Thursday, May 25, 2006

A few good women

Marina Mahathir - heavens for Marina Mahathir. In an opinion piece in the Malaysian The Sun newspaper (carried in Today's 25 May 2006 issue), Ms Marina, daughter of Malaysia's former Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohammad, gave a balanced and forward looking critique of Islamic practices in recent times. She compared the Muslim's often violent response to the Mohammad Cartoons (and reaches as far back as Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses) with Christians' measured and calm response to the Da Vinci Code book and movie, which was recently released worldwide. While I expect Ms Marina to receive flak from her countryman and Muslim 'brothers' for expressing those opinions, I cannot but admire this fiesty lady's courage in being fairminded at certain cost to herself.

Islam needs more of the calibre and mind of this lady, which obviously is inherited from her famous but more controversial father, Dr Mahathir. She is a shining beacon in a sea of storm that Islamic extremists (and even some moderates) have created time and again to push their agenda and practice their brand of hate and vengeful religion. But I fear that Ms Marina is an exception, for who would dare risk life and limb to hold such contrary views within the prevailing mood in Islamic-sphere? I do not think that what she wrote, sensible as it is, will make a difference in moving the prevailing Islamic feeling towards the middle path - not in the Madrasahs or schools run with Islamic clerics who espouse discrimination against Muslim women and hatred towards anything 'western', including Christianity and the Jews, not in the political sphere as that will put into jeopardy the position of the incumbent and not in society in general, for that will go against centuries of Islamic teachings handed down from generation to generation.

However, to the rest of us, it was a breadth of fresh air.

See also: Alike yet so unlike

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