Hijab Lawsuits Against Abercrombie & Fitch

American clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has had to face several lawsuits over an item of clothing. But the item of clothing is not one of its own. The lawsuits have been about the hijab. The latest one, involving Samantha Elauf, will now be going to the US Supreme Court. Some of the issues that the Supreme Court will have to consider have been aired in a commentary by Phyllis Chesler, a psychotherapist and writer on many topics.

Samantha Elauf’s Case

Samantha Elauf had applied for a job with Abercrombbie Kids store in Tulsa Oklahoma in 2008, and was initially given a high score. She wore a hijab during the interview. However, after consultation with a district manager, the interviewer lowered the score in the “appearance and sense of style” category. Although the interviewer had assumed that Samantha Elauf wore the hijab for religious reasons, she did not ask about religion during the interview, in accordance with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines.

The EEOC sued on Samantha Elauf’s behalf. A federal judge ruled against the company but the decision was reversed by an appeals court.

The case hinges on whether job applicants must explicitly inform prospective employers that they require a religious exemption for their form of dress. Abercrombie maintains that Samantha Elauf did not make this request. The EEOC argues that if “actual knowledge” of an employee’s religious belief is required by employers, companies could discriminate against employees as long as the employees do not make explicit statements about their religious practices.

Other Cases Against Abercrombie & Fitch

Halla Banafa was asked about her hijab during her interview for a job at Abercrombie Kids store in California, but was not hired on grounds that accommodating her headscarf would place undue hardship on the business.

Umme-Hani Khan had been wearing a hijab at Hollister, an Abercrombie subsidiary, for several months, but after a visit by a district manager she was asked to remove it. She refused and was dismissed.

Both were awarded $71,000 in a joint settlement in September 2013.

Issues For Supreme Court To Consider

Phyllis Chesler is a professor emeritus of psychotherapy, and a writer on issues such as gender, mental illness, second-wave feminism, pornography, prostitution, violence against women, anti-Semitism, Islam, and honor killings. She has also called for an American ban on the burka (face and full-body covering) on grounds that it is a violation of women’s rights and a health hazard. However, she acknowledges that the case for a ban on the hijab is more difficult. It is only a head covering that poses no danger to the woman or the public.

Phyllis Chesler points out that one objection that has been raised against permitting the hijab in public places is that it may represent the “nose of the camel”, which, once it enters the tent, will lead to demands for halal food, separate classes for boys and girls, separate swimming facilities, breaks for prayer, the public recognition of Muslim holidays, tax-funded Muslim schools and so on.

However, nuns, rabbis, religious Jews,and Sikhs are allowed to wear head coverings. So why ban the hijab? According to Phyllis Chesler, some counter-terrorism experts think at “at this time in history” there is a difference between these other groups and Muslims. It is because the other religious groups do not call for supremacy over infidels or for violent jihad against infidels and against other Muslims who do not adopt extremist views. Moreover, with the notion of jihad being so widespread, permitting the hijab at work may frighten off or offend some customers. Phyllis Chelser adds, though, that she is not suggesting that a hijab-wearer would kill anyone. However, she cannot be sure that such a wearer will oppose those who exercise the right to kill under Sharia law.

Thus Phyllis Chesler concludes that “The Supreme Court will have to carefully balance the separation of religion and state; freedom of religion; the nature of public space and business bottom lines; and individual civil rights – over and against the meaning that the Islamic headscarf may have in such dangerous times”.

Think About It

Can the Supreme Court take into account the many issues that Phyllis Chesler raises? Will it be limited only to points of law? The Quran mandates modesty for both men and women, but does not specify the hijab. Is the hijab always worn for reasons of modesty, or is it sometimes to make a statement about one’s religious belief? Is making a public statement about oneself modest? Would getting the message across that wearing a hijab may not be an expression of modesty be a better way of resolving this recurring problem with hijabs?

