Posted: 01 Oct 2013 12:30 PM PDT
Posted: 01 Oct 2013 12:14 PM PDT
Instead of focusing on how to make Muslims more resourceful and have a better economic life, they spend their days talking about how the enemies of Islam are causing the failures of Muslims. They will not admit that they are the real stumbling block to the growth of the Muslim community.
Zaid Ibrahim, TMI
The Prime Minister once reminded the world community in New York that moderation is the key to solving our many problems. He made particular reference to the Muslim community, within which sectarian killings and violence are taking a heavy toll on human lives.
Like other Muslim leaders, he took great pains to explain that Islam is a religion of peace and is moderate in its teachings. The question, then, is why the most violent and barbaric conduct is often being carried out by groups who call themselves Muslim, be it al-Shabaab , the Taliban or Al-Qaeda.
To answer this question, we have to examine the success story of Indonesia and the failing story of Pakistan.
Muslims form the biggest majority in Indonesia, yet after 60 years of independence their economic standing still lags behind that of non-Muslims in the country. Some sources say that as much as 70 per cent of the country's wealth is owned by non-Muslims. The Indonesian Government realised that in order for the economic situation of the country's Muslims to improve, Indonesia had to be a modern and viable democracy.
The Indonesian Government focused on building massive infrastructure projects as well as harnessing their human resources. Parliament did not waste time debating if Indonesia was an Islamic state or not, but on whether the lives of Muslims had improved. Economic matters took priority—although they did have to deal with occasional side issues like beauty contests and the publication of a local version of Playboy magazine.
The contrast with Pakistan is marked. The people spend all their money and resources on building nuclear bombs. They would rather go to war with India and other "Western stooges", burn buildings and kill Shiites. They much prefer blowing up schools and teachers than improving the lives of the people. The culture of hate and violence is rife among their community leaders and nothing is being done to stop this reign of terror. Pakistan is probably the most ungovernable Muslim country to date.
In Malaysia too, Muslims are economically weak despite being in power with absolute majority for over 50 years. We blame our history, our multiracial makeup and other silly reasons for our backwardness.
Posted: 01 Oct 2013 11:55 AM PDT
"Religion to me is very personal. What and how I practise are the result of my upbringing and my own readings/research. A wise imam once said, 'Listen to the religion, not the people.'
The two young hijabs in front of me are married, well-educated, love Sephora and cats. They are the best of friends, and adhere to Islamic teachings faithfully. They both are professionals, and have gone far in their careers.
They are also pole dancers.
"This," Moxie says, tapping her own hijab, "is a sign of respect. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. We nurture our bodies and minds. Our bodies are not for show."
But you pole dance, I say.
"Well, the classes are women-only. So we're not showing our bodies to men and the public."
"And our husbands like it," Vixen smiles. They have poles installed in their homes.
They both look at me. "Do you want to come for a trial class?"
I fend them off. No thank you, I hear pole dancing is brutal, I say.
How do the two reconcile their faith, aurat with their hobby of pole-dancing?
Why not? Again they reiterate, this has nothing to do with syirik. It's exercise, and conducted in a closed class full of women. They don't perform in public.
I have been speaking with and following a couple of young women of the new generation of hijabs, who are worlds apart from their mothers, and me.
In the 80s, when more Malay women took to covering their aurat, many wore black, and some took to the niqab, which spawned off the Hantu Kum-kum myth.
Beginning from the Nineties, modest fashion began to be more colourful, as women took to wearing floral baju kurungs with pastel coloured scarves (tudungs).
However, in the last eight years, the young have made modest fashion their own. Yuna, the singer, who is now making inroads in the highly competitive music industry in the US, paved the way for many young Muslim women. The Internet also influenced young Muslim women, as they poured over blogs, fashion websites, and adapted the latest trends in modest wear.
There had always been this perception: Malay women in hijab are less educated, less exposed to the world and are conservative. They are also perceived to be at the lower rung of the wage scale.
Maybe this could have been true 20 years ago, but today, the hijabi professional and hipster hijabi come from upper-middle class backgrounds, are well educated, and tote the latest designer IT bag.
The pole-dancing hijabs sitting in front of me are proof that veils and modesty to not equate to low IQ.
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