Friday, December 24, 2010

Azwan Ismail - I am Gay, I am Okay :)

Peace and sigh ...

Some ignorant Muslims want to kill Azwan simply because he confessed his feelings - that he is attracted to men, not women.

Something he has no control, something innate in his brainworks (go read the latest abt brain science). In short he is Gay. ( read here )

Some years ago, another Muslim by the name of Sulaiman X created a storm in doing the same. Not surprising, if you read the comments and threats thrown at him is similar to Azwan's case. I wrote back to him, with kind words and suggesting he be strong.

An ignorant Muslim was quik to write me a crude post - and straight away played God and called me a gay too, simply because I was kind to Sulaiman :)

Below, i reproduce the letters. In it there are some key points to ponder for those who want to kill Azwan :)

Subject: Salam
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 15:28:12 +0800 (MYT)
From: Zubedy

On At 10:32 12/28/98 PST, this chap wrote me this comments which i assume being a reaction to my note to Sulayman X on the subject earlier. They are derogatory remarks in crude language for Malaysian.

>BArua cilaka lu..pondan gay ....
>Haram jadah ....
>PAndai-pandai keluar fatwa...
>Setan Babi
>Kelab AntiGay SeMalaysia
>Vice President...



I am not gay, pondan, etc and very much a lover of the Quran. My sexual inclination is 100% heterosexual. I belief in Allah, the Last Day and Taqwa. I read the Quran or Islamic writings almost everyday of my life. I think your note is very UnIslamic. Do not do that. Remember that our Prophet was even kind to his greatest enemies. So was Prophet Isa and all our past Prophets.

If you want to help the Gays you hate so much, you must first learn to understand and care for them. That is what I am trying to do. But first we must have enough knowledge. For example, being Gay does not mean you must be a pondan. Pondans are transvestites or those such as who are born with a male body but want to be a female. By saying someone is a male gay, it is
usually implying that he is a man who finds another man attractive. He will not for example find a transvestite attractive. Similarly to a female gay(lesbian), she will find another female attractive and perhaps even a transvestite.

Furthermore, there are also those who were born with two sex organs. So , this subject is larger than we might think. What about heterosexual men who also get a kick at looking at transvestites?

If you are a Vice-President of the club, humbly I suggest you expand your knowledge on the subject. I hope you are aware that in history, Islamic Civilizations are the most tolerant to gays or 'khunsa' as compared to other civilizations. If you are serious about the subject and really want to make Islam relevant to our and the future generation, write back to me like a Muslim should with proper salutations of salam and I will help you understand things better.

If you prefer to just take the simple route of throwing insults without really striving and working hard, than go ahead but nothing much will grow out of your work.

As the Quran stressed ' Do you think that you would enter Jannah while yet God knoweth not those of you who
really strive, not knoweth those(of you)who are steadfast '(Quran 3:142).

Say you are right. That Islam is against homosexuality as you see it. What than is God trying to tell us in Quran 52:24-28 about Paradise? For your benefit I will provide you all the translations below in Bahasa Malaysia

Quran 52:24-28
'Dan mereka dilayani oleh anak-anak muda lelaki yang sentiasa beredar di sekitar mereka, (yang cantik parasnya) seolah-olah anak-anak muda itu mutiara yang tersimpan dengan sebaik-baiknya.Dan (dengan berada dalam ni'mat itu) mereka berhadap-hadapan satu sama lain sambil bertanya-tanya.Mereka berkata: "Sesungguhnya kamu dahulu, semasa berada dalam kalangan keluarga kami selalu merasa cemas takut (daripada berlaku derhaka kepada Allah),"Maka Allah mengurniakan kami (rahmat dan taufiqNya), serta memelihara kami dari azab neraka.'"Sesungguhnya kami dahulu tetap menyembahNya (dan memohon pertolonganNya). Kerana sesungguhnya Dialah sahaja yang sentiasa melimpahkan ihsanNya, lagi Yang Maha Mengasihani"

In my entire reading about our Prophet's call for Islam even to
those who tried to kill him, those who humiliated Muslims and Islam, torture good Muslims etc. etc. never once I found the Prophet using the arabic equivalent to the words you used like 'haram jadah,pundek,celaka, setan babi'.