Previous post

Hijab Bans – Different Responses, Different Endings

Jakarta Post’s Editor Declared A Suspect

Indonesian police have declared the editor-in-chief of Jakarta Post, a prominent English-language daily newspaper, a suspect in a blasphemy case. The Jakarta Post published a cartoon of the Islamic State executing people, along with a flag with a skull and the Arabic phrase “La Ilaha Illallah”, meaning “there is none worth of worship except Allah”.

Police claim that the cartoon is blasphemous because it suggests that the Islamic State is acting in connection or association with Islam. However, Meidyatama Suryodingrat, 47, chief editor, defends the Jakarta Post saying that it was ‘a journalistic piece that criticized the ISIS movement, which carried out violence in the name of religion’.

Criminal Act Or Not?

Jakarta Police Spokesman told reporters that Suryodingrat was a named suspect, and cited witness testimonies and evidence for his responsibility of publications in the Jakarta Post. They will summon and question him soon and the journalist faces five years in prison for blasphemy against a religion under the Criminal Code. The police were made aware of the case by a Muslim group, after the Jakarta Post issued an apology and retracted the cartoon from its website and print edition.

However, Suryodingrat responded by saying that the newspaper did not commit a criminal act as accused. He says that the cartoon criticized the ISIS movement, which carried out violence in the name of religion and it was not blasphemous. He added that ISIS is an organisation that is banned in Indonesia and across most of the world. The Alliance of Independent Journalists in Jakarta criticized the declaration of Suryodingrat as suspect, saying that if convicted, poses a serious threat for press freedom in Indonesia.

Think About It

Was the cartoon really suggesting that Islam condones the behaviour of ISIS? Or was it merely criticizing the ISIS movement, which carries out violence in the name of Islam? And what effect will this have on the media if this Suryodingrat is convicted? Is this only happening because it affects Islam? Would the police investigate if a cartoon was made up about Christianity?

“They Are Contrary To Islam”

Aceh is the only province in Indonesia where Sharia law is in force.  But even so, there are some Muslims who think that more can be done to enforce Sharia. And now a new extremist Islamic group in Aceh has taken matters into its own hand, with its members conducting on-site inspections to “moralize” Acehnese Muslims who wear tight jeans.  But the way they are going about in moralizing those who wear tight jeans is itself controversial.

Impromptu Raids

Members of the new extremist Islamic group called Tadzkiiratul Ummah have been conducting impromptu raids in its endeavour to “moralize” the people of Aceh province in keeping strict adherence to Sharia law.

The targets of this moralization campaign are those who wear jeans or tight clothes, something that Tadzkiiratul Ummah refers to as “contrary to Islam”.  In particular they are targeting girls and young women who are wearing “too tight pants”. But why must Tadzkiiratul Ummah members conduct such impromptu raids?  The short answer is that Tadzkiiratul Ummah reckons that the authorities “do not apply Islamic law”, having “shown poor performance in implementing the Sharia law-based regulations”.

Shaming In Public

So what happens when these impromptu raids catch people wearing tight jeans?  Well, in that instance, members of Tadzkiiratul Ummah will spray indelible colored paint on such tight pants.  This is Tadzkiiratul Ummah’s way of naming and shaming such girls. In fact Tadzkiiratul Ummah even calls this naming and shaming its “moral duty”.

Teungku Nurdin Usman, spokesman for Tadzkiiratul Ummah said: “It is our hope that they (the guilty) will be shamed in public, and will refrain from repeating similar misleading behaviour”. Girls caught with tight pants will be given a sarong to put on in place of their tight jeans. Tadzkiiratul Ummah reportedly has 7,000 sarongs on hand.

Aceh’s Morality Police

Although Tadzkiiratul Ummah accused the local authorities of not applying Islamic law with its poor implementation of Sharia law-based regulations, the fact is that in October this year, the Wilayatul Hisbah (aka the morality police) encouraged disciplinary action and fines against women guilty of wearing tight jeans or pants in public.

