Thursday, 8 January 2009

Is Hudud compatible with Democracy?

Therefore, questions of democracy, individual freedom and the right of the majority are stacked one against the other in scenarios such as these.
I personally feel that should the majority of people within a particular state willingly and freely wish to have the Islamic legal system implemented, they should be given the right.
That is what democracy is all about.
-Khalid Samad, Hudud & Democracy,
Malaysia Today/ TheNutGraph

Dear Khalid,
Allow me to first of all congratulate you on your ability to articulate your thought better than those who dreamed up a candidate (whom I support, given alternative) the for political contest. Given the scenario that unfolds in KT, wherein minorities are courted in this crucial by-election, it is strange that you do not speak as you should.

Dear Sir, you have grossly misunderstood the meaning of a true democracy. What you suggest is nothing more than the tyranny of the majority. Democracy isn't exactly just the "rule of the majority" as you'd like to believe, but also the protection of minority rights - for therein lies its true test. You do not get to exert the rule of majority, so as to subvert the rights of minorities.

Democracy is an ideal, wherein the people get to voice out their differences, and rule by consensus, without infringing on each others rights. It is essential with all its flaws, for the survival of the State. The social conflicts arising thereof are minimized with a "Constitution". To subvert this constitution on the premise of exercising democracy, would in effect undo the very democracy one might seek to exercise.
The creation of a parallel legal system, runs against the spirit of a secular Constitution which declares that all citizens are equal before the law. What you intend to do with the demise of the Umno "two-tier social contract" society, is to create another based on "Islamic Laws". It sets the stage for conflict between the supremacy of the Federal Constitution and exclusive "Religious Laws". It invites the fractured society which is bound to feed mutual distrust and suspicion.

It is simplistic of you to presume that practicing democracy, is to abide by the wishes of the majority (even if it subverts demoracy itself), wherein the minorities can be legitimately robbed of their rights, should the majority deem it worthy.
How can you even speak of "democracy" as the reason why we should allow the establishment of an Islamic State or a legal system, when you know that the real intention is to hijack democracy itself? In a democracy, a citizen ought to have his freedom of "choice" intact even after choices are made - does this freedom of choice exist in the Islamic state?

None would surrender his right to the freedom of choice unless he stood to gain something he deems worthwhile in one way or other. It is unfortunate that some believe that a person is relieved of this right at birth, should he be born Muslim, or converts into Islam. In an Islamic tradition/ Hudud/Qisas (and other religions too- although in those cases, there really isn't compulsion), one is deprived of making certain choices, once he chooses to embrace this system.
His choices are limited to that which is dictated by the norms of society. "laws" or opinions of "wise men"- from then on, the system decides what's best for him/her. This is something that's irreconcilable with democracy. By preventing this freedom of choice in a democracy, it is my opinion, that you have given up that right to demand that choice!
Stop this tyranny, and you shall earn yourself the right to demand a democracy, Khalid.

C.S Lewis once said, "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
Although your intentions may be noble, could you deny that the "Islamic State/Hudud" concept is anything but what is described by C.S. Lewis above, given the numerous precedents of "glorious civilisations" which we have around the world.

In no way do I intend to belittle the "deen" of Islam, which I'd support in spirit - given its good intentions at the time of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh), in a barbaric society. The same goes to many a Christian evangelist, who might advocate that which you do - a theocracy- provided they were in the seat of power.
It isn't about religion here, Khalid - it is about grabbing political power and using "divine" inspiration to hoodwink the public, so as to hold on to it indefinitely. It's about using religion as the vehicle for control & repression by "godmen" politicians pretending to be "men of God", so as to fulfill their agenda to relieve the masses of their rights.

It's about Fascism under the guise of religiosity, devoid of spirituality.
Allow me to make it clear to you here that this isn't just an Islamic phenomenon - under the Papist "Holy" Roman Empire, similar systems of repressive rule resulted in the regressive and repressive regimes that brought about untold persecution and suffering for the "faithful".
It's about the death of Democracy under the Islamic state concept. It's about the psychological terror that you propose.
As Gandhi said, "The spirit of democracy cannot be established in the midst of terrorism, whether governmental or popular".

It is my observation that those who have little "reason" to substantiate their arguments on justice and rule of law (aka theocrats), seek refuge in "sacred texts" (which are often filled with contradictions, and steeped in mysticism and superstition) at the drop of a hat- so as to justify their point of view and actions, which may be irrational or plain criminal. If those books deemed sacred do not provide for answers, the answers are sought from man made texts which are claimed to be "inspired", and hence "semi-divine". Under the tyranny of a theocracy, any number of criminal action will be justified in God's name (with twisted reasonings), so that the elite can lead their hedonistic lifestyles. The little man is more often than not drugged into unthinking submission to "the voices of God which speak for them" in the corridors of power.

Dear Sir, you cannot understand humanity, if you were to depend on one school of thought- even if deemed perfect by virtue of faith, rather than reason. More so in a multi-cultural state like Malaysia. (Note that I do not refer to Malaysia as a nation - for nationhood is still a far-fetched dream, considering the sectarian politics propagated by selfish interests). It is essential that you understand the true spirit of our democratic constitution and the rule of law, before you seek to promote Hudud as the solution to all our ills.

The utopia that you seek resides in your mind and heart and does not depend on political power or government. Any effort to create it politically will be futile, and would create untold misery/conflict.
For the sake of nationhood, I sincerely pray that you would learn to embrace the true spirit of democracy (which protect the minorities' rights), instead of seeking to subverting their rights through the tyranny of the majority.
It is also hoped that you will not be influenced by the self-aggrandizement of highly "inspired" Godmen in certain political circles, in articulating your thoughts on statecraft.

Wallahu a'lam.

Malaysia is currently facing a very uncertain future - there is a possibility of things turning for the worse, should Umno decide to sabotage the promise of progress under the PR govt of the future.
Considering the gullibility of a vast majority of the Malaysian Muslim/ Malay electorate to racial & religious provocation, and the spiritual/ intellectual/ moral bankruptcy of the "political elite", there is a very real possibility of Malaysia turning into an Islamic Theocracy in the not too distant future- more so, should PAS decide to pursue their ambitions through appealing to Umno's sectarian hate politics.


The most effective way to restrict democracy,
is to transfer decision-making
from the public arena
to unaccountable institutions:

kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas,
party dictatorships, or modern corporations.

- Noam Chomsky

What BN Gives KT for RM9,000,000,000.00

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