Ak57\’s Weblog

Thoughts and opinions on Malaysian news, its people and its culture

Archive for August 2009

Hassan’s Moral Police Draft

It bothers me greatly to hear that many people believe that Dato’ Dr. Hassan Ali has created something new: a moral police that watches Muslims and arrests them for drinking.

JAIS officials have been empowered to ‘nab’ Muslims drinking alcohol and committing adultery for many years. Hassan Ali did not create any new laws – the moral police already existed. Just because you don’t hear about raids does not mean they do not happen, or that the threat does not exist. Maybe this ignorance among the people explains why it’s not hard to find Malay-Muslims drinking outside convenience stores in the wee hours. They have no fear of getting caught.

What Hassan Ali has done is draft more people into the moral police. Empowering untrained persons to monitor the morality of others… it’s a recipe for trouble. There’s bound to be a case of some overzealous chap harassing a Malay-looking fellow drinking beer or worse, starting fights.

Personally I don’t see how PAS/JAIS can implement their moral police. It is not right to enforce Islamic practices on non-Muslims. When a raid is done on a hotel/disco, the very act creates fear among the non-Muslim patrons. They should have the freedom to enjoy their life without being suddenly harassed on suspicion of being Muslim.

I am conflicted on the issue of JAIS keeping an eye on Muslims though. I know alcoholism is a problem among the urban Malay youth. JAIS has the responsibility of ensuring Muslims don’t stray from the path. But I disagree with the methods currently used. I think that finding out the reasons Muslims drink in the first place, then addressing those reasons makes more sense than banning alcohol or having moral police.

JAIS should only advise errant Muslims on why Islam has such rules. Fining, jailing, whipping and shaming are such harsh punishments in comparison. If a Muslim is flaunting the rules of the faith, chances are their faith is weak. Such punishment may then only serve to scare them into pretending to be Muslims; and be more careful when breaking the rules in future. They need to be convinced in their heart, and to reach someone’s heart is a slow and arduous process.

I hope one day that religious officials in our nation remember that Islam’s goal is to help spread peace and harmony. They need to focus on co-existing peacefully with other religions, instead of trying to police their brethren at the expense of non-Muslims’ quality of life.

References

Sultan wants explanation over arrest powers for mosque officials – Malaysian Insider (link)
Crackdown: Breweries not targeted … yet – Malaysiakini (link)
Pegawai masjid S’gor boleh tangkap pesalah serta-merta – Malaysiakini (link)
Selangor mosque officials can detain beer-drinking Muslims – Malaysiakini (link)
Selangor mosque officers can now arrest Muslims drinking in public – Star (link)

Written by ak57

August 30, 2009 at 6:34 am

Posted in Local News, Politics, Selangor

Tagged with , ,