Saturday, 9 June 2007

ABIM President, Yusri Mohamed, Taken to Task by Muslim Lawyer


A day after the Federal Court made its decision on Lina Joy's case, Yusri Mohamed, who is the Present of Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) issued a media statement on behalf of Organisations to the Defence of Islam (PEMBELA). (Read here the media statement .)

Haris Ibrahim is a trained lawyer, a stronge defender of the supremacy of the Federal Constitution, challenges the views of Yusri Mohamed and the position of PEMBELA in the Lina Joy case.

Yusri Mohamed had said in his media statement:

" We welcome and applaud this (Federal Court) decision by which we believe that justice has been served. We believe that this decision is a relief for the majority of both Muslims and non-Muslims alike in Malaysia.

We say this because we see this decision as vindicating and upholding the existing arrangement relating to the position of Islam and the Shariah courts in the constitutional and legal set-up of the country..."

Readers are strongly recommended to go to Haris Ibrahim's blog, "People's Parliament", for a rebuttal of Yusri/PEMBELA'S position on the Lina Joy case and for detailed understanding of how the Federal Court ruling had undermined the supremacy of the Federal Constitution.

Below are Recommended Reading of Haris Ibrahim's articles on the Lina Joy case:

BELOW excerpts of Haris Ibrahim's Response to Yusri Mohamed's Views: Read here for more and here

"... Yusri Mohamed had said in the PEMBELA media statement released after the Federal Court judgment:

‘We also plead to those who were hoping for an opposite outcome to consider modifying their expectations to suit what is good and more sustainable given our circumstances’.

I am amongst those who had hoped for an ‘opposite outcome’.

We are NOW asked to MODIFY our EXPECTATIONS !!!

What ??

We should modify our expectations and :
  • NO longer hope that the Constitution will be upheld?

  • NO longer expect that our judges would honour their oath of office and ensure that where the Constitution confers a right on ‘every person’, then every person without any exception will be fully protected in the exercise of those rights?
  • Why?

    " suit what is good and more sustainable, given our circumstances, " you say?

    WHAT circumstances?

    .... 60% Malay and 40% non-Malay population?

    Is that what you mean by ‘our circumstances’?
    Look, if YOU :

  • really have the 60% of the Malays behind you ( yes, I am calling your bluff. You do not have all the Malays behind you. )

  • get support from enough of the non-Malays,

  • make ‘Islamic state’ your election manifesto,

  • get your 75% into Parliament and, as Azmi Sharom said,

  • go and amend the Constitution,

  • and make this an Islamic state.
  • Do that, and I will concede that you have won the day. I will then pack my bags, get out and leave you to your theocracy.

    Until then, do NOT imagine that everyone will be bullied into surrendering this country merely because someone says ‘modify your expectations’.

    Yes, I was at the DAP dialogue.

    I attended the dialogue specifically to listen to what Tan Sri Khalid and Yusri had to say in the hope that I might get an idea of the official PKR stand on the majority judgment of the Federal Court.

    We have already heard from Anwar Ibrahim . If Anwar’s stand is also the PKR stand, then they should make it publicly known. Let the voters know.

    I have to say Tan Sri Khalid disappointed me. He spoke for about 10 minutes, after which I was none the wiser where he or PKR stood on this issue. Even in answering questions during the Q&A session, I was left with the sense that Tan Sri Khalid was NOT there to contribute intelligently to the dialogue.

    Yusri Mohamed said several things that warrant comment and correction.

    1. Yusri (said) he had attended the Experts Conference on Human Rights in Islam in KL last year and that "there was NO consensus arrived at the Conference that there is no earthly punishment for apostasy. "

    Well Yusri, I too attended the Conference. ALL 5 days.

    I was part of the ‘Freedom of Thought and Conscience’ workshop on the FIRST day under the moderation of Professor Hashim Kamali.

    I do NOT recall YOUR participation in this workshop.

    At the workshop, I can confirm that after much discussion on this issue, when Professor Hashim put to the group a recommendation to be taken to the plenary session on the last day, that there is NO punishment in THIS life for apostasy, the only objections came from 2 representatives of our Attorney-General’s chambers.

    These 2 representatives, sensing that they were not going to swing the group to their viewpoint, chose to leave the group discussion.

    I can confirm that the group resolved to carry Professor Hashim’s recommendation to the plenary session.

