Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Alike yet so unlike

Sisters In Islam - Mahathir is so like her illustrious father, Mahathir Mohamad, the former PM of Malaysia - candid and outspoken. If she put on glasses, she will be the spitting image of her father, looks wise. Yet, I think she is unlike her father in the sense that she does not evoke a sense of dread in Singapore whenever she speaks. She is a social activist and of late, has spoken out strongly against Sharia (Islamic) law that generally leaves Muslim women short-changed. A case in point is Malaysia's Family Law Act (Dec 2005) that makes it easier for Muslim men to enter into polygamous marriages and appropriate their first wives' property in the event of a divorce.

Marina and her collaborators say that's wrong but her opponents say she is too much influenced by Western values, whatever these values are. I applaud her courage in speaking up for Muslim women, who have been reportedly bullied of late not only in Malaysia, but elsewhere too. There is the case of an Islamic wife who needs to marry another man as a condition for her to divorce the same man so that she can re-marry her first husband, who uttered the words for divorce three times in his sleep that led to the separation of the original couple in the first place. Not only are we witnessing extreme forms of Islam, we are also witnessing a convoluted and confused form of Islam.

I think somebody must rescue Islam from every Tom, Dick and Mullah before it becomes a laughing stock. Oops, better not laugh or I will become a victim of my written and mental indiscretion (remember Rushdie?).

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