Reactions

Modern  Muslim movements like the Nahdlatul Ulama are critical of Tadzkiiratul Ummah’s moralization campaign, and  they believe that Tadzkiiratul Ummah has no legal standing to promote this kind of action, which publicly humiliates the victims.

However there are also those who support Tadzkiiratul Ummah’s moralization campaign. Sayuti Abubakar, Chairman of the Aceh Graduate Students Association said: “As an Acehnese who understands the culture and values of Aceh, I very much agree with the tight clothing ban.  Such regulation is necessary to filter western influences and preserve Acehnese values, which are rooted in Islam”.

Think About It

Nahdlatul Ulama said that Tadzkiiratul Ummah lacks the “legal standing” to promote its moralization campaign of naming and shaming those caught wearing too tight pants and jeans.  So how come Tadzkiiratul Ummah can openly carry out its impromptu raids and on-site inspections?  Should the authorities take action to stop Tadzkiiratul Ummah from conducting such illegal impromptu raids?  Can they?  Will they?

“Western Values”

It’s that time of the year when Christians extend “Merry Christmas” greetings to one another.  In fact the greeting “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” has become so commercialized that the religious significance of Christmas seems lost in the malls and stores. But this is also the time of the year that Muslims are reminded what not to do during Christmas.  But now, a Muslim group in Malaysia has gone further, alleging that Christmas is but a ploy by Christians to attract Muslims into accepting Jesus and “Western values”.

“Dangers”

The Malaysian chapter of an international hardline Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir recently issued a warning for Muslims to beware of the dangers next week when Christians celebrate Christmas.

According to Hizbut Tahrir, these  dangers include:

1.  Christmas is a ploy by Christians to attract Muslims into accepting Jesus.

2.  The objective behind Christmas celebrations is to condition Muslims into accepting “Western values” through festivals of vice, free mingling, illicit sex, etc.

3.   Christians are using the celebrations to cement their existence and domination in Muslim countries, especially when a country promotes religious tolerance and allows themselves the freedom to  publicly celebrate Christmas.

4.   Communal Christmas celebrations, either held in homes but open to all or in public, open a way to get non-Christians to believe in Jesus as the savior, or at least coax them to join the Christians in celebrating their faith toward Jesus.

5.   Christmas is also a ploy to plant the seeds of “religious pluralism” into the minds of Muslims so that Christianity can be considered as a religion equal to Islam.

Of Momentum And Intolerant

Commenting on the “momentum of Christmas”, Hizbut Tahrir said: “The momentum of Christmas is made into an important point to spread the Christians’ proselytisation mission. That is why Christians are serious in celebrating Christmas and the new year to attract other races, especially Muslims”.

Turning to the subject of intolerant, Hizbut Tahrir said: “Any Muslim who refuse to offer a greeting of merry Christmas or celebrate it will be seen as intolerant, and maybe extreme.  Based on this, some Muslims without shame and guilt, and even proudly and happily, celebrate Christmas just because they don’t want to be seen as intolerant among Christians. Whether they realise it or not, they have sold out their faith!”

Previous Fatwas

In 2005, the National Fatwa Council decreed that Muslims are prohibited from attending Christmas celebrations if there are “Christian symbols” on display, such as Christmas trees, Santa Claus-like red attires and Christmas carols.

In 2007 the National Fatwa Council decreed that Muslims cannot greet non-Muslims during their festivities if the greetings involve issues of faith or recognize that other religions are of equal position with Islam.

Think About It

Is Christmas a Christian holiday?  There are Christian scholars who disagree, pointing out that Christmas was not the day Jesus was born.  In fact, according to such scholars, Christmas is of pagan origin. So perhaps the real danger of Christmas lies in the mass promotion by shopping malls and retailers trying to persuade you to part with your money  to buy Christmas gifts.   Do Christians evangelize during Christmas celebrations?  They probably do, but if the concern is that Muslims are being evangelized during Christmas, why in the first place do Muslims go and attend Christmas activities, especially in the light of the 2005 and 2007 fatwas by the National Fatwa Council?

