Monday, August 11, 2008
posted by PabloPabla at 12:29 pm

Threat :-

1. An expression of an intention to inflict pain, injury, evil, or punishment.
2. An indication of impending danger or harm.
3. One that is regarded as a possible danger; a menace. (source)

Context - Harsher actions if Bar Council holds more forums on religion, warn Muslim protestors.

Muslim protesters threatened to take harsher actions against the Bar Council if it holds similar forums on religion. The group of about 300 protesters managed to shut down the controversial council forum on conversions to Islam today.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat's Zulkifli Noordin, who took the lead this morning to address the protesters, said: "If they do it again we will take a stern action."

The first-term Kulim Bandar Baharu MP, who is also a lawyer, declared their protest a success after the forum was declared closed a little before 10am after the police advised the organisers to end it due to the noisy protest outside and in the hall. The forum was supposed to end at 1pm.

Warning :-

1. An intimation, threat, or sign of impending danger or evil.
2. a. Advice to beware.
b. Counsel to desist from a specified undesirable course of action.
3. A cautionary or deterrent example.
4. Something, such as a signal, that warns. (source)

Context - Bar forum on conversions stopped after one hour.

Zulkifli and several of the protesting leaders then went into the building and appeared again at 10.30am.

By 10.40am, the crowd had cleared the area, giving a chance to the forum members to leave the building without police escort.

Later, Zulkifli said although he was satisfied that the target to stop the forum was achieved, the protesting leaders would pursue a formal apology from the council.

"We are also issuing it a warning not to hold such a public forum again."

Muscled :-

v.intr. To make one's way by or as if by force: muscled into the conversation. To move or force with strength: (source)

Context - The day the loudest won the day... or did they?

According to reports, the 100-plus protesters, who had been demonstrating outside the building since 8am, had swelled tremendously and were in danger of turning more than unruly.

[Strong police presence outside the Bar Council building.] At 9.50am, a handful of protesters, led by Kulim Bandar Baharu parliamentarian Zulkifli Noordin from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), muscled their way to the front of the first-floor auditorium at the Bar Council headquarters in Leboh Pasar Besar here amid an ongoing and lively discussion on the 2006 court case of R. Subashini, whose ethnic Indian husband T. Saravanan had embraced Islam and converted their five-year-old son without her knowledge or consent.

Despite the heavy police escort, heated words were exchanged between some of the protesters and some members of the Bar Council. The word "monkey" was heard bandied about several times by both sides.

Photo credit:- Bar Council

Who were the aggressors in this episode? Surely not the Bar Council. The FRU were guarding a Bar Council under siege. And the Bar Council, a private premises, was indeed stormed by a handful of these protestors who were not going in to participate in the forum, but to threaten and demand the organisers into closing the forum.

It is alleged that holding such a forum challenges the position of Islam in Malaysia. It is not explained how having an intellectual discourse in the safe confines of a private building could undermine the sanctity of a religion - one which is followed by approximately 1.25 billion followers in the world. I can only imagine that in a moderated forum like this (which incidentally, was moderated by Zarizana Abdul Aziz, a lawyer from the Penang-based non-government organisation Women's Centre for Change), any debate or argument which went out of line or was bordering on insults would be stopped there and then. So, how could it have challenged the position of Islam remains as mysterious as why the protestors prefer to issue threats rather than making their views or opinions known in the forum itself.

If indeed the protestors are alarmed by other members of the public discussing about the problems arising out of the practical problems which had surfaced and was brought to the country's attention through recent conversion cases, then perhaps they are in a state of denial. Such discussions, whether amongst the Muslims or Non-Muslims in the country have been ongoing - albeit in coffeeshop discussions rather than in an organised forum. If you were to ask me, the coffeeshop discussions are probably much more heated and vulgar and less intellectual compared to a moderated forum.

In fact, Zulkifli Nordin himself in an interview given to Malaysiakini acknowledged that there are some dissatisfaction amongst non-Muslims arising out of the judgments in recent cases. He felt that the courts have already made known the position and what needs to be done is for the Government to make necessary changes or amendments to the Federal Constitution and other relevant acts to make the position clearer. He acknowledges that the position, statute wise, might not be as clear. Interesting indeed and quite persuasive. If only he had the courtesy to present his views in the forum rather than merely giving a statement to Malaysiakini.

But truly, at the end of the day, the protesters who claimed to be representatives of Islamic organisations in this country, bore witness to who they really are. Whether they and their actions actually represent the virtues of true Islamic faith is for one's interpretation. If at all there was provocation by the Bar Council in organising a forum which allegedly challenges Islam, the opinion which people will make will be on the response to the provocation and whether such response was warranted or reasonable in the circumstances.

p/s: Any comments which includes vulgarities or name-calling will not be published.



At 9:30 pm, Blogger zewt

Anwar will have to answer to this... else, PR will lose its credibility.