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Month: April 2015

Bursting the Muslim bubble

Published in Malay Mail Online

Malaysian Muslims in general tend to live in bubbles.

Due to their dietary requirements, they isolate themselves in a bubble so unnecessarily strict and complex that it is now a burgeoning industry of its own.

They need to live with constant reminders to pray, and daily break periods to fulfil those prayers.

They require to be judged on certain issues with laws of their own, with a separate legal system with separate judges and separate courts.

Sometimes, these bubbles are even carried overseas together with them, whenever they travel abroad.

Students tend to stick together to preserve the bubble, to protect them from the wicked world outside that wishes to entice them away.

When travelling in tours, they find it easier to stay in the bubble and repeat their daily routine instead of directly participating in different cultures.

At best, keeping themselves in these bubbles polarises non-Muslims as outcasts, and always as “the others.” At worst, by retreating further into their own shells, Muslims leave non-Muslims increasingly uncaring about their affairs, with both having fewer and fewer things in common.

Is it safe to speak our minds?

Published in Malay Mail Online

On Friday, a curator on a Malaysian rotation Twitter account was kicked out for breaching guidelines. He was discussing aspects of a weekly ritual involving a certain religion.

There have been many who pushed the boundaries with their topics. The issue of LGBT rights, sex and toilet humour have all been touched upon several times by the different curators. So has religion.

Significantly though, this happened barely a week after amendments to the controversial Sedition Act was bulldozed through Parliament. An amendment which now counts insulting and mocking any religion in Malaysia as seditious.

What is interesting is that the Bill had specified that it was only seditious to insult the brand of Islam that is approved by Putrajaya. Essentially, this means that it is not seditious when it comes to religious minorities, such as Shiah and Ahmadi followers, since they were never recognised by the state as denominations of Islam.

Realistically, people will be more wary of debating religious issues, especially involving Islam, despite the religion’s pervasiveness in our daily lives and national policies.

As more and more elements of religion creep into our country’s administration, this will mean that there will be fewer and fewer matters that can be discussed by the public with no fear.

Islam’s rise to become world’s biggest religion

Published in Malay Mail Online

It has been said over and over again by its adherents that Islam is the world’s fastest-spreading religion.

Over the past few years, there has been little data to support the argument, save for the irrational fear spread by right-wing politicians in some European countries to further their xenophobic policies and ideologies.

However, a study by Washington-based pollster Pew Research Forum released this week confirmed this fact.

According to Pew, the number of Muslims will equal Christians by the year 2050. By 2070, Islam is poised to take over as the world’s biggest religion.

But the reason Islam is spreading sporadically might surprise you.