 

Role Of Media In Promoting Sex Equality

In a commentary entitled “When Will Women be Empowered in Pakistan?” in Pakistan’s Daily Times, Irrum Gul, a women’s-rights activist and a member of the Punjab Assembly, acknowledges how in real life women are treated in quite the opposite way to what was intended under the Pakistani Constitution, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and even under Islam. So what can be done about this? Irrum Gul offers two solutions, one of which is for the Pakistani media to commit themselves to molding the public to accept that the two sexes should be treated equally, so that future generations can be proud of their own culture.

Women’s Rights In Pakistan

Irrum Gul begins with citing several articles of the Pakistani Constitution, such as: “All citizens are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of law. There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex alone”; “Steps shall be taken to ensure full participation of women in all spheres of life”.

She goes on to say that Islam was the first religion “to recognize the equality of the sexes and granted women rights unheard of 1400 years ago”, but that unfortunately Islam has not caught up with the realities of life through ijtehad (intellectual endeavour to seek solutions to day-to-day matters). Instead the position has been frozen through religious edicts together with “male chauvinism and cultural taboos, some of them derived from the Hindu society”.

Steps Towards Empowering Women

One step that Irrum Gul suggests is that the media should mould public opinion. For them to do so effectively, the government’s support must be unconditional, she says.

The other step is not one that can be taken immediately. It is for women to instil in their children “from the very beginning” that both sexes are honorable and have a key role to play in society. The problem here is that for women to do so they must first be educated “and supported by the government as equal and feeling beings to benefit from the latest technology and contribute efficiently to the country’s uplift”.

Think About It

Will the media commit themselves to molding the public to accept sex equality? How long will it take for all women in Pakistan to get the kind of education they need to bring up their children to understand about sex equality? Will the government give its unconditional support so that both steps can be effective? Will Islam continue to be a factor in hindering progress for women?

Massive Controversy

Saudi cleric Sheikh Ahmad  al-Ghamidi, the former head of the Holy City of Makkah’s branch of the Saudi Committee for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (aka the Religious Police) caused a massive controversy when he said on a prominent TV program that Muslim women are not required to wear the niqab (face veil).  As such, Muslim women are allowed to use make-up and other beauty products. And to prove his point, Sheikh Ahmad al-Ghamidi brought along his wife – without the face veil – in front of the TV cameras.  And while some are happy with this development, Saudi Arabia Grand Mufti has entered the fray, declaring that Sheikh Ahmad al-Ghamidi should repent first.

No Stranger To Controversies

Sheikh Ahmad al-Ghamidi is no stranger to controversies.  Previously, Sheikh Ahmad al-Ghamidi had declared that music is not haram.  And in another earlier fatwa, Sheikh Ahmad al-Ghamidi said that gender mixing is allowed. He also said previously that Saudi women need not have male guardian in their travel.

That TV Interview

Sheikh Ahmad al-Ghamidi was on Saturday’s “Badria” talk show when show host Badria al-Bishr  appeared.  Commenting on the appearance of Sheikh Ahmad al-Ghamidi on her show, Badria al-Bashr said: “When Sheikh Al-Ghamidi and I put this episode on air, our aim was not to clash with social beliefs and established norms which were not discussed before but to create a balance in opinions within our society. I welcomed this opportunity greatly, so Sheikh Al-Ghamidi authorized me to speak to his wife about this because he was very keen that she is convinced totally about her presence”.

The show also showed Sheikh Ahmad al-Ghamidi’s wife appearing without a face veil on TV.

