Sunday, June 14, 2015

Jakim’s struggle all about money

Jakim’s struggle all about money, says Prof Shad

 | June 14, 2015
'What is regarded as a religious struggle is actually an economic struggle'.
Shad Saleem Faruqi, JAKIM
KUALA LUMPUR: Hundreds of millions in taxpayers’ money are the reason that
Malaysia’s Islamic authorities are resistant to reform, according to retired law
professor Shad Saleem Faruqi.
Speaking at a forum on Islam and human rights today, he said the
institutionalisation of Islam was not simply a religious issue. “There are
economic implications. These people will never give up power because of the
 tremendous economic benefit that they receive,” he said, according to Malay
Mail Online.
Prof Shad, emeritus professor of law at Universiti Teknologi Mara, said:
“Don’t expect them to give that up. What was regarded as a religious struggle
is basically actually an economic struggle.”
He said Jakim, the federal Islamic development department, receives hundreds
of millions in federal funds every year. Budget figures show that the department
was allocated RM783mil this year under the Prime Minister’s Department, and
RM806 million last year.
Another speaker, James Piscatori of Durham University in Britain, pinpointed
Islamic bureaucrats as the biggest enemy of modern Islam. “Bureaucratism, it’s
the presumption that you should speak on behalf of my god” was a bigger threat
to reform than fundamentalism, he said.
Piscatori, a professor of international relations, was among several speakers who
took religious authorities for exceeding their bounds.
Noor Farida Ariffin, a former sessions judge, said Islamic teachings had been
interpreted to make Islam seem to be a religion that was “coercive, unkind, and
emphasises more on punishment instead on kindness and justice”.
“Here in Malaysia, they have even added things which are not even in the traditional
interpretation of Shariah, especially when it comes to moral policing, intrusion of
private space of Muslims,” said Noor Farida, according to Malay Mail Online.
She said most of the syariah laws violated human rights, and were in violation of
fundamental liberties protected in the Malaysia’s constitution.
The speakers also criticised the closing of minds in Islamic societies, and the failure
to appreciate the use of reason and rational thinking.
Prof Shad said: “In Islamic societies, compared to other societies, the variety and
diversity of views is absolutely suppressed. So there’s only one view of Islam, the
predominant view that comes out not only in foreign media but our own media.
And I think that’s the big difference between Islam and other religions.”
Noor Farida said the decline in intellectualism among local ulama arose from their
inferior level of education to qualify as an ulama. “I’d say they have a very shallow
understanding … they’re totally intolerant of dissenting views,” she said, calling
upon society to challenge the scholars.
Only in Malaysia can such evil be allowed to thrive and succeed!

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