For once, I'll get straight to the point.
Article 11 is a group that conducted forums to discuss religious freedom named after the section of the Constitution clause that says Malaysians are free to choose their religion.
Religious freedom is definitely an area that requires much discussion, considering the condition of Malaysian racial and religious politics.
You'd expect this effort to be applauded, naturally.
In good old Malaysia, of course, they were disrupted on several occasions by Islamic protesters.
Not only that, the good PM, Badawi appeared to side with the Islamists when he ordered that forums organized around the country must stop.
Yeah well. I'm guessing his version of Islam Hadhari or "moderate Islam" is rather selective. They say you can tell much about a creed by its practices, in particular that of its leader.
By this measure, Islam Hadhari is a cruel hoax perpetrated by Abdullah Badawi on the citizens.
But back to Article 11.
According to wiki, Constitutional clause of Article 11 is that:
1) Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.
2) No person shall be compelled to pay any tax the proceeds of which are specially allocated in whole or in part for the purposes of a religion other than his own.
3) Every religious group has the right -
(a) to manage its own religious affairs;
(b) to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes; and
(c) to acquire and own property and hold and administer it in accordance with law.
4) State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.
5) This Article does not authorize any act contrary to any general law relating to public order, public health or morality.
We're obviously violating our own Constitution.
Take for instance the case of Moorthy Maniam, who allegedly converted to Islam before his death. For some bizarre reason, the Islamic Religious Council decided to claim him as "their own".
The judge told the widow and her family to go back and leave the body of their beloved to be buried by strangers.
A fight broke out at the hospital when about 50 people began to shout abusive language at Moorthy's family; the situation was brought under control by military police.
In fact, police presence was required even at the burial to ensure no further hostilities ensued.
Islam Hadhari? Article 11?
Heck, this freaked out the public (especially Non-Muslims), who were getting uneasy about forcibly being subject to syariah court jurisdiction.
But the government is not interested in listening to this man called Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who founded the Article 11 group. Who initiated forums to improve understanding and promote discussion.
Malik Imtiaz Sarwar attained fame and notoriety for representing Lina Joy, a Malay who converted from Islam to Christianity and is being denied a place in this country simply for her uncommon beliefs.
Even the hallowed editors of The New York Times found this entire fiasco in an unknown little country called Malaysia worthy of newsprint.
Trust me, Malaysia as a country gained more fame then than our space fiasco did.
Of course, it could be the exclusive honour of being the recipient of a death threat.
With the heading “Wanted Dead,” the message featured a photograph of Malik Imtiaz and said: “This is the face of the traitorous lawyer to Islam who supports the Lina Joy apostasy case. Distribute to our friends so they can recognize this traitor. If you find him dead by the side of the road, do not help.”
And we're sending people to space?? Bloody hell. We live in the stone age! :(
But all is not lost; Malik Imtiaz has a blog called Disquiet. Excellent stuff in there - he is obviously a brilliant man.
So why this sudden fanaticism to bury people, convert their children, dogs and what-have-you?
Malik Imtiaz says that UMNO leaders feel compelled to emit fiery religious rhetoric to outflank PAS, an Islamist opposition party.
In other words, political preening for the benefit of Muslim voters.