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.
Perhaps it was by the stroke of fate that I became a father two weeks earlier than expected. My son, Mu’awiyah Rayyan Nieshaem, was born on the 12th of October 2011 at around 5.45pm and from that point of time onward, I shoulder the additional responsibility of the care and well-being of my offspring, which includes education. As I hold my sleeping son in my hands hours after the delivery, I ponder upon aspects of my struggle thus far and how I can ensure a Better Malaysia for my newborn son.
I have always shown a keen interest in Malaysian politics ever since I was ten. As far as I am concerned, someone who is not interested in or has apathy towards the Malaysian political situation is simply being unpatriotic to the highest degree, which is unthinkable to me. Patriotism towards the country, however, is not to be confused with asabiyyah, or tribal inclinations which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Islam has abolished.
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.