Reactions

Sheikh Ahmad al-Ghamidi  reportedly “received threats” for saying that the face veil is not haram.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Aal Alsheikh disagreed with Sheikh Ahmad al-Ghamidi that Muslim women need not wear the face veil, claiming that there are verses in the Quran that make it obligatory to wear the niqab.   For those who say face covering is a social habit and not  a religious obligation, Sheikh Abdulaziz Aal Alsheikh said: “This is wrong. Face covering is obligatory in the Shariah. That’s why a man who proposes to a woman can only see her face during engagement”.

Sheikh Abdulaziz Aal Alsheikh added: “Some of our Muslim brothers, May Allah guide them to the right path, embarrass their wives in front of the public. This act reflects stubbornness on their part. It’s a dangerous thing. I pray to Allah to make them repent and guide everyone to the right path”.

Think About It

Is Sheikh Ahmad al-Ghamidi trying to reform Saudi Arabia in making those controversial fatwas?  Can Saudi Arabia change?  Or is this the case of desiring to change but no political will? Put it another way, can Saudi Arabia afford not to change?

Fatwas And Guidelines On Capturing and Treating Female Sex Slaves

The Islamic militants fighting in Syria must be gratified to know that one aspect of their welfare is being attended to by the organization they are fighting for and its supporters. In the past couple of years there have been several fatwas by Muslim clerics allowing the jihadists to treat certain women as sex-slaves, and calling on Muslim women to become sex slaves for these men, with the inducement that their entering into short-term “intercourse marriages” with the jihadists will qualify them for a place in paradise. Now ISIS (Islamic State of Syria and the Levant) has released a pamphlet on how to capture, keep, and sexually abuse female slaves.

Guidelines On Capturing And Keeping Female Sex Slaves

The guidelines come in the form of 27 Questions and Answers. The answers tell in a matter-of-fact way how to capture and subjugate women. The following are some of the questions and answers.

Question 2: “What makes al-sabi [a woman who has been captured by Muslims] permissible?”
Answer: “What makes al-sabi permissible [ie, permissible to take her captive] is [her] unbelief. Unbelieving [women] who were captured and brought into the abode of Islam are permissible to us, after the imam distributes them [among us].”

Question 5: “Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female captive immediately after taking possession [of her]?”
Answer: If she is a virgin, he [her master] can have intercourse with her immediately after taking possession of her. However, if she isn’t, her uterus must be purified [first]…”.

Question 6: “Is it permissible to sell a female captive?”
Answer: “It is permissible to buy, sell, or give as a gift female captives and slaves, for they are merely property, which can be disposed of [as long as that doesn’t cause [the Muslim ummah] any harm or damage.”

Question 8: “If two or more [men] buy a female captive together, does she then become [sexually permissible to each of them?”
Answer: “It is forbidden to have intercourse with a female captive if [the master] does not own her exclusively. One who owns [a captive] in partnership [with others] may not have sexual intercourse with her until the other [owners] sell or give him [their share].”

Question 9: “If the female captive was impregnated by her owner, can he then sell her?”
Answer: “He can’t sell her if she becomes the mother of a child…”

Question 13: “Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female slave who has not reached puberty?”
Answer: “It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn’t reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse; however, if she is not fit for intercourse, then it is enough to enjoy her without intercourse.”

Question 15: “May a female slave meet foreign men without wearing a hijab?”
Answer: “A female slave is allowed to expose her head, neck, hands, and feet in front of foreign men if fitna [enticement] can be avoided. However, if fitna is present, or if there is fear that it will occur, then it [ie, exposing these body parts becomes] forbidden.”

Question 21: “What is the earthly punishment of a female slave who runs way from her master?”
Answer: “She [ie, the female slave who runs away from her master] has no punishment according to the shari’a of Allah; however, she is [to be] reprimanded [in such a way that] deters others like her from escaping.”

Think About It

What is one to make of the people to draw up or follow these guidelines? Should women be treated so callously in this day and age? Is this how Islam expects women who are unbelievers (ie, non-Muslims, or those from minority Muslim sects) to be treated?

