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Posts Tagged ‘LGBT’


When the news that the release of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast had been postponed indefinitely in Malaysian cinemas, the media was in an uproar. Not just locally but the rest of the world were picking up on the fact that Disney had pulled out the film from release in Malaysia because the Film Censorship Board had approved the film with cuts, removing the scenes which are deemed inappropriate. Critics have gone on both extremes; from going all the way to proclaim that homosexuality is simply a part of nature, to defend that the script never said that the character, ‘Le Fou’, is gay at all.

What interests me in this affair is how the Film Censorship Board was placed under the spotlight for overreacting and all of the attention seems to be focused on whether their decision to cut the scenes was appropriate or a bit too much.

Has everyone forgotten that this hype would not have taken place had Disney not refused to release the film without the cutting of these minor and subtle scenes? If Disney did not put their foot in, the film would have been released with the fact that these minor cuts were made would go unnoticed as with many, many films being censored and cut worldwide. Disney would be able to market their product in Malaysia without forcing their own ideals to be universally accepted in places where they are not welcome.

Malaysia is a country of a diverse population of multiple races and religions. When making major decisions or policies that involve such a unique mix, we often have to make amends to accommodate to the minorities as sometimes the well-intended actions may appear offensive to someone else with a different view. It was the reason why the compulsory reading for Form 5 Malay Literature subject in Zone 2 was changed from ‘Interlok’ to ‘Konserto Terakhir’. In the novel, ‘Interlok’, words like ‘pariah’ and ‘black people’ were used to describe the Indians to give a more realistic and historically accurate depiction of the setting which was set in the early 1900s. There was no malice intended here but the Ministry of Education had considered those who were offended by it regardless and addressed the issue accordingly.

Regarding the Beauty and The Beast film, it is easy to perceive the issue the way it is presented to us through the international media; that Malaysians are making much ado over nothing. And we as the tolerate, politically correct, ‘berbudi bahasa’ Malaysians, accustomed to protecting the feelings of the minorities, are quick to judge ourselves and wonder “have we really gone too far?” when the question we should have asked is, “why do they not consider our local customs, faiths, traditions and way of life? Would cutting out 4 minutes and 38 seconds of scenes which play no huge role in the story arc really negatively affect the quality of the story itself other than removing the homosexual connotations which are not acceptable by our local laws, faiths and social norms?”.

Throughout history, we have been accommodating to the minorities and outsiders in general and it is a value that we can be proud of admitting as our own; but we must also remember to proclaim and protect our own sovereign rights within our own land before we sacrifice all of them. And before you think that it is impossible for us to lose what is internationally and legally declared as ours, just look at our brothers and sisters in Rohingya and Palestine who are being denied of their own homes and birth rights.

Let us not forget that blessings come not just in the physical and material form, but also in forms of values, ideals and faith. We do not want to bring our future generations into a world where they thought of us with bitter regret for not protecting what is theirs. And for these men with power over many, such as those in the Film Censorship Board, they are responsible not just for themselves and their own family but that of the entire nation.

And shall I say, I commend the Film Censorship Board for their valiant efforts in saying ‘enough is enough’ to the world on behalf of the rest of us; risking all of the critics, mockery and insults they received. Even if in the end, the Film Appeal Committee had assented to allow the film to be screened without cuts, the Film Censorship Board had carried out their role well and done their part in preserving our values and our rights.

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In response to Nurul Izzah’s statement on 3rd November, ‘Timbalan Ketua Muslimat’ PAS, Dr. Siti Mariah Mahmud, made a statement on 7th November saying:

“Adalah satu tuduhan yang tak masuk akal menuduh seorang muslimah mukminah, yang solat, yang puasa, yang tutup aurat mengajak orang Melayu meninggalkan Islam dan menyokong orang Melayu Murtad.” (It is a nonsensical accusation to accuse a Muslimah Mukminah, who prays, fasts, (and) cover her aurahs to suggest to the Malays to leave Islam and support the Muslim apostates).

