Malaysia used to be a country where people were at ease with themselves–their ethnic roots, their diverse faiths, their neighbors. Politicians have made race and religion cudgels with which to threaten people and stifle dissent. This OpEd – http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/najib-and-barisan-failing-1malaysia-sheela-jane-menon– provides a useful comparison of how we advertise ourselves –as a model of tolerance and moderate Islam– and what the country has become. To learn more about Sisters in Islam go to http://www.sistersinislam.org.my/
It’s not so easy any more to control the parameters of Islam and the way it is practiced by those who wish to stuff their opinion down the throats of other Muslim citizens, be they minorities or majorities across the globe.
This past week the Selangor Islamic Religious Counsel in Malaysia, issued a fatwa against Sisters in Islam (SIS), accusing them of being “deviant” because they subscribe to religious liberalism and pluralism. They called for a ban on all their publications and to silence their social media. They sought to shun their activities and personhood “in the name of Islam.’
The next day SIS held a press conference and went on full counter attack. This is what it has come down to for many who stand for justice, equality, and human dignity for all, within an Islamic perspective.
Let me step back and explain about a fatwa.
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