Previous posts

Syria – It’s That Sex Jihad Thing Again!
Syria – Fatwa Permits Jihadists To Have Sex With All Non-Sunni Women
“Taking Infidel Women Captive…Permits Whoever Is Holding Them To Have Sexual Intercourse With Them”
Saudi Arabia – Fatwa On “Intercourse Marriage” Issued For Jihadists In Syria?
Tunisia – Teenage Girls Going To Syria In Response To Alleged Fatwa On Sexual Jihad

A Growing Trend

What is a “white marriage”? Is it a marriage ceremony in which the bride wears white? No. In fact, there is no marriage involved in a white marriage in Iran. The term refers to cohabitation by unmarried couples, and was chosen because the practice is associated with the western world. Ironically, white is a color associated with purity, but in Iran, living together out of wedlock is anything but pure and is in defiance of Islamic law. It is, however, a growing trend, especially in the larger cities and among those with a university education. The practice is common enough in Iran for a popular women’s magazine, Zanan, to make it the topic of a special issue recently.

Supreme Leader’s Warning About White Marriage

The trend of white marriages in Iran has become so serious that the office of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, recently issued a warning. The statement said, “It’s shameful for a man and a woman to live together without being married. It won’t take long for people who’ve chosen this lifestyle to have wiped out a legitimate generation with an illegitimate one”. The statement also called on the police and the judiciary to “show no mercy” to couples found cohabiting.

Government’s Effort To Tackle White Marriage

In the summer the office of the governor of Tehran, announced that a plan to tackle white marriage had been finalized, to promote family stability. However, no specific plans have been made public.

A Reversible Trend?

The trend towards cohabitation in Iranian society was described by Said Peyvandi, a Paris-based professor of social sciences, as a “quiet demographic and social revolution” that has developed over the past 25 years. It has been accompanied by a decline in population growth, the rise in age of people at time of marriage, the reduction in size of families, and a rise in divorce rates.

Said Peyvandi thinks that attempts by the government to reverse the trend are unlikely to work because, “The desire for freedom and independence among the younger generation is too great”.

Likewise, sociologist Mehrdad Darvishpour said, “The government might try to use force to stop this, just as they tried to impose stricter adherence to the rules on wearing a hijab on young women, but young people will continue to move forward. Modernity can’t be stopped”.

Also believing that the trend is unlikely to be reversed is Atefeh, a 22-year-old engineering student who has been living together with her boyfriend for 2 years, and who has to be careful to make sure that the two of them are not seen leaving their apartment building together. She said, “I think the government is aware of this growing trend and maybe they even intentionally tolerate it to some degree. There are so many problems in our country that perhaps they are happy that we spend our time with things like this, rather than having different ideas altogether”.

Think About It

Cohabitation of unmarried couples is a modern trend. It is also unIslamic. Should Iran, which is an Islamic state, allow the trend to continue? Should the police heed the Supreme Leader’s instructions? Is cohabitation a desirable practice? If not, is the law the way to deal with it? Is the government’s plan for tackling white marriage going to be an effective one?

Not Recognized

It might come as a surprise but polygamy is not that uncommon in the UK. It is practiced on a huge scale within the British Muslim community, and there has been no official attempt to put an end to it. These marriages, though religiously sanctioned, are not recognized in British law and many Muslim women are being denied their basic legal rights that would otherwise be granted to them.

Arranged Marriages

Many of these women are born abroad and come to the UK for arranged marriages, unaware of the laws and regulations in the UK. Nine out of 10 women in such situations believe themselves to be married but only one in 10 is recognized under the law and was formalized through a civil wedding or registered Mosque for that purpose. Others had gone through a home ceremony, unaware that it lacks legal standing. Most of the women in these circumstances say that their husband had more than one wife, and some had up to four ‘wives’.

