The nation was abuzz several months ago with the provocative attempts of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) activists in holding a festival celebrating their deviance of homosexuality via a programme called “Sexualiti Merdeka” (Freedom of Sexuality). Scheduled to be held at The Annexe in Kuala Lumpur on November 11th, the event was eventually cancelled by the organisers after the police announced a blanket ban on any activity promoting or related to the event, as it will be held without a permit. This caused an outcry from the organisers and their supporters, claiming that the event is not an attempt of promoting homosexuality among the masses.
The war drums are beating again. Several purportedly “Islamic” NGOs have banded together and decided to do something about apostasy in the country. The organisers are holding a “Himpunan Sejuta Umat” (“Gathering of a Million Faithful”) or simply known as HIMPUN, at Stadium Shah Alam this weekend as a “show of strength” to openly oppose apostasy among the Muslim community. While on principle I do support the purpose and aim of this community movement, I do believe that this gathering is moving in the wrong direction and that it will do little to impact things on the ground.
With all these known excesses and problems in Malaysia, why am I still here? Why have I remained in Malaysia? I could have just as easily moved to the United States , where I would be welcomed as a citizen and, unlike others who choose to leave, have the right to vote and participate in the political process.
It is without a doubt that apostasy is a very serious offence in Islam, and there are no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ about it. However, individuals like Shairul are from the flock of ‘liberal Muslims’ who prefer to abandon the Qur’an and Sunnah injunction with regard to apostates in favour of their ‘values’ from the West concerning freedom of religion.