Thursday, August 27, 2009

Malaysia takes the next step down the ladder

By ladder, I mean the ever-present Ladder of Islamification. Read on...

Malaysia's latest step down the ladder has placed the country in the news again, and as usual, for all the wrong reasons. In this case, a female Muslim had the misfortune to be caught by the religious police for the monstrous crime of drinking alcohol--in this case, a beer. No word on what the brand of beer was, but I digress and of course, this matters not to the Righteous Enforcers of Allah. The woman was duly tried and convicted in one of those Kangaroo Courts that pass as Islamic Religious Courts. Her punishment was to be caned; and the woman had the temerity to specifically request a public caning, at that, thus placing Malaysia's Muslim rulers in a public-relations quandary.

Since the story broke in the international media, there has been much hand-wringing here in Malaysia. Not so much about the correctness or justice of the sentence. Not about the repulsive idea of criminalizing the act of adults drinking alcohol, nor about the existence of religious police or religious courts with sweeping powers. Of course not, dear reader, as no Malaysian would dare question such barbarisms, at least publicly. What DOES concern Malaysian pundits is the perceived damage that this (as usual) Islamic miscarriage of justice does to Malaysia's purported moderate image overseas.

The embarrassed government authorities have punted this case into next month, delaying the carrying out of the sentence by 30 days, using the just-commenced 'holy' month of Ramadan as the pretext. This buys them a bit of time to figure out how to placate the outraged infidel nations and the devout Muslims locally and elsewhere. Of course, such a balancing act is ultimately impossible, as the norms of western, i.e. free societies are totally at odds with the values of Islam, and the values enshrined in the totalitarian code of Syariah (Sharia).

With devout Muslim political parties and interest groups holding increasing sway in the ruling and 'opposition' coalitions, this case is a harbinger of the future.

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