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dimanche 13 février 2011


Malaysia warns Muslims of Valentine's Day 'trap'

Description: omen shout slogans for the anti-Valentine's Day Campaign, near Kuala Lumpur on 11 February 2011Muslims make up nearly two-thirds of Malaysia's 28 million population

Malaysia stepped up a campaign to stop Muslims celebrating Valentine's Day - labelling it a "trap" that could encourage immoral behaviour.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Monday's celebration of romantic love was "not suitable" for Muslims.

Several Malaysian states are planning to carry out checks on hotels to stop young couples having premarital sex.

The anti-Valentine's Day campaign by the country's Islamic authorities goes back to a fatwa issued in 2005.

Valentine's Day is synonymous with vice activities”

End Quote Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz Department of Islamic Development

Leaflets have been distributed to Muslim university students urging them to avoid Monday's celebration.

The government-run Department of Islamic Development, which handles religious policies, has launched a publicity campaign called "Mind the Valentine's Day Trap".

Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz, the department's chief, told state media: "In reality, as well as historically, the celebration of Valentine's Day is synonymous with vice activities.

"Islam would reject anything, even from the Eastern culture, if it contravenes the Islamic teachings."

He said Islam had never rejected positive things from the West, noting that it had embraced Mother's and Father's Day.

But not all Malaysian Muslims agree with the campaign, with some saying Valentine's Day is harmless.

Other faiths are not affected by the boycott in a country where Muslims make up nearly two-thirds of the 28 million population.

Malaysia is a favoured country of mine. The ruling class is not very innovative. And it is the only country where the ruling class is on Welfare or Governmental Benefits, with money put into its coffers by the hardworking Chinese, who are a group of “tolerated foreigners”!

Malaysia is a lovely country and the people are very nice. The Chinese go about making money and they are happy as they do well. The Indians are okay but would leave for Australia or USA if given the chance, as they neither have the privileges of the Malay nor the entrepreneurial spirit of the Chinese. But there have been exceptional Indians: such as Tony Fernandes of Air Asia and the owner of Astro Entertainment.

It is a harmonious society with very little racial hatred expressed publicly, but the races do not mix very well. In fact it is rare to see a gathering of all races at one place, other than the Malls but the private space is very segregated, not by law but by the choice of the people.

I am in Miami as I am writing this and I am looking forward to my next visit to Malaysia in the next few months when my best friend MC returns from India after months of Yoga Therapy Teacher Training.

This morning someone sent me an excerpt from Winston Churchill, something he had penned as a journalist in 1899, more than a hundred years ago.

My father of good memory used to say: Churchill was the last of the giants of men. I have read his biography (ies) and it is truly inspiring.

Here is the speech of Winston Churchill given in 1899

This is amazing. And even more amazing is that this hasn't been published long before now.


"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.

A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it.

No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome."

Sir Winston Churchill; (Source: The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50 London)

Today in discourse with an Iranian friend of mine in Tehran, after we talked about

Deconstruction of Jacques Derrida, about Ontology, about Quality and Quantity in thinking

She said: it is sad for me to think that a western educated woman would know more about the world and its wisdom than me.

That is when I thought about writing this blog.

As the wind of Arab Fever is marching through the Meditarranean, the autocratic rulers must give the educated and the general population, the air to breathe, the chance to decide for themselves the morality and wisdom of the ages, to choose what they want to believe in.

In Anthropology, as Dr. Cecil Helman told me once in a discussion: this de tribalization. At that time we were discussing about the sadness of a friend of mine, who had traveled with me from Havana. She had grown up so steeped in the propaganda of the socialist state that when she saw the reality of England, in which an average person had dignity and was rewarded for labour without having to follow strictly any rigid ideology. I remember her words clearly: Here in London, even a street sweeper can expect to live comfortably, and it is a lie what we were told that the life back home is the best in the world.

I felt guilty that detribalizing a person without accompanying rituals marks that person emotionally. They were comfortable where they were and all of a sudden they are exposed to something, which they did not realize, existed as an alternative. They may enter a long period of Liminality: neither here nor there…

Malaysian Moslems need less fraternizing and more freedom to express their personal choices.

Happy Valentines Day to all my friends in Malaysia.