Extremism in Liberalism

In a Malay-Majority nation where most of the rakyat still uphold the principles and values of conservatism, being off-tangent could be seen as the attempt to be protagonist and would invite the ‘encircling-of-the-wagon’. Reciprocating to that in universal lingo is actually a move towards extremism.

The Star story:

Published: Friday November 7, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday November 7, 2014 MYT 6:49:04 AM

Selangor Ruler advises Muslims to understand the fundamentals behind Islamic laws

SHAH ALAM: Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah has advised Muslims, especially those in Selangor, not to be hasty in criticising any fatwa made by Islamic authorities without fully understanding why the edicts were issued.

He said they should, instead, put their confidence in the edicts and unite against any ideological or political interests that go against Islam.

“Any fatwa made in Selangor is valid only after it has received my assent and approval,” the ruler said in his royal address when opening the Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Conference and Syariah Criminal Code Seminar at the State Secretariat building here yesterday. Mentri Besar Azmin Ali was also present.

The Sultan said Muslims must stay united and think alike on religious teachings and this should be above political ideology and interest.

The Sultan regretted that unlike the religious scholars, many Muslims did not understand the fundamentals behind the Islamic laws that are enshrined in holy texts.

“Not understanding the law can threaten the peace, harmony and safety of a country.

“Muslims should, therefore, understand these laws and Allah’s laws as stated in the Quran,” he said.

“I am saying this because I do not want to see conflicts and quarrels among Muslims in managing and implementing Islamic matters to the point of undermining the religion, causing it to be mocked and questioned by irresponsible parties,” he said.

Pointing out that Islam stands out because of its practice of moderation, Sultan Sharafuddin said he did not want to see this threatened by certain “extremists” in the country.

“I urge Muslims not to be influenced by those deviant teachings,” he said.

Last week, Sisters in Islam (SIS) filed for a judicial review on a gazetted fatwa in Selangor that declared pluralism and liberalism as going against Islamic teachings and inferred that SIS had deviated from Islam.

SIS named the Selangor Fatwa Committee, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the state government as respondents in the review filed Friday at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Azmin has since proposed a meeting among SIS, the Selangor mufti and Mais in order to avert confusion and misunderstanding over the fatwa.


This came after the many pockets of minority which include Muslims trying to liberalise their values and thoughts towards the conservatism of Islam by the Malay-Muslim majority of Malaysia, reacted adversely when the Selangor Fatwa Council decreed that NGO Sisters in Islam (SIS) has deviated from the teachings of Islam.

The Star story:

Published: Friday October 31, 2014 MYT 12:04:00 PM
Updated: Friday October 31, 2014 MYT 3:30:26 PM

Sisters in Islam files for judicial review on fatwa


PETALING JAYA: Sisters in Islam (SIS) has filed for a judicial review on a gazetted fatwa (edict) in Selangor that declared the Muslim women’s rights group as deviating from Islam.

SIS executive director Ratna Osman said they only came across the fatwa by chance on Oct 20.

“We view with grave concern, the allegations made against us and question the basis of this fatwa,” she said during a press conference here Friday.

SIS named the Selangor Fatwa Committee, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the state government as respondents in the review filed Friday at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

The fatwa titled “Pemikiran Liberalisme dan Pluralisme Agama” declared SIS Forum (Malaysia) as subscribing to liberalism and religious pluralism, and therefore deviating from the teachings of Islam.

The fatwa, which was gazetted in July, also allows for any publications deemed liberal and plural to be banned and seized.

In addition, it calls for any form of social media that promotes such content to be monitored and restricted by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commissions (MCMC).

The outspoken group has been regularly criticised by religious authorities and Islamist non-government organisations for its views on Islam.

SIS board director Marina Mahathir questioned the reasoning behind the fatwa and asked why the group was not informed about it in the first place.

She also asked the authorities to define the meaning of liberalism and pluralism and spell out what they did was against Islam.

“If justice and equality for women is un-Islamic, I don’t know where we are going with this,” she said.

Former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and co-founder of SIS Zainah Anwar are co-appellants in the review application as “concerned Muslims.”


Yesterday, Dato’ Paduka Marina Mahathir who is a staunch activist of SIS said that they are challenging the process of having the fatwa and not the fatwa itself.

The Malay Main online story:

We are challenging the process, not the fatwa, says SIS

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — Muslim women’s group Sister in Islam (SIS) said today that it is challenging the process involved in formulating a religious edict or fatwa and not the authority of the state religious body to issue one.

The group clarified its position after the Sultan of Selangor said that religious edicts in the state are issued with his consent.

The group’s founding member Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir said that the judicial review the group has filed aims to get an explanation on the reasoning for the fatwa that declared the NGO as deviating from Islam

“We were not informed when the fatwa was passed or even after it was gazetted,” said Marina at a press conference today.

“Once it is gazetted and if we don’t challenge it, it becomes a law and if we contravene the law, it is a crime.

“How would we know we were contravening it if we didn’t know about it, and it so happened that we came across it by chance, 10 days before the deadline,” she said.
On Friday, SIS filed for a judicial review on a gazetted fatwa in Selangor that declared the group of deviating from Islam.

SIS executive director Ratna Osman said they were filing the challenge as the fatwa – which was gazetted on July 31 – was issued without the group being told or questioned..

The three-month grace period to review a fatwa ended the day SIS filed the judicial review.

The group named the Selangor Fatwa Committee, the Mais and the state government as respondents at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.


Extending this challenge further would translate an open forum to bicker especially through non-interactive, such as main stream or lopsided moderated, such as social media.

The hardliners and conversative clerics and and community leaders on one side where else the liberals and even the Non Believers would give their thoughts to complicate and add insult to injury further.

Many would use the opportunity to manipulate the situation and the chronology of the build up of the case and story, where it is believed so many would be confused.

The midst of the confusion is usually the best opportunity for thoughts towards extremism be sowed.

There are far too many sensitivities against or about Islam and Muslims in Selangor already. Managing the current problem, which include the seizure of 321 bibles in Malay from the Bible Society of Malaysia in Damansara Kim earlier this year still has yet to be resolved.

Manipulation on sensitive matters pertaining to Islam and the Malay-Muslim majority, such as protelysation, apostasy and syariah rules and rulings.

Inadvertently, all these manipulation and hyping against the conservatism and the principles and value system of the said majority would just allow the extremists to come out of with the woodworks.

HRH Tuanku Sultan Selangor is spot on when he issued the titah that the Malay-Muslims should refrain from giving their interpretation on the matter any further and leave the matter to be handled by the usual channels in handling delicate matters involving Islam.

Published in: on November 7, 2014 at 12:30  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Apa merepek punya argument?

    We are not challenging the fatwa but the process. WTF is she talking?

    So it is right that SIS is sesat

  2. ..of “all those duri dalam daging!”… of lately the case in Seremban.

    What shall we do ?

  3. […] Marina’s statement should be seen as outrageous, if not deemed to be extreme. It is such liberal talks that would eventually transform the situation into extremism. […]

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