Saturday, August 09, 2008

Civil society at its most honest

Oh look! The posters are all identical.
Siapa dalang
I wonder?

I was close to being one of the people boo-ed leaving the Bar Council today. Because of other commitments, I chose not to attend the Bar Council's forum on conversion to Islam. You can read about what happened HERE.

I am very saddened by the turn of events and that as a society we are not matured enough to accept open debate. How do we tell these so called NGOs that dialog does not necessarily mean disrespect? I wonder what is it that they think the Bar Council seeks to do that is so blasphemous that it deserves Molotov cocktails and threats of violence.

Many of my Muslim friends are just as clueless as to why all the ruckus and are pretty embarrassed by the whole thing. And they are right in that it does nothing for the public perception of a religion that sincerely advocates peace and goodwill.

Why can’t we talk about religion in this country? Who are we protecting?

How do I offend you if I seek to understand what happens to me/my family if there is a conversion?

Do we have to wait until we have a court case and a media circus before we address any conflict? When emotions run high and tolerance hits a new low.

The Bar Council is right in trying to address issues that have been swept under the carpet for a long time. The people need to know their rights and responsibilities when they still can make decisions - decisions that have major implications on their lives and those around them.

Body snatching and child kidnapping and courts that cannot give recourse because of conflicts of jurisdiction and worrying lacunas - they are unacceptable in country that touts multiculturalism and religious freedom.

Else we should stop our Malaysian Tourism ads. With all the harmonious smiling and holding hands, we’d be sued for misleading the public.

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