Thursday, May 31, 2007

Freedom To Choose A Religion.

One thing for sure, Lina Joy won't be arrested for the choice she has made years ago to become a Christian. But she can't tell the good folks at the National Registration Department (NRD) to delete the word Islam off her Mykad so that she could go on with her life as a staunch Christian. Marry her Christian boyfriend, and in a couple of years, give birth to a couple of Christian children who will be running around the house singing Jingle Bell Jingle All The way. The children will probably grow up to become Santa Claus or a high priest, or a vicar, or even a pope. Lina Joy will probably die a Christian and be buried in a Christian cemetery. They are gonna put up a cross high as the Eiffel Tower on her grave as a mark of respect for her diligence and steadfastness to hold on to Christianity because it meant something to her. To Lina Joy all this is a fight against those who get in her way of becoming a Christian martyr. Maybe she will be made a saint. That would be something to her children, grandchildren and great great grandchildren to write about. And that would be something for the Malay community too. Whaddaya know, someone who used to be a Muslim and now look at her, a Christian saint. Boy, she's gone very far that girl, eh? And the community will go on with life completely undisturbed by the whole thing because if being a Christian is what she wants so be it.
Maybe I didn't get it. But from the blogs I've read written by big names, and the comments they generated from the readers, I got the impression that all this is about Lina Joy being denied the right to exercise her freedom to choose a religion. Now wait a minute, isn't Lina Joy free to choose hers? And she has made that choice on her own accord as a thinking adult, so she thinks. Isn't she free to go to any church she wants? I think she can even put on a t-shirt with 'Hey Look, I'm A Christian Now So Bug Off!' and I bet no one is gonna disturb her. Maybe she's gonna get some nasty remarks but that's what you get for wearing that kind of t-shirt if you are a Malay.
And I don't see the point of bringing in the Qur'an verse about '...there's no compulsion in Islam.' when it is obvious that Lina Joy is a living proof that she doesn't have to accept Islam if she doesn't want to. This is not about compulsion. This is about the NRD not being given the power to delete anything permanently from a Mykad. And this is a good thing because should the NRD have that power, imagine the damage it can do to your life should an officer decide to have a bit of fun with the spelling of your name, or your religion. Or your date of birth.
So what does Lina Joy gotta do to solve this problem? She has to make the trip to Jabatan Agama Islam, or the Syariah Court. She has to officially denounce herself a Muslim before a Mufti or the official representatives of the state. Maybe she has to bring along a Christian priest just in case the good folks at the Jabatan Agama Islam need a working statement from a living person to support her application to get rid of Islam off her back. If she can't get a priest I believe she may have to bring along a Santa Claus but she may have to wait until November or December. With this she would be able to obtain the official letter as proof that she is now officially a non-Muslim. With this letter she has to make one last trip to the NRD to submit the letter to the good folks there and they would be more than happy to delete whatever word she wants erased off her Mykad permanently.
This case has got to come to an end because the longer this goes on, a lot of people are going to get all boiled up inside and who knows what's gonna happen when people are boiled up inside. I don't think the Muslims will take kindly to non-Muslims coming in to air their views in this issue when the issue isn't about human rights but more of administrative and procedural process of a government department. As it is now, no thanks to Lina Joy, the non-Muslim are writing about Islam in a manner that could annoy the Muslims in a big way. You don't see Muslims writing about Christianity even though Lina Joy offers an interesting opportunity to write about Christianity that could get the Christian annoyed big time. It's a free country but it is not wise to exercise this freedom at the risk of starting a fight that could escalate into a sectarian violence. Unless of course, this is the hidden intention among those who see Lina Joy's case as a chance to sound intellectual, open-minded and well-read by writing about it as if Lina Joy is the only Malay Christian in the world who need to be defended at all costs just in case she decides to become Muslim again.
The blog entitled 'Do We Believe In Qur'an?' by Marina Mahathir got me thinking; why the need for the question mark? Is it an indication that Qur'an is a questionable source of reference? Or is it a direct question whether Qur'an is indeed capable of dealing with Lina Joy or many other Lina Joys to come now that it is trendy to ask a lot of questions hoping that the Qur'an won't provide the answer because it is trendy to read the translation not learn it the way it supposed to be learnt. All I know is, a person who reads Qur'an every day but is clueless or completely at sea with its meaning will not think twice to defend the Qur'an with his or her life when someone as much as say something like 'huh' to Qur'an. Is this fanaticism? To the westerners maybe, but to Muslims its Iman.
To Lina Joy if you happen to read this; please, ma'am. You gotta resolve this issue fast. As a good Christian, I'm sure you don't want to see things turning ugly on your account because I'm sure you know you are not worth the salt to be dying for or getting into a fight for. You may think Islam is trying to force you to accept things you find repulsive but the truth is Islam won't lose anything if you to decide to become the first female pope. Islam doesn't lose anything if everyone on earth decides to become Christian or whatever religion that may come along as time goes by. The truth is, this is your personal fight with the NRD so deal with it. Do the right thing because there are lot of people out there who think all this is about human rights, no compulsion in Islam, or Syariah Court is now above everything else. Well maybe it's about time the Syariah Court should be made the highest court in this boleh land. After all it's a boleh thing to do. It ain't that hard. And by the looks of it, maybe it will soon.
Next Entry: Now that Lina Joy has started this whole thing, the Muslimin and the Muslimah with a bit of Iman in their heart should stick together in a movement to make Malaysia a truly Islamic Republic which means, let's have Friday as the weekend since we gave in to the Christian long enough for the Sunday weekend. Isn't it about time the Christian give in to the Muslim for a Friday weekend, afterall the Muslims gave in to them since the Portuguese time and since this is the 50th Merdeka and all, it's about time we call this country The Islamic Republic of Malaysia. We gotta start this whole thing rolling. Maybe it has started already that I am now aware of since the voice can now be heard in most masjid and surau all over the country. Human rights? Remember our brothers in Guantanamo Bay, mates!
You picked the wrong time to fight your case, Lina Joy. And those behind you picked the wrong time to be kurang ajar.


