23 December 2010

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please.

Wednesday December 22, 2010
Diversity is our great wealth

Malaysian Muslims need to travel more, even within the Muslim world just to see its diversity. Muslims all over the world have just as many different cultures and traditions as they do similarities.

I was really hoping to end the year on a happier note. But in a very fractious year, there is simply no let-up. The long list of intolerance and human rights abuse continues unabated.

We live in a country of a great diversity. Our people are of many different ethnicities and religions. That is our great wealth and strength and undoubtedly we have managed to live better with that diversity for more than 50 years.

Now, however, diversity is a fact that can’t even be acknowledged.

What does plurality mean? It just means that we are not homogenous, that we have many different streams among our people, whether it’s ethnic makeup, beliefs or opinions.

Being plural is just a statement of fact, not a judgement call on which of these streams are better than the other.

Yet, there are people warning us about the dangers of pluralism, because apparently pluralism makes equal what they believe is not. Where they got this is not stated.

All of us believe that our religion is the best one. But the fact that other religions exist is something we have to accept.

In parts of the world, our religion is not accepted and indeed discriminated against. If we complain about that, is it not hypocritical for us to do the same at home?

In the Quran, God talks about believers and defines them this way: “Believers are only they whose hearts tremble with awe whenever God is mentioned, and whose faith is strengthened whenever His messages are conveyed unto them, and who in their Sustainer place their trust.” (Surah Al-Anfal, Verse 2).

Can we seriously go around and decide who are believers and who are not? And even if we could, can we do anything about it? As God says, “Behold, God lets go. Astray him who will (to go astray), just as He guides unto Himself all who turn unto Him” (Surah Al-R’ad, Verse 27).

Nor does pluralism refer only to us and the other but also within our own communities. How is it we can be so intolerant even of those within our own fold, unless we don’t know our own religion?

“All believers are but brethren. Hence, (whenever they are at odds) make peace between your two brethren, and remain conscious of God, so that you might be graced with His mercy.” (Surah Al-Hujarat, Verse 10).

And yet, our leaders are calling us to hound people whose beliefs differ from ours, even when their roots go back to the same source as ours.

Sometimes, I think Malaysian Muslims need to travel more, even within the Muslim world, just to see its diversity.

Muslims all over the world have just as many different cultures and traditions as they do similarities.

Not everybody does things exactly the way we do it. Yet their core beliefs, what makes them Muslims, are all the same.

So who are we to decide whether they are wrong or not?

More practically speaking, if we insist that Shiites are deviants, then how do we explain the Islamic Republic of Iran and its membership in the OIC? Or is inconsistency simply part of politics?

Not only are we a plural society in terms of race, religion and within religion itself, we are also plural in other ways, including sexuality.

Here again we go against our own core beliefs in order to act out our own prejudices.

If we believe that God determines everything, then surely our sexuality is not a matter of choice either.

Therefore, if we did not choose to be heterosexual, it stands to reason that nobody chose to be homosexual either. In this way, we are equal before the Divine.

How then does this justify the type of savage discrimination that some of us insist must be inflicted against those of minority sexualities?

If we persecute every single gay man, woman and child in this country, would God guarantee that no disaster will ever befall us henceforth?

If I sound frustrated, it is because I am completely tired of the abhorrently arrogant way that those in authority have conducted themselves in the past year.

Somehow supremacist beliefs about just about everything is gaining ground, not just about race and religion but also about gender, sexuality, age, disability and everything else not considered the “norm”.

Those of us who complain about discrimination and abuse become the ones who are branded irreligious.

Did we forget this verse? “O men! Behold, We have created you all out of males and females, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another”. (Surah Al-Hujarat, Verse 13).

Could there be nothing clearer about a pluralistic world?

Try and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, everyone!

For enlightenment, do read this http://www.ammanmessage.com/