Sometimes however, the women are unaware of the other ‘wives’, saying that they live separately. Ezzah, a 32-year-old-woman, said that she found out only after a while that her husband had three other wives and that he refused to pay for anything. Another lady, Asifa, told reporters that she had attempted to get a divorce from her husband only to find out she was never married in the first place and had no legal rights.

Baroness Cox says that the implications for these women are serious and it “violates fundamental principles of [the] country that bigamy is illegal and yet polygamy is condoned and allowed to flourish”. However, she acknowledges that it is very hard to determine the extent of such happenings because such ‘marriages’ occur in very closed communities and women do not speak out in fear of bringing shame to their community.

Think About It

Are individuals concerned about such situations because they are morally wrong or because women are denied their rights? After all, how is this situation any different to husbands having mistresses, apart from the fact that the women are unaware of their legal standing? Are the women victims here? Or should they be responsible to know the laws and regulations in the country they are moving to? Should religious authorities be responsible for informing women of the law before performing these informal ceremonies? Why hasn’t there been anything done by the British authorities to prevent further incident from occurring?

Police Report Lodged

Perhaps it should be expected that police reports against Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng would be lodged sooner or later over his remarks that non-Muslims can use the “Allah” word in Penang as the ban on such usage is not enforceable in Penang.   And sure enough, it did not take long for the first police report against Lim Guan Eng to be lodged by UMNO Youth.  Perkasa Youth meanwhile accused Lim Guan Eng of violating the Federal Constitution by allowing non-Muslims to use the “Allah” word.

UMNO Youth

UMNO Youth accused Lim Guan Eng of meddling in Islamic affairs by his statement that non-Muslims can use the word “Allah” last Friday.  The police report against Lim Guan Eng was lodged by Bukit Mertajam UMNO Youth. Irfanzaini Mad Taha, Bukit Mertajam UMNO Youth chief who lodged the report said: “It can cause dissatisfaction among Muslims. Moreover, the issue of using the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims had been decided by the federal court, which prohibits non-Muslims from using the word”.

Penang Mufti had decreed that 40 words, including “Allah”, “Solat” “Ulama”, “Soleh”, “Mufti”, “Iman”, “Surau” and “Nabi” are exclusive to Muslims, which means non-Muslims cannot use these words. This ban was enforced in 2010 under subsection 48(3) and (4) of the Administration of Religion of Islam (Penang) Enactment 2004.

Lim Guan Eng reportedly said: “Even if it mentions that non-Muslims can’t use these words, it is not enforceable because this enactment only applies to Muslims and is only enforceable on Muslims”.

Perkasa Youth

Over at the Perkasa Youth’s inaugural annual assembly, wing chief Irwan Fahmi Ideris reiterated that Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution stipulates that state laws can be enacted to control or restrict the propagation of other religious beliefs among Muslims. Irwan Fahmi Ideris  then accused Lim Guan Eng of violating the Federal Constitution by allowing non-Muslims to use the “Allah” word.

Irwan Fahmi Ideris went on to say: “We must rise up and defend our religion”. He went on to categorize this as a fight against liberalism, saying: “We want to defend our religion and race. However, when we talk about Malay rights, they call us racist. We’re called racist when we defend our rights. But when they talk about their race, they’re said to have freedom of speech. Do all of you think this is fair?”

Later, Perkasa vice-president Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman accused the DAP (Lim Guan Eng’s party) of wanting to thwart the growth of Islam, saying: “What does DAP want? They want to block the growth of Islam in this state”.

Think About It

Objectively speaking, was Lim Guan Eng meddling in Islamic affairs when he commented that the ban on “Allah” usage by non-Muslims is not enforceable? Why does the list of 40 banned words include “Mufti”, “Iman”, “Ulama”, “Surau”, etc? Aren’t these common words in daily use?

Previous post

Malaysia – Penang Chief Minister Says Non-Muslims Can Use The Word “Allah” In The State