For example " His own treatment with his bitterest enemies is the noblest example for his followers. At the conquest of Mecca, he stood at the zenith of his power. The city which had refused to listen to his mission, which had tortured him and his followers, which had driven him and his people into exile and which had unrelentingly persecuted and boycotted him even when he had taken refuge in a place more than 200 miles away, that city now lay at his feet.

By the laws of war he could have justly avenged all the cruelties inflicted on him and his people. But what treatment did he accord to them? Mohammad's heart flowed with affection and he declared, "This day, there is no REPROOF against you and you are all free." "This day" he proclaimed, "I trample under my feet all distinctions between man and man, all hatred between man and man." ("Islam and Modern age", Hydrabad, March 1978-By Prof. K. S. Ramakrishna Rao)

Surely you must have learned those words from outside the Islamic traditions. Do choose your teachers carefully.

" Are those who know equal with those who know not?
But only men of understanding will pay heed" Quran 39:9

If you have yet to understand my message, what I am suggesting is simple. Even if you are right about Islam's position with regards to Gays, your behavior is totally not Islamic.


Anas Zubedy

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Good and Balance Article - Meritocracy tempered with Social Justice

Wednesday December 22, 2010
Social justice for all


EVEN the most fervent supporter of meritocracy will know that a truly level playing field is not possible in real life.
Whether one is choosing a person for a scholarship or a promotion, it is not realistic to say that the candidates are starting from the same point and can, therefore, be judged strictly on merit.

Using a tangible set of criteria — like the number of As, coupled with extracurricular scores — provide a guide, but the system cannot be foolproof.

Which is why we have this perennial problem whereby many who feel that they deserve a scholarship because of merit cry foul when they don’t.

There are, of course, some scholarships, particularly those that are industry-driven, which only target the academically brilliant so that they become real assets to the companies after they graduate. Even if you were a billionaire’s son, you would still qualify, provided you can prove that you are truly made of the right stuff.

Then there are the socially-driven scholarship providers where the disadvantaged will get the edge.

Somewhere in the middle are government scholarships. The dilemma is that all of us believe we are stakeholders because we are taxpayers and therefore must have an equal chance when it comes to such official largesse.

The Prime Minister’s remarks that the Government will strike a balance between meritocracy and social justice when rewarding students for outstanding academic achievements must be seen in this context.

He is correct to say that while rewarding students based on meritocracy is important, it is also imperative not to sideline others who come from low-income families and still achieve fairly good results despite not having the advantage of studying in a dynamic or conducive environment.

“We will continue to recognise those who are outstanding and excellent. However, while we aim for excellence, we need to find a good balance between meritocracy and social justice. We need to give opportunity to students from rural areas or from low and middle-income families the same opportunity when their results are fairly good,” Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said on Monday when presenting education grants and financial assistance from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to 330 students who excelled in their STPM and SPM examinations last year.
“We need to give the same opportunity to a student from Kampung Bantal in Ulu Tembeling (Pahang) who obtained fairly good results as is given to a student whose results are better and lives in Kuala Lumpur.”

We also have to understand that it is not just about the geographical divide, where students in the rural areas are at a disadvantage compared to their urban counterparts.
Even in an urban setting like the Klang Valley, for example, there is no equal access for everyone. A student with a highspeed broadband connection being chauffer-driven to a tuition centre can happily co-exist with a student staying in a longhouse just down the road.

Both may get the same number of As in the examination, but the effort they each have to put in cannot be considered similar.
The fact remains that we are not quite a land of limitless opportunity in which individuals can go as far as their own merit takes them.

Which is why a commitment to social justice is one way to balance out the situation.

Social justice is always about addressing needs. Just as there are the very rich and privileged among all ethnic communities, likewise there are the poor and underprivileged among all of them as well.

Be that as it may, transparency is important so that no one uses the “social justice card” to trick the system into believing that he is the more deserving candidate.

Likewise, we cannot continually play the “ethnic card” to suggest that only one community is socially disadvantaged.

