“To suggest that Jawi is ‘forcing’ religious indoctrination upon transgenders in order to make them “return to the right path” as if it were a crime is itself a crime and an insult to Muslims in general and the religion of Islam in particular”
Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
ڤريايتهي بهردواج دري عامنيستي انترناتياونل ڤرلو برهنتي بوروقكن اسلام
Amnesty International Malaysia interim executive director Preethi Bhardwaj today claimed the Government of Malaysia (GoM) was forcing religious indoctrination upon transgenders in order to make them “return to the right path.”
According to a news report, Preethi said being transgender “is not a crime,” referring to an allowance given to the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) by Islamic Affairs Minister Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri to arrest and “educate” the community.
“Yet the government has gone to terrible lengths to vilify transgender people by subjecting them to threats and criminalisation,” Preethi said in a statement.
Unfortunately, the blanket statement issued by Preethi gives the impression that Jawi has been given a free hand to arrest and ‘educate’ all transgenders, including non-Muslims, by indoctrinating them with Islamic teachings.
Let me be the first to remind Preethi that Malaysia practices religious tolerance and has never allowed religious departments to impose themselves or the religion of Islam upon non-Muslims, be they transgenders or ‘ordinary’ citizens.
Let me also state, in no uncertain terms, that Preethi should butt out of Islamic affairs and cease trying to preach values to Muslims without due consideration to Article 121(1A) of the Constitution of Malaysia and several other articles that pertain the dual system of law.
In Malaysia, the civil and Syariah courts exist side by side in a dual court structure. The civil courts were established as federal courts to deal with federal matters, whereas the Syariah courts, which have jurisdiction over people of Islamic faith, are provided for in the Federal Constitution as state courts that deal with matters of Islamic law.
The understanding that Syariah courts are subordinate to civil courts has arguably been altered following the introduction of an amendment to article 121(1A) of the Constitution following the Constitutional Amendment Act 1988.
Article 121(1A) now provides that the civil courts ‘shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts.’
To assist the Syariah courts in matters related to family law and religious observances, the country has what is referred to as “Syariah law departments” in all 13 states and one for the Federal Territories, the one Preethi seems to have a problem with.
Should Preethi feel that transgenderism is not “a crime,” she should restrict her arguments solely to non-Muslims and advance her views in ways that are non-contentious or injurious towards Muslims, Muslim interests, the Muslim way of life and (or) the religion of Islam.
To suggest that Jawi is ‘forcing’ religious indoctrination upon transgenders in order to make them “return to the right path” as if it were a crime is itself a crime and an insult to Muslims in general and the religion of Islam in particular.
It is tantamount to Preethi saying that the religion of Islam, which prohibits “transgenderism” at all cost and requires its faithful to guide the misguided towards the path of clear water, is flawed and not up to par with what she believes to be the ethical and moral standards Muslims should adhere to.
Tell me, who is Preethi to publically preach upon Muslims what they should or should not believe in?
Would Preethi like it if Muslims were to start preaching upon Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists how they should go about living their lives?
Butt out of Islamic affairs, Preethi. I may not be an extremist, but I draw the line here.