I left the discourse with the term – and no levity in it – of faith.
About the inclusion of faith in public spheres of schools, government offices and functions, using the public purse.
The secular tenet is not about abrogating faith from the faithful – some levity there – but rather developing a consensus that the personal nature of belief renders a system of regimenting a particular brand of take on religion will both be non-reflective of the people financing the effort and offend a fair share of people.
Hues of Islam
There are Muslims who have some fundamental think in them. My mate is always with me in my college days, but his college going sister was to be seen nowhere but home and the class. Anywhere else with someone not of her muhrim (blood) would not go unnoticed with her father.
Compared to my other friend – the female – who would let me in her room while her equally Muslim parents are in the kitchen.
These are extremes, yes – but I need extremes to draw the infinite varieties of people who are quite comfortably Muslim.
They might not be comfortable with the state’s education authorities vision of it, and the teaching of it to them.
The call to unify the various state religious departments – since Islam is defined by the states not the federal government – may mirror a need to regulate what has always been open to differences.
The sultans are the respective heads of their states and can set the pace for the state. Trengganu is fairly conservative, but can you say the same about the Anglophile Negeri Sembilan royal family.
There is the increasing role of Wahabism now in the country, and with massive globalisation and living in an entry point country, more and more of the Islamic schools of thought will stake places.
Sitting in my school hall while a representative from the Islamic society read a prayer on Monday mornings, always left me with a feeling of discontent.
I want people to pray as much as they want, I just did not want to be there when they did.
Teaching the in Philippines in a Catholic University – the same thing occurred with a twist.
The students are all required to take x-number of religious study classes, and having prayers in classes were not uncommon.
That made me uncomfortable too. The only mitigating point was it was a private university and the terms of entry are well stated.
Malaysia’s International Islamic University might claim the same grounds, that the name announces the need for Islamic centred classes and activities.
However the university is being paid for with public money.
Reaching back to my initial point, my sense that so many activities and routines have the element of prayer and religious interpretation included in them without considering how a person not professing your faith would feel is clearly insensitive.
“Class, let’s start the class with some prayer. Ah yes, those that don’t then you just sit in eh,”
Why? Why not you who want to pray congregate pray before the session or after it?
If the situation is reversed, would Muslim parents feel comfortable if their nine year olds have to sit-in while Christian prayers are made?
Actually it happened, over the years in missionary schools, and we are always reminded of how vicious the old missionary schools were in victimising the unknowing child.
I agree, but are you not trying to do the same in your Islam-immersed national school’s system?
The logic ender
There are many smart people – who then drop a peg or two in my prevailing smart people list – who tell me it is ok to proselytise because Islam is the official religion of the federation.
Yes it is, however to ensure it does not impair basic rights and protection for everyone there is para 4 that insists the article is just symbolic.
More importantly, can you just use a rule without rationalising it? Does it not factor that if you were in a Christian majority state a similar policy of actively proselytising to your kids would upset you?
So what is good for the goose is not good for the gander?
Civilisations are built by a sense of common purpose to improve lives through the constituting of civil behaviour.
It’s not civil behaviour when the terms are blatantly unfair and defended on the basis “it’s been there for ages”.
Keep it simple. If you don’t want your nine year old to be robbed of his family’s god by those you pay for – teachers and civil servants – then you shouldn’t be trying to rob other people’s children of their family’s god.
God is just a term, you can replace it with logic structure, the devil, spiritualism, connection with the stream of consciousness and Vulcanism (as in with Mr Spock)