son told me that he is afraid that they (religious authorities) would take him away and put him through the ordeal again. He has told doctors and the police the same thing.”
This young boy has been traumatised by the actions of Muslim zealots in our community. He should be looking forward to his future, his studies and achieving his ambitions. Instead, he is locked in a religious battle, which is not of his own making.
Thiyaggurudeen is not the only one to suffer at the hands of religious fanatics. Let us ignore the rights and wrongs of his father, becoming a Muslim, to marry his wives. Let us instead focus on the overall picture.
We have read about religious authorities seizing dead bodies from funeral parlours, claiming that these people were converts and should be buried according to Islamic rites. Women have had their weddings terminated because of the action of religious officials. Children have been snatched from their mothers, because their fathers converted. Children at residential boarding schools have been converted, without their parents’ permission.
So, when will this madness end? Despite civil laws governing the rights of the children and the mothers, Syariah law always triumphs.
In Malaysia, Muslim religious fanatics are tarnishing the good name of Islam. Many act without compassion, thus undoing any good which Islam preaches. The zealots amongst them are outraged when they read about solar-powered talking bibles or hear unfounded rumours of Malays being converted. The zealot’s worst quality is of being a hypocrite (Munafiq).
Will these Muslims realise that converting people to become Muslims is not a numbers game? It is not about how many Muslims there are, but how good a Muslim, one is.
Are the fanatics claiming that it is better to be a bad Muslim, than be a good non-Muslim? Are fanatics more concerned about the total numbers of Muslims in the population, or are they more bothered about the person’s piety and compassion? To the fanatics, being a Muslim is more about quantity than quality.
Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.