A fair and just nation is one where justice is tempered with mercy. Meritocracy can only be considered fair when it is tempered with social justice.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Xmas! - Our Advert tomorrow 22/12 in The Star

Have a Meaningful
ChristmasBro. Lawrence Spitzig’s life (1918-2009) was a reminder of the call to love God; and, to love our neighbours as we would love ourselves.

Do it for Unity:

Can we achieve unity through competitive racial politics?

The political parties we have today are largely racial and religious based. We’ve inherited a divided society from our past. Under British rule we were divided by race, geography, economics and administration. We can recognize this as something from our shared history.

But if we allow our political institutions to remain racial and religious based, we will continue to see ourselves as separate groups instead of a single nation. It is a damaging cycle - as the Rakyat see themselves as belonging to distinct groups, our leaders continue to support what they see as the Rakyat’s vision. The cycle repeats itself. It is a condition in which our political institutions serve to divide rather than unite. Slowly we will deteriorate further into disunity.

We need to stop practicing this detrimental form of politics. The time has come for us to interrupt this vicious cycle. Our vision for the future is unity.

To gain something, we must let go of something else. We must let go of our dependence on racial and religious politics and learn that what will really bring growth to all our people is unity. Stop fighting for only individual groups and start standing up for everyone. Be confident that we can speak for Malaysians - not just for Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, or any other group. Malaysia is the sum of all its Rakyat, all races and religions included.

Let us nurture political institutions that are not based on race or religion.

At zubedy, our programs draw strength from shared values and traditions. We believe that at heart, all Malaysians want good things for themselves and for their brother and sister Malaysians, simply because our nation cannot prosper as a whole if some of us are left behind.

Let’s be first and foremost Malaysian.

Let us add value,
Have a meaningful Christmas
Anas Zubedy



The arrest of 200 Shi’ite followers by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) on 16 December 2010 has raised some disturbing questions.

If those arrested are “fanatics and a threat to national security” as stated by the JAIS Director, Datuk Muhammad Khusrin Munawi, shouldn’t he support his allegation with incontrovertible evidence? If they are a threat to national security, why were they arrested by the JAIS and not the Police under the relevant security laws? JAIS is in charge of religious affairs, not national security matters. Shouldn’t the JAIS Director also substantiate his claim that members of the group known as Hauzah Ar Ridha Alaihissalam believe that other Muslim groups are “infidels” and it would be lawful to kill them?

In the absence of proof, the discerning public may begin to wonder whether the arrests are directed at Shi’ism as such. After all, there are Islamic Religious Departments and Muslim politicians in Malaysia who regard Shi’ite teachings as “deviationist.” They are obviously wrong.

There is no need to emphasise that Shi’ism is a legitimate part of Islam. Shi’ites subscribe to the same fundamental principles of the religion and practise the same basic tenets of the faith, as the majority Sunni Muslims do. Like the Sunnis, they too have contributed immensely to the growth of Islamic civilisation. There are about 180 million Shi’ites today who belong to the larger Muslim family ( ummah) of 1.7 billion people.
It is of course true that there are certain Shi’ite concepts and rituals that are not acceptable to the Sunnis, and vice-versa. But that does not justify labelling either party as “deviant” or “infidel.” Besides, variations in rituals and conceptual differences among the four main doctrinal schools within the Sunni community are generally accepted by Islamic scholars. To promote greater unity and solidarity within the ummah, the same consideration should be extended to the Shi’ites.
What this suggests is that historically rooted and politically generated antagonisms should not be allowed to distort and destroy ties between the two communities. Sunni-Shi’ite animosities, often manipulated and exploited by vested groups within and without the Muslim ummah, have already led to the killing and maiming of thousands in recent years, especially in Pakistan and Iraq. It is undoubtedly the most divisive ideological split within the ummah today.

Fortunately, some modest attempts are being made by both Sunni and Shi’ite theologians and thinkers in various parts of the world to improve relations between the two groups. This is a positive development that we in Malaysia should support. JAIS officials and other ill-informed individuals in Malaysia should help, rather than hinder, the process.

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar,
International Movement for a Just World (JUST).


19 December 2010.