    I can also confirm that on the morning of the last day of the conference, at the plenary session, the ‘no punishment by man for apostasy’ proposal was mentioned as one of the recommendations that would be carried from the Conference.

    2. Yusri had said that dialogue was always possible, but certain things had to be adhered to. 'Respect for Islam and authority' have been picked up by the media.

    What was missed was the word ‘representation’. Did anyone else present also hear this word?

    Respect for Islam’ is to state the obvious.

    What HE should have gone on to say is respect for ALL religions and ALL participants in any dialogue is an imperative.

    The Malaysiakini report ‘Respect Islam first, then dialogue’ reports Yusri to have said:

    ‘Who gets to determine which part of Islam is already settled and definite and which part is still open to debate? There must be a respect for authority, specialisation and expertise in Islam’

    Yusri is welcome to refute my following observation. In fact, I hope he will prove me wrong.

    Ambiga Sreenevasan (President of the Malaysian Bar Council )and many others urged a follow-up dialogue. In fact, the call was for ABIM to organise the next.

    If this happens, you might begin to see the linkage between ‘representation’ and ‘respect of authority’.

    Since the initial efforts to form the IFC (Inter Faith Commission ) in 2001, an objection that has constantly been taken by ABIM and other ‘Muslim’ NGOs has been that dialogue must only involve ‘mainstream Muslim representatives’.

    Why ("the dialogue must only involve mainstream Muslim representatives" )? I have a theory.

    As far back as the year 2000, 28 others and I, by way of a memorandum of complaint to Suhakam had made it plain that if ‘mainstream Muslim’ meant only the ‘Ahlul Sunnah Wal Jamaah’, then we were not mainstream.

    The 29 individuals have never been taken in by the ‘greater number must therefore be right’ mentality, taking comfort from the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:

    If you obey most of those in the earth, they will lead you astray from God’s way; they follow but conjecture and they only lie’. - Surah 6 verse 116.

    Representative’ and ‘respect for authority’, as postulated by Yusri, as pre-conditions to dialogue, envisage EXCLUDING from such engagement and dialogue

    • the likes of myself, Azmi Sharom who has openly voiced a preference for the retention of our secular state, Malik Imtiaz, Sisters in Islam, and

    • anyone else who does not see eye to with ABIM & Co. and yet profess a belief in the way of life enjoined through the Holy Qur’an.
    Why ?
    Our inclusion would undermine their claimed authority to speak for Islam. Yusri, please prove me wrong.

    3. Note again Yusri’s poser as reported :

      ‘Who gets to determine which part of Islam is already settled and definite and which part is still open to debate?’
      Yusri, correct me if I am mistaken: Does not God comfirm in Surah 5 verse 3 that the way of life of peace through submission to God (Islam) has already been settled by God?

      That if you and I differ in our respective understanding of God’s commands in relation to anything, are we NOT commanded to leave the final determination thereof to God? (Surah 42 verse 10; Surah 6 verse 164; Surah 39 verse 46; Surah 22 verses 68-69)
    4. Yusri is also reported to have offered :

    ‘… there is still room to revisit apostasy laws through dialogue…“I’m not saying that it’s written in stone and that you cannot try to revisit it, you can do it…” ‘

    • Revisit apostasy laws through dialogue?
    • Not written in stone?
    • Can revisit it?
    • Dialogue with whom?
    • Those in authority?
    • Will those who claim such authority produce their authority from God?

    What has been inflicted on Lina is NOT divinely ordained, but wrought by the hand of man.

    5. I had meant to ask Yusri and every Muslim in the hall that night a simple question. Let me pose the question now.

    If the Hotal Amada management had made the following announcement in the midst of the dialogue :

    ‘We ask every person here to leave the hotel immediately. Please do not use the lifts. Use the fire escape. Please do not rush’,

    Would Yusri or any other Muslim have complied or stood up and asked :

    ‘Does ‘every person’ include Muslims?’

    If you would have unquestioningly complied, why do you now contend that ‘every person’ in Article 11(1) does NOT necessarily include enjoyment by Muslims of all the rights guaranteed thereunder?

    Truth is, when you are alone, by yourself before God, and not having to defend your apostasy laws that are not cast in stone before a captive audience, you KNOW that :

    Your denial of the plain meaning of ‘every person’ is a dishonest, un-Islamic attempt to re-write an agreement that our forefathers entered upon in 1957.
    Even if you must pursue your agenda, please do not pretend to be PEMBELA Islam."
    - Haris Ibrahim

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