Blogger IBU said...

She barked at the wrong tree. And there are so many spin doctors around. Sigh....

1:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay, this has nothing to do with your post, but I was wondering if you are the same bergen I knew from MSN's 'GC'?

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Bergen,
I agree with you 100%
Thanks for putting it .Am proud of you.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well written, Bergen sir!

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum Tuan Guru Bergen,

I haven't really followed the Lina Joy saga. I could only relate to the Natrah controversy of decades gone by in Singapore which triggered a 'united Islamic Uprising' amongst Muslims in the Malay Archipelago, so I was told by my late father and grand uncle.

But what I could relate to you now probably is my own experience of having an ex-wife who used to be a Roman Catholic. She volunteered to convert to Islam herself without any prodding from me more than 20 years ago but now I doubt if she even likes her chosen Muslim name.

Ah, well... I have only myself to blame for having misguided her during our 13 years of marriage. My only concern now is for my teenage son and 8 year old daughter who chose to live with her. May Allah guide them to the Righteous Path of Islam as a Way of Life... Amin Ya Rabbal Alamin!

6:09 PM  
Blogger Theta said...

Bergen Sir,
This witty, off-the-cuff entry surely puts things in perspective for me. Thank you for sharing your commendable thoughts.
And why does she choose this time - VMY2007 and 50th Anniversary of Independence - to highlight her so-called plight to the world? I know she's been on-and-off the news a few years back but for her court's appeal to be denied this year only played into the hands of naysayers and provocateurs.

7:21 PM  
Blogger eva's haven said...

my sentiments exactly. Ok...I aint gonna mess up with anyone's religion.
from what i've been reading, this Lina gal just wants islam to be obliterated in her ID and replaced with her new religion.
ANd she aint gettin nowhere near that becos yada yada yada.....
That is THE problem.
But you people out there are not making it any easier. You're gonna really piss a lot of Muslims, y'know.
Jeeezzz. She's already a Christian. Nobody si forcing her to go back to being a Muslim. I dont think any Muslim wants to force her back. And Islam is probably all the better for that.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't help pitying that Lina Joy (to the World) character and I couldn't help sympathising more for her parents (be they dead or alive), particularly her father who has to answer to the Almighty in the Hereafter... NAUZUBILLAHI MINZALIK! Astaghfirullahulazhiim..

8:57 AM  
Blogger Bergen said...

Ibu: She's just too blind to see that people are using her as a shield.

Ogre: No, Ogre. I am not.

Anonymous: Thank you.

Anonymous: Thank you.

Musafir Cinta Ilahi: I hope things turn out all right for you and your children, and your ex missus.

Theta: It's hard when you can't see the obvious. She's got the hijab blocking her vision.

Eva's Haven: Thank you, ma'am. You've got it right. And you wrote a nice piece too in your entry.

Insan Insaf: The father isn't responsible for her daughter's action. She an adult, responsible for her own action. I'm sure her father did what he is supposed to do i.e. raising her daughter to become pious Muslim. She chose her own path. We are not responsible for other's action.

To everyone who dropped by this way, thank you for coming. You be sure to have a nice day now, y'hear. And come again.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It took me a quite a while to decide whether I should blog something on the matter. Off coz I don't think it's worth the space in my blog. Nothing to bark about. Still, quite itchy to blog bout it.

But then, with God's will, I was shoot to your blog and you have write everything that I believe should be written bout the saga.

Well done mate! Well Done!!

Thank you for the posting!

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Bergen

I am proud of you and am proud to be a Muslim.

Thanks for this splendid writeup.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Bergen said...

Sheih: Good to have you coming over my place, mate. Thank you.

Adik: Thank you. You take care now, y'hear?

3:57 PM  

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