Is it true, Dr. Mariah? So what does a person who prays, fasts, (and) covers her aurahs meant when she says,“When you ask me, there is no compulsion in religion… how can anyone say, ‘Sorry, this (religious freedom) only applies to non-Malays’? It has to apply equally” ?

Please take a look at  Prof. Dr. Musdah Mulia (I have no idea whether she really prays or fasts) but she wears hijab and dressed in Muslimah clothing. She claims to be a good Muslim and a popular ‘Muslim’ leader in Indonesia. She served as Senior Advisor of the Minister of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia from 2000 to 2007 and head of Research Division of The Council of Indonesian Ulema (MUI) from 2000 to 2005. She does looks like a great Muslim lady.

Dr. Siti Musdah Mulia (R) receiving her International Women of Courage Award in Washington.

In February, 2010, the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy published an article ‘Ada Apa Dengan Kebebasan Agama’ (What is it with freedom of religion?) written by Dr. Musdah Mulia where it says:

“hak kebebasan beragama bersifat mutlak, berada di dalam forum internum yang merupakan wujud dari inner freedom (freedom to be), dan itu termasuk hak non-derogable (tak bisa ditangguhkan pemenuhannya oleh negara dalam keadaan apa pun)”

Siti Musdah and Nurul Izzah’s father, Anwar Ibrahim.

Even though Dr. Siti Musdah Mulia covers her aurah and wearing her hijab, she is a Liberal Muslim activist. In 2007, she received the International Women of Courage Award for her efforts on supporting human rights and liberalism, claiming that Islam accepts freedom in religion. As it was reported on The Jakarta Post on an article ‘Siti Musdah Mulia: A Courageous Woman’:

One of the rights she is fighting for is the state’s guarantee of freedom of religion. Musdah believes pluralism is a must to build the country.

“Pluralism is the key for the continuation of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia,” she said.

She is also known for supporting the LGBTs, claiming that they should be respected and dignified by Muslims. She promoted and supported the so called ‘Lesbian Muslim’, Irshad Manji, by calling her a ‘Muslimah Mujtahidah’.  Two years earlier, the Jakarta Post published an article ‘Islam ‘Recognizes Homosexuality’, also featuring Musdah Mulia:

Moderate Muslim scholars said there were no reasons to reject homosexuals under Islam, and that the condemnation of homosexuals and homosexuality by mainstream ulema and many other Muslims was based on narrow-minded interpretations of Islamic teachings.

“There is no difference between lesbians and nonlesbians. In the eyes of God, people are valued based on their piety,” she told the discussion organized by nongovernmental organization Arus Pelang.

“The essence of the religion (Islam) is to humanize humans, respect and dignify them.”

Musdah said homosexuality was from God and should be considered natural, adding it was not pushed only by passion.

Now please click here for the full video of Nurul Izzah’s speech at Subang Jaya Full Gospel Church.

It is rather odd, if wearing a hijab is enough to show one’s faith and her understanding of Islam. After all, as Helen Ang had often pointed out, even Hannah Yeoh sometimes wears hijab. Or does that means she too would never “suggest the Malays to leave Islam and support the Muslim apostates”; especially since Hannah Yeoh is from PAS’s ally party DAP – the party led by non-Muslim leaders whom according to PAS’s spiritual leader understand Islam better than UMNO’s Muslim leaders?

A group of Muslimah with Hannah Yeoh (in the middle).

I think that as a Muslim leader Dr. Mariah should understand the implications of Nurul Izzah’s words at the forum to the Muslims especially to the PR members and supporters who idolised Nurul Izzah. It is very important for Dr. Mariah to put Islam first in making any judgment and not making foolish statements just to show her support for Anwar’s Ibrahim’s daughter. Or maybe  Dr. Mariah doesn’t know what she was saying when she made the statement. Either those or we’re going to hear about ‘Hannah Yeoh: An exemplary figure for Muslimah Mukminah’ from her soon.

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